Spansh club stars Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba and Sergio Ramos are all in the running as the 20 candidates for this year's ultimate defense are named.
The likes of Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano and Marcelo have all been named among the 20 candidates for a place in this year's ultimate side.
Chelsea captain John Terry, Manchester City anchor Vincent Kompany, Borussia Dortmund star Mats Hummels and Paris Saint-Germain's summer signing Thiago Silva have also been nominated, while Giorgio Chiellini is surprisingly the only Juventus defender selected despite the Bianconeri's 49-game unbeaten streak in Serie A over the last 12 months.
The 50,000 players who belong to the professional footballers' union Fifpro were each invited to vote in a secret ballot to nominate their peers for the World XI, choosing the best goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards from 2012.
The nominees for the midfield and forward positions will be revealed on Nov. 26 and 29, respectively, with the final World XI selection announced at the Ballon d'Or award ceremony on Jan. 7, 2013.
Here is the full defenders shortlist:
Jordi Alba (Spain, Barcelona); Gareth Bale (Wales, Tottenham); Giorgio Chiellini (Italy, Juventus); Ashley Cole (England, Chelsea); Dani Alves (Brazil, Barcelona); David Luiz (Brazil, Chelsea); Patrice Evra (France, Manchester United); Rio Ferdinand (England, Manchester United); Mats Hummels (Germany, Borussia Dortmund); Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia, Chelsea); Vincent Kompany (Belgium, Manchester City); Philipp Lahm (Germany, Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid); Javier Mascherano (Argentina, Barcelona); Pepe (Portugal, Real Madrid); Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona); Carles Puyol (Spain, Barcelona); Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid); John Terry (England, Chelsea); Thiago Silva(Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain).