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Ever since September, professional football players from all over the world have been meeting to take part in selecting the FIFA FIFPro World XI: each player selects the best eleven players on the planet.


In Chile, the footballers' union (Sifup) has already distributed more than 900 ballots among its members, from whom it has already collected some 500 cards completed by players in the three professional football divisions: Primera, Primera B and Segunda División.


The first to record their preferences were the players for Chilean football's current champion team: Unión Española. The players for Chile's best team enjoyed the election. ‘They're criticizing me here’, laughed the Argentinian Nicolás Berardo (one of the pillars in achieving the championship), while completing his ballot next to a group of colleagues, just after finishing a practice in the Santa Laura Stadium.


Mario Larenas, who competed with the Chilean national team that got as far as the quarter finals of the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey, also took the opportunity to vote along with Chile's champion team. ‘My number nine is Karim Benzema’, the left back told his teammates while enjoying the voting. This survey, in which colleagues from all over the world take part, is an opportunity for players to display their technical preferences, something that calls up enjoyable discrepancies between them.


In spite of the cheerful, comradely and recreational atmosphere surrounding this election of the FIFPro World XI, we cannot omit to mention the usual difficulties of Chilean football, perhaps also of all South American football, in filling out the votes. ‘I like the Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper, but I don't know how to spell his name’, admitted captain Gonzalo Villagra, before completing his card. The great performance of German teams, including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the two finalists in the UEFA Champions League, encouraged a tendency to elect German football stars like Roman Weidenfeller, Ilkay Gündogan, Robert Lewandowski, Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger.




That made players' doubts about those footballers' names still more widespread. Some solved the problem by relying on technology. Among the players for Huachipato--who voted while assembled in Santiago for the game against O’Higgins of Rancagua--there were some who had recourse to their telephones to verify the names of their selections. The foregoing can be appreciated in the brief video published a few weeks ago on youtube by the Chilean professional football players' union, where various football players can be seen completing their voter cards ‘with special assistance’.


In spite of the bad time it is currently experiencing, running in the lower levels of the championship, Huachipato played in the Copa Libertadores de América this season, after having won the Clausura 2012 title, and is generally one of the regular animators of renown in Chile.


Another prominent team in Chilean football is Universidad Católica, which today holds first position in the table, closely followed by O'Higgins de Rancagua and made it to the quarter-finals of the Copa Sudamericana, where it was eliminated by São Paulo. One of its stars - the Argentinian Tomás Costa - was questioned by forward Matías Jadue while selecting his FIFPro World XI. ‘But you've got purely Argentinians’, Jadue complained to the UC winger in a scene from the video where Chilean footballers can be observed participating in the voting process.


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