N’Golo Kante and Bruno Fernandes have been nominated for midfield spots in the Ultimate XI.
N’Golo Kante, Pedri, and Bruno Fernandes are among the nominees for midfield spots in the Ultimate XI.
The second round of EA Sports FIFA 22 Team of the Year nominations has been unveiled, with some of the greatest names in men’s football vying for a spot in the final XI.
A total of 80 of Europe’s finest players from the previous 12 months are in the running for inclusion, with fans voting to determine which stars from the long-list make the cut. Those that make the XI will have their accomplishments and performances recognized in-game with unique TOTY player goods, including improved stats to represent their standing.
Last year, the main story surrounding the FIFA 21 TOTY poll was Lionel Messi’s unexpected absence, despite scoring 27 goals and contributing 19 assists in 48 games for Barcelona and Argentina in 2020.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar, along with teammate Neymar, will be trying to make amends this time around after missing out on the Team of the Year last time around.
The attackers were the first group of FIFA 22 candidates to be released, followed by a slew of elite MIDFIELDERS from around the continent on Saturday.
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On Sunday, the extensive list of nominations will be completed by defenders and goalkeepers, with the online voting beginning on Monday and the Ultimate XI being unveiled on Jan. 20.
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In 2021, Barella maintained his good form for club and country, being the third-youngest midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues to record 10 or more assists last season. In addition, the Inter schemer scored three goals in 17 appearances for Italy, including one goal in six games at Euro 2020, when he helped the Azzurri win the tournament.
Calm, collected, and wise beyond his years, 18-year-old Bellingham played more minutes in the Bundesliga (2,445) than any other youngster in the league last season, scoring six goals and racking up ten assists. Bellingham became the youngest 17-year-old to play a complete 90 minutes for England in 140 years, since Thurston Roston against Scotland in 1881, when he played against Austria in June, 27 days before his 18th birthday.
Casemiro made more tackles (105) and won more tackles (59) than any other player in LaLiga in 2021, providing some much-needed steel among the silk at the Bernabeu. The Brazil international, an eight-year veteran and one of Los Blancos’ longest-serving current players, also had more ball recoveries (277) than any other outfield player in the Spanish top division.
De Bruyne is regarded by City supporters as a brilliant playmaker capable of turning a game on its head with a defence-splitting ball from almost any position or angle on the field. When it comes to generating opportunities, the Belgium international is undoubtedly a class leader, with an average of 3.7 per 90 minutes in the Premier League in 2021. No one else in the tournament comes close to matching him.
Diaz, a Colombian midfielder, exploded into the scene in 2021, scoring 17 goals in all competitions for Porto and even shared the Copa America 2021 golden boot with Lionel Messi (four goals)
Fabinho, a versatile defensive midfielder who has been used in almost every position between the goalkeeper and the forwards by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, made more interceptions per 90 minutes (1.7) than any other Liverpool player in all competitions last season. In 2021, he also won 58 aerial duels, with only three Liverpool centre-backs — Virgil van Dijk (72), Joel Matip (85) and Nat Phillips (93) — surpassing the Brazilian’s outstanding total.
Fekir is coming back to his best after finding his feet at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, and has once again been dazzling and exciting fans with his own style of straight, driving dribbles. The 2018 World Cup champion finished 88 of the 132 dribbles he started in 2021, putting him second in Europe’s main five leagues with a 66.7 percent success rate (of players to have attempted more than 100 dribbles). In March, he finished the local derby against Sevilla with a perfect 100 percent dribble completion rate, completing all ten of the intricate dribbles he attempted.
Fernandes continued his prolific start to his Manchester United career in 2021, scoring 19 goals and assisting on 17 occasions. In the Premier League in 2021, the former Sporting CP string-puller was personally involved in 21 goals for United (13 goals, eight assists), more than any other midfielder in the tournament. Despite being commonly recognized as a set-piece specialist, Fernandes’ eight assists came entirely from open play.
Phil Foden is a British footballer (Manchester City, England)
Foden was directly involved in more Premier League goals (19) than any other player aged 21 or younger last year, cementing his reputation as an explosive young midfield star. With 12 goals in the league, the 21-year-old City forward added six more in various competitions to give him a total of 18 goals for Pep Guardiola’s team in 2021.
Goretzka only made 35 appearances for Bayern Munich in 2021, but he still managed to score six goals and provide five assists in the Bundesliga, with Joshua Kimmich being the only center midfielder to score more goals (14). A curious anomaly was that Goretzka scored five of Bayern’s six goals in games, with no other midfielder in Germany’s top league scoring more goals that placed their team ahead.
