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FIFPro puts the eleven best players of 2011 in the spotlight. They have all been selected for the 2011 FIFA FIFPro World XI by their fellow professionals throughout the world. This article looks at the forwards.

 

The following forwards have been chosen:

Radamel Falcao
Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Radamel Falcao
Radamel Falcao has made it into the toughest line of the FIFA FIFPro World XI. The striker from the national team of Colombia and Atlético Madrid joins mainstays Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the third forward of the 2012 World XI.

 

Falcao makes his debut in the FIFA FIFPro World XI. The 26-year old striker came in third after Messi and Ronaldo and clearly beat his closest rival Robin van Persie: El Tigre received 32.2 per cent of the votes; RVP had to settle with 12.5.

 

Obviously, Falcao deserves this honour. With Atlético he won the Europa League and the European Super Cup. In the Europa League final against Athletic de Bilbao (3-0) Falcao scored twice and in the Super Cup final against Chelsea (4-1) he produced three goals. He became the first player to record a hat-trick in the Super Cup final.

 

Falcao is not only a proven winner and top goal scorer, apparently he is also concerned about football’s aesthetics. During the summer he managed to score with a bicycle kick in successive friendly matches. A unique feat. One of those goals (with Atlético against América de Cali) made the shortlist for the 2012 Puskas Award, FIFA’s Goal of the Year competition.

 

Lionel Messi
People trying to describe the qualities of Lionel Messi end up summarizing superlatives. The mercurial maestro from Argentina had an incredible 2012, even though he ‘only’ managed to win one trophy with his team Barcelona: the Spanish cup.

 

Messi amazed football fans by scoring the unimaginable total of 91 goals. The four-time best player in the world found the net 79 times while playing for Barcelona and 12 times while wearing the shirt of Argentina. In the 2011/12 season he produced a record total of 50 goals in the Spanish league. This season, he appears to be on his way to break that record, having already notched 26 goals in 17 outings…

 

Messi has broken more records. For example: he is the only player to have won multiple Golden Boots (as the world’s Top Goal Scorer) and Golden Ball (as the world’s Best Player) with two and three trophies respectively.

 

It should be no surprise that Messi received more votes than any player in the world during the annual vote for the 2012 FIFA FIFPro World XI. The only surprise might be that the 25-year old was ‘only’ selected by 74.6 per cent of the participating players, meaning that 25 per cent of the players are of the opinion that there are at least three strikers better than Leo…

 

Cristiano Ronaldo
It is hard to imagine a FIFA FIFPro World XI without Cristiano Ronaldo. For the sixth year running the Portuguese phenomenon of Real Madrid is part of this elite squad with the eleven best players in the world.

 

With his six World XI Awards, Cristiano Ronaldo is the record holder. He has to share that honour with Lionel Messi, who like Ronaldo, was also chosen for the sixth successive year. As Messi ended up with the most votes of all players, Cristiano came in second  (64.9 per cent of the votes).

 

In the past five years, Ronaldo and Messi have challenged each other for the honour of being the world’s best player. In 2012, it was Ronaldo who came out on top in the Spanish league, as Real recaptured the title. He was celebrated as Best Player of La Liga in the 2011-2012 season.

 

Ronaldo also set some records: he is the only player who managed to score at least forty league goals in two seasons, not only in Spain but in Europe. The 27-year old Portuguese did this in two successive seasons: 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Ronaldo also managed to score against each league opponent, an unprecedented achievement in La Liga.

 

To cap things off, Ronaldo made his 100th appearance in the Portuguese national team, when Portugal faced Northern Ireland in October.