Manchester United star Angel Di Maria has been named on the shortlist for Fifa’s 15-man shortlist for the 2014 World XI, along with four other Premier League stars.
According to the BBC the man Louis van Gaal purchased from Real Madrid for £59.7 million in the summer is in contention for one of the places in the world’s most talented lineup, which usually features the likes of Andres Iniesta, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Manchester City giant Yaya Toure, Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil and Chelsea pair Francesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard join the Argentina international in making the prestigious list, with the final XI set to be revealed on January 12 2015.
Di Maria IN
Despite enjoying a magnificent campaign during Real’s run to the Champions League trophy last term - which included being named man of the match for that game - Di Maria was flogged in the summer, and United managed to pip French giants Paris-Saint Germain to his signature.
Since his arrival on English shores, after his participation in a relatively successful World Cup with Argentina, he’s continued to impress, and it may come as a surprise if he hasn’t done enough to guarantee his starting spot.
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There will certainly be question marks raised over the inclusion of Ozil however, who largely struggled to find form during 2014. The German international’s transfer from the Santiago Bernabeu to England in 2013 was an ideal precedent to Di Maria’s this summer, but he hasn't taken to Premier League football nearly so well.
Currently out injured until at least the New Year, Ozil has plenty to prove, and it could be argued that there’s others who are more deserved of a nomination for the World XI.
With regards to Fabregas and Hazard there can’t really be any complaint. The former wasn’t exactly in the form of his life at Barcelona prior to his move to Chelsea, but his appearances for Jose Mourinho’s side have been sensational so far.
Hazard on the other hand has gone from strength to strength under The Special One’s tutelage, and Mourinho’s claim that he could be world-class before too long looks more validated with each passing week.
The full shortlist as is follows…
Xabi Alonso (Bayern Munich); Angel Di Maria (Manchester United); Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea); Eden Hazard (Chelsea); Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona); Andres Iniesta (Barcelona); Toni Kroos (Real Madrid); Luka Modric (Real Madrid); Mesut Ozil (Arsenal); Andrea Pirlo (Juventus); Paul Pogba (Juventus); James Rodriguez (Real Madrid); Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich); Yaya Toure (Manchester City); Arturo Vidal (Juventus).