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A Decade in The Sun - The Very Best of A New Roman Empire


zlatanera
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21 hours ago, 04texag said:

I've never seen anyone use the match training sessions so much like that. How is your attribute development over the long term? I also rarely of ever use goalkeeping training. 

Well the jury is still out on the effects on youth development. Both with my routines on this save and with my HoYD in charge in the Lyon save (albeit with my adding Shadow Play sessions to bulk up the schedules) Ive found my youngsters develop very well physically (to be expected) and mentally but generally not enough technical development. Some exceptions though as I had some great youngsters with Lyon, Marco Campanella saw some impressive increases whilst in the youth ranks too. 
I’m not sure how easy technicals are supposed to be to develop anyway. Something like Technique or First touch should be tricky but the rest should be train-able IMO.
With the first team game time is what is affecting their development anyway. As I’m generally just targeting specific areas of strength / weakness an abundance of individual role training works quite well (Goalkeeping General session trains outfield players in their roles). All the match prep and set pieces definitely give us a boost in games just like they’re supposed to. 

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@04texag I'll be interested to find out!

One thing I've (re-)realised is that all those Delivery sessions probably aren't doing much good for the youth as they focus on specified set piece takers...which I can't set for the youth teams. Penalties is fine though as everyone not selected gets a 20% focus which is better than nothing. 

With the first team I don't select takers except for Throws and Penalties so it probably isn't helping players develop those attributes much, but it still provides a boost for a match.

The training overhaul in FM19 is the thing that's kept me going as much as anything - initially I just wanted simplicity but now I'm into it I can't go back.

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Aprile 2023

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  • At Old Trafford we were robbed, Jovic missing a penalty but we created plenty of other chances whereas their two goals were well-placed shots from range on the counter. 2 away goals is never a bad thing though!
  • Surprisingly the return at Olimpico was a much tighter affair as we conceded early on to a Rashford goal before Luka Jovic - haunter of Carlo Ancelotti's dreams after 3 goals in 2 Champions League finals - headed in to put us through on away goals.
  • Speaking of Jovic and finals...his brace here saw us equal Juventus' streak of 4 consecutive titles (2015-18) whilst also tying their 13 overall wins.
  • If Manchester United are emerging as rivals, then Porto are the closest thing we have to a bogey team. Maurizio Sarri is in charge and despite not winning any domestic trophies they did take home the Europa League last season and have overcome Atlético Madrid and Juventus to get to this stage...
  • 6’ we had a corner on the left, Ünder took it short to Kluivert who dribbled towards the box before standing up a cross at the near post where Upamecano flicked it in off the woodwork! 38’ one of those throw routines led to a cross being headed away, Zaniolo knocked it down to Pellegrini on the edge of the box, he slid the ball inside the widest defender for Chiesa to drill the ball across the 6 yard box where Kluivert gratefully tapped in!  48’ Luca Pellegrini pushed Carter-Vickers in the area,  Pedro stepped up…and hit it hard but too close to Blanco who parried! 53’ Brahimi curled a 30 yard pass ahead of Pedro, bursting into the area with Blanco rushing out to meet him , Upamecano dove in and won the ball but saw it keep on going right into the bottom corner with Blanco stranded. 79’ Chiesa took a throw on the right, with Ünder off the pitch with a knock. He received the return ball as Ünder re-entered play, confusing the Porto defence allowing him to drive towards goal before cutting back to the D for Zaniolo to take a touch and blast one in low! 85’ a long diagonal from Upamecano, Traore knocked it down to Zaniolo who laid it off to Kluivert on the left of the 18 yard line, his first-time shot curled into the far corner!! 90+3’ Pavlenka caught a Chiesa cross and launched it up field to Jonathan Silva, at half-way he switched it to van Ginkel, he cut in and floated it towards the far post where Santiago Arias (newgen Argentine winger) swept home. 90+4’ from the kick off we went out to Kluivert, he pretty much ran in a straight diagonal line from half-way into the box…just past the post. What a game!

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Maggio 2023

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  • Porto's visit to Olimpico briefly threatened to be a nervy affair before two goals in as many minutes from Jovic and Upamecano killed the tie with over half an hour to play.

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  • At Parma our expensively acquired youngster Patrice Grall made his debut, replacing Florenzi at 60 minutes. 82' he chested down a clearance at the D, switched to his weaker left foot then smashed a shot across goal into the top corner!
  • In the first of our double header against Fiorentina their former player (one of many in my team) Federico Chiesa took MotM honours, his goal meaning that half of his goals since joining Roma have come against his former club! 
  • We then easily closed out the domestic season, losing only one player to injury (Kostas Manolas broke his ankle, at 31 that's dicey but his 18 Natural Fitness and existing brilliant physical capabilities should see him do ok). I took particular pleasure in Marco Campanella firing in 2 goals in as many games at the end, as he hadn't scored since March (which in this chaotic season - even with my rotation policy - means 10 appearances, or about 12 hours of football).
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Finale di Champions League: Possenti Lupi

Apologies for the overly-long post. Partially as a reflection of renewed enthusiasm, and partially due to the sheer insanity of the situation surrounding this fixture, I went for a stream-of-consciousness radio commentator style as opposed to the screenshots of goals from last time out.

When Kostas Manolas broke his ankle during training with two rounds left in the league, I wasn't overly concerned given I had Nikola Milenkovic, Dayot Upamecano, and Elroy van Maanen. Could I have been more wrong?

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That’s my entire first XI bar Tonali, Lafont, and Upamecano, but also my entire second XI bar Blanco, Locatelli, and Vargas. In all, I have 8 players who’ve really been a part of the first team available, and 2 of those are goalkeepers. Making matters worse, one of the best youth players who isn’t on international duty…isn’t registered. As is this case for about 5 others.

Dortmund meanwhile are only missing 4, but don’t have the largest squad to begin with…however they have had three weeks rest so they’re all fit as a fiddle and raring to go. Anyway, continue reading to see just what sort of a team I put out…

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We’re missing €817m worth of players and oh, boy does it show! Rossini, Bosc, and Krajacic have never played for the club with the former not even having a professional substitute appearance to his name, Grall has 2 Roma appearances (and, admittedly, a season in Ligue 1 with Stade Rennais), and Marcello and Locatelli are both defensive midfielders played out of position. On the bench we have a top flight GK, a youth GK, one youth right back, four youth centre backs, two youth defensive midfielders, one injured pro (Riccardi, 75% condition / 65% sharpness, 1 appearance in 3 months), one youth winger, and one youth striker.

Dortmund meanwhile can name 10/11 regular starters (Neumann is a newgen striker awkwardly shoe-horned in) although only have one senior sub in Loïc Mbe Soh. I decided to stick to my 4-3-3 to benefit the few players who have featured for the first team, whilst Lucien Favre’s side also line up in their favoured 4-2-3-1. Interestingly 3/4 of RB Leipzig’s starting defence are on the pitch: Upamecano for the good guys, Mukiele and Konaté for the yellow wall. The model works?

Anyway, to the game...

 

  • 29’ Busti had a throw just inside our half, down the line to Krajacic who turned inside before laying it off to Grall, a quick one-two with Marcello then back to Tonali who dribbled out right before feeding Bosc in the channel, short to Grall who put it ahead of Rossini out wide, his cross was headed away by Mukiele but it dropped for Marcello 25 yards out, who lashed it into the top corner!

  • 43’ Busti picked up a knock…oh dear, I don’t really have a replacement.

  • 43’ Onana took a goal kick out to Mukiele in acres of space, he charged into our half before laying it off to Alcácer, he dribbled to the D then gave it to Vinicius Jr., back to Neumann, wide to Mukiele, into the box for Álcacer…Upamecano goes to ground…a clean tackle! Heart-in-mouth moment as he’s on a yellow too, Busti hobbles it out to half-way where Mario Götze tackles him, Mukiele resets and this time goes direct, Arp got goal side of Locatelli and powered a finish past Lafont. Damn.

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Luca Busti (DL) won possession back the most but Matías Vargas (AML) lost it, I wonder how this could possibly be related?

Dortmund have struggled for possession in our half, which is good. Both teams’ heat maps show a game with no clear patterns to it. Average positions suggest Bafounta is on a De duty, almost looks like a DM but he’s not, whilst Neumann - a striker by trade - is pushing forward.

Overall I haven’t really learned much. This is unsurprising as I don’t use the analysis tools much. Still, I shouted at everyone (3 seemed motivated, 8 looked fired-up), didn’t sub Busti due to a lack of replacements and made one tactical switch: swapping the two central midfield roles so Marcello is now AP-Su and Grall is MEZ-Su, hoping to exploit some of that space behind Neumann.

 

  • 53’ a free kick inside Dortmund’s half, Konaté plays it forward to Alcácer, he goes inside to Götze who plays it out left, slow enough that Rossini attempts to intercept…Vinicius Jr. beats him to it and surges forward, into the box and aims for the top corner, a fingertip save from Lafont denying him!

  • 54’ Götze has the corner on the right, Lafont easily claims it.

  • 60’ Alcácer has a free kick in a dangerous position, but it curls far off target. I use the classic “Demand More” shout to sort my players’ body language out.

  • 70' just as I’m pondering a change we have a free kick on the left of the box. Vargas is standing over it, a one-step run up he whips the cross in short and Upamecano heads it into the near top corner!

70’ I make 2 changes, as my full backs are gassed. Vittorio Guadagno debuts as left back in Busti’s stead, despite no positional familiarity I move Marcello out to DR, Vargas drops into midfield, and Andrea Gagliardi (190cm, fast, strong) comes in at AML to do battle with Mukiele. I used a team talk for once, telling them “pressure’s off” and both reacted positively. I also told Sandro Tonali to close down less, to conserve both his energy and our structure. Dortmund swapped that newgen Neumann for Albin Thaqi, who is real but not up to this level. He appears to be a more defensive option so I restored Grall’s playmaker duties shortly afterwards.

  • 79’ “Demand More”. My god, truly I am one of the great orators of our - or any - time!

  • 86’ Mukiele gets a yellow card, in my mind its because he’s frustrated at meeting his match in an 18 year old from Fonte Nuova wearing #69.

  • 88’ Götze has a free kick 30 yards out on the left. Short to Vinicius Jr. who dribbles to the right of the D before unloading, forcing a save from Lafont.

  • 89’ Götze has the corner, Gagliardi heads away, Itter heads it down to Bafounta, he cracks a shot off…end of highlight as its blocked!

  • 90’ Upamecano has the ball in the Dortmund half, he gives it to Locatelli who invites pressure before finding Bosc in the channel with a cute little ball, he turns and releases Marcello down the right, he tries to get a cross off and wins us a corner.

  • 90’ Marcello takes, Konaté heads away at the near post, Bosc gives it to Tonali at the D, he knocks it back out to Marcello who crosses to the back post... Gagliardi!... saved by Onana, hacked clear by Vinicius Jr for another corner.

  • 90+1’ I lower our tempo a further notch, also adding Dribble Less and knocking Guadagno down to FB-Su at DL.

  • 90+1’ Marcello towards the far post, Zagadou away, Grall plays a one-two with Bosc, shot deflected, Locatelli on the right, draws two men then lays it off to Tonali in fast-compressing space…end of highlight.

  • 90+4’ of 3 added minutes we’re into the 4th and Itter has a throw near our corner flag. Götze flicks it on, Arp plays it back out to Itter who crosses for Bakir, Upamecano heads away, Krajacic…full time! The boys have done it!

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The squads (in our case the line-up too) may not have seemed worthy of the stage but that certainly had my attention!

