The list of 23 players, released by FIFA and the International Union of Professional Footballers (FIFPro), was drawn up after an open vote for professional footballers from around the world, and includes three goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders and eight forwards.
The ideal 'eleven' for 2021 will be announced on January 17, 2022, at the award ceremony for The Best, which recognises the best footballer of the year, for which Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the 11 nominees.
In addition to a goalkeeper, a position for which Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Gianluigi Donnarumma (currently at Paris Saint-Germain) and Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) are candidates.
In defense, the players up for the positions are Ruben Dias, who plays for Manchester City, David Alaba (current Real Madrid player), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Dani Alves and Jordi Alba, both of FC Barcelona.
In addition to Bruno Fernandes, a Manchester United player, Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong, both from FC Barcelona, Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Jorginho and N'Golo Kante, from Chelsea, are all candidates for the three places in midfield.
In attack, they are joined by Cristiano Ronaldo, currently at Manchester United, Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Romelu Lukaku, who plays for Chelsea, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Lionel Messi, who line up at Paris Saint-Germain.