Hazard & ter Stegen in, Salah misses out: UEFA announce 2018 TOTY

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The official UEFA Team of the Year for 2018 has been revealed this afternoon, with La Liga having dominated once again.

UEFA TOTY

The annual selection, as voted for by fans, sees the finest players on the planet come together in a star-studded XI.

And, with 2018 having been a World Cup year, not only club football, but also international, has played a significant role in the final lineup.

Real Madrid dominate the XI, with 4 Blancos’ stars included. Barcelona and Chelsea, meanwhile, are both represented by 2 players. And Liverpool, Juventus and PSG each have one player in the Team of the Year.

Hazard, Kante & Mbappe in

First up, taking his place between the posts, is Barcelona shot-stopper Marc-André ter Stegen, who, after clinching the Spanish domestic double last year, beats off competition from the likes of Alisson and Thibaut Courtois.

The inclusion of 3 central-defenders sees Sergio Ramos shifted to right-back, after the Spanish stopper captained Real Madrid to a 3rd-consecutive Champions League title last summer.

Ramos’ central-defensive partner at the Bernabeu, Raphael Varane, earns a deserved spot of his own in the XI, after a trophy-laden 2018 which saw the Frenchman lift both the Champions League and World Cup.

Varane is joined at centre-half by Liverpool stalwart Virgil Van Dijk, with Real Madrid’s Marcelo rounding out the back-4.

Next up is the midfield, with Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric the final of European champions Real’s 4 inclusions.

Modric is partnered by N’Golo Kante, who of course played such a crucial role at the base of France’s midfield to inspire Les Bleus to World Cup glory in Russia last summer.

UEFA have opted for a 4-3-3 formation (despite a 4-2-3-1 having seemed more appropriate based on the players selected), with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard taking his place as the 3rd member of the Team of the Year’s superb midfield.

Hazard’s inclusion comes as one of the more controversial of the XI, though many have since pointed to the stellar exploits of the Blues’ star at the World Cup with Belgium as justification.

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard under pressure from Miranda during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final match between Brazil and Belgium

5-time Ballon d’Or-winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, unsurprisingly spearhead the side, though their attacking partner in crime represents another of the inclusions to have since been called into question.

Kylian Mbappe stands as the final piece of the frankly-frightening attacking trident, with the youngster’s exploits with France and PSG having seen him beat off competition from Liverpool talisman and Premier League Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah.

The Team

Check out the UEFA Team of the Year in full below:

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