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UEFA reveals ‘Team of the Year 2015’ shortlist; no African named

Manchester City's Yaya Toure
Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, not listed

European football’s governing body, UEFA has revealed its 40-man shortlist for the 2015 Team of the Year. The preliminary list which constitutes of 4 goalkeepers and 12 players each from defence, midfield and attack was made public on UEFA’s official website.

Not a single African player has made the shortlist which consists mostly the usual suspects as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Luiz Suarez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gareth Bale all making the cut.

The shortlist is understandably dominated by Catalan giants Barcelona who see eight of their players listed. The Blaugrana were at their rampant best last season as they ended up notching the treble last season including the Champions League final win over Italian giants Juventus.

While arch rivals Real Madrid saw only four of its players earn a chance to win a place a place in this year’s all-star XI.

The Premier League has a comparatively disappointing return as only five players made it to the shortlist with Manchester City and England custodian Joe Hart and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale being the only two British players in the list. Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne, Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard are the others who were deemed worthy enough from the English League.

Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich saw six of its players making the cut among Europe’s elite.

UEFA conducts a poll on its official website and provides fans worldwide with an opportunity to vote for players who have impressed them through the year. The 40 players in the shortlist are selected by a team of writers of UEFA who base their selection on various performance statistics over the calendar year.

More than 8.4million votes were cast for the 2014 Team of the Year, with Baloon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo receiving 623,046 – more than any other player.

Here is the 40-man strong list to be voted upon.

Goalkeepers:

Joe Hart (Manchester City), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Denys Bokyo (Dnipro)

Defenders:

Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), David Alaba, Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), David Luiz, Thiago Silva (PSG), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus).

Midfielders:

Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Yevhen Konoplyanka, Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich), Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Marco Verratti (PSG).

Forwards:

Neymar, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Alvaro Morata (Juventus).

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