It bears repeating though, that we had 5 debutants in that game, 3 of which had no professional career appearances. Marcello’s MotM performance was a very pleasant surprise as I was struggling to figure out what role to use him in. I still don’t know, but I will have to find a place for him after that goal! Shout to Sandro Tonali too, who produced an ideal DLP-De performance in that he barely made the headlines, yet completed 68 passes, 9/9 tackles, 8/8 headers, and made 5 interceptions.

 

The video's quality is just…appalling and I don't understand why. The matches play out with no issues, yet whenever I export it seems to get scrambled somehow and comes out looking like something on a dodgy stream. Whether I use 240p or 1080p the problems are the same. I feel like it used to be better, David Neres’ mazy dribbles look good enough in my Ajax thread. Still, you don’t need 4K to appreciate a well struck volley!

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Fantastic goal! Highlight was good enough. not sure about exporting videos, I use nvidia's built in record feature (in geforce experience app) and then post to youtube. Works well enough.

That's insane, what international tournament was going on that conflicted timingwise with the CL final? I'm lazy and not looking at your year for this. But that sucks to miss that many players. Props on you for still pulling out the W!

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13 hours ago, 04texag said:

Fantastic goal! Highlight was good enough. not sure about exporting videos, I use nvidia's built in record feature (in geforce experience app) and then post to youtube. Works well enough.

That's insane, what international tournament was going on that conflicted timingwise with the CL final? I'm lazy and not looking at your year for this. But that sucks to miss that many players. Props on you for still pulling out the W!

Yeah it still shows the insane angle of the leg - pretty much a superior version of Zidane's 2002 goal - but I know when I tried to share any of the previous two finals' goals the quality was abysmal (and for some reason trying to export in 2D just leg to 30 seconds of a black screen). I've got an ageing MacBook Air with integrated graphics, just using the game's built-in functions. I don't share enough to make it worth setting up a YouTube account.

Its the EURO Qualifiers, because of the disruption of the 2022 World Cup. We're disproportionately affected as our first team only has 2 non-EU players, we're the biggest contributor to the Italy squad (7 players, would have been 8 if Riccardi wasn't injured, perhaps even 9 as Locatelli has won both of his caps in the past year), and only have one player (Manolas) who has retired from international footballer. I got lucky in that France played later so Upemacano and Lafont were available. 

Dortmund were in a way the ideal opposition: they had a small first team squad (20 players) so even without internationals wouldn't have had a deep bench, but also slightly unrealistically haven't been very aggressive in snapping up youth prospects. They still were able to put out a strong XI though as that front 4 all play for nations with great strength in depth (Italy are not one of these). 

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Premi del Club e Statistiche della Squadra

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No surprise at Ünder being the fans' player of this season as he contributed to 34 goals - more than any other player in the squad - and was generally just the most consistent player on the pitch. Blanco is a pleasantly surprising nod as signing of the season given Kyle 'Belfogol' Belford had a goals tally higher than his appearances until a few substitute appearances in April, still ending up with 16 goals in 18 starts. Blanco was starting goalkeeper in cup competitions, the CL group stage and for a 9 game spell when Lafont was out injured during which we got to the CL final, won the Coppa Italia, and sealed the league title though. Despite being less flashy than Gayà, Puljic really stepped up in replacing his output and is deserving for recognition among the youngsters promoted to the first team this season as you'll see below. Matías Vargas has Goal of the Season for the second year running, this one might have been even better, arced into the top corner from 35 yards. [Spoiler Alert] I'm going to miss him. 

There's a definite bias towards full backs in the team of the season, Florenzi shoe-horned in as he made a few appearances in midfield later on so I could give Luca Busti more time on the field. An almost perfect split between my 'A' (6) and 'B' (5) line-ups. 

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Not pictured are a few youngsters who made appearances, including the 6 who were involved in the victory over Dortmund. As usual, a heavy bias towards my CWB in the assists chart. No surprises there: they're brilliant players, they're on the highest mentality in the team, and we deliberately flood the centre to give them more space. Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolò Zaniolo both had their best goalscoring seasons yet: the former losing his Shoots From Distance trait has improved his shot selection, whilst for whatever reason Zaniolo finally starting using his 15 Dribbling to get into the area before blasting them (about 50/50 between inside and outside, but 100% powered!). 

One interesting thing is the differing statistics in the respective front three combinations of Ünder-Jovic-Kluivert and Traore-Campanella-Belford. The former follow a logical pattern of Jovic - striker, penalty taker - being the top scorer followed by the more aggressive Ünder, with Kluivert - now a quasi-playmaker with 15 Vision who Tries Killer Balls Often - racking up the most assists. The latter however saw the striker - Campanella - score the fewest, with the more creative Belford out-scoring Traore whilst he, with only 11 Vision who Gets Into Opposition Area out-scored Campanella yet also laid on more goals. These things can't be wholly judged in isolation, the differences between a Tonali-Pellegrini-Zaniolo midfield and a Locatelli-Riccardi (Marcello)-Vargas midfield are significant in terms of style. 

Edited by zlatanera
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Premi

  • Serie A
Spoiler

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After José Gayà took the plaudits last year, Ünder is back to being considered the best player in the league, just as he was in 2020 and 2021. I can’t say I disagree, he’s been consistently phenomenal!

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After last season’s uncharacteristic throwback to a golden age of strikers, this season nobody cracked 20 and two of the top three are wide forwards. Still, two of those podium finishes are Roma players and more importantly, #1 is! Cengiz Ünder makes my first Capocannoniere of the save and possibly ever!

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There are breakout seasons and then there are seasons where you replace last year’s MVP so effectively that you’re now considered the best defender in the league. That’s the level Darko Puljic has risen to, and he’s only going to get even better!

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Driussi didn't even average a 7.0, so a really contrarian pick here. Boschilia on the other hand was a key component of Fiorentina qualifying for the Champions League.

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  • Champions League
Spoiler

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Moussa Dembélé had an incredible season with 40 goals in all competitions. Traore though, contributed to more goals than either of the other podium finishers despite only appearing in the 6 group stage games!

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  • EURO U21
Spoiler

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Belford just can't stop scoring! He's had a busy summer too, picking up 4 England caps before dropping down to the U21s for this tournament.

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Not just Belford mr. Press Officer! Francisco Pinto (GK) is ours, as is Vasco Leitão (10th along the bench), whilst Rosati is a Roma academy product now playing for Werder Bremen. I case you can't tell, Italy beat Portugal in the final.

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Premier League

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A lot going on here. Firstly, 3!! teams finished on level points. Not only that, but 2nd and 3rd had identical records (head-to-head not being used for sorting), so were chosen randomly! Moreover Liverpool had actually been top going into the final round, but they were held 1-1 by Leeds whilst City (3-2 vs West Ham) and United (4-0 at Southampton) both won! Top scorer was a three way tie too, between Hazard (United), Felix (City) and Maxi Gómez (Wolves).

You have to feel for Robin Olsen: wins 3 Champions Leagues with me, then moves to Brentford for an impressive €28m...ships 69 goals and is now transfer listed as he refuses to play at in a lower division (fair enough, with 15 Natural Fitness he should still be a top-level performer in 2-3 years).

A look through the history shows this isn't even the first time United have tied with City at the top in this save:

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So that was revenge for 2011-12 back in 2019/20, then 2022/23's wild finish was just rubbing City (and Liverpool)'s faces in it!

A glance around the history of the top divisions shows a couple of notable occurrences:

  • 2021/22 Schalke 04 take the Bundesliga title, preventing Bayern from making it 10 in a row.
  • 2019/20 Atlético Madrid won La Liga, with Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Athletic Club finishing 2nd, 3rd, 4th all on 81 points.
  • Ligue 1 has seen Lyon and PSG trade the title, Lyon winning in 2019/20 under Bruno Genesio, then 2021/22 with José Mourinho. In 2018/19 PSG took the title on goal difference too.
  • Eredivisie, perhaps due to not being loaded, is one of the most unpredictable: Vitesse (2018/19), Ajax (2019/20), Feyenoord (20/21), AZ (21/22, 22/23)
  • Croatia, which is loaded, saw NK Osijek win their maiden title in 2019/20 as well as Hajduk (2021/22) win their first title in over a decade.
  • Down in Argentina, CA Huracán (2022/23) won their first title since 1928! However as this is also not a loaded league, with no real first team players, I'm not sure how much this matters.
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Serie A & Champions League

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We scored less and conceded more than last season, but one less draw means we've pushed our record yet again to 110 points!

Juventus maintain their record as the only team other than us to qualify for the Champions League every season of the save, whilst Fiorentina qualify for the first time since the 1990s! Sadly Bologna's European exploits held them back in the league, which eventually cost Sinisa Mihajlovic his job (Mark van Bommel taking over at the end of the season). It seems harsh given they also made it to the semi-finals of the Europa League. 

Finishing 19th with Verona probably wasn't ideal for Manuel Gasparini's confidence, but he did at least being to develop again. Torino were a shock to go down having finished in the top half in 6 consecutive seasons (8 of the 10 since they were promoted), but Claudio Ranieri's methods finally stopped working.

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Some slightly more interesting ties this year. Benfica made the quarter finals for the second season in a row, and Juventus made it past the first knockout round for the only time so far this save. The real stories though are - obviously - Dortmund and Porto. I actually called it last year:

On 17/09/2020 at 17:58, zlatanera said:

Dortmund have shown year-on-year improvement: 2018/19 Group Stage, 2019/20 1st Knockout Round, 2020/21 Quarter Final, 2021/22 Semi-Final...so in two years they should win the whole thing in theory. 

Hopefully I can prove myself wrong and make it four in a row next year, but beating El Clasico with consecutive 6-5 scorelines then dispatching the hated Liverpool on my behalf is impressive. Who knows, with both teams at full strength perhaps the would have had the beating of us? 

Porto's run was more surprising as this must be the first time in over a decade two Portuguese teams made the knockouts, so for them to get past Atlético and then destroy Juve the way they did...wow. 

Europa League had its own shock, with Sevilla losing a final for the first time, Red Bull Salzburg striking a blow for corporate interests everywhere in winning their maiden European title.

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Una breve revisione dello sviluppo giovanile

A few things have been holding me back from getting into the new season: given I may yet struggle to profit on the initial €8m for Eddy Salcedo, questioning if can I justify similar fees just so I have some strikers in the youth ranks; considering a different tactical approach; deliberating just who I have to sell to allow others to develop; debating shelling out on an 3rd streaming service during lockdown...but the biggest one has been questioning the effectiveness of my youth training system.

I've previously linked how I built out my training schedules as well as some thoughts on how it works. In short: incredibly effective for senior training - tactical familiarity skyrockets during pre-season, whilst the focus on individual role training allows me to refine my players' talents - but the jury is still out for youth. I feel that my initial approach was poor at developing players' technical attributes, but some refining in 2021 aimed at rectifying this weakened physical development to no discernible increase in technicals. I've completely revamped my training system and will detail in the next post, but for now wanted to share screenshots of the youngsters I highlighted with each intake to show how they have developed. That way you can judge for yourself if I'm completely unrealistic in my expectations or if I'm on to something.

Luca Busti:

Spoiler

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When he came through, due to that Leadership attribute I highlighted I suggested Luca Busti was a future captain...

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...I would say he might actually be on track! There is a non-zero chance that he has 20 Decisions at some point in his career and he's physically spectacular. Whilst his technical and mental development has been great so far, I do think more could have been done about his Crossing, Passing, and Technique.

Filip Capodaglio:

Spoiler

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"not Totti's heir...but of some use" is the gist of what I said about Filip.

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Again, great physical development, some solid improvement in technical and mental ability too. But I'd have hoped somebody spending 5 years training roles featuring Dribbling would have seen an increase of more than +2 by now. I'm not sure how much individual focus could have detracted from this, as at varying points Corners, Free Kick Taking, and Penalties have been a focus with a cumulative +10 increase over 4 years in the academy (no change at SPAL).

Andrea Marcato:

Spoiler

1428008063_AndreaMarcato2020.png.f8d49680f93bd8c5ccbeae859654629f.png

"Serie C-level technicals", "personality...means he is likely to make it".

1335370236_AndreaMarcato2023.png.740d47a3d6442cf495595ae58043c8a9.png

Again, spectacular physical development. In a way he looks to be a potential heir to Kostas Manolas with his rare combination of Acceleration, Jumping Reach, and Strength. +5 Passing is impressive too, a clear benefit of combined individual focus of Passing and the change after 1 season to more Possession sessions instead of Physical. But not enough progress in Positioning, Heading, or Marking in my opinion.

Vittorio Guadagno:

Spoiler

1354782214_VittorioGuadagno2021.png.7a13d99267e1ee6b986be620f41133be.png

1109180586_VittorioGuadagno2023.png.7887c9cc0f7ceeb7b02f5cb4de89af52.png

Its only been two years but just...not enough progress in so many areas. Guadagno is one of those who have me thinking that my tweaks have, if anything, actually hindered development.

Mario Marku:

Spoiler

1757375326_MarioMarku2021.png.6a71f050013a57ecc7423d2b34323638.png

"A potential heir to Sandro Tonali"

502846080_MarioMarku2023.png.29281e92a45dde87a913ebe7f7db536e.png

Poor across the board, although you can possibly see the benefits of the Possession training with +3 Technique. Given that's a primary attribute for all his role training so far, it might not be.

Javier Ospitaleche:

Spoiler

2055453274_JavierOspitaleche2022.png.dca5a5359cf08e2822f33a5e8f45c209.png

"with good training could stop anyone getting past him"

1473881156_JavierOspitaleche2023.png.977bb7cb55da205f7b6138e43a70d626.png

A couple of injuries have arguably held back Ospitaleche, he's on the right track but given my dissatisfaction with the development of the others, that won't stop me changing.

 

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Campo d'Allenamento

As promised, my youth training overhaul! I've drawn inspiration from my previous routines, Guido's FM20 routines, and the default schedules in the game to - I hope - mould players more to my liking.

I decided upon four sets of routines each with variations for 0, 1, and 2 matches in the week: Attacking, Defending, Transition, and Possession. Rather than just drilling the same individual focusses over and over and over again, I'll now mix things up for the players to keep it interesting. Having said that, I did generally get 8.0+ training ratings across the board with the old system so perhaps players are just robots! 

Core.png.6fcfedf309af1a22d91e5c6a7a8c0ee2.png

This is sort of the 'core' routine from which the others are all built around. I knew I needed some physical sessions as this is the time where the biggest gains can be made, the default schedules have two so I just imitated them. Individual role training hasn't exactly failed me, its more that I'm a perfectionist, so an entire day is dedicated to this with an equal split between the Attacking and Defensive units. Then given I play a possession-based style of football, there are two Possession sessions to ensure my entire outfield are capable with the ball at their feet.

This would be a very image-heavy post, so I'll utilise spoilers to show the variants of each focus. 

Attacking

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Spoiler

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1906604657_Attacking-Two.png.fa96e796bec4dffd9ffcb73c91fa9877.png

The first to go is the second day of match preparation, replaced by an actual match. Then for a week with two fixtures I also remove the Physical sessions as the players should be getting enough of a work out, particularly given I will still be instructing the players to train their individual focus at Double Intensity.

Poor development of attacking capabilities was a real inspiration for the new schedules as I was at risk of constructing a club of guys who are great at passing it around the back but incapable of beating their man one on one or getting past the goalkeeper. So here we have all three Attacking sessions used twice in the week, along with the two most relevant technical sessions: Chance Conversion and Chance Creation. Shadow Play hits the players' mental faculties separately with a much lower physical strain than other sessions. I had too much week to fill so added in a second match prep day, then to fill one final slot in a match-free week I added Ball Distribution as it hits relevant attributes (Dribbling, Passing, Decisions, Vision, Teamwork).

I will look to rotate my full backs into the Attacking training unit every three months in order to improve their technical capabilities. In particular Crossing, Dribbling, and Vision should be improved as this is an area where the majority of newgen full backs are found wanting.

Defending

1584635771_Defending-Zero.png.9c43dc62bef29fa872fd098d8832c36f.png

Spoiler

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107276192_Defending-Two.png.68a69a282d1de06882fa597b47b1b321.png

The main focus of these sessions is still on the Defensive unit which is why the goalkeeping sessions (confusingly the same colour as defensive sessions in this skin, although I see the logic) are the first to go when we have matches.

There are five Defending sessions in total so firstly I made sure they were all used. Similar to the Attacking schedules I add in Shadow Play to work on players' intelligence. There was no real logic to choosing Ground Defence and Aerial Defence as the sessions that don't get repeated. I knew I needed to get some goalkeeper training in somewhere each month so given they are the last line of the defence, I chose to devote Sunday to goalkeeping sessions instead of more match preparation.

Transition

1819904668_Transition-Zero.png.9169f9839f592b75475f31112c5c78ce.png

Spoiler

827183182_Transition-One.png.274d598c61882bc549a337535623ab69.png

2029878835_Transition-Two.png.2ccc5c2ab0a631bab6e32d7c5522f5f1.png

I was in two minds about whether or not this warranted a dedicated week. There are two technical sessions titled Transition - which affect the Attacking and Defensive units equally, but Transition - Restrict would see me training Marking and Positioning onto my forward line. So we have four Transition - Press sessions (First Touch, Passing, Tackling, Anticipation, Aggression, Decisions, Teamwork, Work Rate). These are beneficial in hitting areas I find harder to get for defenders in general (First Touch, Passing), centre backs (Teamwork, Work Rate) and forwards (Aggression, Teamwork). Then I threw in some more Shadow Play as mental attributes are essential for an effective press too, and Goalkeeping sessions so that ideally we'll see our goalkeepers get the equivalent of 2 days' exclusive training each month between the Defensive and Transition schedules. 

Possession

849086179_Possession-Zero.png.6814b7293d98cae6d8c4a8d547b91e37.png

Spoiler

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492516411_Possession-Two.png.c65a80df800f7a9a5c71dce2d61fb3e3.png

Initially I just filled this week with Ball Distribution, Ball Retention, and Chance Creation sessions. However I then looked closer and realised that they only develop the technical attributes of the Attacking unit. So there are many extra general Possession sessions to cover the Defensive unit. There are also Distribution sessions for the goalkeepers.

Edited by zlatanera
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Scoperta del Giocatore e Acquisizione dei Talenti - Revisione

On 25/03/2020 at 14:09, zlatanera said:

Scoperta del Giocatore e Acquisizione dei Talenti

975066378_clubphilosophies.thumb.png.9e7c8e4ac9c5208c39adfd5d1fff37c6.png

Mr. Pallotta wants me to develop our own young players and complement that by signing other teams’ youth as well. Hmm…you’d almost think he’d loaded the club with debts!

Anyway, this is an excuse for me to show my scouting set-up:

1644648434_generalscoutingfocus.thumb.png.5dfae02fbb45f426246e1f6c94b353fc.png

I’m going for a targeted approach here: I’ve instructed Monchi to look for young players per the club philosophies, and to scout in Europe due to the nEU regulations. In my Ajax save I was using the style focus to look for Technical players and Distributor goalkeepers, but that was because I was mainly aiming to sign under-18s whom I could do a lot of work on. With Roma though I imagine I'll be going more for players in the 19-25 range. I’ll complement that with 4 short-term focuses, twice annually outside of transfer windows;

  • South America (East)
  • South America (West)
  • North America
  • Under 19s (Italy)

No messing around scouting the entire continent of Africa just in case the next Messi is Ethiopian, I want a high amount of quality players to pick from. The month-long extra focusses get a good coverage of prime youth-developing nations such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, whilst also ensuring I don’t lose out on the ample talent to be found at home.

As I outlined in the above post right at the start of this save, I had been delegating the responsibility of finding new players to my Director of Football (Monchi), then my Chief Scout (Frederic Massara) once he left. It was...fine. My 2019 splurge was mostly informed by my previous knowledge, but most of the guys who are now in the first team - Elroy van Maanen, Darko Puljic, and Marcello - were turned up by my scouts on assignment. Still, when I got to the end of the 2021/22 season my youth ranks were looking a little bare...as was my shortlist. So I thought "to hell with realism" and did some manual searching to find the large number of youngsters I brought in that summer, then got to work.

The main inspiration was this post I found by "DuckDuckGo-ing" key words like 'Football' 'Manager' 'Scouting' '2019' 'Setup' etc. Anyhow, given I'm mostly trying to bring guys in so young they might not have appeared in youth competitions yet I'm no longer really sending my scouts out to find players. Instead, I'm trying to increase our overall knowledge so when I manually search for a player to fill a position of need in the youth ranks - i.e. AMR with Dribbling, First Touch, Technique, Flair, Acceleration, and Agility - not only will I turn up more players, but there'll be fewer "false positives" (where I set the limit at 13 and it turns up a guy with attributes in a range of 6-13...they're going to be closer to 6). So now I have full control and assign scouts as such:

  • My best JPA/JPP guys - DoF Fabio Paratici, Director Bruno Conti, and Chief Scout Frederic Massara are left unassigned. They're purely there to provide final judgements on the players myself and the other scouts turn up.
  • All active leagues get a dedicated scout: Austria, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland (yeah, I use recommended leagues).
  • I then broke down into regions, with the best scouts going to the highest priorities such as Central Europe, Eastern Europe, South America (West) etc. while those left over get multiple assignments in less relevant regions such as Roberto Marta (Oceania, Southeast Asia, South Asia) or Youness Bengelloun (Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa).
  • Where possible I assign scouts to a region they already have knowledge of. John Calvert-Toulmin, formerly of Man Utd, has full knowledge of South America so gets the more important (East) assignment, whilst Omar Sciolla uses his existing knowledge of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire to scout North and Western Africa. 

I introduced this system at the start of the past season and have definitely found that it makes my manual searches quicker and more effective. There isn't a noticeable drop-off in the amount of quality players recommended either as one of the best newgens I'm bringing in for Summer 2023 was found by the network. Between hiring good scouts, building out a network of affiliates, and this new system when I go to the Knowledge tab I'm seeing lots of green:

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Not setting out like this in the beginning may well be my one real regret at how I've played this save so far. Should I ever actually start a new save on FM19 / 20 / 21 / 18 then this will be how I work. The neat thing is in the long run it reduces the amount of clicks needed too as I just set all assignments to 'Ongoing'.

Edited by zlatanera
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Una "Nuova" Tattica Romana

A linked article on the 3-1-6 attacking shape has got me considering going in a different direction should I make it to 200 games unbeaten, but given how long it takes me to do a pre-season due to completely overdoing the planning part of FM, it would be foolish not to show the tweaks and "new" tactic I'm going to be using this season.

I had a lot differing ideas about how to proceed: a 4-4-2 to try and get some goals out of Marco Campanella? Probably shouldn't have sold Patrik Schick then; a 5-2-1-2 to replicate Roma's last real life title-winning season? I couldn't bear to part with Cengiz Ünder, and don't want to play him centrally; leave things alone? Well, almost.

