A new year gives us a chance to reflect on what has passed, and in the football world, 2018 was a great one. The World Cup is the obvious highlight, with France claiming their second world title, but honourable mentions must go to Croatia, Belgium and England who either produced their best ever result, or completely defied public expectation.
As for the Champions League, Real Madrid claimed a third success in a row, beating Liverpool, but they did lose star man Cristiano Ronaldo in an £88 million deal to Juventus. The Europa League must also get a mention, with French pairing Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Hernandez warming up for the World Cup with victory for Atletico Madrid over Marseille.
As for domestic action, Manchester City romped to the Premier League title, becoming the first side to amass 100 points in the competition. La Liga was Barcelona’s once again, with Lionel Messi’s men lifting the title for the seventh time in ten seasons.
Over in Italy, Juventus continued their hold on Serie A, shrugging off the threat of Napoli to claim the Scudetto for a seventh straight season. As for the Bundesliga, it was business as usual as Bayern Munich claimed the title by 21 points to win the German top-flight for a sixth season running.
PSG returned to the top of French football after spending big on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe with the £366 million pairing firing the Parisians to a fifth title in six years.
With all of that football to look back on, which players could cap 2018 with a FIFA 19 Team of the Year card. 11 players will be selected and receive crazy Ultimate Team ratings to become some of the most lucrative players in the game.
Who picks the Team of the Year?
Following on from last year, ballot boxes have been sent out to media outlets, athletes and influencers from the EA Sports FIFA community. Those voting will pick their side in a 4-3-3 formation, post their XI on social media with the tag #TOTYVote. The team will then be released on January 7, 2019. View the full shortlist at the end of this page.
RealSport predicts who will make the Team of the Year and what boosted ratings could be on offer.
Thibaut Courtois (OVR 90 – TOTY 95)
Thibaut Courtois is the most logical option in goal, with the Belgian claiming the Golden Glove award at the World Cup. The Red Devils finished third in France, making it their best ever tournament, with Courtois’ performances earning him a £35 million move to Real Madrid. In addition to his Golden Glove and bronze medal, the 26-year-old finished 2018 as an FA Cup and FIFA Club World Cup winner and was named the Best FIFA Goalkeeper.
Courtois’ already strong 90 rating could become a 95 TOTY if he is selected. His base card will set you back 94,000 coins on PS4 and 86,000 on Xbox One, with a 91 Champions League item worth 276,000 on PS4 and 258,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Alisson (OVR 85)
Sergio Ramos (OVR 91 – TOTY 96)
With no stand out right backs, it could be that Sergio Ramos is shoehorned into the role where he started his career. The Spaniard may have plenty of critics, but he had a great 2018 despite a disappointing World Cup. The Real Madrid captain led Los Blancos to the Champions League title for a third season running and then did the same in the FIFA Club World Cup. On a personal level, the centre back was UEFA’s defender of the season and made the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
Ramos’s 91 overall rating should rise to around 96 on the back of his 2018, with his base card valued at 273,000 coins on PS4 and 229,000 on Xbox One. His 92 Champions League item costs 595,000 on PS4 and 515,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Joshua Kimmich (OVR 85)
Raphael Varane (OVR 86 – TOTY 94)
Sergio Ramos’s Real Madrid centre back partner Raphael Varane simply has to make the TOTY. The defender not only won the Champions League, but then went on to claim the World Cup with France, becoming just the 11th player to ever win both in the same season. Throw in a Club World Cup, a FIFA FIFPro World XI appearance and a spot in the FIFA World Cup Dream Team, things couldn’t have got much better for the 25-year-old in 2018.
