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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
Read
By ESPN Staff

Ronaldo heads queue in FifPro team of the year

Prospective world footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo is one of five Premier League players in the FifPro team of the year announced on Monday.

Ronaldo is in line to win a series of major individual awards, deservedly so in his own opinion, following his astounding 42-goal contribution to Manchester United's double-winning campaign.

And his presence in a team voted for by thousands of players, spanning more than 40 associations, was virtually guaranteed.

Perhaps more surprising is that Ronaldo is only joined by one more United player, Rio Ferdinand.

The defender may have turned in a shaky display at Everton on Saturday but generally the 29-year-old has been superb throughout 2008.

Indeed, many believe his recent eloquent attack on the WAGS culture around England's abysmal 2006 World Cup campaign bore all the hallmarks of the captain Fabio Capello should have appointed.

Not that too many can argue with Capello's choice of John Terry as, for the fourth consecutive year, the Chelsea skipper has made the team as well.

Like United, Liverpool provide two members of the FifPro team, including swashbuckling captain Steven Gerrard, who has finally begun to show his club form at international level.

Alongside Gerrard is Fernando Torres, who proved to be such a success in his first year at Anfield following a £20million move from Atletico Madrid.

Having prospered under Rafael Benitez, Torres then helped Spain land Euro 2008 and it is not a shock to discover he is one of five members of that side in FifPro's elite team.

Barcelona's Carles Puyol and Xavi are joined by Real Madrid duo Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos.

The presence of Lionel Messi and Kaka explains why Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez did not make the final cut.

Kaka has remained loyal to AC Milan, despite a dip in standards for the Serie A side that has forced them into the UEFA Cup this term.

However, there is little debate about the talent of a man who was crowned world footballer of the year in 2007.

The same also goes for Messi, the inspiration behind Barcelona's stunning recent performances, even if the brilliant South American could not guide the Catalans past United in the Champions League semi-final last term.

FifPro team: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), John Terry (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Kaka (AC Milan), Xavi (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

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