La Liga dominates the list of nominees for UEFA Team of the Year
It's appraisal time in the footballing world and fans are being treated to some honest, few baffling and a few utterly shocking nominations for various awards.
While FIFA’s list of nominees for the Puskas award did have some glaring exclusions and the expected inclusion of relatively unknown players, it's time to now look at the UEFA shortlist of 40 players from which the UEFA team of the year will be chosen.
The list, which is heavily dominated by players plying their trade in the La Liga, with 18 of them nominated for the team of the year also features players from the Premier League, the Serie A and Bundesliga, while only one player from the Primeira Liga finds a place on the list, with no player from the French Ligue 1 deemed good enough to be amongst the top 40 players in Europe over the last season.
Real Madrid dominate the list with 8 of their superstars nominated for the team while Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both have had 5 players nominated, lending credentials to the existence of unparalleled quality on the Spanish shores.
Rui Patricio (Sporting), Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Gigi Buffon (Juventus).
While Rui Patricio finds a place in the list courtesy of his performances for Portugal at the Euro 2016, the others in the list were in phenomenal form for their respective clubs, some even for their national teams and it remains to be seen who would make it to the final 11.
Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich)
The likes of Toby Alderweireld, Joshua Kimmich and Raphael Guerreiro have been rewarded for their inspiring performances at the back end of the pitch in a list that contains many high profile names such as Pique, Bonucci and Ramos.
Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester), Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Joe Allen (Stoke), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Grzegorz Krychowiak (PSG).
The likes of Payet and Mahrez mesmerised the footballing fraternity with their performances for club and country and it comes as no surprise that they find a mention on the list. Perhaps, the most interesting inclusion in the list has been that of the former Liverpool and current Stoke player Joe Allen, who despite being a fringe player at Anfield all through the last season has been included in the list courtesy of his performances with Wales at the Euro 2016.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man United), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Neymar (Barcelona), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Sergio Aguero (Man City).
Only one among the holy trinities of the footballing world fails to make the list, with Karim Benzema missing out and given their performances in the last season, it seems unlikely that the attacking trio for the UEFA team of the year could include someone other than Ronaldo, Bale, Messi, Neymar and Suarez.