What a year 2023 was in football. Some familiar names and some less familiar names really produced during the calendar year, making EA Sports’ job of selecting nominees for the EA Sports FC 24 Team of the Year all the more difficult.

With Opta providing data for EA Sports FC 24, we thought it would be appropriate to use Opta data to look at the nominees and come up with our own men’s TOTY selection.

It’s just a bit of fun and you can go and make your own selection after you’ve read ours, but be sure to tell us why we’re wrong on social media.

So, who made our XI?

FC24 TOTY men's goalkeeper nominees

EA Sports FC 24 TOTY: Goalkeeper

Marc-André ter Stegen

Like most of these selections, this was a difficult one. Atlético Madrid’s Jan Oblak had another very good year, conceding just 36 goals in all competitions and recording a save percentage of 75.5%. The Slovenian was also the only goalkeeper nominee not to record a single error that led to a goal all year.

Borussia Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel was also a somewhat unlikely standout, helping his team come incredibly close to ending Bayern Munich’s stranglehold on the Bundesliga as he conceded just 53 goals from 66.5 expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) across 2023, by far the biggest positive differential of all the nominees.

We’ve gone for Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen, though, who helped the Catalan giants to the La Liga title and keeping a whopping 25 clean sheets across the year in all competitions, by far the most of all the nominees. He was also named the La Liga Player of the Season for 2022-23.

Ter Stegen made 119 saves in total at a percentage of 75.8%, also the highest of all the nominees, conceding 38 goals in 47 games from 42.6 xGOT.

FC24 TOTY men's defender nominees

EA Sports FC 24 TOTY: Defenders

Jeremie Frimpong, Federico Dimarco, Virgil van Dijk, Kim Min-jae

We again start with honourable mentions. Of the list of defender nominees, no-one attempted (98) or successfully made (62) as many tackles as Mats Hummels, while no-one had a higher tackle success percentage than Bremer (80.8%), who also made last season’s team.

Dante won possession most often (332) while Trent Alexander-Arnold led the way for assists (18) and chances created (108).

Our right-back selection goes to Bayer Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong, though. With a staggering 26 goal involvements in 2023 in all competitions (11 goals, 15 assists), the former Celtic man was impossible to overlook.

Frimpong also won 65.5% of his tackles (36 of 55) and created the most chances from open play of any of the nominees (81 – ahead of Alexander-Arnold’s 69). He also didn’t make a single error leading to an opposition shot, just one of four nominees who didn’t. Finally, Frimpong made 186 long progressive carries (10+ metres upfield) in the Bundesliga in 2023 – the most of any player.

At left-back we very nearly opted for Frimpong’s Leverkusen teammate Álex Grimaldo. The Spaniard recorded nine goals and eight assists for Benfica and the German side in 2023 in just 28 games (25 starts), but we just gave the edge to Inter Milan’s Federico Dimarco.

Like Grimaldo, the Italian also produced 17 goal involvements in 2023 (6 goals, 11 assists), while also playing a significant part in Inter’s run to the UEFA Champions League final. Only Alexander-Arnold created more chances than Dimarco’s 84 among the defender nominees, while he was also third for tackle success (72.6% – 37 of 51).

For our centre-back selections we wanted to cover all bases. Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk was one of our picks last year, and he’s back again this time. Last season may not have been the best for Jürgen Klopp’s team, but they finished strongly, and have started this one well too, in no small part due to Van Dijk appearing to get back to his best.

The big Dutchman had the most clean sheets of any defender in the Premier League in 2023 (13) and won more aerial duels in all competitions than each of his fellow nominees (147), 21 more than the next most, which came from the man we’ve selected to partner him at centre-back.

Bayern Munich’s Kim Min-jae mostly gets in for his work in securing Napoli their first Serie A title in 33 years, but the South Korea international has also been impressive since arriving in the Bundesliga.

Of all the defender nominees, as well as being second for aerial duels won (126) he recorded the most interceptions (75) and was third for possession won (284). Kim also initiated five open-play sequences that ended in goals in the Champions League in 2023 – more than any other defender.

FC24 TOTY men's midfielder nominees

EA Sports FC 24 TOTY: Midfielders

Rodri, Jude Bellingham, Florian Wirtz

Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos was perhaps unsurprisingly the nominee with the highest pass completion percentage (94.1%) in 2023, while probably more surprisingly, Bayern’s Jamal Musiala led the way for tackle success (77.6% – 38 of 49).

