UEFA has been accused of sensationally changing the formation of their fans’ team of the year to accommodate Juventus and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Fans’ voting reportedly placed the Portuguese fourth behind Lionel Messi, Sadio Mane and Robert Lewandowski in the forwards category.
The European football’s governing body, on Wednesday, named the XI, which is voted for by supporters.
However, the formation picked was a rarely-used 4-2-4, which led to many puzzled queries.
According to the Daily Mail‘s Mike Keegan, Ronaldo was shoehorned in by UEFA at the expense of Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante after he finished fourth in the voting behind Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
A source told DailyMail:
“This is really not good. It is effectively vote rigging. Such is Ronaldo’s popularity at a senior level within the organisation, alarm bells sounded when he did not make the cut and, as a result, the formation was changed. It makes you wonder what else they get up to.”
A UEFA spokesman, however, had a different explanation for the formation choice:
“The formation for this year’s team of the year was chosen to reflect the votes of the fans in parallel with the players’ achievements in UEFA competitions. As a result, there are five UEFA Champions League winners and four UEFA Nations League finalists [including one winner]. The formation changes on a regular basis, and this year is no exception.”
It is even understood that the initial announcement over the team was meant to be made public last week, but the Ronaldo decision and subsequent manoeuvring prompted a delay.
Ronaldo had a remarkable year with Portugal and was crucial to them winning the inaugural UEFA Nations League, netting a hat-trick in the semi-final against Switzerland.
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