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Saturday 19 April 2014

FifPro announces reserve Teams of the Year - but Luis Suarez and Arjen Robben won't be laughing

1. Manuel Neuer 2. Iker Casillas 3. Gianluigi Buffon 4. Victor Valdes 5. Petr Cech Despite Neuer taken top spot following his tremendous year with Bayern Munich, it is the selection of Casillas in second that will have goalkeepers worldwide scratching their heads. Casillas, despite his years of performing at the top of the game, made just 14 appearances in 2013 for club and country, with just three coming in the league. Bemusing is an understatement.

FifPro have revealed their reserve XI’s for the team of the year award, which was announced on Monday evening at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, and the list has shown up some interesting – and some astounding – results.

Most prominently is the inclusion of Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who finished as the second choice to Manuel Neuer despite making just three league appearances in 2013. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil also features in the second XI, as does his replacement at Real Gareth Bale.

Other Premier League stars to have made the second string include Chelsea’s David Luiz, Yaya Toure of Manchester City and striker Robin van Persie, whose goals rocketed Manchester United towards yet another Premier League title and gave Sir Alex Ferguson the perfect send-off into retirement.

Casillas surprisingly beats Gianluigi Buffon, Victor Valdes and Petr Cech to second place, while names such as David De Gea, Hugo Lloris and Roman Weidenfeller missed out completely.

Another surprising decision is not so much the inclusion of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, but the fact he doesn’t feature until the fourth string. Ahead of him, Neymar, Falcao and van Persie make up the second choice attack while Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani and Sergio Aguero feature in the third.

Suarez is joined by Wayne Rooney and everyone’s favourite Mario Balotelli, while the final trio is comprised of Mario Mandzukic, the sought-after Diego Costa and former Chelsea talisman Didier Drogba – despite the Ivorian now playing in the Turkish league for Galatasaray.

Ashley Cole may have been dropped by Jose Mourinho since his return to Stamford Bridge, but the Chelsea left-back has done enough to make the fourth XI, while Arjen Robben – who scored the winning goal in the Champions League final for his side Bayern Munich – has to make do with a place in the same side.

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