Football Manager 2024: The 20 best teams to play as in FM24

Football Manager 2024: The 20 best teams to play as in FM24: Paul Mullin of Wrexham (C) celebrates with Ollie Palmer of Wrexham (R) after scoring their 1st goal during the Vanarama National League match between Wrexham and Notts County at the Racecourse Ground on April 10, 2023 in Wrexham, Wales.
(Image credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Football Manager 2024 is almost here – and, if you're anything like us, you'll be absolutely itching to get started.

But which team to take charge of first as you fire up the new game? That is the question. Think carefully about where you're going to go because, virtually speaking, you may spend decades within the simulation there.

Thankfully, FourFourTwo has got you covered with our 20 top picks, from plucky underdogs to minted continental giants...

1. Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 05: The Aberdeen team picture during a UEFA Conference League match between Aberdeen and HJK Helsinki at Pittodrie Stadium, on October 05, 2023, in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Aberdeen are one of the premier challengers to the Old Firm in FM24 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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2024 will mark 40 years since a team other than Celtic or Rangers were crowned champions of Scotland.

That was Aberdeen under Alex Ferguson. Could you break the Old Firm stranglehold with last season's 'best of the rest' in the Scottish Premiership?

2. Adana Demirspor

ADANA, TURKEY - AUGUST 31 : during the UEFA Europa Conference League play-offs second leg match between Adana Demirspor and Krc Genk on August 31, 2023 in Adana, Turkey, 31/08/2023 ( Photo by Jimmy Bolcina / Photo News via Getty Images)

Can you lead Adana Demirspor to glory? (Image credit: Getty Images)

Every so often, a new force seems to emerge in the Turkish Super Lig – and Adana Dermirspor are the latest.

With a squad including veteran stars like Mario Balotelli and Nani, could you build on last season's fourth-placed finish and challenge the likes of Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas for the title?

3. Ajax

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 24: banner fans of Ajax prior to the Dutch Eredivisie match between AFC Ajax and Feyenoord at Johan Cruijff Arena on September 24, 2023 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Nesimages/Michael Bulder/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Ajax have fallen on tough times (Image credit: Getty Images)

Ajax's third-placed Eredivisie finish in 2022/23 was their worst for 14 years – a mark of the Amsterdam giants' recent dominance of Dutch football.

A club in transition, in the real world, Ajax have made a shocking start to the current campaign; could you do better with them in the Football Manager world?

4. Atalanta

GEWISS STADIUM, BERGAMO, ITALY - 2023/09/02: Emil Holm of Atalanta BC gestures during the Serie A football match between Atalanta BC and AC Monza. Atalanta BC won 3-0 over AC Monza. (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Could Atalanta and Emil Holm be your save of choice? (Image credit: Getty Images)

Atalanta have generally been there or thereabouts in Serie A in recent years – but they have still never won the Scudetto.

Having banked big money from selling Rasmus Hojlund to Manchester United, though, and with two Football Manager wonderkids in Emil Holm and Giorgio Scalvini at the back, La Dea make for an exciting-looking project for FM managers.

5. Athletic Bilbao

BILBAO, SPAIN - OCTOBER 06: Gorka Guruzeta of Athletic Club celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Athletic Club and UD Almeria at Estadio de San Mames on October 06, 2023 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Ion Alcoba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Can you handle the Cantera? (Image credit: Getty Images)

Athletic Bilbao's famed (and somewhat controversial) 'Cantera' policy makes managing them a particularly intriguing challenge.

They've been champions of Spain on eight occasions – but not since 1984; could you restore former glories while only signing players born in the Basque Country?

6. Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 29: FC Barcelona players celebrate after Sergio Ramos (not pictured) of Sevilla FC scored an own goal during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on September 29, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Barcelona are a fun save on FM24 (Image credit: Getty Images)

On Football Manager 2023, Barcelona had a transfer budget of zero – a reflection of the club's well-documented financial struggles. It's similar this time. 

They weren't hampered by that issue last season, claiming their first La Liga title in four years, but it's a testing set of circumstances with which to work (they've also had to leave Camp Nou while it undergoes renovation); what can you achieve while having to balance the books very carefully indeed?

