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Bale shortlisted for FIFA/FIFPro World XI

Gareth Bale has been shortlisted for one of the world's top football accolades.

Gareth Bale has been shortlisted for one of the world's top football accolades.

Our flying Welshman is one of 55 players shortlisted for the FIFA/FIFPro World XI 2010, which is to be revealed at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich on January 10, 2011.

The shortlist was announced today by the worldwide players' union FIFPro and FIFA.

The nomination is just reward for Gareth's stunning 2010.

After a spell out of the team, he was handed his chance by Harry Redknapp following injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto in our FA Cup tie against Peterborough United on January 2.

He simply hasn't looked back.

Highlights include goals in our back-to-back wins against Arsenal and Chelsea in April, when he was named the Premier League's Player of the Month.

His stunning volley at Stoke was named August's Goal of the Month on BBC's Match of the Day.

He followed that up with a memorable hat-trick against Inter Milan in the San Siro and, incredibly, managed to even top that in terms of performance for the return match at the Lane, when he tore world-renowned Brazilian full-back Maicon - also shortlisted - to pieces, setting up two of our three goals.

And throughout his rapid rise, he's kept his feet firmly on the ground.

As Jermain Jenas said this week: "He is a very down to earth guy.

"That sounds very clichéd and boring but it is the truth, he is such a good lad and he has come a long way and we are very pleased for him.

"The way that he has been handling the praise, which he has deservedly been getting, is exceptional and shows the maturity of the lad."


The 50,000 professional footballers belonging to the players' unions across the world that form FIFPro received voting forms in a secret ballot to nominate their peers for inclusion in their World XI - choosing the best four defenders, three midfielders, three forwards and goalkeeper of 2010.

World champions Spain lead the way with the most players in the shortlist with ten, followed by nine from Brazil, eight from Argentina, six from England, four from Germany, three each from the Netherlands and Italy, two from Portugal and one each from Uruguay, Wales, France, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

Spain's Primera Division attracted the most nominees with 18, followed by England's Premier League with 17 and Italy's Serie A with 15. Four nominees came from Germany's Bundesliga and one from France's Ligue 1.

The final FIFA/FIFPro World XI will be announced at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in the Zurich Kongresshaus on 10 January 2011. During this televised gala, the winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or for the best player of 2010 and the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year 2010 award will also be revealed. Meanwhile, the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men's Football award and the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football award will be presented for the first time, while the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of the year will be announced for the second year running. The FIFA Presidential Award and the FIFA Fair Play Award will also be presented during the gala.

The 55-player shortlist in full:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus FC), Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid C.F.), Petr Cech (Czech Republic, Chelsea FC), Julio Cesar (Brazil, F.C. Internazionale), Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands, Manchester United FC)

Defenders: Daniel Alves (Brazil, FC Barcelona), Gareth Bale (Wales, Tottenham Hotspur), Michel Bastos (Brazil, Olympique Lyonnais), Ashley Cole (England, Chelsea FC), Patrice Evra (France, Manchester United FC), Rio Ferdinand (England, Manchester United FC), Philipp Lahm (Germany, FC Bayern Munchen), Lucio (Brazil, F.C. Internazionale), Maicon (Brazil, F.C. Internazionale), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid C.F.), Alessandro Nesta (Italy, AC Milan), Pepe (Portugal, Real Madrid C.F.), Gerard Pique (Spain, FC Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Spain, FC Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid C.F.), Walter Samuel (Argentina, F.C. Internazionale), John Terry (England, Chelsea FC), Thiago Silva (Brazil, AC Milan), Nemanja Vidic (Serbia, Manchester United FC), Javier Zanetti (Argentina, F.C. Internazionale)

Midfielders: Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina, F.C. Internazionale), Michael Essien (Ghana, Chelsea FC), Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Arsenal FC), Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool FC), Andres Iniesta (Spain, FC Barcelona), Ricardo Kaka (Brazil, Real Madrid C.F.), Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea FC), Javier Mascherano (Argentina, FC Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Germany, FC Bayern Munchen), Mesut Ozil (Germany, Real Madrid C.F.), Andrea Pirlo (Italy, AC Milan), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, FC Bayern Munchen), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands, F.C. Internazionale), Xabi Alonso (Spain, Real Madrid C.F.), Xavi (Spain, FC Barcelona)

Forwards: Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria, Manchester United FC), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Chelsea FC), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon, F.C. Internazionale), Diego Forlán (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina, Real Madrid C.F.), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, AC Milan), Lionel Messi (Argentina, FC Barcelona), Diego Milito (Argentina, F.C. Internazionale), Arjen Robben (Netherlands, FC Bayern München), Ronaldinho (Brazil, AC Milan), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid C.F.), Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United FC), Carlos Tevez (Argentina, Manchester City FC), Fernando Torres (Spain, Liverpool FC), David Villa (Spain, FC Barcelona)