THE New Year is upon us, and with it comes a tantalising prospect for any Fifa fan – the unveiling of the Team of the Year, which celebrates the crème de la crème of football talent.
Here’s all you need to know about the feature, from when the XI is being announced to the full list of superstar nominees.
The FUT 18 Team of the Year celebrates the world’s greatest footballers[/caption]
What is Team of the Year and when is Fifa 18 TOTY released?
Team of the Year (TOTY) gives Fifa 18 Ultimate Team and Fifa Mobile gamers the chance to get their hands on limited-edition cards honouring the standout players from 2017.
TOTY items will be available in packs for a limited time after the squad is announced, and will be highly-sought after and incredibly rare.
The player cards give even the planet’s biggest superstars dramatic upgrades – Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were rated 98 last year, and Cristiano Ronaldo 99.
Voting closes on Thursday, January 11, and EA Sports will begin announcing the final XI on January 15.
Last year, the developer revealed the TOTY position-by-position, starting with the team’s goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer.
The final XI, selected from a longlist of 55 nominees, will be laid out in a 4-3-3 formation, consisting of four defenders, four midfielders and three attackers.
Who’s on the Fifa 18 TOTY nominees list?
- Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus
- David De Gea – Manchester United
- Hugo Lloris – Tottenham
- Keylor Navas – Real Madrid
- Jan Oblak – Atletico Madrid
- David Alaba – Bayern Munich
- Jordi Alba – Barcelona
- Marcos Alonso – Chelsea
- Dani Alves – PSG
- Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea
- Leonardo Bonucci – AC Milan
- Dani Carvajal – Real Madrid
- Diego Godin – Atletico Madrid
- Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich
- Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli
- Filipe Luis – Atletico Madrid
- David Luiz – Chelsea
- Marcelo – Real Madrid
- Gerard Pique – Barcelona
- Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid
- Alex Sandro – Juventus
- Thiago Silva – PSG
- Antonio Valencia – Manchester United
- Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham
- Kyle Walker – Manchester City
- Thiago Alcantara – Bayern Munich
- Dele Alli – Tottenham
- Casemiro – Real Madrid
- Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
- Paulo Dybala – Juventus
- Christian Eriksen – Tottenham
- Emil Forsberg – Leipzig
- Andres Iniesta – Barcelona
- Isco – Real Madrid
- N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
- Toni Kroos – Real Madrid
- Luka Modric – Real Madrid
- Radja Nainggolan – Roma
- Arjen Robben – Bayern Munich
- Marco Verratti – PSG
- Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
- Edinson Cavani – PSG
- Philippe Coutinho – Barcelona
- Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid
- Eden Hazard – Chelsea
- Harry Kane – Tottenham
- Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
- Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United
- Kylian Mbappe – PSG
- Dries Mertens – Napoli
- Lionel Messi – Barcelona
- Neymar – PSG
- Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid
- Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal
- Luis Suarez
Can you vote for the Fifa 18 TOTY?
For the first time, this year’s TOTY vote is in the hands of a selection of figures from the media, athletes and Fifa community members all individually selected by EA Sports.
Their choices will account for 60% of the overall vote, with EA Sports themselves only casting the remaining 40%.
If you aren’t among the chosen few with a vote, don’t fear – the Ultimate Team support website Futhead (which is part of the ballot) is giving you the chance to have your say.
You can log on to their website here and select your team, with votes all counting towards the overall official selection they will submit to EA Sports.
LATEST ON FIFA 18
Who will be in the Fifa 18 TOTY?
Given the glittering stars appearing among the nominations, competition for the final XI is fierce – but that certainly doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about who will make it.
Among the goalkeepers last year’s incumbent, Manuel Neuer, is missing from the list after a year of injury woe.
This should open the door for Manchester United’s David De Gea, who has gone from strength to strength – although he will face stern competition from the evergreen Gianluigi Buffon.
Although Real Madrid have struggled this season, the Spanish giants’ La Liga and Champions League success last campaign should mean Sergio Ramos and Marcelo retain their 2017 places.
Expect the other two slots to be filled by Leonardo Bonucci, Gerard Piqué, Dani Alves, Diego Godin or Giorgio Chiellini.
With just three midfield spots, the competition is fierce – however, it would be cruel on the Premier League’s stand-out player, Kevin De Bruyne, to miss out.
He faces stern competition from Real Madrid trio Luca Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco, while Chelsea lynchpin N’Golo Kanté and Spurs star Dele Alli also have strong claims.
Harry Kane, Dele’s teammate for club and country, scored an absurd 56 goals in 2017, the highest among Europe’s top five leagues, so will fancy his chances of securing a berth up front.
And who could overlook Lionel Messi, recently crowned Ballon d’Or for the fifth time, and his former Barca teammate Neymar, who became the world’s most expensive player last year?
This means that, despite being the best player in last year’s team with an overall rating of 99, Cristiano Ronaldo’s spot is in doubt.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has notched just four goals in 13 appearances this campaign, his worst season for Real Madrid so far – and with his rivals in top form, he could face the axe.