Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka join Lionel Messi in EA Sports’ Team of the Year shortlist

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EA Sports have released their shortlist for FIFA 2023’s Team of the Year, with England stars Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka featuring alongside Ballon d’Or winners Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric.

The list, which names 100 players who have impressed across 2022, also includes Moroccan pair Yassine Bounou and Sofyan Amrabat after the Atlas Lions’ run to the World Cup semi finals, while there was no room for Cristiano Ronaldo dollowing a turbulent 12 months for the striker.

No one is more deserving of a spot on the list than Messi, who finally completed his trophy cabinet in December by guiding Argentina to victory in Qatar.

The 35-year-old was named player of the tournament after scoring seven goals, second only to fellow nominee Kylian Mbappe.

Another star making the list on the back of stunning international form is Bellingham, who lived up to the hype as England’s future star with a breakout World Cup campaign that saw him score in the Group Stage and provide a brilliant run and assist for Jordan Henderson against Senegal in the round of 16.

Benzema was absent from the World Cup after picking up a thigh injury, but still makes the list after picking up the Ballon d’Or earlier in the year following a remarkable season with Real Madrid.

He scored 44 goals across all competitions for Real Madrid last season, as they won both LaLiga and the Champions League.

The striker was particularly impressive in Europe, scoring 15 times in 12 games including two hat tricks.

Despite his advancing years, Modric also played an important role in Real’s double and led Croatia to a second consecutive top three finish at a World Cup.

The 37-year-old was given the Bronze Ball award as his side finished third in Qatar, four years after he won the Golden Ball in the same competition.

Saka was among England’s stronger attacking players over the winter and has formed a vital part of Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge this season.

He is named among the 100 after winning the Gunners’ player of the season award two years in a row.

Fans will be able to vote on which of the shortlisted players make the final Team of the Year, with voting open from Tuesday at until January 17.

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