FIFA 18 Icons: 7 all-time legends we really want to see included
EA Sports have done their bit this summer by announcing some irresistible Icons for FIFA 18, including special versions of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand, Diego Maradona and Thierry Henry.
But why stop there? Assuming they’ll return the stars of yesterday they included from FIFA 17, these are the seven icons we’re really hoping will be introduced to FIFA 18 when it’s released in September.
It’s a disheartening realisation that some younger fans know Zidane as nothing more than a manager, or bloke with an exceedingly powerful forehead. The rest of us know better: that there were few who could match the loyalty a football showed him.
An issue with Zidane in FIFA would be his lack of pace, but that would merely make those who succeed with him all the more enlightened. Besides, we can forgive it: you'd really want Zidane in FIFA 18 to pirouette your way through midfield, slicing defences apart with passes that take out five opposition players at once.
Put the Frenchman in a midfield three next to the classy duo of Mesut Ozil and Andres Iniesta, then consider yourself part of the FIFA bourgeoisie. (Crossing your legs at the ankle and wearing black-and-white-striped jumpers while listening to classical music is encouraged, but not required.)
Before considering Beckham’s footballing ability, one must address the beautiful elephant in the room: with the new “icon stories” feature we'd get not one but three of his hairstyles throughout the years. That alone is worth his inclusion.
But Beckham is also one of the most decorated English players of all time. He’d be a top card in FIFA, which almost makes that rock star persona pale in comparison to his footballing ability. Just imagine those crosses, free-kicks and finesse shots.
Plus, given the likelihood that FIFA returns Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, George Best, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Phil Neville (!) and more from FIFA 17 as Icons, Beckham would let you take one step closer to manufacturing an all-time United squad.
Speaking of Manchester United legends, Cantona is another icon we’d love to see in FIFA 18. The collar-popping Frenchman scored 82 goals in five seasons at United, winning the Premier League four times and FA Cup twice. But those honours almost feel like boring footnotes; for Cantona's overriding appeal was the way he played football.
King Eric had it all and more – not least a penchant for kicking other things he shouldn't. Granted, there’s no kung-fu option in FIFA, but maybe a Cantona card could help ease the game into a period where celebrations are more realistic than ever. Or maybe not if EA don't fancy giving you the option of getting six players sent off in every game after all.
Too many elegies of Gazza dwell upon unfulfilled potential, which grows tiresome. The National Football Museum describes him as the “most naturally gifted midfielder of his generation” – hard to argue with when remembering the boyish brilliance that led him to Italia 90 and captured hearts forever.
FIFA, then, would be a brilliant vessel through which to channel Gazzamania and its playful peaks. So let Ultimate Team take that talent and freeze it – that daring dribbling, eye for goal and effervescent work rate – for a whole lot of virtual fun.