Putellas ‘shocked’ by no Barca players in FIFA XI


Ballon d’Or and FIFA The Best winner Alexia Putellas has said she was shocked that no Barcelona or Canada players were named in the FIFPro World XI this week.

Putellas, 27, followed up winning the Ballon d’Or in December by being crowned The Best FIFA Women’s Player on Monday, but bizarrely she did not make the team of the year despite leading Barca to the Treble.

None of the midfielder’s teammates were included in the XI, either, while there was no place for any members of the Canada team who won Olympic Gold in Japan last summer.

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“To be honest, yes, it was a little bit shocking,” Putellas told ESPN at a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s Spanish Supercopa semifinal against Real Madrid.

“It is surprising because the team is decided by the players, we are the ones that vote. It is not just that there was no Barca included after the level we displayed last year and the trophies we won, there was no one from Canada, either, who won the Olympics. That [and the Champions League] were the most important dates on the calendar.

“It’s probably to do with a lack of visibility. When there are more opportunities to watch the games, many more people will be able to see what we do on the pitch, including the players ourselves, because sometimes it is [still] difficult to see games.”

United States internationals Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd both made the XI, with Brazil’s Marta once again chosen. Chelsea, who lost 4-0 to Barca in the Champions League final, and Atletico Madrid, who finished fourth in the Spanish league, were also represented.

Former Barca coach Lluis Cortes, who left the Catalan club last summer after taking them to the Treble, was stunned by the voting process and said players had messaged him calling it a “robbery.”

“I’m really surprised by FIFA’s XI,” Cortes told Cadena Ser. “It’s absurd that there was not a single Barca player in there. With the 24 players I had at Barca last season, I could pick any side and we would beat the team chosen at The Best.

“I received as many messages yesterday as when we won the Treble. Players and members of staff have also written to me calling it a robbery.”

Cortes, who is now the manager of Ukraine, added that he was also “half surprised” to have missed out on the award for The Best Coach in the women’s game to Chelsea’s Emma Hayes.

Barca’s Supercopa game against Madrid on Wednesday is the first of four meetings between the two rivals in just over two months. In March, they will play again in the league before a two-legged Champions League quarterfinal.

The second leg of that European tie will be played at Camp Nou, with Barcelona announcing on Monday that tickets had been sold out for the game at the 99,354-seater stadium.

“It is hugely motivating to see how people have responded with the game selling out in four days — it’s magical,” coach Jonatan Giraldez said in a news conference on Tuesday.

“For us, the staff and the players, it’s a dream to be playing at Camp Nou, especially with fans. It’s a reward for the players for the last few years, for what they have done on an individual and a collective level.”

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