That time of the year is coming again; the FIFA XI team of the year. We’re sure we’ll see all the usual suspects in the most ridiculous suits, and tipping up with birds only you can dream of. Hope they all enjoy wining and dining on some jumped up food, served in some sort of swanky Lisbon hotel; we’re not remotely jealous we haven’t been invited.
However, there’s some pretty shocking omissions amongst the nominees to be in this year’s team of the year, causing a few pundits to raise their eyebrows Carlo Ancelotti style. Riyad Mahrez, remember that bloke? Yeah, the one that made Lionel Messi’s left-foot look like Andy Carroll’s, well, despite tearing up the Premier League, Mahrez has somehow missed the list. The bloke who still continues to bang ’em in this season, despite Leicester looking more Plymouth Argyle FC than Premier League champions, has actually been ignored.
Have a look at the starting XI who should be on the Ballon d’Or shortlist…
GK) David De Gea
Been carrying Man United for two years now. Ok, it didn't get the Red Devils into the Champions League last season, but it did deliver an FA Cup, and make United at least 'semi-respectable'.
Best 'keeper in the world as well. Enough said.
Source: 101 great Goals
DF) Javier Mascherano
There simply isn't a better 'ball playing' centre-back.
The Barcelona man was his usual vintage brilliance in Barca's La Liga triumph, and helped Argentina to the Copa America Final.
Source: You Tube
DF) Laurent Koscielny
Ok, people might question this one. But, hear me out. The Frenchman was brilliant in the summer for an injury hit back four. And was instrumental in helping the hosts reach the final.
The Gunner was also solid for Arsenal, and ultimately was key to the reason behind them finishing above Tottenham... again.
DF) Gerard Pique
Is there a more consistent defender? Ticks all the boxes for being a quality centre-half.
The Barca man delivered his usual brilliance in La Liga last season. Hugely important to why they only conceded 29 goals.
RM) Henrikh Mkhitaryan
With the talent in Bundesliga - ahem, Bayern Munich - and to still be voted the best player in the league amongst all those chaps, shows how brilliant the Armenian was last season.
Let's hope he find his feet over in England.
CM) N’Golo Kante
For Kante's two sidekicks to be on the shortlist, and for the Frenchman not to be seems very harsh.
The best midfielder in the Premier League last season, and just as important to Leicester winning the league as Mahrez and Vardy's goals.
Source: VBet News
CM) Ivan Rakitic
How the Croatian doesn't get more plaudits we're not quite sure.
People say Sergio Busquets is the overlooked Barca midfielder, but Rakitic's quality was so evident when playing for Croatia in the summer. Massively important to both club and country.
Source: Perform Group
LM) Angel di Maria
The Premier League's biggest cop out. But, still so effective last season in France.
The Argentine delivered 19 assists in 29 games in Ligue 1, as well as playing a part in Argentina's Copa America final run. Quality player.
RF) Karim Benzema
Ok, ok, didn't feature in France. And an absolute weapon if you ask us.
But, the Frenchman still was the joint-fourth-highest scorer in La Liga, with 24 goals. And helped Real Madrid to a Champions League success... not exactly bad.
Source: Getty Images
CF) Harry Kane
No, the Tottenham striker isn't in the side for his effective corner kick ability.
The England international had such a prolific season, being the top scorer in the Premier League with 22 goals. Why should Aguero get in over him?
LF) Alexis Sanchez
Voted best player in Chile's successful Copa America victory, and the Gunner was basically to blame for Lionel Messi's two-minute retirement.
Surely, that's enough to be on the shortlist?
To be fair, those Leicester fans can’t be directly blaming FIFA for that; strangely enough the list was voted by all players from 75 different countries, maybe footballers just don’t like the Algerian?
Perhaps not so shocking judging by current form, but shocking to the history books; the Man United skipper, the Three Lions skipper, the man one shy of United’s all-time record scorer, and England’s highest scorer, has missed the list for the first time in 12 years!!! Poor old Wayne’s year, goes from bad to worse.
Not breaking the mould though, is King of Italy, Gianluigi Buffon, and the greatest player on the planet, Cristiano Ronaldo. The pair, along with Rooney were previously the only footballers to never miss the list, but now looks like his own fellow footballer and the media are also writing the No. 10’s obituary.
Have a look at the rest of the lads who have been nominated…
Claudio Bravo (Chile/Barcelona/Manchester City), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), David de Gea (Spain/Manchester United), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid) and Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich).
