Real Madrid overlooked once again in 2021 FIFPro World XI
The professional players syndicate has not included Courtois or Vinicius in their shortlist. Benzema is included, as are surprise additions Dani Alves and Frenkie de Jong.
FIFPro, the professional footballers' organisation and FIFA have announced the 23 candidates for this year's World XI - the best team on the planet according to the players' syndicate. It is only award in football which is voted for entirely and exclusively by players. Among the nominees this year are big names like recent Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé, Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski, as well as a few surprise inclusions such as Frenkie de Jong and Daniel Alves.
Karim Benzema, who came third in the Ballon d'Or, is also among the 23 candidates, but Vinicius is one of the notable absentees. Madrid's only other representative is David Alaba. Thibaut Courtois, who was overlooked in other individual awards, also misses out.
For the first time in 17 years, FIFPro has reduced the initial shortlist from 55 to 23 players. The goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and three forwards who receive the most votes will make up the World XI. Completing the team will be the two remaining outfield players with the most votes.
FIFA and FIFPro will announce the World XI on Monday 17 January 2022, during FIFA's The Best awards ceremony.
The 23 nominees
Alisson Becker (Liverpool FC, Brazil)
Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain, Italy)
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea FC, Senegal)
David Alaba (FC Bayern Munich/Real Madrid, Austria)
Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona, Spain)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool FC, England)
Dani Alves (Sao Paulo/FC Barcelona, Brazil)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus FC, Italy)
Ruben Dias (Manchester City FC, Portugal)
Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona, Spain)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City FC, Belgium)
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United FC, Portugal)
Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona, Netherlands)
Jorginho (Chelsea FC, Italy)
N'Golo Kante (Chelsea FC, France)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus FC/Manchester United FC, Portugal)
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund, Norway)
Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern Munich, Poland)
Romelu Lukaku (Internazionale FC/Chelsea FC, Belgium)
Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain, Argentina)
Neymar Junior (Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil)