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@quee at the end of match (or if you load up a previous match) there’ll be a ‘review and share highlights’ button. Go in there, pick your highlight and where it says ‘upload’ there’ll be a drop-down arrow where you can choose ‘export’ instead. 
Due to the upload limit on these forums I usually do them in 480p which doesn’t look great. I’m on a Mac and I also use a programme called SmartConverter to change it from .ogv to .mp4 which shrinks it even more. 

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12 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

@quee at the end of match (or if you load up a previous match) there’ll be a ‘review and share highlights’ button. Go in there, pick your highlight and where it says ‘upload’ there’ll be a drop-down arrow where you can choose ‘export’ instead. 
Due to the upload limit on these forums I usually do them in 480p which doesn’t look great. I’m on a Mac and I also use a programme called SmartConverter to change it from .ogv to .mp4 which shrinks it even more. 

Ah, so just drag and drop the video here? I did the exporting part already before, but not sure if I need to upload it to Youtube first or something. Thanks! :D

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Premi

  • Only domestic awards this time, but I'm going to stick with my pattern of putting them in spoilers unless one of my guys picks up the Ballon d'Or or similar.
Spoiler

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Another deserved plaudit for Ünder after an outstanding season. Following on from Kolarov's win last year that appears to make him the first winner under 30 since Zlatan in 2011...actually no, Bonucci was 29 in 2016. But he's the youngest since Alberto Gilardino in 2005 with Parma (also 22).

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Strangely I lost out on this one last year to Stefano Pioli for getting Fiorentina to 62 points and 7th place. It generally goes to the league winner - the only other time it didn't this decade was Sarri in 2016/17, far more deserving in my opinion than AI Pioli (before then it was Prandelli's 2008 Fiorentina side).

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No room for Ünder in this TotY as they elected to pick a narrow formation - I guess outside of Rome it must have been a poor year for wingers? Interesting that Cristante got a nod given he wasn't even first choice in my actual team. Solid performer though.

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Good to see Olsen getting recognition before I move him on this mercato - he's been great, its just Lafont is even better as well as over a decade younger. Strangely I only got the option to congratulate two of my award winners, Schick must be on a tech detox and unavailable.

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Recognition from my peers for the second year in a row - quite magnanimous of them all given the hammerings we've dished out over the season.

 

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On 08/04/2020 at 19:55, zlatanera said:

@quee at the end of match (or if you load up a previous match) there’ll be a ‘review and share highlights’ button. Go in there, pick your highlight and where it says ‘upload’ there’ll be a drop-down arrow where you can choose ‘export’ instead. 
Due to the upload limit on these forums I usually do them in 480p which doesn’t look great. I’m on a Mac and I also use a programme called SmartConverter to change it from .ogv to .mp4 which shrinks it even more. 

I tried to drag and drop my video, it's only showing as downloadable link instead of embedding the video? Does it have to be in .mp4?

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7 hours ago, quee said:

I tried to drag and drop my video, it's only showing as downloadable link instead of embedding the video? Does it have to be in .mp4?

Don’t think so no. I’ve sometimes had problems too, maybe clear your post and try uploading again?

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Una Legenda Se Ne Va

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As previously mentioned, Daniele De Rossi elected to retire at the end of the season following over 600 appearances for the club (500 in the league). I thought about making him my Assistant Manager, but then I noticed Zeljko Buvac was available so instead he goes into the youth coaching team.

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It doesn't look like he'll be quite as prominent off the field as he was on it, but given I always hire club legends I'm just happy to see some green coaching attributes!

Edited by zlatanera
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Attaccandolo ai Qatarini

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Monchi's already high reputation has been burnished by my aversion to the press allowing him to introduce all my signings...

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...and he knows it!

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Olimpi

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Neymar's 3rd consecutive Olympic Games Final ended much as his first in 2012 - with defeat. Good news for the 6-strong Roma contingent in the Italian U23 squad! 

Edited by zlatanera
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@quee Ideas for the continuation of the save. When I abandon a save I like to go back to a point where not too much is set in stone in case going in a different direction gets me back into it. So in this case, anything after the final game of 2019/20 no longer happened, and as we can't actually delete anything there are now empty posts. 

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@quee I decided I wanted a do-over on my Lyon save. I'd had fun with the Roma save, achieving most of what I'd want to achieve that I hadn't managed the first time:

  • Win everything - surprisingly easy.
  • Get goals out of Zaniolo and Pellegrini (admittedly not a huge amount from Zaniolo but that was partially due to a tactical tweak).
  • Get goals out of Dzeko.
  • Get goals out of Ünder - the shift in tactic probably explains Zaniolo not improving his tally.

I don't like to write them off completely, hence keeping a reasonable save point, but I felt like with the 4-2-3-1 and the hoarding youth both this and my Ajax save were just tributes to the longer one with Lyon I did over the summer, which I'm now re-doing given I'm marginally wiser now. Its here if you're interested, although to be perfectly honest I mostly just document these saves for myself. 

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  • 4 months later...

Il Riavvio - Protocollo Fantasma

After a few months away from FM - I'm probably the only member of these forums whose FM time went down during lockdown - and with a 70% completed Pokémon save still luring my attention away...I'm back! I filled in a few of those empty posts up the page with little tidbits that wouldn't necessarily warrant a post otherwise so I can go straight into the transfer window below...

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Incontrare La Nuova Tattica, La Stessa Della Vecchia Tattica

So titled because I'm not posting any instructions here, I've done it a million times, we all know how my teams play football - whilst I do find the tactical side appealing, especially when I'm winning, I'm much more interested in developing players and turning a club round in the transfer market at the moment. Anyway, I set up with two formations for 2020/21:

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That's right, its not a 4-2-3-1!! 

The instructions and distribution of duties are much the same however. Ünder keeps his IF role, albeit without instructions, as the lack of an AMC means I'm happier for him to cut inside earlier than he would in the W role from 2018/19. I've ended up with a triple-playmaker system which...may backfire, but as they're all on different duties and are different styles of player I think it could be quite interesting. I could have switched El Shaarawy to mirror Ünder but I really like the positions the Trequartista gets into. Having Pellegrini as a ball magnet between Tonali and Il Faraone should hopefully mean we don't hit him too soon (especially a risk with Tonali's traits including Tries Long Range Passes), which is one of my few frustrations with this style over the past couple of years.

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Much like in first season I have an alternate for tougher away games, particularly in Europe, using the Jardim style. This time though I'm not even pretending I'll play a 4-4-1-1, I just don't feel confident enough in my interpretations of the shape. Without Dzeko I now have two dynamic striker roles, Schick is no longer the most advanced player but instead will use his unique combination of physique and creativity to supply Jovic. 

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Mercato - Estate 2020

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Another busy transfer window, although thankfully more out of opportunism on my part than any need to replace key players. That I've drastically improved the squad over two years - on the Comparison tab in Team Report we're top for 35 categories and bottom for one, the average age of the squad - whilst only seeing the annual wage bill rise by €0.2m is both a point of pride for me and a scathing indictment of Monchi's work in that 2018 summer window. 

La Partenza:

Spoiler
  • Daniele De Rossi, as previously mentioned, retired and signed up as an Under 18s Coach.
  • With his successor already incoming I was able to see clearly past Aleksandar Kolarov's good form to the fact that he was a 34-year old full back with 10 Acceleration (and falling) and decline to renew his contract. Two weeks later he signed up at Milan, no doubt he'll put a free kick past Lafont but I'm not too worried about Didier Deschamps' side.
  • Edin Dzeko also left at the end of his contract. Unlike Kolarov it wasn't his lack of pace, rather my desire to manage Luka Jovic  for the first time since FM16 that saw me tie up the deal last summer. Also unlike Kolarov he's managed to nab himself a wage rise, €210k/week at Monaco. In the future he apparently wants to be a Director of Football, so Monchi better watch out!
  • Greco, Celar, Bianda, and Nani were young players with too little potential for where I want to be, any fees were a bonus compared to just having 4 fewer players to click through. 
  • Ante Coric was similar to the above, except he was on over €50k/week - more than Lorenzo Pellegrini at the time of signing! My main priority was to avoid paying any of his wages, a fee was again just a bonus. After a couple of false starts with Nantes he halved his wages to move too Empoli.
  • Robin Olsen had performed admirably, but I had his successor in place and his 5% wage rise clause was starting to irritate me (by the end of his contract he would be earning more than Coric haha). As usual I offered him out initially for 2x his value - so about €50m - and was obviously ready to take much less than that given his age and reputation, but Fiorentina bid to loan Alessio Cragno and I realised that after taking Lafont off their hands I could get them to loan Olsen for 100% wages. If all goes well I'll just renegotiate it the next two summers to factor in his wage rise then release him at the end of his deal.

