A fresh EA season of virtual football kicks off later this month. Wondering "who should I play as on FIFA 16?" long after your real life side is eliminated from all competitions and only playing for pride? Ben Wilson has the answer...
This week saw the demo release of FIFA 16 on Sony and Microsoft consoles – and its improved midfield play, punchier shooting and additional celebrations (we’ve already posed into the pitchside camera more than a dozen times) has only served to whet our appetites for the finished version. With that in mind, here are the 14 teams we can’t wait to play as in career mode and online when the game proper lands on September 22...
The 90-rated finishing of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling’s pace attribute of 92, David Silva and Yaya Toure’s OVRs (overalls) of 87 and 85 – it speaks volumes for the strength of Manchester City’s squad that Fabian Delph is rated as only their eighth-best midfielder. Expect to see a LOT of these fellas in ranked online matches. And, as the old saying goes: if you can’t beat ‘em...
Cover star Lionel Messi is once again the highest-rated player in the game, with an OVR of 94 and almost perfect dribbling, ball control and balance statistics. But if your opponent does succeed in stopping Leo, they still have Luis Suarez (89), Neymar (87), Andres Iniesta (89) and Ivan Rakitic (84) to contend with. Like in real life, this is a side packing an embarrassment of riches.
In addition to being the entire British Isles’ topical darlings, Chris Coleman’s virtual charges also present one of FIFA 16’s most challenging tactical conundrums: how best to utilise their multi-skilled, ballerina-toed, 87-rated cheat player? And no, we’re not referring to Hal Robson-Kanu.
Last year, England’s Premier League got bespoke, TV-broadcast style presentation for the first time. In FIFA 16, it’s the Bundesliga’s turn. Who better to sample it with than a squad featuring no fewer than eight players rated 86 or higher, including two 90s in Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer? In videogame terms, this is probably the best German club side ever.
Think the men’s team is good? Wait ’til you see the ladies’. Our first, behind-closed-doors play as the Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft der Frauen (catchy, no?) back in May ended in a 8-0 victory over the USA – so it’s no surprise that their stats have been toned down. A front three of Nadine Kessler (OVR 89), Anja Mittag (84) and Celia Sasic (85) is the stuff of nightmares for Torhüterinnen of any nationality.
New York City
Robbie Keane, Didier Drogba, Steven Gerrard, Kaka, Clint Dempsey: for a reunion tour of FIFA favourites from the last 10 years, you’ll definitely want to sample a season in the MLS. And with an 84-rated Andrea Pirlo and 79-rated Frank Lampard laying on chances for David Villa (80), the recommended team to do it with can only be the Big Apple's Manchester City/New York Yankees hybrid.
The Scottish Premiership is such a dead rubber these days that overseeing the Bhoys in career mode offers next-to-zero challenge. Even so, the green-and-white half of Glasgow should still deliver entertaining online matches thanks to two players with five-star skill sets in Gary Mackay-Steven and Nadir Ciftci, and the formidable engine room pairing of Scott Brown and Kris Commons.