On 26/05/2020 at 19:12, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:
  • Playing a 4-3-3 variant.
  • Choosing player roles that suit your players and emphasise roles that Roam From Position.
    • I recommend the striker as a False 9 and Ball Playing Defenders combined with Play Out of Defence and Shorter Passing.
    • I have a strong preference for my playmaker being my deepest midfielder, giving him more passing options ahead but this is personal preference as much as anything.
  • Add any periphery Team Instructions and Player Instructions.
    • I used Close Down More, Retain Possession, Work Ball Into Box and Low Crosses.
    • My centre backs Dribble More, Inside Forwards Get Further Forwards and midfielders Move into Channels.
  • You may want to add any Positional Swapping at this point if you are so inclined, I did not.

I've been pretty transparent about the biggest inspiration for how I play through my saves. I've also been pretty transparent that my "revolutionary tactic" or "zlatanera-ball" is really an accidental rip-off of the next evolution of the tactic in that thread I've just quoted. So I decided upon evolution, using Player Instructions more than I have previously (other than using them to translate roles from MR to AMR) but also using my 2nd tactic slot for a bit of fun:

586879007_4-3-3TotalIF.png.6352b6581c294afc3a5a84fc4f6fe5da.png745084700_4-3-3TotalW.png.56d0189f5ede99e75c70b17b44c989dd.png

On the left we have 4-3-3 Total IF and on the right 4-3-3 Total W. I know, imaginative naming, right?

4-3-3 Total IF

  • A minor iteration on the last two seasons' all-conquering "4-1-4-1 DM Wide" (formerly known as 4-1-2-3 Wide, or perhaps 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, or just 4-3-3 to the layperson).
  • AMR / L now Roam From Position to make us even more unpredictable: if the two-footed Kluivert gets the ball into feet in the centre he'll wreak havoc, or perhaps Ünder will find a space to use his underrated Vision and Crossing, the latter of which is equal to his much-heralded 17 Long Shots?
  • Pellegrini (backed up by Grall) is now a Roaming Playmaker who should really assert himself on the game.
  • DM is now instructed to Close Down Less to provide a bit more stability behind 7 roaming roles.
  • Dayot Upamecano is personally instructed to Dribble More due to some great attributes - 14 Dribbling, 14 Technique, 16 Composure, 12 Flair, 15 Acceleration, 16 Agility, and 17 Balance - and traits - Brings Ball Out Of Defence and Tries To Play Way Out Of Trouble.

4-3-3 Total W

  • I've never really fancied the IWB-W combination popularised (for FM) by Guardiola in England, who copied from Bielsa...my favourite team peaked (whilst I was watching, anyway) with Cristiano Ronaldo, playing Complete Forward from the wing, so I'm drawn to goalscoring wide men who quite often can't cross. 
  • This save is no different, but I have this idea in my head that IWB-At - particularly when Chiesa is playing - will get themselves into the area to score goals, and I think that will be really fun to watch as well as another weapon against massed defences.
  • MEZ and RPM now Run Wide With Ball for greater interplay with the wide men and to hopefully open up space for those underlapping maniacs wingers-cum-full-backs.
  • I'll be interested to see the difference in Chiesa (natural winger, right-footed, real goal threat) and Busti's (natural left back, left-footed, 3 Flair, and defensively minded) interpretations of the role.

Currently self-isolating (not knowingly infected) but I'm going to blame COVID for the amount of times I typed "rolls" and "Roma" instead of "roles" and "roam" :lol: 

Edited by zlatanera
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Mercato - Estate 2023

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I did debate if I should pursue this policy of signing 15 year olds for quite large sums, only previously done with Eddy Salcedo (€8m up front, is now worth €3.5m after a poor 2nd season at Bologna). Mostly what persuaded me to pursue this - other than a compulsion to hoard players - was re-reading this piece pointing out that my favourite club are doing the exact same thing. Plus if I look at our transfer business as a whole, rather than each individual transfer, suddenly the picture looks a lot more rosy: our record transfer (Dayot Upamecano) cost €82m. At that rate I could buy 8 Alen Miletics or more likely 15 Jon Ander Etxeberrias without equalling that spend and if only 1 of them turns into a future megastar and the rest left on frees then it is still good business. So, self-delusionjustification completed, I went a bit made for the second year in a row.

My game does appear to have developed a bug which soured the experience somewhat. Of the 11 players I brought in I was only able to use the powerful 'Welcome' feature for three of them: Cloarec (French, by Lafont, also a Toulouse academy grad), Favero, and Bardini. I thought initially this might be to do with nationalities but then remembered Daniele De Rossi (Italian) welcoming Matías Vargas (Argentine) while non of my French players could welcome Thomas and Justin Kluivert wasn't able to welcome Sleegers. So clearly its a bug, going back to 1st July (all the transfers came in on the 3rd) doesn't fix it and I don't want to go back further. Oh well, I'll just have to hope for more Traore-style personality transformations (+6 over 4 seasons).

La Partenza:

Spoiler
  • My initial intention was for Vargas to leave last summer but with only 1 year remaining on his contract there was surprisingly absolutely no interest. So he signed an extension until 2026, played all across the midfield and flanks whilst maintaining his 7.4 average rating from the previous two seasons, then got his move to Moneychester. Win, win, win. Frustratingly the English window being open in June meant he moved on and freed up a spare nEU slot before I could bring anyone in, once we moved into a new season we still only had 1 slot available, pre-arranged for Julián Ramos, as I was eyeing his compatriot at Deportivo Cali who looks to be an intriguing DM.
  • Locatelli should have been going to Real Madrid but after 18 months of apparent interest they made no enquiries and signed Rodrigo Bentancur instead. I would too, if I'm honest. So I've sold to a domestic "rival" for the first time this save as he is now being paid €180k/week (top earner, 3x what I was paying him) to somehow drag Inter out of mid-table mediocrity. I wish him luck.
  • Vignato, Corbo, and Cortinovis all arrived with high hopes in 2019. They're all very good players now: Vignato scored or assisted 20 goals for Bologna last season, Corbo had marshalled their defence for 3 years, and Cortinovis had finally kicked on with a loan spell at Parma. But they were never going to get a chance, so I sold high whilst I could. When I say 'high' I mean it as only Vignato was valued over €6m. Newly promoted Atalanta actually came in with €30m + 20% next sale on the opening of the window but Vignato rejected them. Still, all three turned a substantial profit and have sell-on clauses included. Good deals.

Le Scorta di Talenti:

Spoiler

530849996_AlenMiletic.png.c26a132c46511b9c1e846ee0e39233d9.png

Because of the style of player I'm searching for I have found a lot of my academy players - in particular forwards - lack Aggression, Bravery, Strength, and Teamwork. So when a left-footed, high potential forward who already has more trophies than appearances (the latter is irrelevant but curious) came along, I pounced. In my dreams Alen Miletic will become the Austrian Robert Lewandowski, although now I notice he has better Marking than Penalty Taking perhaps a knock-off Mario Mandzukic is a better comparison.

2126789766_JanBhler.png.a9e7d59c163296105577e73858fda77a.png

Similar to the above, Jan Böhler offers something we don't quite have in the youth ranks. In this case: a natural AMC, a strong penalty taker, and a midfield goal threat (eventually - 11 Finishing isn't spectacular now but he only turned 16 in March). That he is also a very good playmaker is a bonus. That potential €29m fee looks bad but actually €18m of that is dependant on him scoring 50 league goals, something none of my current midfield have managed.

148846499_NicolBardini.png.e3212f648902c902f882e119df063023.png

Sampdoria had a great intake, as you'll see below. A gentle giant (could be looking at cracking 2m by 18) with a great personality, great Finishing, and already very intelligent. Well worth the initial €6m as Nicolò Bardini is clearly a future Azzurri striker.

1503294395_JonAnderEtxeberria.png.160fc32a999d76684f5f7f589ad2f91d.png

Release clauses: wonderful if you're managing outside of Spain, less so inside. Buying Jon Ander Etxeberria for €5m from Athletic pretty much ensures there will be interest if I come to sell given their transfer policy (even as FM Athletic are very sneaky: their star striker was born and training in Madrid). Two-footed, Teamwork, Bravery...a lot of boxes ticked here. He's probably the next Markel Susaeta at the worst which isn't half bad.

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Lyon have a good claim to being the best academy in the world on this save. They're producing quality in all areas but a real abundance of forwards. I could have also brought in Elias Thomas' teammate Amir Zidane (no relation) who is 1 year older with 16 Dribbling, Finishing, and First Touch but that would have just been too many players. Despite being a natural ST I expect to find Thomas on the wing in the long run due to his short stature and ability to run with the ball. With 12 Long Shots he's probably one of only two guys at the club along with Böhler who have a chance of eventually replacing Ünder's threat from the edge of the area.

763210528_ReinSleegers.png.1343f31eaa9f3a97c4ea47c166c0a30d.png

Given I already had 11 players in each squad I deliberated a bit before deciding to bring in Rein Sleegers. In the end I think it will be a good buy as he has high attributes in areas I can't easily improve: Bravery, Determination, Leadership, Corners, and Free Kick Taking (I can only really get significant movement in one of the latter). Normally in FM19 you see a young winger with 12 Heading and bemoan the waste CA but he's already 181cm so maybe it won't be. 

1507358008_MauriceGrodowski.png.dc27328c909b43de47e0ebacf9b168ca.png

I initially ignored Grodowski due to his personality. However, when scouting for potential BPD candidates I found that there really aren't any. So a guy with incredible core defensive attributes and a respectable 10 First Touch, 11 Passing, and 9 Technique suddenly became a lot more appealing and my scouts' 93 recommendation understandable. His Vision isn't bad given his young age (signed for us on his 16th birthday) so while he's never going to be Upamecano's style, he could easily become a less aggressive version of Milenkovic or Manolas.

430376670_FilippoFavero.png.fdfd50ebd20c33b8855010a4e58847d0.png

Literally my next click after writing up this season's youth intake post was to the scouting centre where this guy was looking right at me! A suspected 'freak' newgen, he's pretty much the complete midfield package. If Böhler has every chance of inheriting Zaniolo's place as goalscoring midfielder, then the creative Filippo Favero could be Pellegrini's heir. I didn't even wait for a full scout report, I offered him a contract straight away and paid the compensation of €1.3m...pocket change, really. With him and Bardini in the same intake Sampdoria were briefly in dreamland. €7m to crush those dreams is brilliant for me but also a scathing indictment of inequalities in the modern game. Luckily this is a literal game so I'm going to focus on the former!

423521787_JonathanCloarec.png.84384e9bdf220d94f52064058b783272.png

Pre-arranged last season, I may have been a little distracted by some of Cloarec's flashier attributes. Still, in a non-active league he's already seen increases in Finishing (+1), Tackling (+1), Concentration (+2), Teamwork (+1), Vision (+1), Work Rate (+1), Agility (+1), and Balance (+1) so he is on the right track! Questions about where he'll ultimately end up playing but for now I'll just enjoy the boundless potential (and low fee). He's put weight on too (+2kg). 

1881415526_JulinRamos.png.b0d3dcd0c520f8eddb2c586dcb12b702.png

Another one pre-arranged last season, due to his nEU status Ramos arrives two years later than I would prefer. Physically dominant, technically good, an outstanding personality, a real team player and creative too, he's no James / Quintero but he's very good for what I want. Improvements in Crossing (+2), Dribbling (+1), Finishing (+2), Heading (+1), Long Shots (+1), Long Throws (+1), Marking (+1), Passing (+1), Penalty Taking (+1), Tackling (+1), Technique (+1), Anticipation (+1), Composure (+2), Decisions (+1), Off The Ball (+1), Positioning (+1), Vision (+1), Agility (+1), Jumping Reach (+3), Stamina (+1), Strength (+2), Height (+2cm), and Weight (6kg) show he's worked hard despite having no real football to play. Hopefully the improved facilities at Roma will see him kick on before a loan spell next season.

