The Premier League, which despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, still likes to style itself as the best league in the world, has received something of a reality check with the publication of Uefa’s shortlist for its team of the year
Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus have more players on the 40-man list for its team of the year than the entire Premier League combined.
Barcelona provide eight players, while Bayern and Juventus both have six.
The Premier League contributes a meagre five players: Manchester City keeper Joe Hart, team-mates Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.
Hart is the solitary English player on the list. He is joined by Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale as the only British players selected.
The selection reflects a particularly poor season in European competition for Premier League clubs, not one of whom made it beyond the last 16 round in either the Champions League or the Europa League.
The shortlist features four goalkeepers, 12 defenders, 12 midfielders and 12 strikers.
Fans can vote for the team of the year on Uefa’s website until 5 January.
The 40-man shortlist:
Goalkeepers – Joe Hart (Manchester City), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Denys Boyko (Dnipro).
Defenders – Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), David Luiz (Paris St-Germain), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).
Midfielders – Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris St-Germain), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen).
Forwards – Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St-Germain), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).