It’s that time of the year already and although world football has seen several delays and cancellations over the past 12 months, we can still expect to see EA’s take on TOTY in the coming weeks. Here is my prediction on what we could see, a side that includes several players yet to be seen in this promo before.
Manuel Neuer – GK - OVR 89>>96
You have to go way back to FIFA 17 for the last time Neuer was named keeper of the year and although that was largely down to injuries it is still brilliant to see the German back at his best as he is without a doubt the most enjoyable keeper to watch in world football right now. Bayern Munich won the treble last season, and their defence played a large part in that, Neuer included. The German only conceded 49 goals in 51 games overall competitions, which included an astounding 22 clean sheets! I don’t think the goalkeeper can be argued against in this year's side.
Alphonso Davies – LB - OVR 81>>94
I think that the LB position is a two-horse race with both Robertson and Davies making their claim for the spot. Robertson does have the Premier League bias working in his favor and was included in last year's side, which surprisingly does have a big influence on these sides. It’s a big reason why the likes of Iniesta, Silva, Marcelo and Ramos were included time and time again in recent years. That being said Davies was phenomenal this past year with the youngster breaking onto the scene, securing his place in the starting eleven while also playing a big role in the Munich treble. Especially in the Champions League where he provided four assists in the eight matches he played. Additionally, I feel that Bayern Munich needs to have some influence on this side for what they achieved this past year and Davies is among the only few players I feel can justify a spot in the side.
Sergio Ramos – CB - OVR 89>>96
Sergio Ramos often gets a lot of stick for his position in these sides, especially in recent seasons but there’s a good reason as to why he’s selected year in year out. Ramos has probably had his best season in recent years coming into this selection as well. With a remarkable offensive tally of 13 goals in 44 matches last season. Granted a lot of those goals have come from the penalty spot but his offensive prowess is only half of the story. The Spaniard offers a lot at the back as well. Real Madrid lifted the La Liga title in the 2019/20 campaign with just 25 goals being conceded from the 38 games they played. An outstanding tally by any standard! Although less nailed on than VVD I would be very surprised if either of these central defenders ends up missing out this season.
Virgil Van Dijk – CB - OVR 90>>97
Virgil Van Dijk is largely recognized as the best defender in the world right now, since developing his for at Liverpool. Although he has a major injury which puts him out for a large proportion of the current season, he played a huge role in Liverpool winning the 2019/20 Premier League title, which they managed in convincing fashion! With the awards being based largely on the previous season I can’t see the injury having much of an impact if any at all and thus I think that Van Dijk is the most nailed on defender in this side. The injury however could have a big impact on the following year's side. But we will get to that one in twelve months’ time. As for rating looking at Ramos the past few years, which I feel is the best indication, he has always been around the 97 mark. Even when his base item was 91 rated so I can’t see EA going any higher than that for VVD.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – RB - OVR 87>>95
The start to the current season really hasn’t been that good for Trent but thankfully I doubt that it will impact the overall decision here simply due to how good he was over the past 12 months as a whole. You only have to look at his impact in the 2019/20 season to see just how good he was. With Liverpool only conceding 33 goals in the Premier League he helped offer cover at the back but it's how impressive he has been going forward which really catches the eye. Some will argue that he has helped to transform the wingback role in the current game. Providing no less than four goals and thirteen assists. TAA also has the additional advantage of having no serious competition for this spot and thus is likely to have it nailed down for quite some time barring something disastrous happening or a youngster breaking through, much like Davies.
Kevin De Bruyne – CAM - OVR 91>>98
Although Manchester City failed to win domestically nor in Europe, I still feel that KDB’s performances combined with his reputation are more than enough for him to walk into this side. After all when it comes to midfielders most would agree that KDB is the best there is, for the attacking side of things. The Belgian wizard’s creativity is where he excels, finding passes that you wouldn’t even think were possible. Recording 23 assists in 48 games last season and creating a plethora of chances, not to mention the fact he is already on ten assists during the current campaign. Should he make the final cut, which he will. It will be De Bruyne’s fourth consecutive inclusion in EA’s TOTY and I think he has a good couple left in him after this one too!
Joshua Kimmich – CDM - OVR 88>>96
You can argue a case for many of Munich’s midfield but realistically I feel that Kimmich is the only one likely to make it. Since making the move into midfield from RB he has really come into his own, which is saying something as he was widely regarded as one of right backs in the world while playing that role too. The CDM role is often the role that gets overlooked when recognizing the best players around but Kimmich does it so well. Offering that defensive support to the back four while offering that creativity at the same time, so much so that he managed to pick up 17 assists over the course of last year. At just 25 years of age Kimmich is likely to be at the top of the game for quite some time as well.
Bruno Fernandes – CAM - OVR 87>>96
This was the only position that I seriously struggled to fill with no clear-cut winners. Due to that, I looked at it numerous ways and in the end, I opted for Bruno Fernandes. There is no arguing about the impact he’s had in England after recording strong numbers over in Portugal. The one thing going against him however is the fact United overall had a very average season at best. Depending on how TOTY is decided by EA there are several factors that would significantly help Fernandes towards this side as a fan vote would inevitably favor him. I do think that Fernandes is capable of making these sort of sides I just don’t think he deserves it just yet. That being said I can’t see either Muller or Thiago making the side and thus Fernandes is the only other realistic option.
Cristiano Ronaldo – LW - OVR 92>>99
Of the three attackers I would say that Ronaldo is likely to be the most debated but when you look into it, I think it is very difficult to exclude any of them. Ronaldo has now proved himself in multiple divisions, the latest being Serie A, dominating the division with Juventus. In total the Portuguese international managed 37 goals in 46 matches during 2019/20 and has taken the current campaign by storm with eight goals in his opening five! It’s crazy to think that Ronaldo is still 35 years of age, especially considering the level he continues to perform at. Currently, there are no real signs of him slowing down although I would expect that within the next couple of seasons we will see the likes of Mbappe take his spot in these sides as he continues to develop.
Robert Lewandowski – ST - OVR 91>>98
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the Ballon D’or was canceled this year and many feel that as a result Lewandowski was robbed of the reward, myself included. The Polish striker has always been prolific when it comes to scoring goals but due to Poland’s mediocre national side perhaps doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. With Munich winning Domestic, Cup and European titles this year they deserve a lot of recognition in this side but it’s unlikely that they will receive the same bias that Real Madrid, Barcelona or even recently Liverpool received. Lewandowski however is a must for this side with 55 goals and 10 assists in 47 matches last season for Munich while already recording 15 goals and 5 assists from the 14 played this time around. Bizarrely this would actually be the first time Lewandowski will have been selected for TOTY should EA make the same decision as myself and overall, I can’t see many objecting against this inclusion.
Lionel Messi – RW - OVR 93>>99
Should Messi obtain a spot in EA’s TOTY for FIFA 21 it would result in his 10th consecutive inclusion. Which when you really think about it is something, we are unlikely to see again in the future. Despite now being 33 years of age, the Argentine still finds himself dominating a significant proportion of matches he is involved in, still deciding numerous matches for both Argentina and Barcelona. It is probably coming towards the end of his era, but he will always be known as one of the best footballers to have ever lived. The 19/20 season saw him record 31goals and 27 assists from the 44 matches he featured in and while Barcelona has had a disappointing start to the current campaign Messi will still definitely be in this side.