Data Dive with FIFPro (Male) World XI 2016

9 Feb

world-11-2016For those of you who enjoy a good data set like me, FIFPro has provided multiple breakdowns of the voting for the male player popularity contest know as the World11. And yes, the “male” adjective is necessary as I wouldn’t want anyone to think female players were included in the selection of this herd, err, group? gang? wassup homebois? the sullen and the tanned?

FYI – FIFA and FIFPro finally realized last year – “hey, guess females play football too; maybe there should be a World11 for them before anyone notices.” But, that’s for another time.

Where was I?

There was the official World11 team presented at the FIFA awards ceremony on January 9. Sorry, make that most of the team were presented. FIFPro also created four (4) continental teams and 69 individual or local teams (representing all the participating countries). Except Brazil. There’s Botswana and Bulgaria in the individual listing but no Brazil in its rightful alphabetical place between them. Someone smarter than me – why is this so?

Individual Teams

  • Unsurprising, Messi and Ronaldo were the only players to hit the lineups for each of the 69 local teams.

  • Only one country selected the same 11 players as the official team, and that was Venezuela. I actually would have guessed more countries. I do not know why. Ahhh, yes, I do. 😉
  • On the flip side, Bolivia voted for only three (3) of the official World 11 players. Alves, Messi, and Ronaldo were the lucky ducks to make the cut. Here’s the rest of their picks:

w11-boliviaThat is one unfortunate photo of four-months-til-retirement Xabi.

Continental Teams

Hey, did you know some scientists now consider Europe and Asia to be one giant continent because it is one contiguous land mass? Mind. Blown. FIFPro, however, does not. It does, however, consider North and South America to be one continent and it isn’t a contiguous land mass (hello, Panama Canal!). Curious.

Moving on…

  • The Americas team turned out to be identical to the official team. For shame. I understand NA going this way, but SA? Perhaps this where the “missing ” Brazil votes would have helped.
  • The African team swapped out Pique and Kroos for Silva and Pogba.
  • The Asia/Oceania team moved out Suarez in favour of Neymar and Kroos for Pogba.
  • The European team kicked Pique out for Alaba and went with Pogba over Kroos.

Now, I know what you are thinking. If only the Americas team stuck with Kroos, how did he manage to get into the official World11 team? Here’s your answer:

Two votes.

According to FIFPro, Pogba was leading Kroos until the final day of voting. Then Four teams submitted their outstanding ballots and *boom bada bing* Kroos slide into third position. Curious as to those four teams making the difference?

Fortuna Sittard (Netherlands), Tottenham, Arsenal, and us.

Always with the last minute heroics.

Below is the final rankings for each of the positions. Based on the individual country graphics, Pogba was included in 29 teams to Kroos’ 26. Four countries selected them both: Austria, Finland, Germany, and Uruguay. Germany! I find Pogba’s inclusion in Germany’s team as humourous as his (and Kroos’) exclusion from France’s team in favour of…Verratti! Oh Marco, Marco; you deserve so much more than PSG.

w11-playersIn case you were wondering (as I was) here is how voting went in Spain:


Uggghh, Busquets.


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