Four Barcelona players and three Real Madrid players have been included in the midfield shortlist for the FIFPro World XI of 2012, making up nearly half of the 15-man list of players aiming for the recognition.
Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta are the players representing the Catalan team, a midfield that could probably fill the World XI all on its own.
The Real Madrid representatives come in the form of Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric and Mesut Ozil, who between them helped Jose Mourinho’s men to the La Liga title at the end of last season.
This news is a huge boost for La Liga fans and participants because the Spanish domestic league is often seen as an inferior league to others around Europe, and the Premier League in particular, so to have seven players in contention for the midfield World XI compared to the Premier League’s five shows that they are more than capable of holding their own.
Chelsea legend Frank Lampard is included, as is Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard from the English league. Joining them on the list is another Chelsea star, Eden Hazard, and Manchester City pair David Silva and Yaya Toure.
Bayern Munich also have two midfielders on the list, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery excelling for the German side as they marched their way to the Champions League final last season.
Andrea Pirlo took Euro 2012 by the scruff of the neck and nearly guided Italy to the title before being halted by Spain in the final, and the player has got the recognition he deserves by completing the list of candidates.
Here is the midfield shortlist for the FIFPro World XI in full, including each player’s club and national team:
Sergio Busquets (Spain/Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Spain/Barcelona), Xavi (Spain/Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona)
Xabi Alonso (Spain/Real Madrid), Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Germany/Real Madrid)
Franck Ribery (France/Bayern Munich), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany/Bayern Munich)
David Silva (Spain/Manchester City), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast/Manchester City)
Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea), Frank Lampard (England/Chelsea)
Steven Gerrard (England/Liverpool)
Andrea Pirlo (Italy/Juventus)