I’ve been playing Football Manager for over 12 years now – that’s over half of my entire life. In that time, I’ve probably lost weeks and months of time and sleep I’ll never get back. Well, lost…let’s say invested. After all, I’ve discovered a lot of wonderkids.
FM is hands down the most addictive game I’ve ever played. Any fan will know how tough it is to switch off when you’re having a good run, whilst calling it a day on a loss is definitely out of the question too. I’ve put together my best XI from my 12 years of FM. Although my signature tactic is usually a 4-2-3-1, I had to include at least a couple of strikers so I’ve gone for a traditional 4-4-2 formation. You may recognize a few Championship Manager 03-04 stars, because it’s the first game I properly got into. Anyway, here goes:
Goalkeeper – Kasper Schmeichel: I remember bringing him in as a 16 year old from Man City, and he became a first team contender very quickly. Was ridiculously cheap too – all you had to pay to sign him was a compensation fee for the youth training. Not quite his father, but a great keeper. Ter Stegen and Ochoa could have claimed the spot too.
Right back – Daniele Bonera: That’s a random one, featuring in a place which naturally belongs to Vanden Borre. I just remember having him in quite a few top level teams when he was still a relatively young player. Never cheap by any means, but solid both at right back and centre back.
Centre back – Vincent Kompany: perhaps one of Sports Interactive’s proudest calls, Kompany’s been set for greatness ever since he first appeared on the game. I’ve nicked him from Anderlecht for so many of my teams. Never disappointed, and of course became the beast that he is in real live later down the years.
Centre back – Jose De la Cuesta: perhaps my favourite ever defender on CM & FM. Versatile, insanely cheap (less than 500k if I remember correctly), the Colombian would walk into your starting XI at the age of 20. Fabulous player, and the first FM anomaly of this team, as he never really made it in real life. More recently, Eder Balanta has a similar profile and is quality too.
Left back – Juan Pablo Sorin: what a player! As a PSG fan, I remember when it used to be relatively challenging to play with my team on the game. I recall having Sorin on loan. He was a great player, mainly as a left back but technically at ease enough to play anywhere on the left wing, as well as in the centre of the park. Formed a good Argentine partnership with Gabby Heinze. Close shot with Evra, from his Monaco days.
Centre midfield – Kim Kallstrom: I even signed him when I’d play with a massive club like Real. On top of my head, he probably cost around 3-4 million, so he wasn’t that affordable. However, he was one of the best youngsters in the game, particularly good from set pieces. Went on to play for Lyon for a few years. He had a decent career, but never match the level of his digitized self.
Centre midfield – Cesc Fabregas: Think he first appeared in the game when I actually started playing, around 2003. The Spaniard went from being one of the most promising 16 year old CMs to the best player I’ve ever seen in his position, at his Arsenal peak. 15 assists a season guaranteed. Irreplaceable.
Left winger – David Silva: not exactly unknown (and very pricey), but also one of the best players I’ve had on FM. I used to have him and Aguero together for Arsenal, back in 2008 I think. They formed the best partnership I’ve had in the game. Even though he was a dot, I could tell he had the technical ability and class of a Zidane. Should probably play down the centre and is taking Pedersen’s place really, but couldn’t not have him. Luckily he’s versatile. I also really liked Diego in that number 10 role.
Right winger – Toledo: like De la Cuesta, came out of absolutely nowhere in the game, and remained right there in real life. Available for a few hundred thousands, Toledo might be the best out and out winger I’ve seen on FM. He was certainly the best bargain in that position. From the off, the Brazilian was rated between 18-20 in acceleration, pace, dribbling, crossing. Loved him.
Striker – Evandro Roncatto: Picking my 2 favourite FM strikers of all time is an absolute ordeal. It could’ve been Tevez and Robinho from their Boca/Santos days purely based on ability. Or Alessio Cerci for being a bargain, or Aguero for being the most efficient of all. It could’ve been Vela, Adu – although I never pushed him to his full potential…
Anyway, Roncatto was also a complete randomer available for next to nothing, Unlike the other strikers I mentioned, you could sign him for virtually any team. I think he was better than Cerci at the same age, and performanced better than Adu from the off. For me, anyway.
Striker – Anatoli Todorov: Last but not least, and on virtually the same reasons as Roncatto. From a random Eastern European team named Litex, he was easily available and deadly. While Roncatto was more of a dribbler, I remember Todorov being a cold finisher. The legs of a youngster and the brains of Inzaghi. Class act.
Who makes your team?