FIFA are fresh from releasing their latest star-studded FIFPro World XI.
While the Ballon d’Or might stand out as the sport’s premier individual prize, there’s no denying that FIFA are top dogs when it comes to dishing out the most prestigious ‘Team of the Year’ line-up.
Besides, the FIFPro World XI can be traced back long before the current ‘The Best’ set-up with football’s governing body having delivered an annual line-up since the heady days of 2005.
History of the FIFPro World XI
It just so happens that we’ve transitioned from Paolo Maldini, Zinedine Zidane and Dida making the team sheet to Erling Braut Haaland, Jorginho and Edouard Mendy getting the call-up.
And now that the revered staple of FIFA’s silverware offering is striding deeper into its third decade, we wanted to take a closer look at which players have continued to get the nod year after year.
Despite now being 34 and 36 years old respectively, the two all-time greats have made every single FIFPro World XI since 2006 when Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o led the line.
Aston Villa 2-2 Man Utd Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
All-time FIFPro World XI
So, you can already count Ronaldo and Messi in with their astonishing record of 15 appearances in the XI apiece, but things become slightly less obvious when you move further back on the pitch.
But fear not, you can put away your calculators and abacuses because we’ve done the maths to present to you the all-time FIFA World XI based on the players who have been selected the most.
And considering the line-ups are decided by the players themselves, there’s good reason to think it’s about as official as an unofficial best XI could possibly get this side of 2005.
It just so happens that defenders found it more easily to appear in the XI consistently, so forgive the ultra defensive formation, but otherwise be sure to enjoy the ultimate FIFPro World XI down below:
How far away would you say that is from the best male XI since 2005? It’s pretty close, right?
Stacked with quality
Messi and Ronaldo are absolute givens as the front two, while it’s absolutely no surprise that serial winners like Alves, Ramos and Marcelo swagger into the XI given their dominance in the 2010s.
In fact, perhaps the most surprising inclusion is actually Terry, but it really shouldn’t be on reflection when you consider just how omnipotent he was at the heart of Chelsea‘s defence in the 2000s.
Maybe it’s just surprising that he bested Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic on such a regular basis in the FIFA voting despite not necessarily having the most easy-on-the-eye style of playing.
Elsewhere, Casillas reiterates his underrated status by ousting Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer, while Modric proves that he’s got more in his arsenal than ‘just’ his Ballon d’Or-winning year.
So, sure, there are perhaps some changes that would be made if the darlings of the vote were switched for a subjective ultimate XI, but let’s face it: this team would still take some serious beating.