Jorginho scored 10 goals in the Premier League in 2021, which was his greatest goal total in a calendar year. It’s no surprise that all ten of the lithe Italy international’s goals came from the penalty spot after one of his signature icy “hop/skip/jump” run-ups.
Kante, who is well-known for his tireless work ethic in the center of the field, averaged 1.8 interceptions per 90 minutes of football in all competitions for Chelsea in 2021, easily the most of anybody who played more than 2,000 minutes for the club during that time. When he wrestled back control 13 times against Atletico Madrid in March, the France international equaled the Blues’ club record for most ball recoveries in a Champions League encounter, surpassing N’Golo Kante’s 13 recoveries against Barcelona three years before.
Kimmich is a dynamic midfielder who excels in creative build-up play, as seen by his 46 secondary chances (passes before the generated opportunity) and 10 second assists (passes before the assist) in the Bundesliga in 2021, both more than any other player in the league. Over the course of the year, he also sprayed 1,087 completed passes across the field and generated 30 opportunities for Germany on all fronts, all of which are team highs.
Last season, Kostic racked up 21 assists in only 42 appearances for Leverkusen in all competitions, with his 328 crosses attempted from open play topping all five European leagues — no other player topped 300. With 19 assists in the Bundesliga, Kostic is second in the overall league rankings, behind only Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller (24).
Llorente was a major offensive outlet for Atleti in 2021, contributing to 17 league goals (seven goals and ten assists), a total only topped by forwards Luis Suarez (23) and Angel Correa (22). (19). Indeed, Levante winger Jorge de Frutos was the only Spanish player in La Liga during that time span with more assists (11) than Llorente.
Locatelli was the only midfielder in Serie A in 2021 to complete more than 2000 passes, make more than 40 interceptions, and grind out 50 or more clearances, making him one of the breakthrough heroes of Euro 2020 with victors Italy owing to a string of spectacular displays and critical goals.
Modric, the senior statesman of Real’s midfield, made history by becoming the club’s oldest outfield player in the Champions League when he played Shakhtar Donetsk in November at the age of 36 years and 55 days. Last year, the Croatia captain completed 789 of the 873 passes he attempted in European play, only being surpassed by colleague and (slightly) younger midfield partner Toni Kroos.
Mount scored 12 goals and added seven assists in the Premier League for Chelsea in 2021, matching England teammate Foden’s output for Manchester City. Mount had at least eight more goal involvements than any other Blues player. Mount also generated 80 opportunities in the league this season, with Reece James (56), the next best Chelsea player on the list.
Muller may be one of Bayern’s more experienced players these days, but no player has ever given more league assists in a single calendar year than he did in 2021, since such statistics was first gathered in 2006-07. Last season, the Bayern veteran racked up an incredible 24 Bundesliga assists while also scoring 14 goals in 50 appearances for the team. Evergreen.
Olmo isn’t shy of hard labor, and in 2021, he regained possession an average of 1.4 times per 90 minutes for RB Leipzig, the greatest rate of any player in the Bundesliga with over 1,000 minutes played. In 2021, Olmo had five assists in the league, with Christopher Nkunku (11) being the only RB Leipzig player to surpass him. However, owing to an injury that kept him out from mid-September until Christmas, the former only played in 21 of the club’s 38 league games.
Paqueta, an integral part of Lyon’s jigsaw, was personally involved in 22 league goals for the French club in 2021, with 14 goals and eight assists — a better output than any other Brazilian in any of Europe’s top five divisions. Furthermore, Paqueta’s 14 goals for Lyon in Ligue 1 last season became him the club’s top scoring midfielder since the turn of the century.
Pedri says (Barcelona, Spain)
Over the course of a tumultuous summer that saw him play for Spain at Euro 2020 and the Olympic Games in Japan, Pedri tallied up a staggering total of 1,068 minutes of competitive international football. All of this occurred following a breakout season at Barcelona, in which the adolescent midfielder made 52 first-team appearances, becoming the club’s second-youngest player (after Bojan Krkic) to reach 50 competitive appearances. Barcelona won more than 71 percent of their LaLiga games in 2021 when Pedri started (15 of 21), compared to only 45 percent when he didn’t (nine of 20).
Rice has been instrumental in West Ham’s rise in the first half of the 2021-22 season, continuing his excellent form from the previous campaign and into the European Championship. In the Premier League alone in 2021, the 22-year-old carried the ball farther upfield (2,148 meters) and completed more passes (2,012) than any other player in the club.
