Real Madrid could name a starting line-up consisting almost exclusively of UEFA Team of the Year nominees, with the 40-man, LaLiga-dominated list announced on Monday.
The 2016 Champions League winners have eight players among the star-studded selection of Europe’s finest talent, headlined by Ballon d’Or favourite Cristiano Ronaldo.
Madrid’s prominence on the list contributes to the total of 18 players from Spain’s top flight, which dwarves the 12 who hail from the Premier League.
There are 15 first-time nominees – including Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez – and fans from across the globe will cast their vote on who should make the cut.
Ronaldo appears for a record 13th time and Madrid are one of 21 clubs represented. Three of the Portugal captain’s international colleagues – Rui Patricio, Raphael Guerreiro and Pepe – are in the reckoning after their Euro 2016 triumph.
Behind LaLiga and the Premier League, the Bundesliga accounts for five of those named, while no Serie A club besides champions Juventus have any representatives.
Last year’s poll saw Barcelona’s Lionel Messi receive the most votes, with 448,445, but his Bernabeu rival Ronaldo has been included among the final selection 10 times – more than anyone else.
The winning XI will be announced by European football’s governing body on January 5.
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting), Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Defenders: Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Paris Saint-Germain)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Neymar (Barcelona), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
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