World 11: How the teams are selected

Think of the World 11 and you might picture a glitzy evening with two teams of fantastic footballers receiving their award on stage.

But this moment is also the result of a rigorous process that starts two months earlier and involves tens of thousands of professional footballers worldwide.

Your choice, your team

Every year, FIFPRO invites all the world’s male and female professional footballers to compose a team of the eleven players who - in their opinion - have been the best in their position in the previous twelve months.

They select one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards. (They can select three central defenders and one right back, for example. Or three attacking midfielders, and three centre forwards.)

No shortlist, just your list

There is no shortlist attached to the form and any suggestion that either FIFPRO or FIFA decides who is in the World 11 is incorrect. The players who receive the most votes in their line will be selected for the World 11. It’s as simple as that.

A rigorous process

The election is organized from FIFPRO's head office in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. Two months before the awards ceremony approximately 65,000 ballots in English, French and Spanish – the three official FIFPRO languages – are sent out to more than 70 countries.

Union representatives of all associations that are FIFPRO members then distribute the forms among professional footballers in their country.

A month later the first ballot forms are returned to the FIFPRO head office and FIFPRO staff start counting the tens of thousands of votes. No computers are used in this procedure: each vote is counted manually.

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World 11 ballot forms in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands

The final countdown  

Approximately three weeks before the ceremony, FIFPRO and FIFA announce a list of the 55 players who have received the most votes. The list consists of 5 goalkeepers, 20 defenders, 15 midfielders and 15 forwards.

One week before the ceremony, when all returned ballots have been counted, FIFPRO staff work out the World 11 based on the goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards with the most votes.

Then we notify the players through FIFA, which organizes The Best gala.

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