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In two months we will know which eleven players have been selected by their peers for the 2014 FIFA FIFPro World XI. With the voting deadline in sight – Monday November 17th – and ballots arriving in bunches and batches, FIFPro shines a light on several countries: today Bulgaria and Ukraine.

For many years, Dimitar Berbatov has been the lone ranger defending Bulgarian professional football on the FIFA FIFPro World XI shortlist. The current AS Monaco striker made the shortlist three times, but has not been picked after 2010. Unfortunately there appears to be no successor yet for the former national team player (78 caps and 48 goals).

That does not imply that players in Bulgaria are not voting for the FIFA FIFPro World XI. The country's players union (ABF) has collected hundreds of votes during recent weeks. Among others they visited the dressing room of Ludogorets Razgrad, the reigning champions who are also participating in this season's Champions League group stage.

Abel Anicet, captain Svetoslav Dyakov and Cosmin Moti willingly posed with their ballots. Central defender Moti became the club's hero during the decisive Champions League play-off match against Steaua. In the 120th minute, with both teams heading for the penalty shoot-out, goalkeeper Vladimir Stoyanov was sent off. As Ludogorest already used all of its substitutes, defender Moti picked up the gloves and headed for goal. In the penalty shoot-out, he took the first penalty and converted it. Then he saved two of Steaua's penalties and guided Ludogorets to its Champions League debut. At the same time, the former Dinamo defender eliminated the club from his homeland, Romania...

Life in Ukraine has changed a lot after the vote for the 2013 FIFA FIFPro World XI was closed. Ukraine is coping with a rebellion in the eastern region of the country. Many clubs have moved their home base temporarily to a safer environment. All clubs from the conflict zone have temporarily moved to other, safer cities in Ukraine. For instance, Metalurg Donetsk and Olympik Donetsk currently have their base in Kiev. For the players union – which is also based in Kiev – it was therefore even easier to collect the votes of these teams.

Yet, the All-Ukrainian Association of Professional Football Players has found a way to get the players to vote for the 2014 FIFA FIFPro World XI.

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Valeriane Gvilia (Metalurh Zaporizhya), Kirill Doroshenko (Olimpik Donetsk), Vyacheslav Checher (captain Metallurg Donetsk), Sergii Atlasiyk (FC Ternopil)
(Click to enlarge) 

 

Photo above: Ludogorets' players Abel Anicet, Svetoslav Dyakov and Cosmin Moti

More FIFPro World XI photos on flickr

Assisted by its member unions, FIFPro collects photos of players participating in the vote for the 2014 FIFA FIFPro World XI. All published photos can be seen on FIFPro's flickr web page

The FIFA FIFPro World XI

Each year FIFPro, the World Players' Union, invites all professional footballers in the World to vote for the FIFA FIFPro World XI. The players can select the eleven best players in their team, which consists of one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers. On Monday January 12th 2015, during the FIFA Ballon d'Or, FIFA and FIFPro will unveil the eleven players who have received the most votes.