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Ozil, Iniesta, Pirlo and Ribery among midfielders shortlisted for World XI

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Ozil, Iniesta, Pirlo and Ribery among midfielders shortlisted for World XI
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Ozil, Iniesta, Pirlo and Ribery among midfielders shortlisted for World XI

Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil, Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, Juventus' Andrea Pirlo and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery have been included in the 15-man shortlist for the World Players' Union, FIFPro, and FIFA World XI 2012.

The list of midfielders comes after the shortlist of five goalkeepers and 20 defenders was revealed earlier this month, with a further list of 15 forwards to be announced on Friday.

Los Blancos midfielder Ozil was rewarded for his performances during his side's successful 2011-12 La Liga campaign.

Spain international Iniesta has been included after some impressive displays for his country at the Euro 2012 tournament, playing a vital part for the world and European champions.

In addition to this, Italy's veteran midfielder Pirlo also features for leading his club to the Serie A title last term and his country to the Euro 2012 final.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery also made the list while Manchester City's Yaya Toure is the only non-European to be selected.

The final XI will be announced on Jan. 9, 2013.

Full 15-player midfield shortlist:

Xabi Alonso (Spain / Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Spain / Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Spain / Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (England / Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Belgium / Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Spain / Barcelona), Frank Lampard (England / Chelsea), Luka Modric (Croatia / Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Germany / Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Italy / Juventus), Franck Ribery (France / Bayern Munich), David Silva (Spain / Manchester City), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany / Bayern Munich), Yaya Toure (Cote d'Ivoire / Manchester City), Xavi (Spain / Barcelona).

Furthermore, the goalkeeper list consists of Gianluigi Buffon, Iker Casillas, Petr Cech, Joe Hart and Manuel Neuer.

In the 20-man shortlist for defense, Carles Puyol, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Thiago Silva and Mats Hummels make an appearance.

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