Another year, and another community based TOTY voting system, where game changers and influential FIFA figures can cast their votes.
Competition looks tougher than ever, and with the mixed views from across the world, predicting the final team, especially when the community are so heavily involved, is nearly impossible!
With that being said, we take a look at our choices, alongside a small bench of players that could very easily work their way into the mix. Keep in mind that we have based our choices around what we believe the community will vote for, not necessarily who we believe personally should win these spots.
We kick start these predictions with a goalkeeper, however I cannot begin this write up without at least mentioning Oblak. Atletico finished their 17/18 campaign with the best defensive record in the league, having conceded just 22, and have once again taken up this top spot with just 12 conceded so far this year. Oblak has been instrumental in this success, and for me personally, is the most deserving of this award. With that being said, this vote is 60% community based, and we know that the community loves De Gea. The Spaniard has been far from his best this season, with a lacklustre World Cup and difficult start to the 18/19 campaign. However, we do need to consider just how weak the defence that sits in front of him have been, and take into account just how many points he has won United over the past 12 months.
Moving onto the defenders now, and this is where things start getting a little trickier. There is no doubt around just how good Ramos is, but when asked if he has been one of the best in the world this year, things get a little messier. Real Madrid have been far from solid at the back across the past two seasons, and Spain’s World Cup run would have disappointed even the most pessimistic fans. However, with another Champions League title under his belt, alongside a handful of goals and love from the community, it isn’t difficult to imagine him still making the final team.
Following on from Ramos now, talking about Varane becomes very easy to do. We see the same negatives from the defensive record in La Liga, have the Champions League win to account for, but on top of this Varane also has a World Cup win to his name. French players instantly receive a significant boost when it comes to predicting this line up, and as the heart of the defence that lifted the World Cup, leaving this man out was simply never an option.
As my followers will know, I am a Liverpool fan and hence it becomes extremely easy to include Liverpool players within these nominations. However, we need to look at the raw statistics and consider exactly what each player has achieved across the past year. Since joining Liverpool their defensive statistics have become nothing short of outstanding. With just 8 goals conceded in the league so far, it’s clear to see that VVD is the key reason as to why. We then need to consider who the alternatives are, if VVD was to miss out on a spot, and if we are being honest, competition isn’t very fierce - especially when the community vote counts for so much.
We complete our defensive nominations with a full back, and once again this nomination comes from Real Madrid. If we are being totally honest with ourselves, there isn’t much competition from full backs this year, especially when we begin to consider trophies won and defensive statistics across the past year as a whole. Marcelo however has been a bright light for an otherwise struggling Madrid at times, contributing defensively, while also finding huge passes, and even goals when they have needed it most.
Onto the midfield now, and we see another familiar face. One of the nicest guys in world football has continued to show his passion both on and off the pitch. While Chelsea may not have had fantastic seasons, Kante overall has remained fairly solid, and when we then consider his World Cup Win in the summer; he immediately gains some extra points here. The trend seen with the defenders seems to move into the midfielders too, where the competition isn’t nearly as fierce as with the attackers, which makes it a lot easier for players to make the final cut.
Another slightly controversial decision up next, as we find the Belgium superstar, Kevin De Bruyne. Now I don’t believe that anyone would debate the fact that KDB is one of the best midfielders in the world, however there are a couple of factors that immediately go against him with this nomination. His recent injury saw him miss out on a large chunk of the season, which leaves us evaluating his performance mainly on the first 6 months of the year. With that being said, let’s look at the positives. Belgium had a fairly successful World Cup run, and Manchester City lifted the Premier League Cup last year. KDB was instrumental in this success, and when we then consider the fan vote, it seems very possible that he once again makes the final team.
Our third and final midfielder causes less controversy, and is the one player who is guaranteed a spot amongst the elite. Modric not only won the Champions League last year, but also took Croatia to a World Cup final and then went on to claim the player of the year award. This alone is more than enough to see him feature within the final squad, and hence he sits comfortably within our predictions.
We previously mentioned that I am a Liverpool fan, and words can not describe just how difficult it is for me to include Mbappe here! However, we need to consider every factor when selecting our final eleven, and the fact that Mbappe won the league with PSG and then lifted the World Cup, are feats that cannot be ignored. Salah was incredible last season, breaking all sorts of records, taking the golden boot and also helping Liverpool reach the final of the Champions League, however the lack of silverware does go against him. Mbappe has been nothing short of spectacular as well, and when we then consider just how young he is, alongside the community element of this vote, he has to be the man to steal this spot.
Onto our final two selections now, and there are no prizes for guessing who the remaining spots go to. Messi has once again shown just why he is one of the greatest of all time. Argentina’s World Cup went roughly as expected, and Barcelona didn’t have an incredible Champions League run. On the other hand though, Barcelona did win La Liga and Messi has been scoring goals for fun. His control, composure, and understanding of the game is incredible, and the question shouldn’t be if he makes this lineup, it should instead be; for how long will he continue to keep his space here.
Our final selection sees us heading across to Italy, where Ronaldo is enjoying a new challenge with league leaders Juventus. His campaign so far with the Italian giants hasn’t seen him scoring quite as much as before, but the way he creates space and reads the game is still a marvel to watch. We need to also remember that he lifted the Champions League title with Madrid last season, where he was comfortably the top scorer, while also noting Madrid’s inability to replace their talisman. However we decided to approach this though, Ronaldo will be in this line-up, and his card will be incredible.
Near Misses / Possible Inclusions