Barcelona’s devastating attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are among eight players from the European champions named on a 40-man shortlist for the UEFA Team of the Year. Italian champions Juventus, beaten 3-1 in June’s Champions League final, have six players on the list.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo is included on the shortlist for the 12th straight time, having been named in the final 11 last year for a record eighth successive season. Bayer Leverkusen’s Turkish midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, 21, is the youngest player to make the list, with veteran Italy and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon the oldest at 37.
Internet users have until January to register their votes on the UEFA website (www.uefa.com).
List of nominated players:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (ITA/Juventus), Denys Boyko (UKR/Dnipro), Joe Hart (ENG/Manchester City), Manuel Neuer (GER/Bayern Munich)
Defenders: David Alaba (AUT/Bayern Munich), David Luiz (BRA/Paris SG), Diego Godin (URU/Atletico Madrid), Ricardo Rodriguez (SUI/Wolfsburg), Thiago Silva (BRA/Paris SG), Sergio Ramos (ESP/Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (ESP/Barcelona), Jerome Boateng (GER/Bayern Munich), Leonardo Bonucci (ITA/Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (ITA/Juventus), Dani Alves (BRA/Barcelona), Javier Mascherano (ARG/Barcelona)
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Manchester City), Eden Hazard (BEL/Chelsea), James Rodriguez (COL/Real Madrid), Yevhen Konoplyanka (UKR/Sevilla), Hakan Calhanoglu (TUR/Leverkusen), Arturo Vidal (CHI/Bayern Munich), Paul Pogba (FRA/Juventus), Ivan Rakitic (CRO/Barcelona), Grzegorz Krychowiak (POL/Sevilla), Andres Iniesta (ESP/Barcelona), Claudio Marchisio (ITA/Juventus), Marco Verratti (ITA/Paris SG)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona), Luis Suarez (URU/Barcelona), Neymar (BRA/Barcelona), Thomas Mueller (GER/Bayern Munich), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (SWE/Paris SG), Sergio Aguero (ARG/Manchester City), Antoine Griezmann (FRA/Atletico Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (CHI/Arsenal), Alvaro Morata (ESP/Juventus), Gareth Bale (WAL/Real Madrid)