UEFA change Team of the Year formation to fit in Cristiano Ronaldo
UEFA reportedly changed the formation of their Team of the Year in order to fit Cristiano Ronaldo into the fan-selected XI.
European football's governing body revealed the team on Wednesday after more than two million votes were cast by supporters across Europe.
The team featured just two midfielders in a rarely used 4-2-4 formation, which raised eyebrows among football fans.
And the reason for the unorthodox formation was to crowbar in Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo, according to the Daily Mail.
The publication reports that Ronaldo was voted into fourth place among the forwards, having been beaten by Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Liverpool ace Sadio Mane and Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich.
The Mail claims that such is Ronaldo's popularity among UEFA chiefs, they took the decision to drop a midfielder, with Chelsea's N'Golo Kante believed to be the man who missed out.
If true, the news will surely not go down well with Chelsea fans or with the player himself.
The publication also claims that the announcement of the team was delayed from last week while UEFA bosses puzzled over what to do about the Ronaldo situation.
A UEFA spokesperson suggested that Portugal's victory in the Nations League final had helped secure a place in the team for former Real Madrid and Manchester United man Ronaldo.
"The formation for this year's team of the year was chosen to reflect the votes of the fans in parallel with the players' achievements in UEFA competitions," the spokesperson said in quotes reported by the Mail.
"As a result, there are five UEFA Champions League winners and four UEFA Nations League finalists (including one winner). The formation changes on a regular basis and this year is no exception."
The team is dominated by Liverpool players, with goalkeeper Alisson and defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson making up four of the back five.
They are joined by Matthijs de Ligt, who signed for Juventus in the summer after his eye-catching displays for Ajax last season.
The somewhat lightweight midfield comprises Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne and Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong - another who earned a big move after impressing for Ajax.
Up front, Mane is the fifth Liverpool player to be selected, alongside Ronaldo, Lewandowski and Ballon d'Or winner Messi.
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