*Stoke’s Joe Allen Also Make The Cut –
European football governing body, UEFA, has released a 40-man list for the 2016 Team of the Year.
This year’s 40 are made up of four goalkeepers, 12 defenders, 12 midfielders and 12 forwards, which includes 12 Premier League players and a total of 18 nominees from the Spanish La Liga.
As expected, regulars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Gareth Bale make the shortlist.
Also on the list include, Luis Suarez, Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Dani Carvajal, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Gianluigi Buffon, Manchester United duo, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.
There was a surprise inclusion of Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen, who was one of Wales’ standout performers at Euro 2016 alongside Riyad Mahrez and Ngolo Kante – who also makes the cut – and is one of 12 midfielders that could make the final selection.
Arsenal have the most included from any Premier League club, including defender Laurent Koscielny, midfielder Aaron Ramsey and forward Alexis Sanchez.
The final team of the year will be voted by supporters, with seven-million fans expected to participate in the online vote on UEFA’s website.
The Full 40-man Shortlist:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon) Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
Defenders: Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Paul Pogba (Man United), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester), Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Joe Allen (Stoke), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Grzegorz Krychowiak (PSG)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man United), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Neymar (Barcelona), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Sergio Aguero, (Man City), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)