EAFC 24 TOTY: The top rated cards

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By newsversepro.com

Video games have become increasingly intertwined with the ultimate beautiful game.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic tried to explain Lionel Messi’s generational talent by likening what he did on the pitch to a virtual figure in a games console. “He plays like he’s on PlayStation,” Ibrahimovic gushed years ago, “it’s unbelievable.”

After scoring a pair of near identical goals for Arsenal in this season’s Premier League, Gabriel Martinelli took to social media, succinctly summing up the Thierry Henry-esque finish he performed not with any words but the combination of buttons to smash to replicate his goals on EA Sport’s flagship game, FC 24.

Despite his clear interest in the virtual world, Martinelli didn’t make EA’s Team of the Year (TOTY) for 2023. However, Messi was one of the 22 men and women includes in the respective starting XIs.

Here are the best cards from this lofty group of world beaters.

Sticking to tradition, the release of the TOTY cards will be staggered. Opening up with the six attackers on Friday 19 January, midfielders will follow two days later before defenders and goalkeepers get their turn on 23 January.

By 25 January, the entire team will be available in packs and via various in-game challenges.

Players

Date / Time

Attackers

19/01/24 – 18:00 GMT / 13:00 ET / 10:00 PT

Midfielders

21/01/24 – 18:00 GMT / 13:00 ET / 10:00 PT

Defenders & goalkeepers

23/01/24 – 18:00 GMT / 13:00 ET / 10:00 PT

Full team

25/01/24 – 18:00 GMT / 13:00 ET / 10:00 PT

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne has been justifying his lofty rating upon his return to the pitch / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

At his first meeting with Manchester City’s incoming manager Pep Guardiola in 2016, the Catalan told De Bruyne: “Kevin, listen. You can be – easily – a top-five player in the world. Top five. Easily.”

A 96 overall rating ensures that only three male players are ranked higher than De Bruyne but a few more are slightly better suited to this year’s gameplay on FC24.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi was only given 80 pace at the start of the game / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

Pele retired when he was 36. Zinedine Zidane lasted until he was 34 and Johan Cruyff had hung up his boots while he was still 31. Lionel Messi – who turns 37 this summer – is still ranked as the best player in the world.

A hefty 97 score reflects his success at the Ballon d’Or and The Best ceremonies but his top-line stats don’t quite match up to his overall rating.

Sam Kerr

Sam Kerr will do well to come back from her ACL injury in time to make next year’s TOTY / Visionhaus/GettyImages

This will surely be Sam Kerr’s highest-rated card for some time. The prolific Chelsea forward suffered a season-ending ACL injury a day before voting for this year’s TOTY went live.

Nevertheless, Kerr had already delivered an unrelenting churn of performances to ensure that she was worthy of a suped-up set of stats.

Sophia Smith

Sophia Smith scored half of USA’s goals at the 2023 World Cup / Omar Vega/GettyImages

Sophia Smith may be one overall rating lower than Kerr, but there is little to choose between the shooting, dribbling and physical face card stats. Yet, when it comes to passing and that all-important pace, Smith comfortably comes out on top.

The young star of the US national team also boasts a five-star weak foot compared to Kerr’s four.

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland hasn’t quite reached the heights of last season but is still very highly rated / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Erling Haaland may insist that he’s “not a dribbler guy” but his TOTY card boasts a 91 rating in that category. When compared to his outrageous pace (96), shooting (98) and physical (97), then it’s clear that Haaland’s strengths lie elsewhere.

Perhaps the one aspect of Haaland‘s game that lets his card down is his passing. Despite providing 12 Premier League assists since the start of last season – more than Bruno Fernandes or Martin Odegaard – Haaland’s passing is a tame 80.

Aitana Bonmati

Aitana Bonmati cannot stop collecting silverware / Diego Souto/GettyImages

This has unmistakably been Aitana Bonmati’s year. Barcelona’s attacking hub not only won every trophy available at club and international level, but completed an unprecedented quadruple of individual awards; in less than six months, Bonmati was recognised as the best player in the world by UEFA, the Ballon d’Or and FIFA while also winning the World Cup Golden Ball.

While there’s no doubting how good Bonmati’s card is, it doesn’t quite come out on top in a video game where pace is still so valuable.

Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham’s prolific streak guaranteed him a place in EA’s Team of the Year / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

It’s easy to forget that Jude Bellingham is just 20 years young. By the time Bellingham was born, EA Sports had already released ten iterations of the FIFA series.

An unprecedented start to his Real Madrid career – leaving teammates “amazed”, “speechless” and touting him as a future club captain – has been reflected with arguably the most well-rounded card in the entire game.

Alexia Putellas

Alexia Putellas has been struggling with injury upon her return from a lengthy ACL layoff / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

When Alexia Putellas first moved to Barcelona’s academy, the coach Xavi Llorens couldn’t tell which was her stronger foot because she had been practicing with her right so much. EA rightly recognised Putellas’ bipedal brilliance with a five-star weak foot but when coupled alongside a five-star set of skill moves, few midfielder cards can beat the Barcelona sensation.

Despite enduring a gradual reintegration into the first team for club and country after a year-long recovery from a torn ACL, Putellas comfortably received the most votes of any player, male or female, from a public intent of having her in the Team of the Year.

Caroline Graham Hansen

Caroline Graham Hansen deserves an insanely high-rated card / Diego Souto/GettyImages

Boasting stats of at least 93 in four different categories – pace, shooting, passing and dribbling (the good ones) – Graham Hansen has been recognised by Electronic Arts where France Football have criminally overlooked her.

Despite serving as the sharp end of Barcelona’s all-conquering European champions, Graham Hansen was not even nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or. Incredibly, she has been overlooked every year since the award’s inception in 2018.

RC Lens v Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1 Uber Eats

Kylian Mbappe’s base card isn’t too shabby either / Christian Liewig – Corbis/GettyImages

Poland and Aston Villa full-back Matty Cash survived a World Cup knockout tie directly up against Mbappe – but only just. “I spent the afternoon watching his clips and I knew it was going to be a tough test,” Cash reflected. “In real life, he’s burning my legs.”

There will be pixels in flames across the game when Mbappe’s jet-heeled TOTY card finds its way onto the pitch. The fleet-footed 25-year-old has been handed 99 pace and the Quick Step Play Styles+. Effectively, this card is the virtual personification of a cheat code.

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