They both narrowly miss out, though, as does Declan Rice. The Arsenal midfielder was well out in front of his fellow midfield nominees for interceptions (84) across his time with West Ham and the Gunners in 2023, but as we wanted a little bit of everything in our midfield, we felt it was a straight choice between him and Rodri, and the Manchester City man gets the nod.

It’s not too difficult to see why. What a 2023 the Spain international had, winning a treble with Man City as well as the UEFA Nations League with his country, before ending the year with the FIFA Club World Cup. He attempted almost 1,000 more passes than any other midfield nominee (4,883) with a 92.2% accuracy, while he also won possession more often than anyone else (432). He even found time to score eight goals and provide seven assists.

Rodri recovered the ball and initiated eight open-play sequences that ended in goals in the Premier League in 2023 – the most of any player.

He lines up in our midfield alongside Jude Bellingham, who has taken La Liga by storm since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid last summer.

The main eye-opener from Bellingham has been his proficiency in front of goal, scoring 22 times in all competitions in 2023, more than any other midfield nominee. But crucially, he also does the dirty work. Only eight nominees attempted more tackles than his 68, none of whom could match his success rate of 64.7%, while only eight made more interceptions than his 35.

Bellingham scored 10 goals in his first 10 games in La Liga, the fewest appearances needed by a Real Madrid player to hit 10 goals in the competition this century.

The final spot sees another Bayer Leverkusen player sneak in, with Florian Wirtz returning from long-term injury to dominate the Bundesliga in 2023. He assisted more goals (13) and created more chances (69) from open play than any other player in the Bundesliga in the calendar year.

The 20-year-old scored 12 goals and assisted another 20 in all competitions from 48 appearances (39 starts) for Xabi Alonso’s side, with only Dortmund’s Julian Brandt able to match his 116 chances created in that time of the midfield nominees.

The same duo led the way for big chances created (23), but notably for Wirtz, he also won possession in the final third more often than anyone else (52). He completed 94 dribbles in the Bundesliga in 2023, with only Bayern’s Leroy Sané completing more (114).

FC24 TOTY men's attacker nominees

EA Sports FC 24 TOTY: Attackers

Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappé

This is the one area of the pitch where we have compromised our desire to have a balanced lineup. It was just impossible to leave either of our number nine selections out.

Cristiano Ronaldo took to life in Saudi Arabia well, scoring 44 goals for Al Nassr across all competitions in 2023 – the most by any player for a Saudi Pro League club in this period. He (10) was also one of only three players to score 10+ goals for a European nation at international level in 2023, along with Kylian Mbappé (10) and Romelu Lukaku (15). The Portugal star has not made the cut, though.

Did Lionel Messi? Well, he did last year, and he averaged a goal or assist every 66 minutes on average for Inter Miami in 2023 – the best ratio of any player to play 1,000+ minutes across all competitions for a Major League Soccer club. But alas, we’re afraid Messi is also not in this year’s TOTY.

Erling Haaland is. He was a monster in 2023, scoring 44 goals for Man City in 54 games, assisting a further 11 and, like Rodri, winning more silverware than anyone could know what to do with. He converted more big chances than any of his fellow nominees (39), though that was aided by having 33 more than anyone else (93, ahead of Kylian Mbappé’s 60). Haaland also scored more goals (12) and was directly involved in more (14, two assists) than any other player in the Champions League in 2023.

Harry Kane slots in next to the Norwegian. He was just one goal behind Haaland with 43, though that came from just 48 games with both Tottenham and Bayern. Kane also scored nine goals in nine games for England across all competitions in 2023, more than twice as many as any other player for the Three Lions.

Only Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy (27.6%) had a better shot conversion rate out of the attacking nominees, with Kane scoring from 26.7% of his attempts at goal.

The likes of Mohamed Salah, Antoine Griezmann and Lautaro Martínez were under consideration, but it is Kylian Mbappé who takes the final spot in our attack. The Paris Saint-Germain star’s future is the topic of much debate right now, but it is his recent past we’re interested in, and he had a terrific 2023.

Mbappé scored 42 goals in 44 club games, with 27 goals from open play in Ligue 1 in 2023 – the highest tally of any player across Europe’s big five leagues – while he also shone on the international stage. For France in 2023, Mbappé scored more goals (10) and made more assists (6) than any other player for Les Bleus.

So, that’s our XI taken from the 86-man EA Sports FC 24 Team of the Year shortlist. It’s time for you to pick yours.

Voting is open from now until 11:59 PST on January 14, 2024, and you can make your TOTY selection at EA.com.

EA FC TOTY Graphic

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