Le nuove reclute:

Spoiler

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  • Chievo's failure in the Serie B play-offs allowed me to bit a perfectly reasonable €13m for young Vignato, probably the best wing prospect of his age in Italy. The board are still unhappy but I'm not concerned, I expect him to be of starting quality for us in a couple of years as he already has strong attributes in all the right areas. Outside of FM I hadn't heard of him, even inside FM it was only on another save when Fiorentina bought him to replace Chiesa that I became aware of his potential. This time I cut out the middle man!

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  • In real life apparently the only member of Valencia's squad not up for sale (even before Covid their finances were terrible - all these rumours of Barcelona asking Messi to "stay and lead the kids" look absurd given he may be playing alongside a bunch of actual teenagers with no first team experience come the restart), I tied up the deal for Gayà last season. Everything I said in that post still stands, a great buy.

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  • My midfield conductor on an FM18 Milan save (and an FM16 one...or two) when casting around for someone to rotate with Sandro Tonali he ticked all the boxes - still quite young, Italian, a great personality and a complete midfield player. A bargain for Sassuolo at €12m after their loan, and even more of a bargain for me at €15m - the going rate for 18-year olds with potential rather than first team quality. 

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  • Not looking like the next coming of Leonardo Bonucci or anything, but Marco Varnier is a good Serie A BPD with the best personality in the game and was available for a very reasonable price. I had intended to loan him out, but his agent skipped promises and went straight to a contract, then nobody was interested. Hopefully that personality keeps him in check as he fights Marcano for the right to be 4th choice at centre back, before fighting it out with Mancini to be first backup in 2022.

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  • Another pre-arranged in summer 2019, Lafont doesn't look to have developed much with Fiorentina, but hopefully Champions League experience and my training regime will change that. Either way, €25m to have the No. 1 shirt occupied for at least 10 years is great business, no matter the board's objections.

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  • The final pre-arranged transfer. I had concerns about that Runs With Ball Often trait but a closer look at Jovic's attributes show him to be more well-rounded than his reputation suggested. Still, with those gold attributes I'm expecting him to finish half-chances in his sleep!

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  • A real impulse purchase this one. Chiesa had previously looked unaffordable and I was resigned to seeing him stagnate then become a rotation option at PSG / Bayern / Madrid. Dortmund seeing a €45m bid accepted lured me in, and although we're set in the wide attacking positions Rick Karsdorp doing his cruciate was giving me a headache, so Ive actually set a club transfer record for a backup for Alessandro Florenzi! In other words, we may now have the most offensively effective right flank in Europe, and hopefully Chiesa imitates his father by winning trophies in Rome!

 

Un'altra nuova formazione, che non è proprio nuova:

Spoiler

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  • Yeah I'm not retraining Chiesa all the way to DR, that added versatility might see his attributes rebalanced. Instead I'm just moving the full backs up to WB, as all of them are naturals there. Hopefully we somehow see an even more productive attack as I'm sure the defence will be a little less secure now.

Duo per il futuro:

Spoiler

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  • A real weak point in the academy is central midfield - I'm fielding AMs there in the under 18s as I want to round them out with RPM training, but behind Riccardi there really was nobody. French-Italian dual national Colombo looks like he could be a somebody, and is my cheapest transfer of the save so far yet looking at his attributes you would not realise it!

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  • Defence is not a weak point of the academy, I have high potential candidates across the back line. Initially I thought van Maanen simply had too many weak technical areas to be a future CWB, but then I noticed he's giant! So I took a (rather expensive) punt that I can develop that next Bonucci-type I was talking about and he's training and playing as a BPD in the under 20 squad.

