Whilst Teams of the Year (TOTY) have existed in Ultimate Team ever since Fifa 12, Fifa 21 broke with tradition and let the community have the final say on which of the world’s biggest superstars made the final cut. EA has continued this tradition with Fifa 22, opening up the vote for this year’s Team of the Year on January 10th.
The 80-player strong vote closes on January 17th and, whilst we’re still waiting on official confirmation from EA, Friday 21st January looks the best bet on when the biggest promo in the calendar will officially land. To help give you an idea of who is in the running for a TOTY card, here’s who we think should be given the nod.
The importance of having a stellar goalkeeper between the sticks has become more and more vital to teams these days, and the last year has seen a number of genuinely world-class players emerge as potential outside candidates for even a Ballon d’Or nomination.
Whilst Ederson and Jan Oblak both stood out with their club teams, it was a choice between Edouard Mendy and Gianluigi Donnarumma for who won our pick. Mendy equaled the most amount of clean sheets in the Champions League as Chelsea won their second-ever title, but we’ve opted for Gianluigi Donnarumma for our pick. The Italian finished 2nd in Serie A with AC Milan made a high-profile move to PSG and won Euro 2020 in the summer with Italy, winning two penalty shootouts, keeping three clean sheets (out of seven games), and being named the tournament MVP.
Italy’s win at Euro 2020 also sees Leonardo Bonucci get a spot in our TOTY, although his position at LB might be shoehorning the Juventus defender in slightly. Manchester City dominated the Premier League across 2021, which is the main reason why EA has made them the most represented club in this year’s vote with a whopping seven players available for fans to vote for in this year’s TOTY.
The City defence has been pivotal in the side’s domestic dominance, with Ruben Dias winning the Premier League Player of the Year award and Joao Cancelo being potentially the form fullback of the season so far, which is why they both get the nod.
We also selected Antonio Rudiger for a spot in our backline, with the German defender becoming Chelsea’s main man in the defence over the course of their Champions League triumph.
Sticking with Chelsea’s remarkable rise throughout 2021, both Jorginho and N’Golo Kante have been instrumental in how manager Thomas Tuchel has structured his side. N’Golo Kante has established himself as a world-class CDM ever since his arrival in the Premier League, but it has been the emergence of Jorginho that is the most notable revival in the Blues team. A Champions League and Euro 2020 triumph has seen Jorginho win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award, so his inclusion here is a given.
The Italian midfield was arguably the primary factor behind the side’s victory at Euro 2020, with the likes of Federico Chiesa, Jorginho, and Marco Veratti were all exceptional, but the fact that Nicolo Barella has combined that summer with a domestic title with Inter Milan sees him get given the edge in our team.
Mohamed Salah ended 2021 as the Premier League’s leading goalscorer and assist provider and, even in a freakish campaign, once again finished another season as Liverpool’s top scorer with 31 goals in all competitions across 2020/21.
Robert Lewandowski is seemingly cursed to never pick up a Ballon d’Or, but that hasn’t stopped the Polish forward from once again standing out as the world’s best outright number 9 in the game. Lewandowski added another Bundesliga and a Fifa Club World Cup Cup to his trophy collection over the course of 2021, ending 2020/21 with 48 goals in all competitions. For good measure, the Pole already has 31 more goals this season.
Karim Benzema has played almost his entire career in the shadow of greats like Cristiano Ronaldo, but 2021 finally marked the point in which the Frenchman stood out as Real Madrid’s main man. Whilst Madrid and France might have missed out on silverware, Benzema’s performances have well and truly put him back on the map as one of Europe’s best forwards.
As for our 12th man, it was a close call between Fifa’s two biggest titans over the years in Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Ronaldo has made an impressive return to the Premier League this season, but, whilst the second half of 2021 has been quiet for the little magician, Messi has still managed to finish the year with a record seventh Ballon d’Or and a first international trophy with the Copa America.
Our Team In Full:
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 89 (Paris Saint-Germain)
RB: Joao Cancelo – 86 (Manchester City)
CB: Antonio Rudiger – 83 (Chelsea)
CB: Ruben Dias – 87 (Manchester City)
LB: Leonardo Bonucci – 85 (Juventus)
CM: Nicolo Barella – 84 (Inter Milan)
CM: N’Golo Kante – 90 (Chelsea)
CM: Jorginho – 85 (Chelsea)
RW: Mohamed Salah – 89 (Liverpool)
ST: Robert Lewandowski – 92 (Bayern Munich)
LW: Karim Benzema – 89 (Real Madrid)12th Man: Lionel Messi – 93 (Paris Saint-Germain)