After a strong start to the season, Son went on to score 30 goals (17 goals and 13 assists) for Spurs in 2021, marking the sixth year in a row that the South Korean has done so. Since arriving to White Hart Lane from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, he has never had more than 13 assists in a single year (mainly for Harry Kane).
Verratti is a belligerent spirit who often finds himself in the referee’s book, yet despite his disciplinary transgressions, the midfielder is a high-traffic creative center for both club and nation. In 2021, the PSG midfielder averaged 119 touches per 90 minutes in Ligue 1 (more than any other player), while also completing 83 percent of his attempted dribbles — another league best among players who tried 50 or more dribbles. At Euro 2020, he also produced 14 opportunities for his Italy teammates, which is more than any other player.
Wirtz, a real wonderkid, became the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever goal scorer in June 2020 before becoming the first 17-year-old to score five goals in the German top division in February. Wirtz went on to become the youngest Bundesliga player to score 10 goals (at the age of 18 years and 145 days) and the youngest to make 50 appearances (at the age of 18 years and 145 days) (18 years and 226 days).
Chiesa became the youngest Italian player in any of Europe’s main five leagues to both score and assist at least five goals in 2021, after being one of Italy’s breakout performances at Euro 2020, scoring two goals in the knockout stages en route to claiming the championship. In Serie A alone, the Juventus forward scored eight goals and added six assists, for a total of 15 goals and seven assists in all competitions.
David, who is not as well-known as some of the other attackers on the shortlist, has been a revelation for Lille, netting 27 goals in only 41 appearances for the Ligue 1 winners in 2021. When he scored his 24th goal for Lille in December, at the age of 21, the Canada international became the highest-scoring CONCACAF player in the history of the French top division, surpassing the 23 goals Julio Dely Valdes of Panama scored for Paris Saint-Germain in 1995-97.
The figures that Grealish has put up in 2021, particularly the 56 opportunities he’s generated for his teammates from open play, should not be overshadowed by his rather low-key start to life as the Premier League’s most expensive player (roughly 2.5 every 90 minutes). Kevin De Bruyne is the only player with a higher average (2.7 per 90). Grealish was also fouled 3.5 times per 90 minutes in the Premier League last season, which is more than any other player who has played 500 minutes or more in the league.
ESPN has released their annual list of the finest men’s players and coaches for the sixth year in a row! There are 41 new entries and 28 nationalities in this collection of Top 10s, which includes No. 1s from six clubs. Read
The stats speak for themselves: Haaland scored his 50th Bundesliga goal in November, making him the Bundesliga’s youngest (21 years and 129 days) and quickest (50 games) half-century scorer. However, the Norwegian’s year did not go as planned, as he lost out on Euro 2020 and World Cup qualifying before seeing Dortmund knocked from the Champions League group stage as the season sputtered to an unimpressive, injury-plagued conclusion.
Immobile, who scored 27 goals for Lazio previous season, has the most goals in Europe’s main five divisions in 2021. He was also one of just three Serie A players to have 30 or more goal involvements (26 goals and four assists) in 2021, and he had more involvements with the Italian national team (five goals and three assists) than any of his countrymen in the same calendar year.
On his best days, Insigne is a pint-sized bundle of energy who enjoys getting involved in buildup play. As a result, he had a direct hand in more attempted shots (247) than any other player in all of Europe’s major fives leagues in 2021 — that’s 163 shots for himself and 84 chances for his teammates. He also had more shots on goal (19) than any other player at Euro 2020, as well as more touches of the ball in the opposing area (32) than any other player.
Despite the fact that it was not a spectacular year for the Spurs striker by his own lofty standards, Kane scored 18 Premier League goals in 2021, with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah being the only player to score more (24). Kane also maintained an amazing goals-per-game ratio for England throughout the year, scoring 16 goals in 16 games (four of which came during England’s run to the Euro 2020 final), which is the most goals scored by any player for the Three Lions in a single calendar year.
In 2021, Lewandowski, perhaps the greatest out-and-out striker of all time, confirmed his worth by scoring more league goals (43) than any other player in Europe’s main five divisions, establishing a new single-season Bundesliga record in the process. He may have been cruelly denied a potential Ballon d’Or triumph in January when the 2020 award was postponed due to the COVID-19 epidemic, but the prolific Poland captain may take solace in the fact that he averaged more than a goal per game in the year that followed (1.3 per game, to be exact).
