You know how we’re always talking about how world football has it in for England? Threats from UEFA, feuds with FIFA, general negative perception? I get it. It certainly seems like that sometimes; for example, the FIFA World Cup 2018 vote was a little difficult stomach. Clearly this is not a universal distaste, however, because the 2012 FIFPro World XI shortlist contains two Englishmen.
Seriously, I checked the date.
Let’s face it, we’re hardly enjoying a vintage England at the moment, and the idea that a shortlist for this accolade would feature one of our players – never mind two – suggests that perhaps there is still a residual sense of undue affection for the Premier League and the English game as a hole – and I do mean ‘hole’ without a W.
The two players deserving of our congratulations on this occasion are Steven Gerrard of Liverpool and Frank Lampard of Chelsea, both of whom have enjoyed certain successes in a less than stellar year.
Gerrard is finally the England captain, and rightly won plaudits for his performances at UEFA Euro 2012, as the Football Association point out. The FA also mentioned Lampard’s UEFA Champions League medal with the Blues, unarguably his crowning glory at the pinnacle of European club football.
These are achievements that shouldn’t be overlooked. Gerrard has long fancied a crack at the England captaincy and Lampard – like every other player in Europe – surely dreamed of winning the Champions League. But on the FIFPro World XI shortlist? I’m sorry, not for me.
Regardless, here’s the job midfielders lot (again, via the FA):
Xabi Alonso (Spain and Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Spain and FC Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Spain and FC Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (England and Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Belgium and Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Spain and FC Barcelona), Frank Lampard (England and Chelsea), Luka Modric (Croatia and Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Germany and Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Italy and Juventus), Franck Ribery (France and Bayern Munich), David Silva (Spain and Manchester City), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany and Bayern Munich), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast and Manchester City), Xavi Hernandez (Spain and FC Barcelona)
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