Why were Messi and Neymar excluded from the FIFA 21 Team of the Year? Let's find out

After weeks of voting, the FIFA 21 Ultimate Team of the Year was revealed as over ten million fans of the game voted from 185 countries, selecting 11 players who were the best performing players in their roles compared to everyone else on the planet in 2020.

The final ratings are yet to be disclosed but one thing is assured that these cards will have some of the craziest stats ever witnessed in a FIFA game.

Let's have a look at the team and reassess why these 11 players were better than the rest of the world.


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Manuel Neuer- Probably his name would be enough to take away all the other contenders out of contention. 

Bayern Munich lost only one game in the year 2020. A lot of the praise has to be given to the 2014 World cup winner, who was phenomenal throughout the calendar year, redeeming himself as the best in the business after some years of disappointments.

A lot of people felt that he was 'finished' but here he is being the first-choice keeper of the best team in the world.


Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB)

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Well, 2021 has been horrific for the Englishman but it was certainly the opposite last year. His whipping crosses were astonishing, and almost every fan in the world was in awe of how Trent curled his crosses.

Virgil Van Dijk (CB)

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Same team, same story. Van Dijk is yet to play a part in 2021 but there are no doubts in calling him the best central defender in 2020. And that is despite the Dutch missing all the games post-October after he picked up a long-term ACL injury.

Sergio Ramos (CB)

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It's like a regular college attendance for the Real Madrid skipper now. Ramos has been a regular in the TOY. However, he did lose his spot as Matthijs De Ligt replaced the Spaniard in FIFA 20. 

He is back to where he belongs after managing to win the La Liga last season and also becoming the highest-scoring La Liga defender in history.

Alphonso Davies (LB)

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As surprising as 2020 was, you cannot question the Canadian's presence in the team. That run past through the entire Barcelona backline was enough to prove his contention but his consistency and dedication earned him a spot as the left-back of this team.


Joshua Kimmich (CM)

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A player so versatile was undoubtedly going to be a part of this team. Kimmich was too strong in whatever role he played in the game and despite some injury struggles, he was with his team in every hurdle they managed to cross successfully.

Bruno Fernandes (CM)

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One of the very few Manchester United players since the post-Ferguson era to have taken the world by storm. Who knew the £50m signing would be in the headlines almost for the entire year.

Kevin de Bruyne (CM)

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Another Manchester star but it is safe to say that De Bruyne has now cemented his spot here, with his third consecutive appearance. However, 2020 was special for the Belgian as he soared to new heights.


Kylian Mbappe (ST)

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Kylian was instrumental in PSG's Ligue 1 title and also their fantabulous displays in the Champions League. The youngster was very close to his first UCL trophy at such a young age, but fell short at the last hurdle.

Robert Lewandowski (ST)

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The best footballer of the year 2020 would be disappointed, and gutted after the Ballon d'Or ceremony was canned. However, he did win The Best FIFA Men's Player Award.

Cristiano Ronaldo (ST)

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Messi fans would be fuming seeing this. However, you cannot deny that a pandemic-struck season too couldn't stop Ronaldo from showing his greatness. The highest goalscorer in the history of football broke new records in the Serie A and reached new heights in the Champions League too.

Also, he surely wouldn't mind getting one up compared to Messi, would he?

Coming to the all important question, why no Lionel Messi in the TOY?

Well, the answer is his numbers were still in contention with the other forwards on the list but the Argentine certainly did not have any trophies to boast. 

He was barely noticeable in Barcelona's shambolic 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich and you would certainly know that the other forwards would've done better more often at the stages the team needed them more.

The transfer rumor hasn't helped Messi either and a recent red card shows how far Messi is from his natural game and mentality. In fact, despite his heroics in the Champions League KO stages, Neymar was excluded too as his impact was not as much as the forwards in the list.

The entire basis or criteria for making into the TOY is that the players should have individual statistics to boast, trophies to display, while their performances in crucial and influential games is also monitored.

Both the ex-team-mates had one thing but missed out on the other, and that became the reason why two of the best players on the planet were excluded this year.

However, the good thing is that the competition is rising and it is anticipated that post the Ronaldo-Messi era, we will really have no idea of who all will make it to the XI consistently like these two did.

Disclaimer: These rating may or may not be accurate. 

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