Neuer, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo headline FIFPro World XI lineup
All three players shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award were selected by their peers for the 2014 FIFPro World XI team.
Lionel Messi, Manuel Neuer and Cristiano Ronaldo were among seven 2013 team members who retained their places in worldwide voting by 23,000 members of national players’ unions.
Germany’s World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm, Brazil captain Thiago Silva, and Spain pair Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta also stayed in the elite lineup.
David Luiz was voted into the defense despite playing in Brazil’s 7-1 rout by Germany in the World Cup semifinals, when Thiago Silva was suspended.
Still, the Brazilian pair was reunited for a second embarrassing loss, 3-0 against the Netherlands in the third-place match.
Arjen Robben was picked as the only player from the Dutch team which started the World Cup by routing title holder Spain 5-1.
Argentina had a second selection as Angel Di Maria joined teammate Messi.
Toni Kroos completed the lineup as the third Germany player, and the fourth who played for Bayern Munich last year.
As Kroos transferred in the offseason to join Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid, the European champion also had four players in the FIFPro lineup.
Di Maria was a standout in Madrid’s Champions League final victory, against city rival Atletico, before joining Manchester United.
David Luiz was the other World XI player who switched clubs last season, moving from Chelsea to join Thiago Silva at Paris Saint-Germain.
Brazil failed to get a third player elected as there was again no place for Neymar. The star forward lost out to Robben in a three-man attack with Messi and Ronaldo, one year after Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the third forward elected.
The other 2013 team members who lost their places were Dani Alves, Xavi Hernandez and Franck Ribery.
FIFPro World XI 2014:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany)
Defenders: Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich/Germany), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil), David Luiz (Chelsea/Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil) and Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain).
Midfielders: Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid/Manchester United/Argentina), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid/Germany), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina) and Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich/Netherlands).