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UEFA squeezed Cristiano Ronaldo into team of the year after he got less votes than rival forwards

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REVEALED: UEFA keep Cristiano Ronaldo happy by changing the formation of their team of the year to squeeze him in after Lionel Messi, Sadio Mane and Robert Lewandowski received more votes - with N'Golo Kante the unlucky man to miss outCristiano Ronaldo was voted into the UEFA supporters' team of the year for 2019 But the Portuguese forward got less votes than Messi, Mane and LewandowskiUEFA used a 4-2-4 formation to keep Ronaldo in and dropped N'Golo Kante 

UEFA sensationally changed the formation of their fans' team of the year to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo, Sportsmail can reveal.

On Wednesday, European football's governing body 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.

Cristiano Ronaldo received less votes than his rival forwards but still made it into UEFA's team

It can now be disclosed that the reason for doing so was because the Portuguese megastar finished fourth in the forwards category, behind rival Lionel Messi, Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

UEFA chiefs were not impressed and so came up with the formation switch to allocate Juventus's Ronaldo, dropping a midfielder. The unlucky man is understood to have been Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.

The move raises serious questions over the integrity of the exercise and fans of the Chelsea man, not to mention the player himself, may well be furious.

UEFA decided to use an unorthodox 4-2-4 formation in order to keep Ronaldo in the team

Lionel Messi was voted into a place in the side by the two million fans who cast their votes

UEFA FANS' TEAM OF 2019  

Goalkeeper: Alisson

Defence: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Matthijs De Ligt, Virgil Van Dijk, Andy Robertson

Midfield: Frenkie De Jong, Kevin De Bruyne

Attack: Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane

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.

A source said: '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 spokesperson suggested the move was made thanks to Portugal's victory in the Nations League final. '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,' they said. 

The formation switch meant that a midfielder had to be dropped - N'Golo Kante was that player

'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.' 

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva, who was in the Portugal team, finished 12th in the poll but it is thought there was a reluctance to drop Kante for someone in the same position.

In previous years fans have chosen the formation. In five of the last six years it has been 4-3-3, with the exception coming in 2017 when 4-4-2 was used.

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