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It all ends with two teams of eleven fantastic football players on stage receiving their World 11 award. It is the result of an election process that starts two months earlier and involves tens of thousands of professional footballers worldwide.

Each year, FIFPRO invites all professional footballers on the planet, male and female, 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 must select 1 goalkeeper, 4 defenders, 3 midfielders and 3 forwards.

FIFPRO only makes a distinction between the four lines, not between each position. For example, participants are allowed to select three central defenders and one right back, or three attacking midfielders, or three centre forwards. FIFPRO simply asks for the most outstanding goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and attackers. .

Players can choose from all professional footballers worldwide: there is no shortlist attached to the form.

The players who receive the most votes in their line will be selected for the World 11.

Any suggestion that either FIFPRO or FIFA decides who is in the World 11 is completely untrue.

The Vote

The election begins two months before the awards' ceremony. At FIFPRO's head office in Hoofddorp, The Netherlands, there are piles of boxes with voting ballots in English, French and Spanish – the three official FIFPRO languages.

FIFPRO ships these forms – approximately 65,000 ballots – to all corners of the world: Australia, Chile, Egypt, Finland, Japan, South Africa – more than 70 countries in total.

Professional footballers' associations which are FIFPRO member or candidate member are asked to distribute the forms among all professional football players in their countries. Union representatives will be visiting the clubs with a voting ballot for each player. As some countries are simply too vast for a personal visit, players could also receive their ballot via mail.

After one month, the first ballot forms are returned to the FIFPRO head office. From that moment on, staff will be counting the tens of thousands of votes. No computers are used in this procedure: each vote is counted manually.

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Returned ballots

The list of 55

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.

The World 11

One week before the ceremony, when all returned ballots have been counted, FIFPRO staff composes the new World 11 by picking the goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards with the most votes.

Showtime!

The Best FIFA Awards is a great setting for revealing the World 11s. The eleven best female footballers and eleven most outstanding male players appear on stage to collect their award.

It is a unique moment in football history, as these are the only global teams picked by professional footballers worldwide: for the players by the players.

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 The 2016-2017 World 11 on stage