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Unbelievable: Mo Salah left out of FIFPro’s best 23 man squad for 2021

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The 23-man shortlist for the FIFPro World XI has been announced, and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is the most noticeable omission.

Salah finished seventh in the voting for the Ballon d’Or, and is the highest-ranked player on that list not to make the cut.

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The Egyptian misses out despite the list – which is voted for by footballers around the world – including eight other forwards.

However, there was still space for two other Liverpool players, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished one spot above Salah when the Ballon d’Or votes were counted.

Out of the 23-man squad, which also includes three goalkeepers, six defenders and six midfielders, 10 of those listed are currently playing their club football in the Premier League.

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This year’s FIFPro shortlist has been brought down from 55 players to 23, in order to resemble a tournament squad, with the final XI due to be announced on December 17.

“FIFPRO and FIFA asked professional footballers worldwide to vote for the World 11,” the organisation explained.

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“We requested them to pick the three players who in their opinion where the most outstanding players during the 2020/2021 season in the following lines: goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards.”

Of the eight forwards on the list, the only two playing in England are Ronaldo – who rejoined United over the summer – and Romelu Lukaku, who spent last season at Inter Milan before returning to Chelsea.

Barcelona had four representatives, or five including Lionel Messi, whose contributions for the Catalan club before his Paris Saint-Germain move earned him a spot on the list.

Perhaps the most curious inclusion was that of veteran defender Dani Alves, who has agreed a return to Camp Nou but has not played any football since September.

Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United have two players each on the 23-man list, with the other Premier League players all part of Chelsea’s squad.

There was room for Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who was surprisingly omitted from the 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist, while his fellow Champions League winners Jorginho and N’Golo Kante also made the cut.

The final XI will comprise a goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders, three forwards, and the remaining outfield player with the most votes.

Last year’s selection included five Premier League players, with three of those five – Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kevin De Bruyne – also among the 2021 nominees.

The full FIFPro 23-man shortlist is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Alisson Becker, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Edouard Mendy

Defenders: David Alaba, Jordi Alba, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dani Alves, Leonardo Bonucci, Ruben Dias

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, Frenkie de Jong, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante

Forwards: Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski, Romelu Lukaku, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar Junior.

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