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Coral writers’ predicted World XI from the 2014 FIFPro nominees

With the upcoming FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony set to take place on Monday, January 12th, Coral writers provide their preferred starting line-up from the 55-name shortlist for the 2014 FIFPro World XI.

While there are a few surprise names to pick from, including the likes of Iker Casillas, Dani Alves, David Luiz, Xavi Hernandez, Mesut Ozil and Wayne Rooney, there are the usual stars as well.

Do you agree with our team?

Manuel Neuer – Sweeper keeper
Germany’s number one could well be the first goalie to win the Ballon d’Or since Soviet Union great Lev Yashin in 1963, and he is the 9/2 second-favourite with Coral to do so. He has wowed viewers with his surging runs out of his area from both Bayern Munich and Germany to literally sweep away any oncoming opposing attack. He won the World Cup, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal in 2014, as well as many individual accolades.

Dani Carvajal – Right back
The Castilla academy product was very much the unsung hero for Real Madrid in 2014, as his tenacity and non-stop running has been vital to Madrid success at the back as well as up front. Carvajal won four trophies with Los Blancos last year.

Mats Hummels – Centre back
Manchester United target Hummels was a crucial part of Germany’s World Cup success in Brazil, keeping four clean sheets along the way, and netting the sole goal in the quarter-finals against France. Arguably the best centre back in the world right now, Hummels was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team and claimed the DFL-Supercup with Borussia Dortmund.

Diego Godin – Centre back
Atletico Madrid’s star at the back Godin helped his club punch well above their weight in 2014 by winning La Liga and reaching the final of the Champions League, where they led until the third minute of injury time. His scored in that game.

David Alaba – Left back
Along with Carvajal from this list, Alaba did not go to the World Cup in Brazil, as his nation Austria did not qualify. But, also like the Spaniard, the versatile player get about his business without any fuss and is highly underrated. We pick him ahead of Marcelo and Jordi Alba.

Philipp Lahm – Defensive midfield
Although Lahm is a full back by trade, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola has used him primarily as a holding midfielder for the past two seasons. He skippered his club to Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal success, as well as Germany to win the World Cup.

Toni Kroos – Central midfield
Eagle-eyed passer of the ball Kroos won a total of five trophies, with former club Bayern, new side Real Madrid and Germany in 2014. It is no coincidence that the midfielder was heavily involved in all three of those teams’ success. Kroos managed the most assists at the World Cup as well as being rated the best player at the finals according to Castrol Performance Index.

Thomas Muller – Attacking midfield
Muller is the fifth and final German in this line-up, and his poaching in front of goal has been crucial for club and country. While not blessed with the best ability in the world, the attacker’s goal count has been incredible. Muller scored five for the second successive World Cup, and 26 in all competitions for Bayern last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Right wing
While the current Ballon d’Or holder (odds-on 1/7 favourite this year) failed to shine in Brazil, seemingly due to fatigue and being rushed back from injury, he netted an out-of-this-world 48 goals from 41 La Liga and Champions League matches last term. Ronaldo has started the first half of this season in similar fashion too, with 26 league goals in 15 games. He got 63 goals last calendar year and claimed the Champions League, Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup.

Luis Suarez – Left wing
Controversial attacker Suarez is in this team due to his performances for Liverpool last season, where he hit in 31 goals in the Premier League to help them come agonisingly close to winning the title. Since his move to Barcelona, his absence at the Reds is as noticeable as the season after Sir Alex Ferguson left Man Utd. Suarez is picked ahead of Lionel Messi, who managed three league goals fewer than the Uruguayan last term.

Sergio Aguero – Striker
Aguero is the only current Premier League representative, but deserves this finally place in our XI due to his deadly form in front of goal. Despite being injured for part of last season, his strikes were vital as they helped Manchester City to the title. He ended the year with 19 goals from 20 top-flight and Champions League matches.

55-name shortlist
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad/Barcelona), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid/Chelsea), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Defenders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), David Luiz (Chelsea/Paris Saint-Germain), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid/Chelsea), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Pepe (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid/Bayern Munich), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid/Manchester United), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona/Chelsea), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Paul Pogba (Juventus), James Rodriguez (Monaco/Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Arturo Vidal (Juventus)

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid/Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund/Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Luis Suarez (Liverpool/Barcelona)