Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, N'Golo Kante: FIFA reveal their World XI for 2021

  • Kobe Tong

The FIFA FIFPRO Men’s World 11 is the most prestigious ‘Team of the Year’ award in all of football – and its ‘Class of 2021’ has just been unveiled to the world.

While The Best FIFA Football Awards might only have gotten underway in 2016, football’s global organising body has been naming the best line-up in the business since the dizzy days of 2005.

Such is the longevity of the prize that Paolo Maldini, Zinedine Zidane and Andriy Shevchenko all occupied the inaugural team sheet with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi nowhere in sight.

As such, it undoubtedly made for one of the most fascinating accolades being given out at FIFA’s awards gala in Switzerland on Monday evening.

Besides, while the overall male prize could only be won by one of Robert Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah and Messi, every position was up for grabs when it came to the World XI selections.

Who were the nominees?

So, before we reveal FIFA’s male nominees for the 2021/22 line-up, let’s look at the footballers who were listed in the first place because there were no less than 23 top-class stars in the hat.

The original shortlist of male players for the line-up went as follows:

Goalkeepers: Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain) and Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)


Defenders: David Alaba (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus) and Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

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

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


FIFA unveil their World XI for 2021

Talk about competition, right? So, with Messi vs Ronaldo, De Bruyne vs Fernandes and Haaland vs Mbappe making up just three of many debates within the nominees, who actually got the nod?

Well, brace yourself, ladies and gentlemen, because you can check out the 2021 FIFA FIFPRO Men’s World 11 in all its glory down below:

Now that’s a team that would take some serious beating.

No Mendy, Benzema or Salah

The voters clearly swung for the fences as the final XI clocks in with a bizarre 3-3-4 formation that allows some of the world’s most star-studded goalscorers to bunch up together on the pitch.

However, the line-up certainly wasn’t without controversy from the start as Donnarumma got the nod over Mendy between the sticks despite the Chelsea man having bagged the top goalkeeping prize.

And there was also a cruel reminder for viewers that Salah hadn’t been nominated in the first place, while Benzema’s absence will also inevitably spark controversy given his immaculate 2021.

But when it’s the players themselves deciding the line-up, then you can only disagree so much. Only joking, football wouldn’t be the same without friendly debate, so let’s have at it!



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