1425945406_zgrSuba.png.728bdbbf15599a9a3a17a1a628ce84fa.png

To accelerate the scouting process between youth intake day and July I have been relying more and more on trials, particularly in June where clubs are more likely to agree to them and despite being on holiday my coaches can still assess the players. Özgür Subaşı was one of this season's trial lists and I got a rather pleasant surprise: when I brought him in my scouts' partial report suggested a fee of up to €5m, yet when I terminated the trial after 3 weeks he was transfer listed for €57k! A really well-rounded player, Subaşı should see opportunities at DM and DC, although I'm going see if I can get green circles everywhere between GK and MC.

Primavera:

Spoiler

929706012_Under20s.png.453fb3c4f08a3f0c7afe7933822046e9.png

Roger Martin's potential downgrade is nothing to worry about as Alban Lafont is only rated 3 stars by my staff. More pleasing is that only Rossini and Ramos have been at the club under a year, yet so many potential ratings haven't been downgraded! Under 20s do need some game time so I only have 11 in the squad, all selected in an appropriate formation (in this case, a 4-2-3-1 DM Wide).

1453246262_Under18s.png.67024d987b93c3adfa4f814502f9b5fa.png

Unlike last season I'm not selecting my full XI for the Under 18s, instead picking a formation where I can get the most positions retrained at once and leaving the rest available for either youth team. As you can see, a top- and bottom-heavy squad with disappointingly few players in the middle, but that Subaşı - Favero - Böhler midfield has the makings of one of the best. Generally good-to-great personalities across the board which bodes well for the squad's influence on Grodowski and Cecere.

Un altro per il prossimo futuro:

Spoiler

1106814677_SteveMichaud2023.png.f02ff8abfd1d445541e4bda701b8d50e.png

I appear to have a Lyon left back habit. Its not hard to see why though: age 15 he's already got outstanding Technique, good First Touch, a great personality, and no obvious weaknesses to his game. He'll join up in January after turning 16 in November. I'm dreading José Mourinho getting the sack over there in case he is replaced by someone who values youth!

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Agosto 2023

1229315283_Agosto2023.png.92a9a8e27ff4b0385a22152208845aca.png

  • The UEFA Super Cup was...not a classic. We dominated statistically but there were perhaps three highlights total, one of which thankfully was Nikola Milenkovic scoring from a free kick!
  • Against Sampdoria I brought out 4-3-3 Total W for the first time...perhaps I should be adding I and B to make it 4-3-3 Total IWB. Chiesa equalled his goal total from DR for last season inside 45 minutes, and I'd argue Hancko's o.g. could have been credited to him too!
Edited by zlatanera
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Guai in Paradiso

Impressive as Chiesa's forward thrusts as our right-sided Inverted Wing-Back were, it immediately became apparent to me that there were some issues. Namely that, as I've seen mentioned somewhere else - can't find it now, thought it was the Juego de Posición or Cruyff Diamond thread but its not - Wingers just don't stay wide enough in the final third. This then leads to occasions where the Winger and either the near-sided CM or IWB are basically stood on top of each other, everyone is quite easily pressed by the opposition defence and both teams are acting like the flanks don't exist. To aid my complaint, here are some visuals:

1291623918_AveragePositionsvsRedBullSalzburg.png.7a6ca032561780ceb229c0f83c90e9b2.png

Above are the average positions (in possession) for the team in the UEFA Super Cup. We lined up with the Total IF tactic. Overall everything looks right: you don't usually see a player hugging the touchline on this screen like they do on the tactics selector, but we have some sort of hybrid between a 3-4-3 and a 2-2-3-3. My IFs are narrow, their duties mean they're in line with the centre forward. The supporting midfield are all on the centre circle, and the wing backs are the widest players on the pitch. All is good.

1377356017_AveragePositionsvsSampdoria.png.6afcc35916b87dcef6c11877d2132e92.png

That is the same graphic, but for the Sampdoria game where we used 4-3-3 Total (I)W(B). CDs and DLP are pretty much the same as normal. The entire midfield has drifted slightly to the left, given we won 4-0 I think that is where Samp were weakest. #24 Florenzi and #25 Chiesa were my IWB for the day, and they're both narrow as you'd expect, However #34 Kluivert and #17 Ünder are barely wider than them and if you're looking at this on a decent size screen you'll be able to spot they're pretty much in exactly the same vertical channel as in the previous game. I initially blamed Kluivert's Cuts Inside From Both Wings trait before I realised that only affects him once he gets on the ball, and had this played out how I expected it would be pretty ideal: he would hug the touchline so when he received the ball he'd be able to isolate the defender, listen to his trait and come inside with his great dribbling skills. Instead, he would already be so narrow he'd end up going backwards more than anything. 

Now maybe I'm expecting the wrong thing here. After all, Raheem Sterling hasn't scored 20 goals per season for the last 3 years by standing by the corner flag. My Roam From Position instruction might be encouraging them to come inside a little bit...but not this much. A little analysis / theory I did earlier today does show them hugging the touchline when we're in our own half at least but still, not good.

I've actually played through September at this point, winning every game I played with both tactics. However, I'm still not happy. I think I may need Su duty Wingers with Hold Position to help them maintain width in the build-up, but then I'd need to find some more At duties...perhaps the striker? Yeah, I'm going to experiment against a struggling Inter side with this forward line:

1033452728_Screenshot2020-11-11at02_18_24.png.29b0822fdaccc293885f9311e345d3dd.png

Both Wingers will only Hold Position and the Poacher won't have any added instructions either. Hopefully our attacking play won't suffer from one less At duty as we'll stretch the play and benefit more from those late runs by the IWB. 

As an aside, I'm also thinking of toning down all the Roam From Position instructions. I'm seeing a few too many crosses to nowhere as now not only has Jovic come too deep but often the wide forward won't be there to make that back post run. I only play on Key Highlights, but I'm just picking up a disconnect even with those. In that other post of mine I linked earlier I also saw our midfield deciding to overload the left side of our own defensive third, I think the increased creative freedom might be to blame. We've scored exactly 1 goal per game fewer than at this point last season and - reaching a little here - its actually the first time we've played 10 games without putting 5+ goals past someone in this save. 

Edited by zlatanera
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Settembre 2023

24037812_Settembre2023.png.360459c9f4f6b99a26c7a08da1fa4185.png

  • Our trip to San Paolo was another dud, decided when de Roon decided that Jovic was too scary and he'd better lob Meret from half-way instead!
  • Michael Laudrup's Real Sociedad gave me a little shock by actually scoring first, tiki-taka-ing their way through our press before Suat Serdar finished from the edge of the box after just 10 minutes. After that though they couldn't keep the ball off us - Total W does seem to bring higher possession numbers - and if it weren't for their goalkeeper being on his game in the last 10 minutes it could have been 4 or 5.
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53 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

Guai in Paradiso

Impressive as Chiesa's forward thrusts as our right-sided Inverted Wing-Back were, it immediately became apparent to me that there were some issues. Namely that, as I've seen mentioned somewhere else - can't find it now, thought it was the Juego de Posición or Cruyff Diamond thread but its not - Wingers just don't stay wide enough in the final third. This then leads to occasions where the Winger and either the near-sided CM or IWB are basically stood on top of each other, everyone is quite easily pressed by the opposition defence and both teams are acting like the flanks don't exist. To aid my complaint, here are some visuals:

1291623918_AveragePositionsvsRedBullSalzburg.png.7a6ca032561780ceb229c0f83c90e9b2.png

Above are the average positions (in possession) for the team in the UEFA Super Cup. We lined up with the Total IF tactic. Overall everything looks right: you don't usually see a player hugging the touchline on this screen like they do on the tactics selector, but we have some sort of hybrid between a 3-4-3 and a 2-2-3-3. My IFs are narrow, their duties mean they're in line with the centre forward. The supporting midfield are all on the centre circle, and the wing backs are the widest players on the pitch. All is good.

 

1377356017_AveragePositionsvsSampdoria.png.6afcc35916b87dcef6c11877d2132e92.png

That is the same graphic, but for the Sampdoria game where we used 4-3-3 Total (I)W(B). CDs and DLP are pretty much the same as normal. The entire midfield has drifted slightly to the left, given we won 4-0 I think that is where Samp were weakest. #24 Florenzi and #25 Chiesa were my IWB for the day, and they're both narrow as you'd expect, However #34 Kluivert and #17 Ünder are barely wider than them and if you're looking at this on a decent size screen you'll be able to spot they're pretty much in exactly the same vertical channel as in the previous game. I initially blamed Kluivert's Cuts Inside From Both Wings trait before I realised that only affects him once he gets on the ball, and had this played out how I expected it would be pretty ideal: he would hug the touchline so when he received the ball he'd be able to isolate the defender, listen to his trait and come inside with his great dribbling skills. Instead, he would already be so narrow he'd end up going backwards more than anything. 

Now maybe I'm expecting the wrong thing here. After all, Raheem Sterling hasn't scored 20 goals per season for the last 3 years by standing by the corner flag. My Roam From Position instruction might be encouraging them to come inside a little bit...but not this much. A little analysis / theory I did earlier today does show them hugging the touchline when we're in our own half at least but still, not good.

I've actually played through September at this point, winning every game I played with both tactics. However, I'm still not happy. I think I may need Su duty Wingers with Hold Position to help them maintain width in the build-up, but then I'd need to find some more At duties...perhaps the striker? Yeah, I'm going to experiment against a struggling Inter side with this forward line:

1033452728_Screenshot2020-11-11at02_18_24.png.29b0822fdaccc293885f9311e345d3dd.png

Both Wingers will only Hold Position and the Poacher won't have any added instructions either. Hopefully our attacking play won't suffer from one less At duty as we'll stretch the play and benefit more from those late runs by the IWB. 

As an aside, I'm also thinking of toning down all the Roam From Position instructions. I'm seeing a few too many crosses to nowhere as now not only has Jovic come too deep but often the wide forward won't be there to make that back post run. I only play on Key Highlights, but I'm just picking up a disconnect even with those. In that other post of mine I linked earlier I also saw our midfield deciding to overload the left side of our own defensive third, I think the increased creative freedom might be to blame. We've scored exactly 1 goal per game fewer than at this point last season and - reaching a little here - its actually the first time we've played 10 games without putting 5+ goals past someone in this save. 

A quick update, I played that game. DIdn't save, as I was just throwing stuff at it and seeing what fits. Inter lined up in a 5-4-1 with 3x CD, WB, 2x DM, and 2x CM, isolating Thiago Almada up top. Victor Goncharenko's side are trying - and failing, badly - to reinvent Catenaccio it seems. Should have been an ideal challenge for this shape: wingers stay wide, stretching the defence for our midfielders and IWB to try and make headway in the centre. 

I started out playing the original W-At - CF-Su - W-At front line and began to think the problem was two-fold: as they are still technically defenders (and in the full back position no less, rather than wing-back) even on an Attack duty in an Attacking mentality they'll generally move up level with the midfielders and only even consider trying to get into the box if we're camped around the area and they get the ball played into feet (I was distracted by how effective Chiesa was at this when I sung the role's praises after the Sampdoria win in August). So if the Wingers did hold their width, Jovic would be the only man even in a position to try to attack any crosses they did make. Anyway, a Muniain own goal and a Jovic penalty had us set for the win, so at half-time I did my promised switch:

1033452728_Screenshot2020-11-11at02_18_24.png.29b0822fdaccc293885f9311e345d3dd.png

Wingers both Hold Position. They did keep their width slightly more as we moved through the middle third, but still looked to come inside once we were in the Danger Zone. Inter couldn't believe their luck as Jovic flitted between their back 3 whilst the box of DMs and CM sat in front of our 3 midfielders and 2 IWBs daring them to try a dribble... spoiler alert: they did, Ander Herrera sliding in Every.Single.Time. I then tried pushing the IWB up into the wing-back position to get them further forward; the CMs up to AM-Su both to get out of the way of the IWB, perhaps getting into the area themselves, and to basically push the wide men out of the way towards the touchline; whilst restoring the front three to their original roles and duties...still no width. Incredible pressing shape, although an opposing team actually playing with anyone in the AM roles could have won some knock-downs. To prove I'm not just being completely insane in my expectations, here is a screenshot from my favourite thread when he used the IWB-W combo on the flank:

NXS2Ca9.png.5defa943ea8dfc3a98172bc3858228f1.png

Source

Red #38 and #40 are his Wingers, #3 and #23 the IWB. This is on FM18 with - I believe - a Structured shape, Control mentality and all Su duties but still, the principles should hold. If I had bothered to take a screenshot of a similar moment in one of my games, it would look like the above except with red #40 sat right next to the white #13, and red #38 on the inside of white #22.

