Lets play FIFA! One of the most common quotes heard from football lovers all around the world. Playing normal matches in FIFA is one thing whereas playing the career mode is a different ball game. One needs to look into the team with the eyes of a manager and feel the essence of the game a lot more. Planning the strategy of the game, estimation of opposition, development of home-grown players and deals in the transfer market defines a successful manager from an ordinary one.
To carry on with the managerial mode of career, firstly you need to select a team. I suggest, as a beginner, one should choose a strong team at the beginning to get a hang of the mode as big teams tend to have a bigger transfer budget, better players and its quite easy to attract top talent from across the world. So basically these are teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid (La Liga), Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City (EPL), Juventus (Serie – A), Bayern Munich (Bundesliga).
“Its not about winning with top teams, a great manager is somebody who makes an ordinary team look an extraordinary one”
Now you may differ with me on this, but being a fan of FIFA I am a bit adventurous. So in this regard you need to play with limited budget, track good players on the free agent list, send scouts to improve your youth team. One thing I have noticed when I see other players play FIFA is that they hardly invest in the youth team which is extremely wrong. Its best to invest in the future at nascent stages of the development. One can send them to season loans at any Championship club (second division) so that he can get some important gametime before he can turn up for the first team. Generally, in the transfer market, highly rated teenagers would be extremely expensive to buy and thus, its possible to buy using a big club but it is impossible for a small club with a shoestring budget.
So presenting you the five basic steps to follow for a successful career in FIFA:-
1. Select a team which suits your playing style
This step is the most basic and important of all. It is very important to find a team which plays your style. It is also possible to select a club and enforce your formation and style on the club but it will make your job a hell lot easier if you find one that suits you. If you are a beginner and your playing style is possessive you can choose Barcelona for instance. If you are defensive minded and need a lot of midfielders to back your defensive wall choose Juventus. If you are an out and out counterattacking team choose Athletico Madrid. Note that these choices aint exclusive hence you can choose the club of your choice. The main part is that the core group of the team must align with your playing style.
2. Use the transfer market resources to reinforce your team
Whether you have 10 million dollars in your transfer market budget or a hundred million dollars, the main aim must be to identify the weak areas in your team and reinforce them. For example, if the midfield is lacking quality ball players in the middle then try to fill the gaps by buying a defensive player. The wage is also a concern for your transfer budget. If you use too much of the wage per week option in the slider to attract a top player you may not have enough resources to renew the contracts of some existing top players in your team. Trust me, leaving the top players without a good return and turning them into free agents are very sad options.
Regarding the wage market, if you traditionally look at the leagues in general, English Premier League players are paid much higher than equal counterparts in German Bundesliga or French Ligue-1. This is the very reason that when I used to play with a premier league club buying a French player is relatively easy on the money rather than an English teenager who is highly rated and has high wage demands.
3. If a player is adamant on the way out, cash in on the player
FIFA career mode doesn’t always test out your football skills but your business deals too. Many a times it may happen that the important player may try to leave the club for greener pastures outside or homesick or adamant to leave the club under controversial circumstances. In such instances, do not compromise on the value of the player. First thing is put the player on the transfer list thus showing that you are interested in selling the player. Next, do not allow the situation to aggravate to such a level that the management board try to sell the player to party without your control. Generally you get very less amount for those kind of transfers and its not advisable. So try to gauge the type of club interested in the deal and ask for the amount of money. For instance, in FIFA14, I was playing with Spurs and as soon my season started Gareth Bale was adamant to leave the club. Though Bale was a superstar player for the club I understood that getting a higher price is better to me. Hence though the initial quote of Real Madrid was somewhere around 60 million I sealed the deal around a region of 75 million. I plugged the gap by buying a cheap alternative of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain who is quite fast, though not so skilful as Bale at a price of 10 million and thus spare a whole amount of money on other options. Thus when you are playing for a smaller club, cashing on your prized possessions are more important than letting it go.
4. Introduce a scouting network
Introducing a scouting network maybe overlooked by many managers, but realistically that’s the best way of getting talent. “Catch them young”. Earlier a player can be tapped the better it is for the future. Playing the managerial mode is all about creating a strong foundation in the club. Generally scouts are present at various clubs and ratings are available, so it is inferable that a higher rated scout needs to be paid more. Selecting the region for scout is another task. Asia and Oceania groups rarely have top talents and hence sending in those places is probably a wastage of money. If you need talented and skilful players with flair in their game choose Europe and Latin America. Countries such as Spain, Argentina and Brazil must be the target. One would get top talents for CAM, RM/RW, LM/LW positions in these countries. Please remember to scout a player for atleast three months as overall ratings are generally higher in first impression. But do remember not to wait beyond three months as players may be lured by other clubs or academies. If you want strong centre backs or defensive midfielders scout in France, Germany and England. The best of the deals would be there. Once these players turn 17 offer them a permanent contract and send them out on short loans or season loans till their overall rating touch 70, above which its easy to play with.
5. Keep a balanced team and backup options
A balanced team is very much necessary to be a successful managers. Just like its necessary to score using a prolific forward, similarly its necessary to defend using a stout centre back. Hence a mixture of experience and young players are required. Do not lose your core team in transfers as the identity of the team is lost in the process. Try to get a forward with a great potential in line with your existing forward and rotate between the two. For example, use the younger forward in cup matches and hence both the players are rested as well as satisfied with the team role. Keep young options for wingers as there is a lot of running involved and older wingers are diminished in value. Whereas experienced defenders and midfield players are required to handle key positions and implementing the tactics on the field, young wingers can track back and help in defending.
Though views might vary and the style of every individual is different, these five points are very essential and must be remembered by all FIFA enthusiasts. After all, the famous manager Jose Mourinho once said “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one”.
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