Thursday 14 January 2016, 08:56

Exploring the 11 World XIs

The FIFA/FIFPro World XI reached a fitting milestone when the 2015 team was announced on stage at the Kongresshaus in Zurich; it was the 11th time the world’s footballers had voted their fellow professionals into a ‘dream team’ of superstars. takes a look back at some of the key figures from the 11 XIs since the inaugural team was unveiled in 2005.


consecutive World XI sides have featured Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since the pair first made the cut together in 2007. Kaka won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in their inaugural appearance, but since 2008 either Ronaldo or Messi have taken home the top individual prize in world football, continuing when the FIFA Ballon d’Or came into existence in 2010.

The 2007 FIFA/FIFPro World XI, which saw the first inclusion of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.


combined appearances in the World XI by Barcelona players is the record-extending figure boasted by the Catalan giants after this year’s edition. The inclusion of Dani Alves, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and a first appearance for Neymar kept the gap in appearances between Barça and their eternal rivals Real Madrid at 14, with Los Blancos players named 28 times. That means a staggering 58 per cent of appearances have been by players who were either at Barcelona or Real Madrid at the time of their inclusion.


African players have represented the mother continent, with Côte d’Ivoire’s Didier Drogba the most recent representative back in 2007. Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’o was named in the first two World XI sides in 2005 and 2006 while at Barcelona, and the two share a unique bond: they are the only players outside of Europe and South America to make the World XI.

Samuel Eto’o featured in the inaugural FIFA/FIFPro World XI in 2005.


Brazilians have been named in the World XI, with no other country boasting more representatives. 2015 debutant Neymar completes a stellar, if rather defensive line-up. He joins samba heroes of years gone by in a Seleçao XI that would likely rival any of the World XIs with Dida, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Lúcio, Marcelo, Cafu, David Luiz, Kaká, Maicon and Ronaldinho completing the set.


players have been their country’s sole representative in the World XI, with Luka Modric becoming the latest to carry the flag alone for his nation after making the 2015 team. The Croat joins Cristiano Ronaldo, Eto’o, Drogba, Nemanja Vidic, Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andriy Shevchenko in being the only player from their nation to receive the highest recognition from their peers.

The class of 2015.


per cent of the players named in the FIFA/FIFPro World XI since its inception have been FIFA World Cup™ winners. Of the 53 names who have been allocated in the 121 slots since 2005, 25 members of World Cup-winning squads, dating back to 1994, have taken their place in the elite XI. Cafu (2005) lifted the trophy in the USA, while three of France’s 1998 squad, five members of Brazil’s 2002 selection (including Cafu, again), a quintet of Italy’s 2006 squad and a trio of 2014’s Weltmeisters have all made the cut. The Spanish hold a particularly unique statistic: all nine of their World XI representatives are world champions.

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