I may attempt an all-Su version on either Control or Overload, but right now I'm thinking this just isn't going to work as I hoped. If I want width in a 4-3-3 I will have to use Full Backs, Wing-Backs, or Complete Wing-Backs. I should have probably done all this in-depth stuff in pre-season, but I just wanted to power through it and get to the action. Jovic or Ünder could probably have been on double figures for goals by now!

Edited by zlatanera
inserted the word 'Red'
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Ottobre 2023

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  • Alen Miletic got called up to the Austria team, marking his full international debut with a goal despite having not yet made his professional one!
  • Our 8-0 against Inter is not only our highest-scoring game of the save so far - tied with the same result at Dynamo Kyiv a couple of years back - but only 1 short of the club's record, a 9-0 victory over Cremonense in 1929! I'm regretting loaning Antony Angileri to them however, as they're averaging 2 goals conceded per game and have already shaved €1m off his value. 
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Novembre 2023

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  • Juventus were actually looking pretty good in the league - not untouchable like ourselves, but an 8-0-2 record is good - with Cristiano Ronaldo determined to make his swan song a memorable one with 9 goals in 12. A 3-0 loss to Udinese days earlier had clearly primed them for our demolition job, putting them in their place!
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Premi Globali (ed Europei)

  • FIFA Best:
Spoiler

 

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Perhaps slightly irrelevant given this award has only existed since 2017, but his third consecutive rating as the world's best goalkeeper means Lafont holds the record for the most FIFA Best Men's Goalkeeper awards!

1740720591_FIFABestU21MensPlayer.png.09652bbeed9b0864bcad04ca73440c4c.png

Mory Bamba will be looking on in envy from Bournemouth (Palermo flipped him for profit after just one season).

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  • European Golden Boy:
Spoiler

1284402507_EuropeanGoldenBoy.png.fcb15845581390e7832e50f29576598b.png

 

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Dicembre 2023

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  • Our defeat of Palmeiras (who incredibly for CWC had not only a 'real' starting XI but a bench too!) was our 200th game without defeat!!
  • I started experimenting almost immediately afterwards: 4-2-3-1 against Cosenza, a 4-3-3 adapted to try and achieve the 3-1-6 attacking shape (somewhat successful) against Lazio, then 4-4-2 DM against Fiorentina and Palermo.
  • Going forward I do have one issue: playing a high stakes game of contract chicken with Kostas Manolas. He's 32, agreed to Backup status, and only has 6 months on his deal yet due to his high level of performance his agent insisted on a contract that would take him to age 36, with a pay rise. Needless to say, negotiations "broke down" (were sabotaged by greed).
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Gennaio 2024

760309550_Gennaio2024.png.6f1d939023c1706add6906594279b998.png547475699_IconicDaEra.png.4c2679df854d32b4948f569349af5b6e.png

I expected one of the Champions League wins would have been what clinched it, but I'll take it either way!

Although I've spent most of this save trying to play proactive possession football, I loved just how direct Chiesa's winner against Milan was:

#13, out-jumped by Chiesa, is Alessio Romagnoli!

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Mercato - Inverno 2024

185714637_Transfers-Winter2024.png.5c6058b4aa86350611c6a474d9aad605.png

As usual, another quite January window for Roma! Only two deals negotiated, although I did have to hold back my itchy trigger finger as the likes of Monaco and Benfica swooped for wonderkids I'd monitored yet never quite took the plunge on. Argentina's starting right back - a two-footed Model Citizen with 16 Long Throws as well - whom Genoa had managed to snap up before he made an appearance for River Plate then hold onto for almost 5 years due to a prohibitive release clause, was particularly enticing but then I reminded myself that we're basically the full back factory of Italy right now - Terzino Fabbrica d'Italia according to mr. G. Translate - and held tight. 

I nuovi ragazzi:

Spoiler

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Steve Michaud's transfer was pre-arranged back in summer, but thankfully he hasn't waited until joining to start his development! +1 in 20 different attributes, and Lyon actually don't have the same calibre of facilities as we do. 

371393729_TomsJimnez.png.519d33ccb965122f381fa1233025fa2f.png

On 10/11/2020 at 16:58, zlatanera said:

Frustratingly the English window being open in June meant he [Matías Vargas] moved on and freed up a spare nEU slot before I could bring anyone in, once we moved into a new season we still only had 1 slot available, pre-arranged for Julián Ramos, as I was eyeing his compatriot at Deportivo Cali who looks to be an intriguing DM.

Tomás Jiménez is said compatriot! I noticed most of the interest in him was coming from Spain, so figured I could bring him in on the cheap and then loan him out for two years to gain citizenship. So far he's spending 6 months at Atlético de Madrid so fingers crossed! I would have preferred higher Teamwork, but Work Rate can be improved and he looks like he could turn into decent player. Two-footedness sets him apart. 

Un altro per il lontano futuro:

Spoiler

746079607_PedroPaulo2024.png.eebb6dc0e97157b323a4ba49b04d605c.png

I had Pedro Paulo on trial last summer, and he looks to be a brilliant prospect. However, Brazilian players can't move until age 18 so I was in no rush. Then Grémio made a move as whilst foreign clubs would have to pay €7m, Brazilian clubs only had to pay 1/10 the amount! A cheeky bid of €350k wasn't instantly rejected, confirming my suspicions the Vasco da Gama board are just as petty as me and wanted him to move abroad, so €500k gets the deal done for the lad who will join in 2025.

Other than this weird FM19 thing where young strikers all take free kicks instead of penalties, he's looking pretty perfect already. His club's facilities aren't the best, nor is he in an active league, but with that personality I'm confident he'll be much improved when he joins up. 

 

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Febbraio 2024

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  • In our last meeting in the league, Lazio had lined up in a very defensive 5-4-1, providing perfect fodder for my attempt at a 3-1-6 attack. In the away leg of this Coppa tie Sampaoli threw a curveball by actually coming out and attacking us - for the first 20 minutes they actually looked capable of beating us, but Lafont played a blinder then I brought the Jardim 4-4-2 out of retirement. Kluivert was incredible in the Mbappé role, some finishes that would shame his father!
  • I did however err in using the same 4-4-2 DM against City. Although some better finishing would have seen us score 2 or 3 (Jovic missed this month), the same could be said for them. 0-0 was a relief.
  • A return to the 4-3-3 heralded absurd back-to-back 7-0 wins. It cuts off Andrea Gagliardi's first professional goal so you can't see the timing, but we scored all 7 of our goals against Sassuolo in the first half!
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Giovane Lupi 2024

"We've got every reason to be excited by Alberto Fenu, who has the potential to be one of the most gifted players to come through the youth ranks at Roma in recent years"

1926998099_YouthIntake2024.png.aeaa34fe90f9c71baf8c1338d788d5a7.png

I had to cast my eyes right down to the bottom of the screen to find anyone with potential, but just look at him:

271980827_AlbertoFenu.png.c90c2a4b3d8f410c0cc14a4a8ec91872.png

He's just...Magnifico! Dubbed 'the new Roberto Bettega', not undeservedly as he's one of the most complete newgens of any position that I have ever had come through! Serie A quality already, I may give him his debut before the season is out. In the cold light of day I'll have a problem with something like 7 or 8 young strikers with high potential all needing game time, but for now I'm just going to bask in the glory of the FM Gods' munificence!

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12 часов назад, zlatanera сказал:

 

I had to cast my eyes right down to the bottom of the screen to find anyone with potential, but just look at him:

271980827_AlbertoFenu.png.c90c2a4b3d8f410c0cc14a4a8ec91872.png

:eek: i've never seen such complete Italian regen, absolute beast!

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Aprile 2024

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  • Marcello's hat-trick of two free kicks and a penalty was an unexpected thrill, but Atalanta then ensuring both Puljic and Belford would miss the rest of the month due to violent tackles was a blight on the game.
  • The home game against Bayern saw three excellent goals, our first at 4’ saw us slice through them like a hot knife through butter: Blanco’s goal kick short to Milenkovic; he went short into Tonali’s feet; he switched it out to Kluivert on half way, who drove into the Bayern third luring 3 men to him before dinking it into the box; Jovic lashed his half-volley into the bottom corner! 29’ Kluivert was tackled by Aleña about 30 yards, but won it back immediately; short to Lorenzo Pellegrini in the middle; a perfect slide-rule pass into the right of the area for Chiesa; his cut-back volleyed in by Ünder! 74’ Pellegrini bent a Beckham-esque free kick into the top left corner! 
  • The Udinese game was madness, three times we went ahead but were pegged back - twice by our loanee Eddy Salcedo who is pushing for 20 goals. We lost our chance of a 38-win season (although before this we had won incredible 43 consecutive games!) but not only did Marco Campanella score a first career hat-trick, we also kept our goal average above the 3.29 necessary to chase down Il Grande Torino's 125-goal season in 1947/48!

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@Vladis the only one that comes close is actually a Roma newgen in my Lyon save, a direct inspiration for starting this save in the first place:

Spoiler

497042312_FabioRughetti.png.009d1eaf449557ef32a0a2e94f47726c.png

For the first 5 youth intakes of this save I looked at José Mourinho in my Les Gones save with pure envy. Fenu is taller, and can take free kicks too so might actually be better!

I'm now left with truly absurd depth at the striker position, I may have to attempt to make 3 strikers work:

1373417623_StrikerDepth.png.41382cbd7795f0949e691b393c353af0.png

To put some of those star ratings in context: Eddy Salcedo (2.5) scored 5 goals in 7 for me, then hit 54 (and counting) over the next three seasons for some solidly mid-table squads; Gagliardi (2.5) is a natural Complete Forward at 19; MIletic (2.5) is starting (and scoring) for Austria despite not having made his professional debut in club football; Leitão (3) is in a similar mould to Marcus Rashford, better from set pieces but physically smaller and less aggressive; Campanella (4) is similar to Anthony Martial, my HoYD got ahead of himself and claimed he is "World Class" after his hat-trick against Udinese, and might hit 20 goals this season; and Jovic (4) is arguably the best pure goalscorer in the save and behind only Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo at the start of an FM19 career, on track for 100 goals in 4 seasons but fewer than 150 starts (currently 94 in 129). 

Edited by zlatanera
grammar
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Maggio 2024

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  • At home to Bologna Marco Campanella was at it again: intercepting a loose ball on half-way, sprinting clear and lobbing the keeper! That sealed our 150th unbeaten league game!
  • 6 clean sheets in Inter's last 9 games were for nought as we absolutely tore into them: along with our 3 goals, we hit the woodwork 3 times and Keylor Navas made 13 saves!

