2018’s team of the year was announced at FIFA’s annual ‘The Best’ awards in London last night.
The backline compromised of David de Gea, Dani Alves, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo. The midfield included Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Luke Modric.
That left the incredible front three of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe.
The team largely picked itself due to the form of certain individuals over the last 12 months, however, some players were questionable choices.
Let’s get straight into which players were fortunate to make the team, and the footballers which would have been a better choice.
It is safe to say that Dani Alves made this year’s team on his reputation alone. Despite featuring just 25 times in the league last season, the Brazilian was once again favoured over younger options.
The 35-year-old performed well in the Champions League, but the right-back is no longer the player he was during his peak years at Barcelona.
In terms of replacing the Brazilian, both Joshua Kimmich and Benjamin Pavard would have been more deserving of a place in this years team.
Picking between the two youngsters is difficult, but Pavard edges it due to his star turn at this year’s World Cup, in addition to his consistency on a weekly basis in Germany.
There are no issues with the rest of the defence The centre-back pairing picks itself, while Marcelo has easily been the best left back in the world for at least five years now.
David de Gea was also the correct pick for the goalkeeper spot, despite for some reason failing to make the final three-man shortlist for the best goalkeeper award.
Dani Alves – Out
Benjamin Pavard – In
Hazard and Kante were fortunate to make the team.
First of all, we are assuming that FIFA counted Hazard as a midfielder, because Messi, Ronaldo or Mbappe are certainly not.
Of the three players selected, only Luka Modric is worthy of his place. Kante and Hazard both had an okay 12 months, but let’s not forget that this is the pair who failed to get Chelsea into the Champions League last season.
Both players seem to have made the team simply due to a handful of excellent performances in Russia.
Modric deservedly got all the accolades this year, but his midfield partner Toni Kroos is just as important to Real Madrid. Kroos once again turned in world-class performances on weekly basis last season, and if not for Germany’s disastrous World Cup, he would have surely made FIFA’s team.
If we are talking about both consistency and level of performances over the last 12 months, Kroos easily leapfrogs Kante into the team of the year.
Eden Hazard meanwhile had yet another season where one week he was a world beater, than a week later was poor and disinterested. In comparison, Antoine Greizmann performed on a weekly basis and won trophies for both club and country.
Other than Kylian Mbappe, Greizmann was France’s best player at the World Cup, and he also led Atletico to win the Europa League. Overall the Frenchman scored 29 while assisting a further 15 goals. Greizmann has unfortunately been overlooked for an inferior player in this year’s awards.
Out – N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard
In – Toni Kroos, Antoine Griezmann
There is nothing to change with the forward line, as the best three players from the last twelve months were selected.
Neymar fails to make the team due to his injury problems over the last six months, injuries which ultimately led to the Brazilian only being 50% for the World Cup.
Mohamed Salah was also impressive over the last year, but he has nothing to show for it.
Messi won La Liga, Ronaldo the Champions League and Mbappe led France to the World Cup at the age of 19. Mohamed Salah may have set a new goalscoring record in England, but Liverpool finished fourth in the league and were trophyless.
So with our selection complete, we want to know who you think were the best 11 players over the last twelve months.