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Inside France's World Cup ceremony

France
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Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi contenders in FIFPro World XI

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos defended Cristiano Ronaldo after he no showed at the UEFA awards hailing his sportsmanship for privately congratulating Luka Modric.

Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are among the contenders in the reckoning to feature in FIFPro and FIFA's World XI.

FIFPro and its affiliated player associations asked professional footballers to pick a team from the best players in world football last season. It will include one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers who were the best at their position in 2017-18.

The XI will be unveiled by FIFA and FIFPro during the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in London on Sept. 24.

Luka Modric was named after his stellar season in 2017-18, helping Real Madrid to their third successive Champions League crown as well as starring in Croatia's run to the World Cup final.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, was snubbed by UEFA in the Player of the Year award as Modric beat him and Salah to take the trophy. Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, called the decision a "disgrace." 


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World Cup winners France are well represented with Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe all on the list. 

The shortlist of goalkeepers, defenders and attackers is a who's who of world football talent, with David De Gea joining last year's winner, Gianluigi Buffon, on the keepers shortlist. Virgil van Dijk, the most expensive defender in history at £75 million, is among the top defenders, while Pogba, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and N'Golo Kante are in the running as part of the midfielders category.

Up top, Ronaldo and Salah are joined by Messi, Neymar and Harry Kane. Kane enjoyed another fine season in front of goal, culminating in winning the Golden Boot as England reached the World Cup semifinals. Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo were eventually named the attackers in last year's World XI. This time around, there was no place for Real Madrid's Gareth Bale, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez also missed the cut.

Pogba, who has been strongly linked with an exit from Manchester United, features on a star-studded list of midfielders. Andres Iniesta, who left Barcelona for Japan's Vissel Kobe, is on the list for the 12th year in a row. He has already won nine World XI awards, including last year's.

This is the 14th edition of the World XI. 

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Thibaut Courtois, David De Gea, Keylor Navas, Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Defenders: Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Daniel Carvajal, Giorgio Chiellini, Virgil van Dijk, Diego Godin, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo, Yerry Mina, Benjamin Pavard, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Kieran Trippier, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, Sime Vrsaljko, Kyle Walker.

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Andres Iniesta, Isco, N'Golo Kante, Toni Kroos, Nemanja Matic, Luka Modric, Paul Pogba, Ivan Rakitic, David Silva, Arturo Vidal.

Attackers: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani, Paulo Dybala, Antoine Griezmann, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Romelu Lukaku, Mario Mandzukic, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, Luis Suarez.

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