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  • Our hosting of second-placed Fiorentina was billed as a shootout between the two highest scoring players in the league - Jovic (20 goals) vs Vlahovic (21), Crvena Zvezda vs Partizan - but instead became the Amad Traore show! Fiorentina’s 83rd-minute goal saw us finally hit double figures for goals conceded, but more importantly King Kyle’s late goal put us past Torino’s record! With a game to spare too!

748217835_SerieArecordgoals.png.de956618077977cc349a21358a19edba.png

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Finale di Champions League 2024

Pep Guardiola’s Liverpool’s victory over Manchester United in the semi-finals means we get a rematch of the 1984 Final. Sadly this one is contested at Luzhniki, so there isn’t the possibility of a full revenge job on Liverpool for winning at Olimpico all those years ago - they’re actually listed under ‘Fierce Rivals’ in FM!

Guardiola’s side have had a mixed bag of a season: 4th in the Premier League (Carlo Ancelotti’s Man Utd now have three in a row!), won the Carabao Cup, but lost in the 3rd round of the F.A. Cup to League Two side Carlisle United. Unlike last year, thankfully, both sides are at pretty much full strength as the EURO doesn't clash with this tournament. Liverpool have left Diadié Samassékou unregistered in only his second season with the club, a real show of Premier League extravagance and/or poor AI squad building. Mohamed Salah has been their star player, top for both goals (27) and assists (16). 

Line-Ups.png.42b020c6b9b58c5fff7042c61adf34fb.png

A knock to Lorenzo Pellegrini means he only makes the bench but his replacement Patrice Grall is a full France international aged 18, so we should only miss him on set pieces - he's better at taking them and getting on the end of them. Liverpool look…like if Pep took over next year and started moulding them in his own image really: similar to me he is fielding one newgen, Stephen Agyemang, who is a physically dominant box-to-box midfielder with 18 Stamina. I would argue in FM terms Sadio Mané =/= Julian Brandt, but Tah, de Jong, and Tielemans are more technical upgrades on Mateo, Henderson, and Wijnaldum. A lot of ex-Roma involvement: Alisson and Salah starting, with Patrik Schick on a strong bench too.

  • 14’ Upamecano stood over a free kick just inside our half; to Grall in the centre, immediately pressured but knocked it ahead of Kluivert; he cut in before playing it ahead of Chiesa on the right; his cut back was sliced away by Van Dijk; Zaniolo headed it down; Jovic, Alisson, and a defender got in a muddle and the ball trickled through…Van Dijk smashes it away from the line!

  • 20’ Liverpool break through Salah down the middle; as Tonali goes to challenge he plays it over the top into the left channel for Firmino; cut back to Brandt…Lafont saves!…Brandt goes again but skies it.

  • 27’ Tonali has his back to goal in the centre circle, Salah pressuring; into Zaniolo’s feet, first time to Grall; sprayed out to Chiesa on the touchline; he gets to the byline and crosses to the near post; Jovic’s header pushed onto the post by Alisson, his follow-up blocked on the line; Robertson clears out to Tonali; out wide to Luca Pellegrini, whose cross forces Robertson to concede a corner.

  • 34’ I go for the classic “Demand More” shout. Dayot Upamecano - unsettled by a Manchester City bid in January - feels pressured, but everyone else has positive body language indicators.

  • 41’ Salah stands over a free kick on the right of our area; short to the un-marked Tielemans (both of my Edge of Area assignments are stood holding hands in the D); Tielemans shoots first time, hits the bar and Grall flicks it away for a corner.

  • 42’ Salah’s corner is headed towards goal by Van Dijk, Lafont touches it over the bar.

133585286_HalfTime.png.e4dc1f27375c3ceb0f038b206b6ebb2a.png

Liverpool are just about on top of this: both goalkeepers are on a 7.0, both sides had 2 half chances, they hit the woodwork once. They have 59% possession with a lot in the middle third, whereas our heat map looks more like somebody splashed some water. Chiesa's frequent turnovers are mostly crosses - a mix of poor ones which just seem to be a given if you use a (Complete) Wing-Back on an At duty, and good ones cleared away by the €84m man. I decide not to change anything yet, but have my 4-4-2 ready to turn this into an end-to-end slug-fest if necessary.

A misjudged team talk of “Prove you’re winners!” (Aggressively) sees only a couple of responses.

  • 48’ Alisson’s goal kick is short to Van Dijk on the left; back to Alisson, who clears; Upamecano knocks it down to Grall in the Liverpool third; he finds Zaniolo attacking space; he slips it through the crowd to Ünder entering the area on the right; his low shot is pushed out for a corner by a full stretch Alisson.

  • 48’ Tonali hits his corner to the back post; Alisson punches clear; Zaniolo collects and is chased towards the touchline by Agyemang; the Englishman robs him with a slide tackle.

  • 53’ “Demand More” - Upamecano is still nervous, but his ability with the ball at his feet is too valuable against an intense Liverpool press for me to even consider a substitution.

  • 64’ at half way, Upamecano throws it down the line to Jovic (FM19 glitch makes strikers always come short);  he turns inside and sprays it out wide; Robertson heads away from Ünder, but only as far as Chiesa; he goes wide drawing two men and knocks it inside for Ünder; Agyemang clears and Milenkovic recovers just inside our half; back to Lafont who goes first time to Upamecano; first time to Tonali; Tonali pauses then goes back to Milenkovic; back to Lafont who slowly dribbles across the top of the box under pressure from Firmino - he’s very realistic in FM! - before playing it wide to Chiesa; inside to Grall; quickly on to Ünder; Ünder checks inside his man then sets off running before playing it square to the left wing for Pellegrini;  he cuts inside and lofts it over the box for Chiesa; he crosses towards the back post; Alexander-Arnold gets an imperceptible touch on it to wrong-foot Kluivert but concede a corner.

  • 65’ Tonali sends the corner towards the back post; Van Dijk away; Brandt away further; Zaniolo knocks down to Grall; he retreats with a one-two with Milenkovic, then gives it to Zaniolo; under pressure back to Milenkovic.

  • 66’ Ünder has a free kick dead centre…just wide!

  • 69’ “Demand More”

  • 71’ Fabinho is on for Agyemang - a weird choice to sub off the man with 18 Natural Fitness and 19 Stamina given we may go to extra time.

  • 76’ Salah has a knock.

  • 77’ deep in our half, Pellegrini throws back to Upamecano; he dribbles into the centre unchallenged, then launches it over the top; Jovic gets to it first in the box but has two men on him, he checks out and back to Kluivert; inside to Zaniolo, Tonali, Kluivert, Tonali, Grall, Tonali, he plays it wide past Kluivert; a back heel from the touchline finds Pellegrini; his cross headed away by Brandt as far as Grall; he invites Chiesa forward, who crosses to the far post; Kluivert’s header is into the side-netting. 

  • 78’ Everton and Schick on for Salah and Firmino.

  • 81’ Alexander-Arnold has a throw near our area;  into the area, Schick gets away from his marker and suddenly has the goal in sight; a good stretching save from Lafont!

  • 81’ Tielemans is on corner duty now; MIlenkovic strongly heads away as far as Everton; back out to Tielemans, who crosses; Luca Pellegrini heads away to Chiesa whilst leaping backwards, impressive! Chiesa sets off…

  • 83’ Tonali is tiring, I drop Grall down to DM and bring on Lorenzo Pellegrini.

  • 85’ Luca Pellegrini picks up a booking.

  • 86’ Lafont has a goal kick; over the first line of the press to Zaniolo, who immediately has two men on him; quickly wide to Luca Pellegrini; he bursts into the Liverpool half then lays it off to Kluivert; Kluivert takes a touch then plays it back into space for Luca; he picks it up in the centre, dribbles to the edge of the area then slips it back out for Kluivert; Kluivert crosses  to the near post…Jovic!! That placed header is his 100th Roma goal!

  • 90+4’ Chiesa has a throw in the right near half way; down the line to Jovic, he holds it up…Robertson is frustrated and trips him; Full Time!

1311328198_FullTImeFullScreen.png.98725c3bb5036871b69afacd9abf9be2.png

For our Complete Wing-Backs to yet again be the most important players on the pitch is made even more satisfying given this opposition: Liverpool, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson who are arguably the best in the world irl (Alphonso Davies needs to keep it up this season, then we'll talk about him), managed by Pep Guardiola: the man who got the best out Dani Alves, the man who arguably set the standard for elite full backs going into this decade. That the MotM Luca Pellegrini was born, raised, and trained in Rome only makes it sweeter!

1882916702_RomaliftChampionsLeague.png.019f87f27f16a8ed46dd0829abb4c2e5.png

That is the third time Luka Jovic has scored the winner in the final! He got 2 in '21, 1 in '22, and now the only goal in '24! Our clean sheet was Alban Lafont's 35th in 46 appearances too. I find it curious that the reporter claims that Liverpool's fouling ruined the game, given it was such a clean one that only one player picked up a booking.

The winning goal - the full move - is below. Given I had debated selling Kluivert in the last couple of seasons as Matías Vargas was not only a better set piece taker but also had higher attributes in every area except those relevant for dribbling (-1 vs Kluivert on Dribbling, First Touch, Flair, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, and Pace but +2 on quite a few mental attributes). It was Kluivert's two-footedness (Strong left foot, Very Strong right foot) that clinched it for me as I felt it had value. Although Luca Pellegrini's marauding run was the driving force of the goal, the assist coming from the left foot after Kluivert controlled the ball with his right is vindicating.

Edited by zlatanera
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@04texag I know, I've never used a pure Poacher type before so this is a revelation to me!

1911060524_LukaJovic.png.45874db04143c6b907b8831d829b6932.png

His stats have been inflated by penalties a little (29 out of 36 taken) but 100 goals in 147 games (134 starts) is still brilliant. That would put him 8th on the all-time Roma goalscorers list, 2 goals behind Vincenzo Montella in over 100 games fewer. If I wanted to, I could start him even more often and have him hunt down Totti's record I believe - at his current rate it would be achievable in 8 seasons by age 34, but we're playing 60 game seasons and he's only playing half of those. Definitely a sense of "if you feed him, he will score". He's actually declined a little due to an injury, as the image above shows - he had 18 Finishing when he joined us. Being two-footed is definitely a boon too, its the only thing making me consider not shipping him out to make room for one of the many youngsters. 

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2 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

@04texag I know, I've never used a pure Poacher type before so this is a revelation to me!

1911060524_LukaJovic.png.45874db04143c6b907b8831d829b6932.png

His stats have been inflated by penalties a little (29 out of 36 taken) but 100 goals in 147 games (134 starts) is still brilliant. That would put him 8th on the all-time Roma goalscorers list, 2 goals behind Vincenzo Montella in over 100 games fewer. If I wanted to, I could start him even more often and have him hunt down Totti's record I believe - at his current rate it would be achievable in 8 seasons by age 34, but we're playing 60 game seasons and he's only playing half of those. Definitely a sense of "if you feed him, he will score". He's actually declined a little due to an injury, as the image above shows - he had 18 Finishing when he joined us. Being two-footed is definitely a boon too, its the only thing making me consider not shipping him out to make room for one of the many youngsters. 

Ridiculous stats for a pure finisher. Only weaknesses really are acceleration and technique. But off the ball, anticipation, composure, balance and finishing are all top attributes for a solid goal scorer and he's like 17+ on all. 

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18 minutes ago, 04texag said:

Ridiculous stats for a pure finisher. Only weaknesses really are acceleration and technique. But off the ball, anticipation, composure, balance and finishing are all top attributes for a solid goal scorer and he's like 17+ on all. 