 

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I Mentori - Terzo Anno

A huge loss of leadership and good personalities with the retirement of Daniele De Rossi and the release of Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko meant when it came to sorting mentoring this year I only had 4 possible mentors with both the age, influence, and good personalities to make it a worthwhile endeavour: Iván Marcano, Alessandro Florenzi, Bryan Cristante, and newly promoted club captain Lorenzo Pellegrini. Kostas Manolas is excluded due to poor characteristics the game makes us aware of by labelling his media-handling style as Outspoken

Luckily, there are also very few players who need mentoring! From an initial list of 8 I removed Sandro Tonali (nobody with a better personality to mentor him) and Luca Pellegrini (already identical personality to Florenzi), as well as Luka Jovic and Alban Lafont who would hopefully be taken care of by the powerful Welcome to Club function. That left me with just four; Nicolò Zaniolo (De Rossi didn’t make him a Perfectionist sadly), Cengiz Ünder, Justin Kluivert,  and Alessio Riccardi now available after his promotion from the under 20s.

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All that is quite a long-winded way of saying that assigning mentoring groups was pretty easy this year. Florenzi - a converted winger - mentors the two wingers and Pellegrini mentors the two central midfielders (and hopefully doesn’t pass on too many of his 8! traits).

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Agosto 2020

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  • I'm not going to do such in-depth breakdowns of every single rivalry match, and I figured you don't need to see every goalscorer just because we regularly score 3+ goals per game, but I have created a custom view of the schedule screen to try to fit more of them in (one really poor piece of UI is that there's no way to shrink down the part showing the highlighted fixture - as you'll see in the spoiler its a lot of wasted screen space)
Spoiler

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  • Anyway, 10 goals from 9 different scorers and an away win against our main rivals in the save so far, Inter (now managed by Maurizio Sarri) is a great start. Not so keen on the lack of clean sheets in the two home games (Michail Antonio scored Cagliari's goal).
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Settembre 2020

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  • Another perfect month! Hammering Antonio Conte's Zebras in their own stadium with Federico Chiesa at wing back is a real statement (despite meeting Inter in the cups, Juve have been 2nd both seasons), and its looking like this may be Justin Kluivert's breakthrough season. 
  • If you'd told me at the start of the season that our first clean sheet would be away to Barcelona I'd not have thought we'd be in such a good position in the league, but hey ho. A first outing for the 4-4-2 this year was a resounding success: the scoreline flattered the Blaugrana as Jovic and Schick regularly got in behind before fluffing their lines; Our opener came from a short Gayà throw inside our half, Vargas-> Tonali -> Pellegrini who sprayed it out to Ünder, he drubbled infield drawing men towards him before driving it into Jovic's feet, he went through Pique as if he was no longer corporeal before opening up his body and placing it into the bottom corner!
Edited by zlatanera
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Ottobre 2020

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  • No longer perfect but still unbeaten, the "reserves" inflating their stats against Molde before tough games at Sassuolo, flying high in 3rd with our loanee Vignato performing well; and Napoli, where a tactical stalemate with Fatih Terim was enlivened by a Verdi screamer and Florenzi jinking his way into the box to level it up. A strange quirk in the fixture list that we go 36 days without a home game!
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Novembre 2020

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  • Some scintillating football this month, with wins by my reserves in the Champions League allowing us to not only remain the only unbeaten team in Serie A, but pull 7 points clear of Lazio in 2nd. Getting Molde as games 3 & 4 would always help, but our demolition job at Olympiyskyi featuring braces for Schick, Varnier! and Own Goal was wonderful. Kluivert and Ünder are giving me a wonderful headache at right win - I resorted to playing Kluivert up top in a 4-4-2 against Dynamo Kyiv just to get him more games - but really there's not a single player who isn't in good form right now, with only Iván Marcano (barely playing due to my inability to loan out Varnier) not contributing to a goal so far this season.
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Dicembre 2020

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  • I know we incredibly won the Champions League in my first season, but I still feel that Barcelona setting up in a Defensive mentality against us is notable. In fact they only had 1 shot over 90 minutes! We then "struggled" against some massed defences as high injury risk forced me to rotate before finishing off the year in style with goals from three of our bigger names cancelling out Immobile's 100th Lazio league goal!
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Pausa Invernale 2020/21

Happily yet again I have no reason to use my "Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo" format as everything is going swimmingly!