7. Birmingham City

NFL legend Tom Brady in the stand before the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Leeds United at St Andrews, Birmingham on Saturday 12th August 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Pantano/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NFL legend Tom Brady would be your boss if you manage the Blues (Image credit: Getty Images)

With NFL legend Tom Brady an owner and Wayne Rooney in the dugout, there are some seriously big names involved at Birmingham City these days.

Clearly, you'd have to replace Wazza as boss, but post-takeover Birmingham make for an enticing challenge in the Championship, England's notoriously tough second tier.

8. Borussia Dortmund

DORTMUND, GERMANY - OCTOBER 25: Borussia Dortmund fans on the Yellow Wall during the UEFA Champions League group G match between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City at Signal Iduna Park on October 25, 2022 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Borussia Dortmund are Bayern's closest rivals in FM24 (Image credit: Getty Images)

From a neutral point of view, even the closest IRL Bundesliga title races have been rather anticlimactic over the past decade or so: Bayern Munich have won it every season since 2012/13.

Their arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund tend to be their main competitors, though, and they've got money in the bank in FM24 after selling Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid.

9. Braga

BRAGA, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 24: Al Musrati of Braga celebrates the 3rd goal during the Liga Portugal match between Sporting Braga and Boavista at Estadio Municipal de Braga on September 24, 2023 in Braga, Portugal. (Photo by Fabio Poco/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Braga are an underdog in the Portuguese game (Image credit: Getty Images)

Portugal's Primeira Liga is one of the biggest leagues in Europe – but only five teams have ever won it: the traditional 'big three' of Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon, along with Boavista and Belenenses.

Braga would no doubt love to join that list, and they look like the best club to manage if you're in the mood for expanding Portuguese football's roll of honour some more.

10. Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: General view outside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on May 28, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Chelsea have plenty to change in FM24 (Image credit: Getty Images)

You could manage Chelsea with a big budget and their plethora of signings from the 2023 transfer window. Or, you could use the new FM24 mode that allows you to start a save without signings made that summer.

Use that big budget to assemble a squad of your own and help the Blues back to the top of English (and European) football. It's easy enough.

11. Dorking Wanderers

General view of the Meadowbank Football Ground, Mill Lane, Dorking, before the Vanarama National League match between Dorking Wanderers and Oldham Athletic at the Meadowbank Football Ground, Mill Lane, Dorking, England on Saturday 7th January 2023. (Photo by Eddie Garvey/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Dorking make for a fun save in the lower leagues (Image credit: Getty Images)

Founded in 1999 by businessman Marc White, Dorking Wanderers went from English football's 17th tier to its fifth, in 24 years – with White himself as manager since 2007.

So, do you fancy replacing Mr Dorking Wanderers himself in FM24 and trying to take the Surrey club a step further, into the EFL?

12. Inter Miami

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 20: Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami looks on before the match between Toronto FC and Inter Miami CF at DRV PNK Stadium on September 20, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Become Messi's boss in FM24 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Co-owned by David Beckham in 2018, Inter Miami are one of the youngest clubs at the top level of US football – and, while they've yet to win any silverware, they do now have a certain Lionel Messi on their books.

MLS rules on transfers are a bit more restrictive than what you might be used to in Europe – but you have already got Messi at your disposal, along with Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

13. Luton Town

LUTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 7: Alfie Doughty of Luton Town during the Premier League match between Luton Town and Tottenham Hotspur at Kenilworth Road on October 7, 2023 in Luton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Can you keep the Hatters afloat? (Image credit: Getty Images)

It's always fun to take charge of an underdog in FM, and Luton are the biggest underdogs the Premier League has seen in a fair while.

And success may not come in the form of avoiding relegation: instead, maybe you could turn the Hatters into a sustainable yo-yo side (although ramshackle Kenilworth Road in the Champions League would be the stuff of dreams, let's be honest).

14. Malaga

MALAGA, SPAIN - 2023/03/17: Malaga CF fans seen during the LaLiga Smartbank match between Malaga CF and Levante UD at La Rosaleda Stadium. Final Score: Malaga CF 0-0 Levante UD. (Photo by Francis Gonzalez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Malaga are a fallen giant in FM24 (Image credit: Getty Images)

In 2010, Malaga got a big-money Qatari takeover – and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League three years later.

