EA Sports has released the first batch of its player ratings for FIFA 22, announcing the top 22 ranked players in this year's edition of the game.
As is usually the case, some of the ratings that have been meted out by EA have sent ripples through the gaming community as favourite stars climb, drop and swap rungs on the ladder.
The biggest name among the movers and shakers is undoubtedly Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been handed a demotion, which is certain to make waves among the FIFA-playing community.
The ratings are produced by The Ratings Collective, which serves as a talent scouting network for the FIFA games, assessing more than 17,000 players worldwide and assigned numerical values to more than 30 of their attributes to define their in-game skill levels.
We've sifted through the FIFA 22 ratings that EA has chosen to reveal so far, and here are the 10 things to know:
Lionel Messi is still the best player in the world
The upheaval caused by Messi's real-world decampment from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain hasn't affected the Argentina superstar's FIFA rating, which remains at 93. Messi has been a constant fixture in the top two of the FIFA ratings ever since he missed out by a single point in FIFA 09 (behind Iker Casillas and Ronaldo).
Ronaldo relegated from top two
On that subject, a grand dynasty has come to an end with the news that Ronaldo is not one of the two highest-rated players in FIFA 22. EA has risked ructions among fans by downgrading Ronaldo by a point, from 92 to 91, therefore dropping the Manchester United forward to joint-third in the overall ratings. This is the first time since FIFA 10 that Ronaldo hasn't occupied at least a joint-level placing inside the top two, when he was narrowly beaten out by Casillas and Messi in the edition of the game released in 2009.
Lewandowski takes silver
Robert Lewandowski has seen his overall rating bumped up from 91 last year to 92 in FIFA 22, thus seeing the Bayern Munich goal machine become the first new name to break the top two in over a decade. Few could argue that the prolific Poland striker deserves his place in the very upper echelons, having skyrocketed up from 15th place overall in the FIFA 20 ratings list.
Third place is crowded
Along with Ronaldo, the third-place berth is shared by no fewer than four other players. Manchester City's midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne also boasts an overall rating of 91, along with Paris Saint-Germain pair Kylian Mbappe and Neymar as well as Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak. In fact, just two ratings points separate Ronaldo (91) in third and Sadio Mane (89) in 22nd. It's tighter at the top that it's ever been.
Liverpool have no players in Top 10
Liverpool's comparative slump in 2020-21 has had a negative effect on their player ratings, with Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk both sliding out of the Top 10. Both Salah and Van Dijk found themselves riding high in the FIFA 21 ratings, in ninth and seventh place respectively. However, having both been docked a point from 90 to 89, the Anfield duo tumble down to 12th and 15th place in the overall ratings this year.
Kante is Top 10 material
Of the ratings revealed thus far, Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante has seen a significant year-on-year ratings climb. Kante was given an 88 rating last year, which placed him 26th overall. This has been increased to 90 in FIFA 22, putting the France international in ninth place to reach the Top 10 for the very first time. Given that we're talking about a player who was named Man of the Match in both the Champions League semifinal second leg and the final in 2021-22, the plaudits are well deserved.
Donnarumma the rising star
While Kante's rise is to be commended, the Chelsea man isn't the highest climber to find their way into this year's Top 22. That honour is reserved for PSG and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has leapt up from 71st (with a rating of 85) in FIFA 21 to 13th (with a rating of 89) in FIFA 22. That's 58 places in the space of 12 months. Meteoric.
Son Heung-Min is the only new name included in the top 22 for FIFA 22, having previously been 35th in FIFA 21 with an overall rating of 87. The South Korea forward has seen this boosted to 89 this year, thus landing him 17th spot. Elsewhere, Son's Tottenham Hotspur teammate Harry Kane is the only England player included in the Top 22, sneaking into the Top 10 with a rating of 90.
Real Madrid's Eden Hazard continues his FIFA ratings slump, sliding out of the top 22 altogether. The Belgium forward was 4th overall in FIFA 2020, then dropped dramatically down to 22nd after seeing his overall rating reduced from 91 to 88 within the space of a year. Now Hazard has fallen from Top 22 entirely.
Haaland yet to crack top 22
Erling Haaland debuted in the FIFA series with an overall ranking of just 73 in FIFA 20. This was soon massively upgraded to 84 in FIFA 21 after the Norway striker enjoyed a phenomenal start to life with Borussia Dortmund, though it meant he was still rated 100th overall. Despite maintaining his eye-watering scoring form, netting 65 goals in 65 appearances for Dortmund since joining them in January 2020, Haaland has still been unable to crack the Top 22 in the newest edition of FIFA.
FIFA 22's top 22 players
1. Lionel Messi - 93
2. Robert Lewandowski - 92
3. Cristiano Ronaldo - 91
4. Kevin De Bruyne - 91
5. Kylian Mbappe - 91
6. Neymar - 91
7. Jan Oblak - 91
8. Harry Kane - 90
9. N'Golo Kante - 90
10. Manuel Neuer - 90
11. Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 90
12. Mohamed Salah - 89
13. Gianluigi Donnarumma - 89
14. Karim Benzema - 89
15. Virgil van Dijk - 89
16. Joshua Kimmich - 89
17. Son Heung-Min - 89
18. Alisson Becker - 89
19. Thibaut Courtois - 89
20. Casemiro - 89
21. Ederson - 89
22. Sadio Mane - 89