Friday, 5 December 2014

African duo of Yaya Toure, Mehdi Benatia named for UEFA team of the year award

African duo of Yaya Toure and Morocco defender Mehdi Benatia are the two players from the continent who were named for the UEFA Team of the Year for 2014.

The Ivory Coast midfielder, who plays for English side Manchester City, and the Bayern Munich centreback were among the 40-man shortlist for the award.

No Ghanaian player was included in the extensive shortlist. The inclusion of Toure is a massive boost for the midfielder for the African Footballer of the Year award which will be held in Nigeria next month.

Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie were the high profile Premier League-based players who failed to make the 40- man shortlist for the UEFA Team of the Year.

Manchester City striker Aguero has scored 23 goals so far in 2014 despite missing chunks through injury, while Rooney has netted 20 and his Manchester United teammate Van Persie has notched 17. Former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez was also omitted.

No English players made the list, but Wales and Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale was included along with Manchester City trio Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure.

Chelsea duo Thibaut Courtois and Diego Costa are also on the list, as is Manchester United's Angel di Maria and Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, although all of them were playing in Spain's Primera Division last season.

Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich can boast nine members of their squad – Manuel Neuer, David Alaba, Medhi Benatia, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso, Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski have all been nominated.

European champions Real Madrid, meanwhile, have eight members of their squad with Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal joining Bale on the list.

The 40 players have been chosen by writers based on their performances for a European club or national side during 2014. The public can select their preferred formation before picking their starting XI from four goalkeepers, 12 defenders, 12 midfielders and 12 forwards.


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