Lukaku’s return to Chelsea may have met a snag lately when his remarks in an interview led to his dismissal, but he has still had a productive 2021 season. In all, he scored 22 goals in 44 appearances, becoming the third Belgian striker to score in double digits in a calendar year. Lukaku had a direct role in 27 league goals (18 goals and nine assists) in only 36 games for Serie A title-winners Inter Milan and Chelsea.
Martinez not only scored 23 goals in 51 appearances for Inter, but he also won more Serie A games (30) than any other outfield player in the Italian top division in 2021. The Nerazzurri striker was also on fire for Argentina, scoring six goals in the year of their Copa America victory and only being outscored by Messi on the national side.
Mbappe, Kylian (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
Mbappe, a really extraordinary offensive talent, became the youngest player in Ligue 1 history to record a century of goals in March 2021. The PSG attacker then became the youngest player to reach 100 goals for a single club with a match-winning brace in a 2-0 win against Monaco only nine months later. Mbappe also scored 14 goals in the Champions League with PSG in 2021, which is more than any other player in the league (10 goals and four assists).
Messi, Lionel (Paris Saint-Germain, Argentina)
While you may argue that Messi’s 2021 was not a classic year. Despite leaving Barcelona to join PSG halfway through the season, the Argentina captain finished the year as the club’s best goal scorer in all competitions (scoring 13 more goals than anyone else). With victory in the 2021 Copa America (when he led the charts for both goals and assists), Messi finally earned his first major international honor, and his performances were still excellent enough for him to win a record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or at the conclusion of the year.
Moreno, who is now in his second season at Villarreal, scored 31 goals in all competitions in 2021, which is 11 more than any other Spanish player in Europe’s top five divisions. Indeed, the 29-year-old striker was the ninth-highest goal scorer in all competitions among all players in Europe’s major leagues last year, and he even earned his first ever Ballon d’Or nomination as a consequence of helping the Yellow Submarine win the Europa League.
Neymar attempted the most dribbles out of all the players who played at least 1,000 minutes in Ligue 1 in 2021, with an average of 9.7 per 90 minutes. Despite making just 33 appearances for PSG this season, Neymar still managed to score 11 goals and provide eight assists.
Oyarzabal scored 16 goals in 46 appearances for La Real, marking the fourth year in a row that he has scored 10 or more league goals for the club. He was also one of Spain’s more vivacious performances at Euro 2020, scoring his country’s fifth and final goal in a thrilling 5-3 victory against Croatia.
Since his return to Marseille in 2021, Payet has become a talismanic figure, with the French team winning 43.2 percent of the Ligue 1 games he has played in, compared to just 25% of those he has missed. In addition, the former West Ham favourite is the only player in Ligue 1 to reach the century mark in terms of opportunities created, having set up his teammates for precisely 100 efforts last season.
Despite leaving Juventus in August to rejoin Manchester United, Ronaldo finished 2021 as Juventus’ top goal scorer, with 20 goals in all competitions. Last year, the Portugal captain scored 34 goals in 51 club games, shattering Ali Daei’s 15-year record as the highest-scoring player in men’s international football. He also scored his 800th senior career goal for club and country.
Salah Mohamed Salah Mohamed Salah Mohamed Salah Mohamed Sala (Liverpool, Egypt)
Salah, one of the most consistent goal scorers in the world, led Liverpool with 24 Premier League goals in 41 games in 2021, six more than any other player in the league. Thanks to his 11 assists, he was involved in a total of 35 league goals for the Reds, which was 11 more than the next contender on the list. To top it off, the Egypt international scored or assisted in 15 straight Premier League appearances between August 28 and December 16, equaling Jamie Vardy’s record established during Leicester City’s 2015-16 title-winning season.
Suarez was released by Barcelona in the summer of 2020, but he quickly proved his value at Atleti, earning his sixth LaLiga championship in his first season at the Metropolitano. Last year, the evergreen Uruguay international (21 goals and three assists) was directly involved in 24 goals for Diego Simeone’s side across all competitions, which was four more than any of his colleagues.
In the Eredivisie in 2021, Tadic assisted 29 league goals for Ajax, more than any other player in the top ten European leagues. In addition to scoring 17 goals in 54 games, the agile Serbia international generated 150 opportunities in the Dutch top flight during that period, which is 61 more than any other player.
Vlahovic, 21, was the second-highest scorer in Europe’s main five divisions in 2021 (behind Lewandowski) with 33 goals, averaging a goal per 113 minutes for Fiorentina. In addition, the young Serbian became just the third player in Serie A history to score 30 league goals in a calendar year, and the first since Inter’s Antonio Angelillo did it in 1958.
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