It’s that time of the year again: this week we'll be getting FIFA 21’s Team Of The Year lineup. Here’s a look at the 11 players we believe are most likely to make the illustrious squad.
Manuel Neuer played an important role in Bayern Munich’s trophy laden season.
He kept six clean sheets in 11 Champions League games and 15 clean sheets in 33 Bundesliga games en route to Bayern’s treble, further solidifying his position as Bayern’s number one, and the best goalkeeper in world football.
We expect him to be the shot-stopper in the TOTY XI.
Alexander-Arnold looks set to make his second consecutive appearance in the TOTY lineup after dominating Liverpool’s right flank yet again.
He featured in every single Premier League game for Liverpool in the 2019/2020 season, scoring four goals and registering 13 assists - only Kevin de Bruyne made more domestic assists (20).
Alexander-Arnold hasn’t been particularly impressive this term, but judging by his performances last season, he’s almost certain to make it into the TOTY lineup.
Going into the 2019/20 season, there were talks about Sergio Ramos undergoing a steady decline, but considering how the season turned out, it’s fair to say that Ramos remains one of the best defenders in the world.
Ramos scored 11 goals in 35 appearances en route to Real Madrid’s La Liga victory last season. Outside of his goals, his presence in Madrid’s defence helped keep things tidy at the back, so much so that Zidane’s men conceded the least amount of goals (25) in La Liga last season.
Virgil van Dijk
After the season he had, Van Dijk is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the TOTY XI.
Through his impeccable defensive awareness, Van Dijk played an incredibly key role in Liverpool’s Premier League victory.
He featured in every single game for the Reds last term, helping his side to 15 clean sheets while also scoring five goals. As things stand, Van Dijk is arguably the best center-back in world football, and that should be reflected in the TOTY vote.
Alphonso Davies lit up the Bundesliga last season with his superhuman speed and mind-bending ball recovery.
His impressive performances led the Bavarian giants to their first treble since 2013, cementing his place as Bayern’s go-to left-back ahead of David Alaba, who is now exclusively deployed as a center-back by Hansi Flick.
After a stellar 2019/2020 individual campaign, it would be a travesty if Davies fails to make it into the FIFA 21 TOTY lineup.
Joshua Kimmich enjoyed a superb individual campaign during the 2019/2020 season. He scored seven goals and registered 15 assists across all competitions for Bayern - while mostly being deployed as a defensive midfielder.
Tons of other players are vying for a spot in the TOTY lineup, but considering the season Kimmich had with Bayern, he’s likely to make it into the XI.
Kevin De Bruyne
If there’s one player who’s just about guaranteed to be in the TOTY lineup, it’s Kevin De Bruyne.
Kevin De Bruyne was deservedly named as the Premier League’s player of the season last term after scoring 13 goals and registering 20 assists in 35 starts. He’s arguably the best midfielder in the world right now - in terms of sheer ability and consistency, barely anybody comes close, so you can expect to see him in the TOTY lineup.
As far as overall impact goes, Bruno Fernandes is one of the best players in the world - plain and simple.
Ever since he arrived at Old Trafford, he’s carried Manchester United on his back, as he often comes up with goals and assists to lead the Red Devils out of dangerous situations.
Since signing for United in January last year, Fernandes has scored 19 goals and registered 14 assists in 30 appearances. Some might argue that a bulk of his goals have come from penalties, but even his consistency from the spot is something to be applauded.
Having been selected among the TOTY nominees, don’t be surprised if Fernandes makes the full squad - he’s garnered a huge fan base since arriving at Old Trafford, so he’s likely to attract a ton of votes.
Over the past decade, Cristiano Ronaldo has been a mainstay in the TOTY lineup, and that’s unlikely to change this year, especially considering his incredible displays for Juventus and the Portuguese national team over the past year.
During the 2019/2020 season, Ronaldo bagged 49 goals and six assists for both club and country.
At 35, he’s still as lethal as ever, so you can expect to see him with a 98 or 99 rated card when the TOTY promotion gets underway.
There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona - but one thing’s for certain, though, he’s going to be in the TOTY XI.
Like Ronaldo, Messi has been a consistent face in the TOTY squad and he’s poised to make another appearance in the lineup next week.
Messi enjoyed a phenomenal individual campaign last season. He scored 33 goals and registered 26 assists in 45 games, across all competitions for Barcelona to put things into perspective, that’s 59 goal involvements in 45 games.
As things stand, Lewandowski is the best player in the world. He won the treble with Bayern in the 2019/2020 season and managed to score 61 goals and register 11 assists for both club and country, closing out what will go down in football history as one of the greatest individual campaigns of all time.
This season, Lewandowski has already hit the ground running, averaging 1.57 goals per game.
The likes of Kylian Mbappe and Mohammed Salah also enjoyed stellar individual campaigns last term, but considering the type of season Lewandowski had, Mbappe and Salah will have to spend this year’s TOTY selection on the sidelines.
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Phillip is a football writer from Nigeria. He’s been a football writer since he was 13 and after getting his work featured on various news outlets including the Daily Mirror, Red Bull, Planet Football and Football.London over the years, he has now turned his focus from solely writing about the beautiful game, to covering the not-so-beautiful virtual game of FIFA as a brilliant excuse to spend hours on his Playstation.