French sports newspaper L'Equipe has today revealed it's 2012 Team of the Year, as voted for by football journalists from around the country.
The usual suspects all feature with this year's final three FIFA Ballon d'Or nominees - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta - all making the world XI, which has been set up in a 4-3-3 formation.
La Liga is the best represented of Europe's top five domestic divisions, with four Barcelona stars (Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Jordi Alba) and four Real Madrid players (Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso) dominating the make-up of the team.
Six of the aforementioned players are Spanish, which has been largely attributed to Los Rojiblancos successful defence of the European championship trophy in Poland and Ukraine in the summer.
The line-up features just two Premier League stars, Vincent Kompany; club captain and defensive backbone of last season's title winners Manchester City, and Ramires; a surprise inclusion from Champions League holders Chelsea, whose impact for the Blues en route to their European final success against Bayern Munich in May, must have played a significant part in the reason behind his selection.
Bayern Munich defender and captain, Philipp Lahm is the solitary representative from the Bundesliga, which also might come as a shock to many, particularly when you consider the resurgence the German league has had over the past couple of years.
Italy's Serie A and Holland's Eredivisie failed to receive any nominations, nor are there any players selected from Ligue 1, despite L'Equipe's obvious connections in France, which once again highlights the gulf in class between those top-flight divisions, compared with their equivalents, the European heavyweights in Spain, England and Germany.
Do you agree with L'Equipe's 2012 Team of the Year? See the full line-up below, and leave a comment if you can think of any players unlucky not to have made the cut!
GOALKEEPER: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
DEFENCE: Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
MIDFIELD: Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Ramires (Chelsea)
FORWARD: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
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