'I don't know who would defend!' – Joao Cancelo jokes about being named in ultra-attacking FIFA FIFPRO World 11 for first time

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Joao Cancelo couldn't help but make a joke about the lack of defenders in the FIFA FIFPRO world XI, as he reflected on his own inclusion.
  • FIFA FIFPRO world XI featured only three defenders
  • Cancelo selected for the first time
  • Full-back on loan at Bayern from Man City

WHAT HAPPENED? The world XI, which was revealed at FIFA's 'The Best' awards ceremony on Monday, was spearheaded by a front four featuring Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland and Karim Benzema and featured just three defenders (Cancelo, Virgil van Dijk and Achraf Hakimi).

WHAT THEY SAID: On the make-up of the side, which is laid out in an ultra-attacking 3-3-4 system, Cancelo said: "I don't know [who would defend], but if I were a spectator, I would go to see players like these at the stadium. [They are] players who give you something else, a lot of talent, a lot of joy when watching them play. It’s a pleasure to be here among them because they are the best.”

On his own inclusion, the full-back told FIFPRO: "It's a privilege for me to be here with the best players of the past year. It was a dream I had as a child. I've wanted to win it for a long time, and I've achieved it and I'm very happy."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: It was, of course, Messi who walked away with the top prize at FIFA's 'The Best' awards, named the best men's player of 2022 after inspiring Argentina to World Cup glory. Meanwhile Cancelo's selection marked a boost for the Portuguese after he was shipped out on loan late in the January window by Manchester City in surprising fashion.



Joao Cancelo Pep Guardiola Man City 2022-23


WHAT NEXT FOR CANCELO? The on-loan City defender will hope to start for Bayern in their Bundesliga clash away at Stuttgart this Saturday evening.