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15 Jan, 2020 15:37

‘Changing it just to fit Ronaldo in!’ Fans baffled by UEFA’s bizarre Team of the Year formation

‘Changing it just to fit Ronaldo in!’ Fans baffled by UEFA’s bizarre Team of the Year formation

UEFA has revealed its 2019 Team of the Year as voted for by fans, although the top-heavy attacking formation has left the organization facing claims it made room specifically to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo.

The official UEFA social media accounts announced the 11 names that made the teamsheet for 2019, with Champions League winners Liverpool dominating the list with five additions.

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The Reds' Brazilian stopper Alisson was named in goal, while teammates Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold all lined up at the back, where there was also room for Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt.

There were just two names in midfield: Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and Barcelona starlet Frenkie de Jong.

Up front is where things got really interesting, with UEFA somehow finding room for a quadruple threat of Liverpool star Sadio Mane, Bayern Munich hitman Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona legend Messi – and Juventus frontman Ronaldo.

It was the latter of those names which caused the most consternation on Twitter, with fans claiming UEFA had manipulated the formation of the team purely as a sop to fit in the Portuguese star.

Ronaldo, 34, ended 2019 with 39 goals in 50 games for club and country – putting him some way behind Messi (50 goals from 58 games) and Lewandowski (54 goals from 58 games). He was ahead of Mane, however, who bagged 35 goals in 63 games but had the advantage of clinching the Champions League with Liverpool.

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The UEFA website explains that the votes of more than 2 million fans were polled to whittle it down to the star XI, but with uncertainty over how the unusual formation was arrived at.

It’s certainly a team that looks like it would score for fun, provided that the lightly-manned midfield could get some service up to that prolific frontline.