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  • We've made our best start to a season yet - a look back shows 49 and 48 points after 19 games yet here we have 46 after 16. For some reason the fixture list is such a mess half the league has played a different number of games, with Napoli somehow the only team to have played just 15 matches. They're a long way behind us though, so the important things to note are our game in hand over Lazio - yeah for once a Capitale derby was 1st vs 2nd! - and further two games in hand over the Ever-Aging Lady 12 points back in 3rd! 
  • Atalanta appeared to have a decent summer - although they lost Marco Varnier to us they brought in Marcelo from Lyon and Jemerson from Monaco to replace him, whilst also picking up a good free transfer in Juan Hernández and loaning in Roberto Gagliardini and Hakim Ziyech. Musa Barrow leaving shouldn't have been that impactful given he only scored 9 league goals yet at one point they were 20th and now Gasperini is gone. Vincenzo Montella's Sassuolo pushing for European football is great to see, not least as two of our loanees in Keres Masangu and Emanuel Vignato (the latter scoring or assisting every 123 minutes) are playing a part in it! A combination of footballing romanticism and fond memories of an FM16 save with them makes me sad to see Domenico Berardi yet again isn't looking like kicking on and having a 20-goal season though.

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  • The full group stage is in a spoiler below. There are some things I find interesting, but I figure anyone reading this also has their own little alternate footballing reality to escape into.
Spoiler

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  • Even accounting for FM Manchester United being a far more fearsome prospect than RL Manchester United, the 2nd places are a tough bunch: PSG, Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern, and Manchester City! Until we drew Bayer Leverkusen I was almost wishing I'd played the under 20s against Dynamo Kyiv to knock us down a placing.
  • Manchester United are the only other team to score 20+ goals, despite appearing to have a tougher 3rd and 4th seed in Porto and Athletic Club.
  • Group C is like a throwback to stereotypes of the early '90s (which is all I know as I didn't exist then), with Marseille scoring less than 1 goal per game yet topping the group ahead of the Didier Deschamps' absolute maniacs who scored exactly 1 per game.
  • Half of Group D was owned by the same energy drinks company...
  • Liverpool didn't concede a goal. A challenge for next season?
  • Ajax are almost completely gutted now, only Tagliafico left, hence their abysmal showing. Real Madrid's Rodrygo is the current competition top scorer.
  • Group G is the only upset with Arsenal taking Atlético's spot alongside Frank de Boer's Leverkusen.
  • Lyon won Ligue 1 last season. However, Bruno Genesio left to manage France and José Mourinho took over, bringing in Pedro and Serge Aurier as part of his Make Lyon Old and/or Miserable Again campaign. Much like in real life Dortmund have a young, exciting squad, and Lucien Favre is still in charge.
  • Other than taking 18 points from our group, the main reason I'm showing this is our For column. We scoring 40 goals in our glorious 2018/19 campaign, yet here we've scored 30 just in the groups! If we go all the way I think we can beat Bayern's 2019-20 record of 43 goals in a winning campaign, or even perhaps Barcelona's 45 in 16 matches in 1999-2000! Liverpool scored 47 in 2017-18 but that includes qualifiers.

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  • Finally a note on the tactic. Above is how I originally set up the midfield three, as part of my first ever triple-playmaker system. However I couldn't help but feel like the presence of a second roamer in the centre, along with both wing backs, one winger and my striker, was just too much needless movement. So I decided to change MCR to a more static playmaker role as a DLP. Then I just really didn't like the idea of two DLP, even on different duties, and also wondered if a Half Back would help tighten up the defence. So now its like this:

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  • After 6 straight where we conceded 1 goal, I switched to this midfield to face Bologna in September. Only Lafont flapping at a cross denied us a clean sheet, before we shut out opponents in 3 of our next 4 games. We're still not as tight defensively as we could be but that's entirely down to the aggressive shape. I'm happy with this midfield for the foreseeable future. 
Edited by zlatanera
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Mercato - Inverno 2021

