Bernardo Silva and Sadio Mane among top stars in our Alternative FIFPro World XI

Sooraj Kamath - Writer 12:57 28/09/2019
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The FIFPro World XI assembled a team of remarkable players but while many favourites made the cut, the inclusion of some players incited debate and criticism.

We chalked out an Alternative FIFPro World XI comprising players that were not selected at all. We reckon this team could provide the latter a run for their money, should they play a match.

Goalkeeper – Jan Oblak

Jan Oblak has grown in stature.

Jan Oblak has grown in stature.

Although Barcelona shot-stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen came close, Jan Oblak claims the goalkeeper’s spot after yet another monstrous season with Atletico Madrid.

Despite what their reputation might suggest Los Colchoneros fielded a shaky defence for most parts of last season and have the Slovenian custodian to thank for finishing in the top-two.

Oblak registered 104 saves in La Liga to keep his side in contention until April. He has made the Zamora trophy an everyday collectible, winning in each of the last four ahead of Ter Stegen.

Right-back – Joshua Kimmich

Joshua Kimmich

One of the most influential players in the Bayern Munich squad, domestic Joshua Kimmich occupies the right-back spot in our Alternative FIFPro World XI.

The German scored twice and provided 13 assists in the Bundesliga. He was solid in defence and productive going forward, as testified by an average of 2.4 key-passes per game.

Bayern’s very own Swiss Army knife was often used in the midfield by manager Niko Kovac and he impressed in his new role. But he was arguably the best player in the right-back position last season, closely followed by Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Centre-back – Kalidou Koulibaly

KalidouKoulibalyNapoli (2)

Top European clubs made failed attempts at capturing Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. The Serie A side could hold on to their most consistent performer and a rock at the back.

The Senegal defender won 1.7 tackles every game and recorded 3.5 clearances per 90 minutes. Stats aside, Koulibaly proved a tough nut to crack even for some of the best attackers in Europe.

Koulibaly’s excellence could not fetch Napoli any trophy but that takes nothing away from his incredible season at an individual level.

Centre-back – Aymeric Laporte

aymeric laporte

Manchester City created history by winning the English domestic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and the League Cup. Aymeric Laporte – the best player in their back-line – delivered series of all-round performances to play a key role in making it happen.

The French defender has established himself as one of the best ball-playing centre-backs in the world, making him a perfect fit at Pep Guardiola’s City.

Laporte also earned his first French National team call-up and was tipped to start ahead of Raphael Varane but was forced out because of injury.

Left-back – Andrew Robertson

AndyRobertsonLiverpoolSpurs (1)

Andrew Robertson should be nowhere near this list. The Scotland captain was the best left-back in the world last season and should have made the FIFPro World XI side ahead of Marcelo.

The Liverpool full-back was instrumental in their Champions League win and the second-place finish in the Premier League.

Robertson was relentless with his pressing and the Reds benefited heavily from his immense work-rate. The 25-year-old provided 11 assists in the league and dropped top-notch performances against Barcelona and Tottenham to enable his team to ascend the throne of Europe.

Central midfielder – Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum joins team-mate Robertson in our Alternative FIFPro World XI after a promising season with club and country.

The 28-year-old bossed the centre of the pitch, maintaining an incredible passing accuracy of 91.1 percent throughout the season.

Wijnaldum scored two of the most important goals in Liverpool’s recent history as he laid the come-back against Barcelona in their 4-0 win at Anfield.

The Dutchman was also one of the most crucial players for his country at a golden period when they made the finals of the UEFA Nations League. He scored twice and was the driving force in their midfield alongside Frenkie de Jong.

Central midfielder – Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva

The best Portuguese player from last season, Bernardo Silva won almost everything he competed for.

He was among the best players in the City side that won the domestic treble and was adjudged the best player in the Nations League, having powered Portugal to the top of the podium in the inaugural tournament.

The 25-year-old scored seven goals in the league, provided as many assists and dazzled Europe with his eye-catching dribbling abilities.

Bernardo is yet another player who should have been included in the FIFPro World XI

Central midfielder – Marco Reus

Reus

A fit Marco Reus is in touching distance of the FIFPro World XI. Last season, the German provided a taste of what he is capable of after he missed just seven games in the league.

Reus scored 17 goals and provided eight assists to propel Borussia Dortmund to the top of the Bundesliga table for most parts of the season.

The midfielder formed a formidable partnership with youngster Jadon Sancho and was close to helping his team break Bayern Munich’s dominance. But an injury to Manuel Akanji triggered problems at the back and Dortmund could not dethrone the Bavarian giants.

However, individually, Reus was head and shoulders above other midfielders in the league and one of the best in Europe.

Right-winger – Raheem Sterling

Sterling

Yet another monster that Guardiola produced at City, Raheem Sterling was a treat to watch last season.

The 24-year-old scored 24 goals across all competitions for club and country. He also provided 12 assists in what was a highly productive season.

Sterling also displayed all-round attributes, producing an incredible 2.6 key-passes per game in the league. Numbers aside, the winger – through his performances – showed that England’s next generation of players could achieve something significant.

Unfortunately for the Englishman, the right-wing spot in the FIFPro World XI is taken up by Lionel Messi.

Left-winger – Sadio Mane

mane (1)

A Champions League title, an AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations) silver medal and lots of goals – Liverpool winger Sadio Mane is just back from a near-perfect season.

The 27-year-old won the Premier League Golden Boot for the 22 goals he scored. The four goals he scored in the Champions League also proved crucial, given two of them arrived against Bayern Munich in what one of the best performances of his career.

Mane walks into the Alternative FIFPro World XI after a prolific season with Liverpool and Senegal.

Striker – Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski

Polish hitman Robert Lewandowski makes the Alternative FIFPro World XI after edging Argentine striker Sergio Aguero.

The Bayern Munich striker netted 22 times and provided eight times in the league to lead his team to yet another domestic double.

Lewandowski also scored eight goals in the Champions League and was among Bayern’s most consistent players regardless of their form. He has kicked off the 2019/20 season in fine fashion, having scored nine goals already in just five games.

Manager – Mauricio Pochettino

Although Guardiola was phenomenal in England last season, the Catalan boss works best with the set of players capable of playing his brand of football. Mauricio Pochettino took Tottenham to the Champions League final despite going two transfer windows without signing a player.

Pochettino should hence be the perfect choice to lead the team of 11 individuals with diverse backgrounds and playing styles.

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