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FIFA FIFPro World XI Nominees: Mo Salah misses out as Barca quartet's inclusion sparks debate

December 14, 2021 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The Liverpool superstar failed to make the cut in the 23-man shortlist released by FIFA on Tuesday.

The final 23 nominees for the FIFA FIFPRO World XI for Men in 2021 have been revealed but have turned a few heads after yet another major omission. There was no spot for Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah in the list which featured 10 players from the English Premier League although Barcelona's Dani Alves, Frenkie De Jong, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were named among those shortlisted.

Ahead of the The Best FIFA Football Awards slated for January 17, 2022, professional footballers were asked by FIFA and FIFPRO to vote for the World XI by selecting their top three players in the goalkeeping, defense, midfield and attacking departments from the 2020/2021 season. The list which originally featured 55 players has been successfully trimmed down to 23.

Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo made the cut, perhaps unsurprisingly, with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski also landing a spot after being overlooked for this year's Ballon d'Or by France Football. Karim Benzema, Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski, Romelu Lukaku, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar joined the trio in the attacking department although Mohamed Salah who scored 31 goals in 51 games last season failed to make the final list.

A debate has since emerged around the omission of the Egyptian on social media after it emerged that the likes of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, and Jordi Alba have all been listed despite the Catalan club's struggles last season. Dani Alves, who recently returned to Barca after spending last season at Sao Paulo, was also featured.

Meanwhile, in the goalkeeper's category there was no place for Manuel Neuer, Thibaut Courtois or Jan Oblak. Here are a few reactions by football fans on Twitter following the announcement:

The full list of players for the respective positions in the men's category are as follows:

  • Goalkeepers: Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) 

  • Defenders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Dani Alves (Sao Paulo/Barcelona), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

  • Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Jorginho (Chelsea), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)

  • Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Manchester United), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan/Chelsea), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain).

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