No team has more candidates than FC Barcelona, which already had six players in the winning team a year ago
FIFPro, the association of professional footballers, announced on Thursday the final list of 55 players who are candidates for the best eleven of 2011. Among the candidates are eleven players from Barça, the team most represented amongst all the nominees. They are Valdés, Abidal, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Busquets, Cesc, Iniesta, Xavi, Messi, and Villa. More than 50,000 professional players from around the world took part in the voting for the finalists.
Valdés, first time
Of the eleven Barça candidates, goalkeeper Víctor Valdés is the only first-timer on the list of finalists. The rest have been there in previous editions. In fact, the ideal XI of 2010 included six Barça players, over half the team: Piqué, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, and Villa.
Final decision on 9th January
On January 9th, 2012, to coincide with the gala of the FIFA Golden Ball in Zurich, the names of the eleven players that make up the ideal XI will be announced, including a goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders, and three forwards.
The 55 finalists
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), Casillas (Madrid), Neuer (Bayern), Van der Sar (retired, Man United) and Víctor Valdés (Barça)
Defenders: Abidal (Barça), Alves (Barça), Carvalho (Madrid), Cole (Chelsea), Evra (Man United), Ferdinand (Man United), Kompany (Man City), Lahm (Bayern), Lucio (Inter), David Luiz (Chelsea ), Maicon (Inter), Marcelo (Madrid), Nesta (AC Milan), Pepe (Madrid), Piqué (Barça), Puyol (Barça), Sergio Ramos (Madrid), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), Terry (Chelsea) and Vidic (Man United)
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Madrid), Bale (Tottenham), Busquets (Barça), Cesc Fabregas (Barça), Iniesta (Barça), Kaka (Madrid), Lampard (Chelsea), Nani (Man United), Özil (Madrid), Pirlo (Juventus), Schweinsteiger (Bayern), David Silva (Man City), Sneijder (Inter), Yaya Toure (Man City) and Xavi (Barça)
Forwards: Aguero (Man City), Benzema (Madrid), Cavani (Naples), Drogba (Chelsea), Eto'o (Anzhi), Falcao (Athletico), Mario Gomez (Bayern), Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Messi (Barça), Neymar (Santos), Van Persie (Arsenal), Cristiano Ronaldo (Madrid), Rooney (Man United), Luis Suarez (Liverpool) and David Villa (Barça)