David Alaba (Austria/Bayern Munich), Jordi Alba (Spain/Barcelona), Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast/Paris St Germain), Hector Bellerin (Spain/Arsenal), Jerome Boateng (Germany/Bayern Munich), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus), Dani Carvajal (Spain/Real Madrid), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus), Dani Alves (Brazil/Barcelona/Juventus), David Luiz (Brazil/Paris St Germain/Chelsea), Diego Godin (Uruguay/Atletico Madrid), Mats Hummels (Germany/Borussia Dortmund/Bayern Munich), Philipp Lahm (Germany/Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Argentina/Barcelona), Pepe (Portugal/Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Spain/Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris St Germain) and Raphael Varane (France/Real Madrid)
Xabi Alonso (Spain/Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Spain/Barcelona), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona), N’Golo Kante (France/Leicester/Chelsea) Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Germany/Arsenal), Dimitri Payet (France/West Ham), Paul Pogba (France/Juventus/Manchester United), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/Barcelona), David Silva (Spain/Manchester City), Marco Verratti (Italy/Paris St Germain) and Arturo Vidal (Chile/Bayern Munich)
Sergio Aguero (Argentina/Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Argentina/Juventus), Antoine Griezmann (France/Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina/Napoli/Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris St Germain/Manchester United), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Germany/Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil/Barcelona), Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal), Luis Suarez (Uruguay/Barcelona) and Jamie Vardy (England/Leicester)
12 of the greatest Manchester United moments ever
Everyone can remember that chip against Sunderland from King Eric. Everything about the goal, the flight time of the ball to the celebration of the Frenchman was nothing short of poetry. The look from United’s no. 7, and the hoist of the collar just about summed up the football renegade in 30 seconds. Image Source: Twitter
If people ask, are Liverpool, Man United’s greatest rivals? You only have to look as far as that Gary Neville celebration against the Merseyside club. Whether he was right or wrong, you couldn't help but let out a wry smile when G Nev celebrated in front of the Liverpool fans. It led to the United captain being charged £5,000. But, who could blame the right-back? Rio Ferdinand’s last-minute winner against Liverpool, no doubt made the fine well worth it. Image Source: Twitter
Robin van Persie
Lol RvP doesn't start for Fenerbahce now. Image Source: Getty
’20, times, 20 times…’
This is an odd choice, but one Man United fans may never forget. The Reds were 3-0 down at Old Trafford, to LIVERPOOL, under David Moyes. Could there be a worst case scenario? You'd usually expect to hear a load of Mancs swearing to the away end, or ripping their chairs out. However, the Stretford End instead sang ’20 times, 20 times…’ for around 10 solid minutes. An amazing moment, in which history and tradition outweighed getting turned over 3-0 by the biggest enemy on home soil. Incredible. Image Source: Twitter
Welcome to 'Fergie Time'. The old boy was known for his ferocious watch-tapping as he chumps on the gum harder than a raver at some grimy festival. Big Stevie Bruce’s winner against, Sheffield Wednesday, seven minutes after the whistle had gone, to clinch the title, is the best possible introduction to the famous 'Fergie Time'. Brian Kidd’s celebration on the touchline wasn’t bad either. Image Source: Twitter
Who could ever forget the Scot's famous line in 1995, “You'll never win anything with kids”. We often see pundits eat their own words, but nothing has quite topped Hansen’s rant, followed by the infamous line. How wrong the pundit could be, as the ‘kids’ went on to a memorable title. Image Source: Twitter
"Nani crosses the ball from the touchline, and it's Rooneyyyyyyy!" Image Source: Twitter
Man United 8, Arsenal 2
The image of Fergie almost looking apologetic, and consoling Wenger on the touchline after the game was one of the pictures of 2011. Image Source: Twitter
One of the ‘kids’. The one leading the pack with a new haircut every day. That weekend against Wimbledon, the golden curtains decided to score one of the most famous Premier League goals ever. Image Source: Twitter
After Fergie coined the blue-half of Manchester, the Noisy Neighbours, what better way to silence them through a Liverpool legend - step up, Michael Owen. Image Source: Twitter
To be fair to Arsenal, the ‘2004 Invincibles’ was probably the best ever Premier League team. To go a whole season undefeated, highlighted the balance and brilliance Wenger had at his disposal. However, all that had to come to an end, and of course, it was at Old Trafford. The 2-0 victory for the Red Devils ended in real drama, with Cesc Fabregas, throwing Pizza at the United boss, and about a 22-man brawl in the tunnel. They don’t make rivalries like this anymore! Image Source: Twitter
Fergie’s last game at Old Trafford won’t be remembered as a classic, a 2-1 victory against Swansea. But the guard of honour, to the boss’s speech was an overwhelming occasion for United fans. A real moment of history at Man United, as the league waved goodbye to its greatest ever manager. Image Source: Twitter