ENGLISH FOOTBALL

FIFA World XI shortlist shocker as Salah misses out

Bertrand Traore

FIFA declared the Men’s World XI 23 player shortlist which included some major omissions especially that of Mohamed Salah. The Liverpool winger failed to make it into the shortlist despite his amazing performance.

Professional footballer around the world votes for the FIFA World XI, but it was baffling to see Salah not make even the shortlist. There are other major absentees in the list including the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Virgil Van Dijk, and Joao Cancelo despite putting out great performances.

Though Salah missed out on the shortlist, Liverpool does have representation on the list. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker is part of the shortlist of FIFA Men’s World XI alongside right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. However, the list does raise questions about the authenticity and relevance of having such awards.

FIFA MEN’S WORLD XI SHORTLIST

This year’s shortlist for FIFA Men’s World XI comprises 23 players. They are;

Goalkeepers: Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool FC) Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy/AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain) Edouard Mendy (Senegal/Chelsea FC)

Defenders: David Alaba (Austria/FC Bayern Munchen/Real Madrid CF) Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona) Trent Alexander-Arnold (England/Liverpool FC) Dani Alves (Brazil/Sao Paulo FC/FC Barcelona) Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus FC) Rúben Dias (Portugal/Manchester City FC)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona) Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City FC) Bruno Fernandes (Portugal/Manchester United FC) Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands/FC Barcelona) Jorginho (Italy/Chelsea FC) N’Golo Kante (France/Chelsea FC)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid CF) Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus FC/Manchester United FC) Erling Haaland (Norway/ BV Borussia 09 Dortmund) Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern München) Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/FC Internazionale Milano/Chelsea FC) Kylian Mbappé (France/Paris Saint-Germain) Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain) Neymar (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)

SHOCKING SALAH EXCLUSION

The major criticism for the FIFA World XI is that it misses out on some of the best players in the last year. This becomes even weird considering the fact that many of the players that are included in the list have not been at their best.

Even if one is going by pure statistics, Mohamed Salah is having a way better season than many of them. From just 22 appearances this season the Egyptian has 21 goals and 11 assists to his name. Such huge numbers still couldn’t get him a spot on the shortlist, while the likes of Neymar made it.

It is not just Salah that who missed out on the shortlist. Many players including Joshua Kimmich, Virgil Van Dijk, Alphonso Davies, Joao Cancelo, Antonio Rudiger all miss out despite having excellent seasons. The list also includes the likes of Dani Alves, who is currently playing in the Brazilian league, Jordi Alba, and Frenkie de Jong who are having a mediocre season with a very poor Barcelona side.

The whole World XI list finally comes down to popularity and bias rather than awarding the actual performance. This is also the same for many other individual awards, which forget to take a look into the underlying stats of the season and give more importance to the stature of the player and the clubs and countries they represent. The exclusion of Salah just proves how meaningless these awards are.

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