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  • A lot of fun with goalkeepers this month. Manchester City weirdly came in for Cragno, there was nothing I could do to keep him so I made sure we got value (and therefore triple what we paid for him), and moved for Simone Scuffet. As Scuffet was only mid-way through his first full Serie A campaign I elected to include a loan-back clause, and recalled Robin Olsen from Fiorentina as my backup. Udinese moved for Salvatore Sirigu from Torino so hopefully Scuffet can keep his place.
  • Alessandro Cortinovis and Antony Angileri were both ready for grownups' football so went out on loan to Serie B.
  • Pipoca was signed as we have no real prospects at AMC in the academy. That he cost a mere €20k and had a Perfectionist personality to boot was just a bonus.

Le nuove reclute:

Spoiler

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A Brazilian whose weak point is his First Touch just seems wrong to me, but I'm confident he'll improve with training given that personality.

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Scuffet is pretty much equal in ability to Cragno, cost only €400k more and only earns €10k/week more too. The most like-for-like replacement I've ever signed!

 

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Gennaio 2021

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  • A truly perfect month as we didn't even concede a goal!
  • An injury to Chiesa opened up a spot for a second academy promotion following Riccardi. Devid Bouah was the next man up, nabbing an assist on his debut and averaging 7.24 over his 5 appearances so far. 
  • The Supercoppa was in a marginally better location this year: Dallas, Texas. Over 100,000 people witnessed a cracking game, with three disallowed goals (2 for Ünder, 1 for Politano) to go with El Shaarawy's early brace.
  • I taunted Milan by featuring Locatelli, Cristante and El Shaarawy. 1-0 flattered them.

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  • A quirk of the fixture list was us facing the two teams who most recently beat us (Genoa and Fiorentina) back-to-back, with the latter under new management in the form of Luciano Spalletti, who must hate me by now.
  • The first start for one of my newgens against Lazio, as Marco Campanella (ST, already a prototypical Advanced Forward) who didn't nab a goal but did create Schick's first goal with a true 'Hollywood Pass'.
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Febbraio 2021

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  • Not a good month for my right backs. Florenzi injured himself within 12 hours of the close of the transfer window and will miss the rest of the season - on the cusp of 30 I'm praying that 16 Natural Fitness counts for something - whilst Rick Karsdorp could barely last 10 minutes without jeopardising his recovery. Rotating Devid Bouah in less important games with Federico Chiesa went well...until Chiesa went down late against Juventus and will miss the crucial month of March. 
Spoiler

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As you can see, the young Italian-Ivorian is a prospect, but certainly not Champions League-ready. Given he doesn't really offer much going forward either and Karsdorp's fitness is questionable too I'm debating retraining this guy:

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Although he's been on fire as a Trequartista and is keeping El Shaarawy honest in the process, with decent Positioning, a good right foot, pace, dribbling, and crossing ability Matías Vargas would at least offer us more going forward than any of the academy prospects. 

  • Napoli were the toughest semi-final opponents we could have gotten. Still the only team to take a point off us in the league, Fatih Terim's side hog the ball with the best and know how to use it to hurt you too. The 4-4-2 got the job done though (well, 4-4-1-1 in the first leg with Ünder as the #10), with the first leg being a cracker: at 1-0 Gianluca Mancini came on, gave away a penalty (which was converted) then headed us back in front within 5 minutes setting up an end-to-end finish with both sides playing 4-2-4!
  • The Leverkusen game was tight, notable as both Italian teams playing that night scored through goalkeeper own goals: us being rescued by Lukas Hradecky's bum, whilst Alisson gave Milan a win over Liverpool.
Edited by zlatanera
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Giovane Lupi (2021)

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I've been quietly setting up overseas affiliates to allow us to draw from a more diverse talent pool: all of Roma's original affiliates have great youth recruitment so I've negotiated our links with many American sides along with VRE in Brazil and Blacktown City FC in Australia; then added Crvena Zvezda (Serbia), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), and Viitorul Constanţa (Romania). When I was told Matthew Kelly (Chargers) and Nenad Jovanovic (Crvena Zvezda) had come through I was excited...until I saw them. No redeeming qualities for either, they won't get signed. I am interested to see such high Decisions across the board though. As usual I'll sign everyone with >10 Determination just to keep the general character of the squad up.

