One of the best parts of the new year! Voting for the FIFA 19 TOTY has opened, with the full XI set to be released on January 7th. In total, 55 players have been nominated. The final team will be decided by a mix of media, athletes, and EA SPORTS FIFA community members.
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) January 2, 2019
With such a wonderful bunch of nominees, the final team is sure to cause plenty of debate. It can be difficult how these votes will go, and we have seen some surprising inclusions in the past.
Despite this, we are going to try and predict how the final team will look. Take a look:
GK: David De Gea - Manchester United
David De Gea's place in this team is definitely less than certain, with a number of top quality goalkeepers also nominated. Alisson and Jan Oblak will be his main competition, but you would expect the voters to stick with De Gea for one more year at least.
RB: Kyle Walker - Manchester City
The nominations for right back in this team are surprisingly shallow, with no real stand out candidates. Kyle Walker is the most likely though, with his exploits for Manchester City last season and his status as a FIFA favourite tipping the balance in his favour.
CB: Virgil van Dijk - Liverpool
You can't really argue with Virgil van Dijk's place in this team. The Dutch international has been a revelation since moving to Liverpool a year ago, and looks perhaps the best defender in Europe at the moment. Liverpool's strong recent form will likely get him a place in the XI.
CB: Raphael Varane - Real Madrid
Varane just pips Real Madrid teammate Sergio Ramos here, largely thanks to his performances at the World Cup with France. Varane has steadily improved over the past couple of years, and now looks like the main man at Madrid. Him and van Dijk seem the clear choices for this side.
LB: Marcelo - Real Madrid
Marcelo remains the best left back in the game, despite Madrid's less than stellar end to 2018. He was phenomenal in the Champions League final, and that gets him in ahead of Lucas Hernandez and Jordi Alba.
CM: Luka Modrić - Real Madrid
A certainty. Modrić has dominated the 2018 awards, winning the Ballon d'Or, the FIFA World Player of the Year and the World Cup Golden Ball. That will continue here, and his card should be absolutely incredible.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne - Manchester City
While De Bruyne has suffered an injury-hit campaign this season so far, he deserves to be rewarded for his outstanding contribution to Manchester City's title win. He also led Belgium to a World Cup semi-final, and should slot nicely into a midfield three in this team.
CM: Toni Kroos - Real Madrid
The final spot in this midfield will cause the most debate. David Silva and Ivan Rakitic both have strong cases, but Kroos will likely get the nod. He is still held in high esteem by the voters, and has a Champions League win to bolster his chances.
He also scored that incredible winning goal against Sweden in the World Cup, even if Germany's performances were largely disastrous.
RW: Mohamed Salah - Liverpool
Another spot sure to cause plenty of debate. Kylian Mbappé enjoyed a wonderful 2018, highlighted by a World Cup victory during the summer. He makes a strong case for this position, but it is too hard to ignore Mohamed Salah.
While he may be lacking in team honours, he finished the year as the form player at perhaps the top team in European football. He reached a Champions League final, and scored 36 goals in the calendar year.
ST: Lionel Messi - Barcelona
Another certainty. Despite finishing fifth(?!) in the Ballon d'Or voting, Messi enjoyed yet another remarkable year. He won La Liga, and registered more goals and more assists than any other player during the calendar year.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus
While he has been deployed in a more central role for Juventus this season, Ronaldo played predominantly on the left for Madrid during their Champions League triumph. Regardless, he will be on this team once again, after scoring 43 goals in 2018.
He pips Neymar here, with the Brazilian's disappointing World Cup shoeing a major factor.