Fifteen attackers complete shortlist for the FIFA FIFPro World XI 2012

29th November 2012

FIFPro and FIFA present the fifteen attackers who have been voted on the shortlist for the FIFA FIFPro World XI of 2012. Three of them will be presented during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala, to be held on Monday 7 January 2013. In other words, based on all the votes from the professional football players worldwide, these footballers have been elected as the world's best attackers for their performances in 2012.

The fifteen attackers who have received the most votes from all the professional football players in the world are (in alphabetical order):

  • Sergio Aguero (Argentina, Manchester City)
  • Mario Balotelli (Italy, Manchester City)
  • Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid)
  • Edinson Cavani (Uruguay, AS Napoli)
  • Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Shanghai Shenhua)
  • Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon, Anzhi Makhachkala)
  • Radamel Falcao (Colombia, Atletico Madrid)
  • Mario Gomez (Germany, Bayern Munich)
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona)
  • Neymar (Brazil, Santos)
  • Robin van Persie (The Netherlands, Manchester United)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid)
  • Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United)
  • Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Liverpool)
The fight for a place among the three strikers of the World XI appears to be the toughest test for any player hoping for a World XI Award. In recent years Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have established themselves as certainties in this elite squad. Both the Argentinean goal-getter from Barcelona and the Portuguese scoring machine from Real Madrid have captured five successive World XI awards. With that trophy collection, they share the World XI record with John Terry, who has also received five awards.

Will Messi or Ronaldo manage to win a sixth World XI trophy? The competition is fierce with players like Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o, Radamel Falcao, Mario Gomez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robin van Persie and Neymar, each enjoying great years.

Mario Balotelli is the sole newcomer on the shortlist of the fifteen attackers. The Italian international with Ghanaian roots proved he's a very special striker, unpredictable and lethal in front of goal. He helped Manchester City capture the English Premier League title with some crucial goals. At Euro 2012, he was the dangerous man upfront of the Italian team that reached the final. Balotelli played an important role, scoring twice in the semifinal against Germany.

Three strikers on the shortlist made the 55-player shortlist each year in the history of the World XI: Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Samuel Eto'o. Rooney won last year, Eto'o received his World XI Awards in 2005 and 2006. The only other striker on the current shortlist (next to Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney and Eto'o) to collect a World XI trophy is Didier Drogba (2007). ?

The 55 players on the shortlist for the FIFA FIFPro World XI 2012 are:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus), Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid), Petr Cech (Czech Republic, Chelsea), Joe Hart (England, Manchester City), Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich)

Defenders: Jordi Alba (Spain, Barcelona), Gareth Bale (Wales, Tottenham Hotspur), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy, Juventus), Ashley Cole (England, Chelsea), Dani Alves (Brazil, Barcelona), David Luiz (Brazil, Chelsea), Patrice Evra (France, Manchester United), Rio Ferdinand (England, Manchester United), Mats Hummels (Germany, Borussia Dortmund), Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia, Chelsea), Vincent Kompany (Belgium, Manchester City), Philipp Lahm (Germany, Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Argentina, Barcelona), Pepe (Portugal, Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Spain, Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), John Terry (England, Chelsea), Thiago Silva (Brazil, Paris St-Germain)

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Spain, Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Spain, Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea), Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Germany, Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Italy, Juventus), Franck Ribery (France, Bayern Munich), David Silva (Spain, Manchester City), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, Bayern Munich), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast, Manchester City), Xavi Hernandez (Spain, Barcelona)

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Argentina, Manchester City), Mario Balotelli (Italy, Manchester City), Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay, AS Napoli), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Shanghai Shenhua), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon, Anzhi Makhachkala), Radamel Falcao (Colombia, Atletico Madrid), Mario Gomez (Germany, Bayern Munich), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Neymar (Brazil, Santos), Robin van Persie (The Netherlands, Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United), Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Liverpool).