The nominees for the FIFA 23 Team of the Year have been revealed and, as usual, the shortlist has thrown up several talking points -- the biggest of which is regarding Cristiano Ronaldo.
Fans can now vote on who they think should be included in the EA Sports game's best XI until Jan. 17, with 100 of the top names of world football from which to select their own dream side. The Team of the Year will be announced on Jan. 19, and those selected will gain special FIFA 23 Ultimate Team items and stat boosts in-game.
The full list of the 100 nominees is broken down by position with 30 attackers, 35 midfielders, 25 defenders and 10 goalkeepers for fans to vote on. After looking through this year's names, here is a roundup of the most notable takeaways.
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Ronaldo leaves the elite
After enduring the toughest year of his playing career, in which he became a fixture on the benches of both Manchester United and Portugal, Ronaldo has suffered the added ignominy of failing to earn a place among the 30 attacking players nominated.
This marks the first time that Ronaldo, who joined Saudi club Al Nassr late last month after his Manchester United contract was terminated, has missed out on the shortlist since the Team of the Year was introduced to the EA Sports series for FIFA 09. Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos are the only players who made the FIFA 09 TOTY and are still active.
Just to further compound matters, the last time Ronaldo actually made the final cut was FIFA 21. Last year he was ousted from the XI's front line by Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski, although he was later voted the "12th man" along with a separate list of honorary mentions.
City and Real dominate
Manchester City and Real Madrid can boast more players included in the 100-name shortlist than any other club, with both clubs seeing eight of their star names nominated.
Overall, the shortlist is drawn from seven different European leagues with a total of 30 nominees hailing from the Premier League, 21 from LaLiga, 20 from Serie A, 16 from the Bundesliga, nine from Ligue 1, three from the Portugal's Primeira Liga and one from the Dutch Eredivisie.
Darwin among TOTY debutants
The FIFA 23 Team of the Year shortlist features a few notable stars who are nominees for the first time.
Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior, who scored the winning goal in last season's Champions League final, and Martin Odegaard, captain of Premier League leaders Arsenal, are two of the players who have stepped up into world football's top tier in the eyes of EA Sports.
Liverpool and Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez, whose first few months at Anfield have been characterised by some goals, some wild misses and all-action but erratic displays, also makes his first appearance on the list, as do Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and Sevilla full-back Marcos Acuna.
World Cup inclusions
A total of 16 nominees on the FIFA 23 Team of the Year shortlist are listed as "World Cup inclusions," implying that they have sealed their place thanks to their impressive individual performances at the tournament.
Standout performers such as Argentina's mischievous goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, France's converted midfielder Antoine Griezmann, Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol, Morocco duo Sofyan Amrabat and Yassine Bounou, Japan super-sub Ritsu Doan and Portugal playmaker Bruno Fernandes are all included thanks to their exploits in Qatar.
Despite Argentina beating France on penalties in that thrilling final last month to win the World Cup, Les Bleus have more than double the number of nominees (19) than the new world champions (7).