Varane’s 86 rating should rise to around 94 if he were to make the Team of the Year. His normal gold card is worth 190,000 coins on PS4 and 170,000 on Xbox One, with his 87 Champions League item costing 360,000 on PS4 and 365,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Diego Godin (OVR 90)
Virgil van Dijk (OVR 85 – TOTY 94)
With three centre backs possibly being selected, Virgil van Dijk deserves that third spot. No player in our Team of the Year has revolutionised a time like the Dutchman, with van Dijk taking Liverpool from defensively weak to the most solid in the division. Since his £75 million move from Southampton last January, he has helped the Reds reach the Champions League final, and finish 2018 as top of the Premier League. An easily forgotten bonus is that as captain, he has helped the Netherlands qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals, scoring the injury time equaliser to take them to next summer’s tournament.
Van Dijk’s 85 overall rating should rise to at least 94 if he makes the Team of the Year, and you can claim his base card for 186,000 coins on PS4 and 173,000 on Xbox One. His 86 Champions League item costs 279,000 on PS4 and 287,000 on Xbox One, with an 87 in-form priced at 442,000 on PS4 and 455,000 on Xbox One. Lastly, an 87 UCL Road to the Final card which improves after each Champions League round will set you back 670,000 coins on PS4 and 700,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Samuel Umtiti (OVR 87)
Marcelo (OVR 88 – TOTY 94)
Left back is tough to call, with Marcelo, like many of his Real Madrid teammates struggling in the first half of the 2018-19 season. The Brazilian should still take the left back spot however, after aiding a third successive Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup crowns. Aged 30, the defender shows no sign of letting up, and was threat going forward in their UCL run last season, scoring three goals and adding four assists.
Marcelo’s 88 overall should rise to around 94 with a TOTY appearance, and you can claim his base card on Ultimate Team for 107,000 coins on PS4 and 93,500 on Xbox One. His 89 Champions League item will set you back 351,000 on PS4 and 307,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Jordi Alba (OVR 87)
N’Golo Kante (OVR 89 – TOTY 95)
On to midfield, and you can’t see anyone else than N’Golo Kante providing the grit in midfield. Brazilian pairing Casemiro and Fernandinho had great 2018s, but neither won the World Cup like Kante. The 27-year-old started all seven of France’s World Cup games, playing the full 90 in six of those, completing his remarkable rise from French Ligue 2 in 2014 to two-time Premier League and now World Cup champion in 2018. The midfielder also picked a first FA Cup winners’ medal with Chelsea last season.
Defensive midfielder Kante’s 89 overall rating should rise to 95, which could make him the most versatile player on the game. His base card costs 397,000 coins on PS4 and 325,000 on Xbox One, with a 90 CM in-form priced at 873,000 on PS4 and 790,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Ivan Rakitic (OVR 87)
Luka Modric (OVR 91 – TOTY 99)
Luka Modric could be the highest rated player in the Team of the Year, with the Croatian claiming the FIFA Golden Ball, the Best FIFA Men’s Player and Ballon d’Or in 2018. The main man in Real Madrid’s midfield first won the Champions League for third year in a row, before dragging his country to a first ever World Cup final. His remarkable year was capped with a Club World Cup win in December, and there is no doubt that out of any single player, he had the best 2018.
Central midfielder Modric’s 91 overall should rise to an astonishing 99 for the TOTY, and you can pick up the former Spurs player’s base card for 79,000 on PS4 and 75,000 on Xbox One. His 92 Champions League item will set you back 231,000 coins on PS4 and 224,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Toni Kroos (OVR 90)
Kevin De Bruyne (OVR 91 – TOTY 95)
The third midfield position is hard to call, with so many worthy contenders. Due to popularity, we expect it to be Kevin De Bruyne, with the Manchester City man picking up the most assists in the Premier League last season with 16 to take the title and reach 100 points. Not only that, City won the EFL Cup and De Bruyne’s Belgium went on to finish third at the World Cup in France as he made the FIFA Dream Team.
