The idea of Cristiano Ronaldo being left out of UEFA’s Team of the Year was too much for European football’s governing body to imagine, so they changed the formation to fit him in.
Lionel Messi, Sadio Mane and Robert Lewandowski were the three forward players with the most votes, while the Portuguese finished in fourth.
Traditionally revealed in a 4-3-3 setup, the 2019 edition was lined up in a 4-2-4 and the Daily Mail have reported that the change was to fit the Juventus forward into the side and even delayed the publication of the XI by a week.
Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante was the player to miss out, despite being the midfielder who received the third most votes.
“Ronaldo’s popularity is so great at UEFA that alarms sounded when they saw the results,” a source told the Daily Mail.
“For that reason, they changed the XI.”
A UEFA spokesperson explained that the change in formation was to accommodate the ex-Real Madrid forward, but due to his winning of the Nations League with his country.
“The formation was chosen to reflect the votes of fans as well as the achievements of players in UEFA competitions,” they said.
“As a result, there are five Champions League winners and four finalists from the Nations League, including one winner.
“It changes regularly and this year is no exception.”