For the first time in Major League Soccer history, an MLS-based player has been named to the FIFA FIFPro World XI shortlist. Although his exploits in MLS likely had nothing to do with it, New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo has been named as one of 55 players on the shortlist for the worldwide team of the year.
The award is handed out by FIFA and FIFPro, the worldwide players' union. In his glittering career, Pirlo won the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Serie A six times, two UEFA Champions League titles, and two Coppa Italias. However, in spite of all of the team success, Pirlo has been named to the World XI just once, in 2006 after winning the World Cup.
Pirlo joined MLS in the summer of 2015 after spending his previous four seasons in Italy with Juventus, which he took to the brink of a treble winning year. Pirlo played a critical role in the recent success of the Bianconeri, who won the league, the Coppa Italia and made it to the Champions League Final last season.
Although the Old Lady lost the Final in Berlin to Barcelona, Pirlo's exploits have not gone unnoticed. His performances last spring, more than what he did with City over the summer and early fall, are what earned him this place on the shortlist. However, it is still an historic moment for the growing league.
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus), Iker Casillas (Spain/FC Porto), David De Gea (Spain/Manchester United), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid) and Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich).
David Alaba (Austria/FC Bayern Munich), Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona), Jérôme Boateng (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Daniel Carvajal (Spain/Real Madrid), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus), Dani Alves (Brazil/FC Barcelona), David Luiz (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain), Diego Godín (Uruguay/Atletico Madrid), Mats Hummels (Germany/Borussia Dortmund), Branislav Ivanović (Serbia/Chelsea), Vincent Kompany (Belgium/Manchester City), Philipp Lahm (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Pepe (Portugal/Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (Spain/FC Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid), John Terry (England/Chelsea), Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain) and Raphaël Varane (France/Real Madrid).
Thiago Alcântara (Spain/FC Bayern Munich), Xabi Alonso (Spain/FC Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona), Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea), Andrés Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Luka Modrić (Croatia/Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Italy/New York City FC), Paul Pogba (France/Juventus), Ivan Rakitić (Croatia/FC Barcelona), James Rodríguez (Colombia/Real Madrid), David Silva (Spain/Manchester City),Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast/Manchester City), Marco Verratti (Italy/Paris Saint-Germain) and Arturo Vidal (Chile/FC Bayern Munich).
Sergio Agüero (Argentina/Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid), Douglas Costa (Brazil/FC Bayern Munich), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Thomas Müller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Netherlands/FC Bayern Munich), Wayne Rooney (England/Manchester United), Alexis Sánchez (Chile/Arsenal), Luis Suárez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona) and Carlos Tevez (Argentina/Boca Juniors).