UEFA Team of the Year nominees: Who will make the XI?

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On Tuesday, UEFA announced the 50 nominees for their Team of the Year.

Five goalkeepers, 15 defenders, 15 midfielders and 15 strikers have made the list and fans will vote for who they think should make the XI.

The UEFA explains how the process works when it came to announcing the nominees.

“The nominees are proposed by the UEFA editorial team before being validated by the Technical Observer panel on the basis of their performances in UEFA competitions and domestic competitions within UEFA member associations from January to December 2020.”

While we’ll have to wait a little while for the actual XI to be named, we decided to have a little bit of fun with the 50 nominees.

We’ve decided to rank each and every player from ‘Making up the numbers’ to ‘Guaranteed to make the XI.’ And it’s guaranteed to cause a debate, isn’t it?

Let’s take a look at who made our list:

Making up the numbers

  • Anthony Lopes (Lyon)
  • Keylor Navas (PSG)
  • Juan Bernat (PSG)
  • Matthijs De Ligt (Juventus)
  • Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan)
  • Presnel Kimpembe (PSG)
  • Ever Banega (Sevilla)
  • Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)

Sorry guys, but you’ve just been included by UEFA to make the numbers up to 50.

The three PSG players may feel hard done by to be in this category considering they reached the Champions League but their league campaign ended early.

Meanwhile, De Ligt has struggled at times at Juventus.

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Lucky to be nominated

  • Angelino (RB Leipzig)
  • Hans Hateboer (Atalanta)
  • Marquinhos (PSG)
  • Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) 
  • Dayton Upamecano (RB Leipzig) 
  • Thiago Silva (Chelsea) 
  • Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta)
  • Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid) 
  • Angel Di Maria (PSG)
  • Josip Ilicic (Atalanta)
  • Neymar (PSG)
  • Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
  • Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Good players everywhere you look but their performances last season don’t quite stack up next some of Europe’s elite. The thing that stands out is a lack of trophies. Okay, PSG clinched Ligue 1 by default but the rest failed to win a major trophy last season despite their decent performances.

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Might make the bench

  • Alisson (Liverpool)
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
  • Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
  • Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
  • Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
  • Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
  • Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
  • Houssem Aouar (Lyon)
  • Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich)
  • Kai Havertz (Chelsea)
  • Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
  • Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan)
  • Ciro Immobile (Lazio)
  • Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
  • Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
  • Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

The most heavily-populated group features players who had a fantastic 2019/20 season but didn’t quite do enough to make the UEFA Team of the Year. Seven Liverpool players feature despite winning the Premier League as their Champions League campaign was ended in the last-16 by Atletico Madrid. Ronaldo only finds himself in this list too even though he scored 31 goals in 33 Serie A games. Elsewhere despite winning everything, Bayern’s Goretzka and Coman may miss out on the XI.

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Deserve to be in the XI

  • Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
  • David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
  • Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
  • Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
  • Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich) 
  • Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)  
  • Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
  • Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

We reckon these eight players deserve to make the XI based on their performances last season. The Bayern players are pretty self-explanatory but there’s space for Ramos, Haaland and Messi. Ramos had an incredible season as Real Madrid won La Liga, Haaland rose to fame with 44 goals in 40 matches for RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund, while Messi ended trophyless but broke the La Liga assist record and scored 31 goals in all competitions.

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Guaranteed to make the XI

  • Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
  • Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool)
  • Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

We reckon only three players are guaranteed a place in the XI. Left-back Alphonso Davies had an absolutely sensational season in what was a breakthrough year. Midfielder Thiago was equally impressive before moving to Liverpool in the summer, while Lewandowski notched a ridiculous 55 goals in 47 matches for Bayern in 2019/20.

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