Anyway, more positive was a "potential best of his generation":

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Sandro Tonali is a mere 20 years old (and developing very well) but could we be looking at his heir, in position if not playing style? Marku is strong in all the right areas, some training alternating from RPM to BBM over the years and some improvement in his personality should see him turn into a highly useable player.

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Another high potential right back, Guadagno actually is rated on that youth candidates overview as having higher potential than Marku. He's more technical than the previous years' additions, but that Off The Ball attribute needs serious work. He's also giant yet again, over 6'0" aged 16. Still, its looking more and more like I only need to squeeze a couple of years out of Florenzi before we'll be set!

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Marzo 2021

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  • Victory over Napoli put the gap at 22 points, albeit with the Partenopei having a game in hand. Still I'm calling it, we've won the league!
  • Interestingly the top three teams for possession are, in order: Napoli, Empoli, and Roma. Curious Sarri connection. Anyway we beat Napoli with under 40% possession which is ironic, such a possession-oriented team arguably performing better without it! Certainly I'm proud of my boys for keeping Lorenzo Insigne (16 goals, 20 assists) quiet.
  • The Serie A record win streak stands at 17 by Inter (25th October 2006 - 24th February 2007). We equaled it, only to throw away a two goal lead against Torino to leave it intact in the record books.
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Aprile 2021

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  • Our win against Fiorentina took our unbeaten streak to 43 games in all competitions, beating last season's record of 42. 30 unbeaten in the league means we're past half-way in hunting down Milan's record of 58 (1st January 1991 - 24th November 1992)!
  • Leipzig's 5-3-2 proved very resilient at home, only Zaniolo's screamer separating us, but away from home we picked them off with the 4-4-2. I reckon it would have been a clean sheet had Nikola Milenkovic not picked up a potentially season-ending injury in the build-up to the first leg.
  • I taunted Milan by fielding Cristante, Locatelli and El Shaarawy in the same line-up in the 4-4-2, before former Roma player Romagnoli's own goal made it even funnier. André Silva almost single-handedly turning it around with 2 goals in three minutes quietened me somewhat. 
  • Fear factor maintained, I went back to the main tactic and we controlled play from start to finish on the way to retaining the Coppa Italia!
  • Obstinance from the guys in charge of the fixture list (1 day gap before the CL semi-final, and two games between the legs as well!) meant a completely rotated team against Genoa, and you could tell. Still, Salcedo got a goal against his former club, and at one point José Gayà did his best Philip Lahm impression, coming infield to dictate play before opening his Roma account with this:

  • The semi-final is actually a retread of the semi-final in 2018/19 (and 2017/18), although now Pep Guardiola is in charge of Liverpool. They lined up with a front three of Salah-Firmino-Everton. I’d expected a tough game, but when Ünder intercepted a throw-in, beat two men then fired in from the edge of the area Liverpool just collapsed, their half-cocked press repeatedly exposed by direct passing to the wide attackers who each assisted the other for a goal.

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Maggio 2021

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  • The first of an absurd three games in five days saw me alter our tactic to the less intensive default Control Possession instructions and cruise past Empoli with only 1 injury - Lorenzo Pellegrini will miss two weeks - and seal the title!

  • A clean sheet at Anfield - with no injuries!! - is nothing to be sniffed at, but three times our forwards got clear of the defence only to fluff their lines so I’m irritated we didn’t truly humiliate them.

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  • Victory over Udinese put us into the record books!

  • A final day fixture against Lazio was always going to be juicy…but with only two days to the Champions League Final forcing me to rotate (even my goalkeeper), an unbeaten season on the line and a club with both Ciro Immobile and Sergio Agüero on the books somehow having failed to score in 6 of their past 9 matches (no wins either) looking for a derby to snap them out of it? Yeah, with all the European places decide there’s only one more important fixture in this round:

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  • Serie A decides placings on head-to-head record, and as Frosinone host Parma on the final day of the season having lost 3-0 to them earlier in the season that means that the teams in 18th and 20th can have their relegation confirmed whilst 19th still have a shot of getting out!

