It can be difficult to argue with the majority of the selections for the FIFA Team of the Year. Real Madrid and Barcelona have been by far the stand-out teams in Europe, with very few able to challenge their dominance. The inclusion of all four of the Madrid players is spot on. If it were not for Dani Alves and his abilities on the right flank for Barcelona, then there would be little competition for what Sergio Ramos brings to this Real Madrid side. His versatility at the back means he is a natural choice for any of the defensive options in the team of the year. Iker Casillas continues to demonstrate why he is Madrid and Spain’s number 1. Impressively, the best midfield partnership of Andres Iniesta and Xavi continue to place themselves streets ahead of any other midfield combination in Europe. The third man in this midfield trio, Xabi Alonso, offers similar qualities to that of Xavi. Operating a little deeper in the Madrid midfield, he initiates many of his side’s counter-attacks with his stunning passing range.
While impressive, there are certainly a number of performers in the Premier League who could, and perhaps should, have been equally at home in the FIFA World team of the Year just like Rooney and Vidic are. The lack of a consistent dominating club in England means there are a larger selection of teams from which to cherry pick the best players. Teams who often fall well short of European spots in England still manage to keep hold of their star players; strikers who could win any of the top four the league title, and defenders who can provide so much more than just heroics in a relegation dog fight. The impressive core of Newcastle’s current side is good enough to compete in Europe’s elite competition. They comprise of transfer gambles, well-scouted stars from the continent and players with the necessary bite that is required to succeed in England. And what of the impressive form of Tottenham? In the past it would be hard to imagine a Spurs player, let alone two or three, capable of challenging the top players in Europe.