UEFA changed their Team of the Year formation so that Cristiano Ronaldo could be included,
European football’s governing body announced the XI which is based on fan votes on Wednesday.
The team was arranged in an unusual 4-2-4 formation, and sources told ESPN that was due to a desire by UEFA chiefs to ensure Juventus’ Ronaldo appeared, despite the 34-year-old receiving fewer votes than fellow forwards Lionel Messi, Sadio Mane and Robert Lewandowski.
Ronaldo’s inclusion and the formation change came at the expense of Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante, according to ESPN sources.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo joined Barcelona’s Messi, Liverpool’s Mane and Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski in the UEFA Team of the Year’s frontline, while Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne paired with Barca’s Frenkie de Jong in midfield.
Ronaldo’s Juventus teammate Matthijs de Ligt joined Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk at centre-back, with the two Netherlands internationals flanked by Liverpool pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Alisson got the nod in goal, meaning Liverpool had five players in the team — more than any other club.
UEFA Team of the Year: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Robertson; De Jong, De Bruyne; Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Mane.