Recently, however, it's all gone horribly wrong for the one-time La Liga mainstays, who have slipped into the Spanish third tier amid financial woes. Can you transform their fortunes?

15. Manchester City

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JUNE 10: Winners Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League 2022/23 final match between FC Internazionale and Manchester City FC at Ataturk Olympic Stadium on June 10, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Manchester City are fully licensed in FM24 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Given the cavernously deep pockets of their owners, you shouldn't have too much trouble in the transfer market if you decide to take charge of Manchester City.

Can you turn the reigning Premier League and European champions into even more of a dominant force, though? It might not be the toughest task in the game, but you could break a fair few records along the way.

Oh, and they're fully licensed. Real players, real kits. Lush!

16. Newcastle United

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: A general view during the UEFA Champions League match between Newcastle United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at St. James Park on October 04, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

The Toon are back in the big time (Image credit: Getty Images)

Another club with vast financial resources these days, it rather feels like a matter of when and not if Newcastle become Premier League champions.

In reality, that day is probably still a few years away – but there's nothing stopping you from ending the Magpies' almost century-long wait for a league title right away (and maybe winning the Champions League on top of that, too).

17. Paris Saint-Germain

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 24: Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain looks on before the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille at Parc des Princes on September 24, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier - PSG/PSG via Getty Images)

Can you fulfil Kylian's prophecy? (Image credit: Getty Images)

They've won it all at domestic level since their 2011 Qatari buyout, but one trophy continues to elude PSG: the Champions League.

With Messi and Neymar gone, Kylian Mbappe is now Les Parisiens' undisputed main man; can you build a team around him and finally bring European football's ultimate prize to Paris? It's certainly fun to throw around money like you just don't care… even if we judge you for going for a team quite so big.

18. RB Leipzig

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - OCTOBER 04: Fans of of RB Leipzig during the UEFA Champions League match between RB Leipzig and Manchester City at Red Bull Arena on October 04, 2023 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

RB Leipzig come fully networked in FM24 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Bundesliga big boys RB Leipzig aren't exactly popular with fans of other clubs in Germany, having been accused of 'buying' their way to the top.

But, as the stallions in the Red Bull stable of clubs, they've got a wide network of prodigious talent from which to draw – and that makes them an appealing outfit to manage in FM24.

19. Strasbourg

STRASBOURG, FRANCE - AUGUST 13: Jean-Ricner Bellegarde of Strasbourg (C) celebrates his goal with his fans during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between RC Strasbourg and Olympique Lyon at Stade de la Meinau on August 13, 2023 in Strasbourg, France. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Strasbourg are now affiliated with Chelsea (Image credit: Getty Images)

Strasbourg were champions of France once – back in 1978/79 – and they could be set for big things in the years ahead, having been bought by Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly's BlueCo consortium earlier this year.

That Chelsea connection makes for some good potential loan signing opportunities – and you might just be able to work that to your advantage in the game.

20. Wrexham

WREXHAM, WALES - APRIL 22: Ryan Reynolds co-owner of Wrexham and Rob McElhenney co-owner of Wrexham with the Vanarama National League Trophy as Wrexham celebrate promotion back to the English Football League during the Vanarama National League match between Wrexham and Boreham Wood at Racecourse Ground on April 22, 2023 in Wrexham, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wrexham co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney want to get the Welsh club to the Premier League – however long it takes.

Fancy helping English football's two biggest celebrity owners out? The Red Dragons have money to burn in League Two – a mere three tiers below the promised land of the top flight...

More Football Manager 2024 stories

Football Manager 2024 drops on November 6, with new features teased ahead of the game's drop. Netflix is set to carry the game, too.

Miles Jacobson of Sports Interactive, the team behind FM, has spoken to FFT about the introduction of the Japanese J-League, how realistic the Saudi Pro League is in the new game and how set pieces have improved – he's also revealed that the FM team are constantly playing catchup to the great Pep Guardiola.

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