KDB has a base card of 91 on Ultimate Team, and this could rise to around 95 if he makes the TOTY. His normal gold rating is worth 296,000 coins on PS4 and 271,000 on Xbox One, and the attacking midfielder’s 92 Champions League item costs 569,000 on PS4 and 540,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: David Silva (OVR 89)
Kylian Mbappe (OVR 87 – TOTY 95)
Going head-to-head with Mohamed Salah for the right wing role, we expect Kylian Mbappe to just edge this one. For the Frenchman backed up his £166 million move to PSG with three domestic trophies and 21 goals and 15 assists in 44 games. The right winger then starred for France at the World Cup, scoring four goals including one in the final as Les Bleus won the tournament. Individually, the 20-year-old came fourth in both the Best FIFA Men’s Player and Ballon d’Or, but claimed the World Cup Best Young Player award and became the first ever recipient of the Kopa Trophy, the new Ballon d’Or prize for players under the age of 21.
Mbappe’s 87 overall should rise to around 95 if he makes the Team of the Year, and you can pick up his base card on Ultimate Team for 362,000 on PS4 and 310,000 on Xbox One. His 88 Champions League item will set you back 563,000 on PS4 and 494,000 on Xbox One, with an 88 RM in-form worth 779,000 on PS4 and 664,000 on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Mohamed Salah (OVR 88)
Lionel Messi (OVR 94 – TOTY 98)
It’s hard to imagine a Team of the Year without Lionel Messi, but this time around it’s a possibility. We still expect the Argentine to make the XI, but he will have to wear off the threats of Mohamed Salah, Antoine Griezmann, Harry Kane and Neymar. Despite it being a ‘quieter’ season for Messi, he scored 45 goals last term, and has 21 in 20 games so far this campaign. As for silverware, he won La Liga, the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup with Barcelona, made the FIFAPro World XI and claimed the European Golden Shoe for a fifth time.
Messi’s 94 overall rating should rise to 98 for the Team of the Year, and you can pick up the centre forward’s 94 rating for 875,000 coins on PS4 and 815,000 on Xbox One. His 95 Champions League item is worth 1.5 million on PS4 and 1.3 million on Xbox One, whilst a UCL Road to the Final RW card is valued at 1.8 million on PS4 and 1.7 million on Xbox One. Lastly, a 96 in-form ST card costs 2.3 million on PS4 and 2.1 million on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Antoine Griezmann (OVR 89)
Cristiano Ronaldo (OVR 94 – TOTY 99)
Last, but by no means least, Cristiano Ronaldo. It will be a battle between him and former Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric as to who picks up the highest rating out of the Team of the Year, but after yet another crazy year, you wouldn’t bet against CR7. The Portuguese fired Los Merengues to their third straight Champions League title, scoring 15 goals in 13 games in the competition. After a World Cup campaign that included a hat trick against Spain, the forward moved to Juventus and has hit the ground running with 15 goals in 24 matches so far.
Ronaldo’s 94 base card on Ultimate Team could rise all the way to 99, with the striker costing 2.4 million coins on PS4 and 2.1 million on Xbox One. His 94 Ones to Watch card which improves with each TOTW appearance is worth 3.7 million coins on PS4 and 3.8 million on Xbox One, whilst his 95 Champions League item will set you back 3.1 million on PS4 and 2.9 million on Xbox One.
Under threat from: Eden Hazard (OVR 91)
Team of the Year full shortlist
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Thibaut Courtois, David De Gea, Hugo Lloris, Jan Oblak
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Giorgio Chiellini, Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez, Mats Hummels, Jordi Alba, Joshua Kimmich, Kalidou Koulibaly, Dejan Lovren, Kostas Manolas, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Kieran Trippier, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, Jan Vertonghen, Sime Vrsaljko, Kyle Walker, Virgil van Dijk
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Casemiro, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Paulo Dybala, Fernandinho, Isco, N’Golo Kante, Toni Kroos, Blaise Matuidi, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Paul Pogba, Ivan Rakitic, Marco Reus
Forwards: Sergio Aguero, Gareth Bale, Edinson Cavani, Antoine Griezmann, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Mario Mandzukic, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, Luis Suarez
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