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The vote for the 2014 FIFA FIFPro World XI has officially been launched. On Monday, September 29th, Cristiano Ronaldo gave his thumbs up and filled in the first ballot for this year's players' vote. By doing this, the reigning World Footballer of the Year also initiated a new debate: which eleven players will be on stage when FIFA and FIFPro jointly announce the 2014 World XI?

Luis Rubiales, FIFPro Vice President and President of Spanish players union AFE, officially handed the first ballot to Cristiano Ronaldo, since traditionally FIFPro invites the player of the year to launch this unique election. More than twenty thousand professional footballers worldwide will follow Ronaldo's example in the upcoming month. They will chose the eleven players who according to them deserve most to be in the World XI. They must pick 1 goalkeeper, 4 defenders, 3 midfielders and 3 attackers.

"I am proud and pleased to be here and to be able to nominate the best eleven players in the world", Cristiano Ronaldo said. Real Madrid's Portuguese star forward has been a member of the World XI since 2007, a record 7 selections.

"It means a lot to be part of the best eleven in the world. The players are the guys who really understand this business more than anybody else. I hope that I will be voted for the eight consecutive year, that would be amazing."

Ronaldo easily selected his favorite team, although he playfully took a couple of glances at the ballots of his Real Madrid teammates Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, both World XI veterans with 5 and 4 awards respectively. Most of the players from the 2014 Champions League winners showed up in the club's media room, joining Ronaldo, taking a seat at one of the desks and trying to decide which players really made a lasting impression during this year, so far.

Many of these Real players could make the 55-men shortlist or even the FIFA FIFPro World XI. Just to name a few candidates: Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, James Rodrigues, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Keylor Navas, Gareth Bale and World Champions Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos.

Ronaldo explains how he produced his World XI: "There are many criteria. They are what a player has done in the past season, the titles he has won at both the collective level and the individual level, and the start of this season too. It is about the players who are more consistent and who demonstrate a high level all through the year and also have obtained the most important titles, which in my opinion were the Champions League and the World Championship. I think those are the criteria that should count the most."

For the tenth consecutive year, FIFPro invites up all professional footballers worldwide to vote for the FIFA FIFPro World XI. On Monday 12 January, the World XI will be unveiled at the FIFA Ballon d'Or in Switzerland.


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