Yeah given I was aiming for a possession side his Technique, Passing, and Vision would seem weak. Actually though we’re more like a cross between Zidane’s multi-CL-winning Real Madrid - whose lack of an identity in spite of a consistent playing squad was their identity - and the goal scoring exploits of one of the greats. 
Perhaps we’re the current Bayern side? 
One attribute I’ve noticed a bunch of top goal scorers - Cristiano, Lewandowski, Huntelaar - have in abundance is Concentration. 12 isn’t bad, and it certainly didn’t hold him back in the big games so far but if I was actually seeking an upgrade (if that were possible), that would be the attribute I would add to my filter.

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9 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

Yeah given I was aiming for a possession side his Technique, Passing, and Vision would seem weak. Actually though we’re more like a cross between Zidane’s multi-CL-winning Real Madrid - whose lack of an identity in spite of a consistent playing squad was their identity - and the goal scoring exploits of one of the greats. 
Perhaps we’re the current Bayern side? 
One attribute I’ve noticed a bunch of top goal scorers - Cristiano, Lewandowski, Huntelaar - have in abundance is Concentration. 12 isn’t bad, and it certainly didn’t hold him back in the big games so far but if I was actually seeking an upgrade (if that were possible), that would be the attribute I would add to my filter.

Good observation, and definitely makes sense, as they have to be ready in any given moment to make a run, so they must always be paying attention. Concentration seems paramount when thinking about it that way. 

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34 minutes ago, 04texag said:

Good observation, and definitely makes sense, as they have to be ready in any given moment to make a run, so they must always be paying attention. Concentration seems paramount when thinking about it that way. 

Yeah tbh the only mental attributes I don’t have an handle on are Aggression and Bravery. Obviously none of my team having Aggression would be bad, but I feel like it is more likely to lead to fouls whereas Bravery is getting in ahead of your man to head in. But the descriptors aren’t as clear as they are for the others. 
I really would only view Concentration as last way of dividing attacking players, the likes of Anticipation are more immediately useful. I’d take a two-footed Jovic over a 1-footed one with 16 Concentration, for example. After all, I have plenty of strikers with fresh minds waiting on the bench!

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@04texag Oh yeah Immobile is an absolutely brilliant striker. He would be better suited to a high press than Jovic due to his superiority in relevant attributes. I think he’s scored 20+ every season in my save (not league, but overall). 
I have to be honest and say that FM21 is tempting me. The sheer amount of beautiful goals I’m seeing might actually be unrealistic, but after a couple years of sucky central play who cares?
That could decide the direction I go here too - if I’m going to play tiki-taka on the new one (while also debating going back to FM17 and enjoying Messi for 3-4 seasons), I might go for two strikers as a main tactic rather than an alternate.

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Premi del Club e Statistiche della Squadra

1722844004_RomaEndofSeasonAwards.png.01845dfad13e6e28fc7baf1943eeb706.png

Luca Busti as Fans' PotS was somewhat of a surprise given the numbers - 2 goals and 9 assists from 27 (+16) appeareances is pretty standard for our full backs - until I looked at the Serie A overview, which shows he was the highest-rated player in the league with an average of 7.81. This was achieved despite playing 90% of his appearances out of position at right back, occasionally captaining the club aged just 20 (now 21) years old! All 3 of the those players listed for that award are Rome-born academy products, which is nice. Nice too to see some variation in Elroy van Maanen getting YPotS despite Busti being eligible, although yet again our Team of the Season shows a slight bias towards the 'B' line-up who generally played against weaker teams (although also played the Champions League group stages): Lafont, Milenkovic, Pellegrini, Tonali, and Ünder were 'A' team players. 

Alessio Riccardi's goal of the season was, unsurprisingly, a shot from outside the box. But just look at the curl on it! 

That was the opener in a 6-1 demolition of Monaco. I like to think that Monaco were complacent at seeing a 'B' line-up, started to worry as we quickly asserted ourselves and then just gave up at the sight of our 6th-choice midfielder doing that!

2045289714_PlayerStats1.png.0f7fc59cb8e08060ddd775de4d8ff449.png
480161694_PlayerStats2.png.87a913eddfccedaec1bcd16333fa9e9f.png

For some reason clean sheets aren't on this stats screen, so: Alban Lafont kept 36 shut-outs, breaking his own record of 35 from 2021/22 in 5 fewer games, and an incredible 31 of those were in Serie A! Rubén Blanco kept 9 clean sheets in 14 starts, my two goalkeepers conceding 6 and 14 goals, 0.43 and 0.30 per game, respectively. Also not pictured are three youth players who featured: Kevin Rossini - 4(3) appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists, 7.43; Mario Marku - 3(1) appearances, 7.13; and Andrea Gagliardi - 5(2) appearances, 1 goal, 7.06.

Our centre-backs' goals all came from corners, which isn't surprising. Our full backs are always going to wrack up the assists, but what I found interesting was the goals. Federico Chiesa scored 2 in our first use of the IWB system then grabbed another later in the year by ghosting into the far side of the box following a throw-in, which is also the move that I believe brought Puljic and Pellegrini's goals. But Luca Busti, when playing as a CWB, scored both his goals in separate games by cutting inside and curling it into the far side of the net like Arjen Robben! Florenzi's return is pretty solid given he was only getting minutes late on off the bench.

In midfield, Riccardi and Grall - in spite of the former's spectacular effort at Monaco - appear to have quietly grabbed a few goals without my noticing. Given my throw-in routines open up space at the D for the midfielders whilst the clearances arising from endless crosses from the CWB often drop kindly too, midfielders with good Finishing would probably do even better. Lorenzo Pellegrini quadrupled his assist tally from the previous season (and doubled his previous best) and while I know part of this was due to being restored to corner duties, he clearly benefited from the greater creative freedom of the Roaming Playmaker role compared to his previous more static roles. I find Nicolò Zaniolo's stats incredibly satisfying to look at. 

Our front line grabbed an amazing 115 goals between them as Ünder and Jovic - 'The Untouchables' both in terms of team selection and defenders' attempts to stop them :lol: - maintained their previous levels but also inspired a real step up from Justin Kluivert. He'd only hit double figures once since moving from Ajax, so to crack the 20-goal barrier for the first time in his career is special and I'll be interested to see if he maintains it. 'King Kyle' actually saw a minor drop-off in production but it didn't matter too much as Amad Traore and Marco Campanella both continue to improve their totals year-on-year. I'm particularly impressed by Amad Traore's numbers, given the only attribute he has seen increase in the past two seasons is his Determination (over his time at the club he's transformed from 5 Balanced to 12 Fairly Professional) and he may have actually declined slightly. I think that, more than the numbers from top-tier talents like Ünder and Jovic, shows how effective our tactics are.

Spoiler

To show what I mean, below are Traore and Ünder, with attributes highlighted for IF-Su.

598840386_AmadTraore.png.18578fab9301dbee580b4590d96593c9.png

542149154_Cengiznder.png.d315562005c0644793c2ed1e8fd9fe4e.png

The only areas Traore really holds up well in are Dribbling and his Physical attributes. The differences in their totals can almost entirely be attributed to Ünder's responsibility for taking corners and free kicks. I think Traore is similar to Titouan Thomas at Lyon in that he just doesn't really have any wasted attributes: while I'd prefer more Aggression and Bravery, they aren't really essential for what I want him to do. 11 Vision isn't too shabby given you're far more likely to see a switch of play than a cute through ball from an IF on FM19.

On a final note Rubén Blanco (Spain), Luca Busti (Italy), Marcello (Brazil!), Patrice Grall (France!), and King Kyle (England) all made their international debuts this season. Of the players in my stats screenshot only Manolas (retired) and Florenzi (declined) aren't regularly playing for their countries. 

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Premi

  • UEFA
Spoiler

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Some deserved recognition from the continental award bodies, even if I think Moussa Dembélé should have take the past two years' awards for 49- and 38-goal seasons at Real Madrid.

  • Serie A
Spoiler

1575242163_SerieAPlayeroftheYear.png.54d4720c8c2d6f45375fd13cf13f00a5.png

Attribute-wise he's nowhere near close so to some this will come off as an insult, but for the way he is performing across the back line...the Roman Paolo Maldini?

1641292969_SerieATopGoalscorer.png.388ee2a91edc6c50143b6f9cfd4042ea.png

Jovic played far fewer games than the other two and as such is far ahead of the league with 111 minutes per goal. But this was something of a breakout season for young Vlahovic, and a real 'ageing striker in Serie A' season for Christian Atsu, whose previous record was 6 goals in 2011/12 for Rio Ave and was seemingly hitting an early decline having moved from Newcastle to Brøndby in 2019.

1552833000_SerieAManageroftheYear.png.db5bb0b940af8bbcfe2c4834015a433a.png

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303578365_SerieApositionalawards.png.b532fa45d9d6221733074366fdcb3d94.png

I think the most shocking outcome here is Cristiano Ronaldo ranking for Striker of the Year age 38-39. Interestingly by hitting 12 league goals in his final season the chapters of his career either side of the Real Madrid years have a kind of symmetry: 84 goals, 196 appearances (league) at Man Utd, 91 goals, 194 appearances at Juventus.

1544232313_SerieATeamoftheYear.png.e8b4351f1861742ddf666d3e1bcae093.png

  • Champions League
Spoiler

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Our players are definitely being punished here for the way I - much like UEFA, really - divide it in half between the meh Autumn where I field the 'B' team and crunch time in Spring when I let loose the wide forwards of war.

1948217449_ChampionsLeaguepositionalawards.png.c3c0b9c5f8e474a2069ad51848ab64f4.png

  • Croatia
Spoiler

121286134_CroatianNationalTeamYoungPlayeroftheYear.png.48da235c1ef0fb8a8483f06f51bd741f.png

 

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Serie A, Champions League & Curiousità Internazionali Casuali

2053202752_SerieA.png.fc878b7eaa2050f531dd0da65a1e5b5b.png

Incredibly we're still improving, as without that mad-cap draw at Udinese where Eddy Salcedo played like a man who really wants to play for his parent club (us) we would have not only won an entire season, but also kept our concessions in single digits. Still, a further year-on-year improvement and smashing a goalscoring record set by Il Grande Torino in a 40-game season is pretty special!

Speaking of year-on-year improvement, Luciano Spalletti's Fiorentina finally made it back into the Champions League despite making a small profit on transfers (and with Lucas Plaza at €8m the most expensive signing of his regime). They've made some good loan signings, including Manuel Gasparini from us: Vlahovic's regular supporting cast included Serge Gnabry, Hakan Çalhanoglu, and Julian Draxler, none of whom are owned by Viola. Juventus finally dropped out the Champions League despite Zidane being in charge - it'll be interesting to see if they start making big moves again now Ronaldo's wages are dragging them down. Stefano Pioli's Udinese are turning into a decent outfit with consecutive Europa League finishes, although again we loaned them a key player (Eddy Salcedo, their top scorer with 18).

Around Europe there were a couple of interesting outcomes:

  • Our loanee goalkeeper Francisco Pinto started 50 games as Leverkusen sealed a double of Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal.

  • Monaco won Ligue 1

  • Rapid Wien lost the Austrian Bundesliga on goal difference to Red Bull Salzburg, who have now won 10 in a row.

345237924_ChampionsLeague.png.7c2ff111a202766805931171cde0a619.png

The shock of the competition is Dinamo Zagreb hammering PSG 3-0 at Maksimir then holding on to make it to the Quarter-Finals given they've only made the group stage twice in this save. They actually took a score draw at Anfield too, but were undone at home. Schalke hadn't made it out of the group unit this season, but did well to get past Benfica. Marseille haven't won a trophy in this save, so to take on not only Europa League champions Salzburg but a free-scoring Real Madrid side who have won four consecutive La Liga is something else.

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  • zlatanera changed the title to A Decade in The Sun - The Very Best of A New Roman Empire

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