  • Back to Lazio. First Chiesa (RM) assisted Kluivert (STCL), then Vargas (LM) assisted Schick (STCR) to put us in cruise control by half-time with a nice symmetry to it. Schick’s penalty in the second half had me feeling confident enough to sub on a couple of youngsters, but within 3 minutes Marusic had smashed on into the top corner. Still, we were the only side in it from then on and a quick counter in injury time saw Salcedo coolly finish past Strakosha to cap off our unbeaten season!

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Champions League! Ci Risiamo!

Carlo Ancelotti's side are the holders, in fact they won the Treble last season before adding the UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and League Cup this year. The final is also at the Camp Nou for the first time since...(checks competition history) 1999. *gulp*

Having a net spend of >€400m in the save so far and only missing on key player - Sergeij Milinkovic-Savic - through injury (Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly and Alexis Sánchez also miss out but meh) and Paul Pogba through suspension this is, with all due respect to Inter, a much tougher challenge than our debut European Cup win. 

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That's 9/11 of my first choice team there. Florenzi is still out with cruciate damage, although the more defensively capable Karsdorp might be better-suited to this match, and Nikola Milenkovic makes the bench but hasn't played since March. The graphic is slightly misleading, United are playing a 4-2-3-1 with CMs just like I used to. I'm guessing they'll be relying on Herrera to win it back in the middle and any one of the players alongside him to quickly ping it up to that lightning front four (Hazard is probably the "slow" one). 

Zeljko Buvac recommended "pick up where you left off" but perhaps due to the extreme rotation that wasn't an option. 6 players responded positively to my passionate plea of "show the media they were right to back you!"

  • João Cancelo picked up a knock.
  • Ünder's free kick was headed away, Tonali recovered it but Mancini was forced to play it back to Lafont on the edge of the box. The GK's first-time pass straight forwards found Manolas, likewise he hit it straight forward to Zaniolo who turned and played it through to Jovic's feet, facing goal he played the killer ball just inside the box behind Hernández, and Ünder hit it first time into the top corner! De Gea didn't even move!
  • 9’ Ünder is up for it, he picks the ball up near half-way, drives towards the edge of the box and unloads, narrowly missing the target.
  • 13' Hazard’s corner was well claimed by Lafont, he held it to set up our shape before throwing to Manolas, Zaniolo came deep and one-touched it to El Shaarawy who burst away from his marker into their half before driving it into Jovic’s path, he got into the box and forced a save from De Gea with a low shot.
  • 14' El Shaarawy’s corner was short to Ünder who crossed to nobody, Cancelo cleared it, Zaniolo recovered it to Manolas and the highlight ended.
  • 21' Soler is off injured, Mata his replacement. Suddenly that central midfield area is looking a lot more inviting.
  • 22' De Gea hit a long clearance into our half, we quickly came back at them but Lindelöf easily intercepted Ünder's weak cross, some quick passing across the defensive line saw De Gea give it to de Ligt who went long, Rashford turned Mancini on half-way and held off his and Karsdorp's challenge as he dribbled into our area before finishing low past Lafont from an acute angle.
  • 31' Lindelöf launched it into the area, Karsdorp out-jumped Martial, Tonali flicked it on to Ünder who dribbled into the final third before being stopped by the Swede, who played a one-two with Hernández before Ünder tackled him! The young Turk surged into the box, de Ligt was forced to challenge and he laid it off to Jovic who smashed it in from 18 yards!
  • 37' Martial picked up a knock.
  • 40' Mata went into the book.

Half-time stats show we’ve been profligate: 16 shots yet only 3 on target, although we have generated 2 CCC’s. Manchester United meanwhile have had 4 shots and scored with the only one on target. We’ve had 59% possession and they’ve fouled us 8 times to our 1. Average positions show only Rashford outside of the United half, with Pellegrini, Zaniolo, Ünder, El Shaarawy and Jovic all spending plenty of time in it. We’re actually on top here!

I told the team not to be complacent, 7 responded positively but Manolas was stressed and passed that on to El Shaarawy. Hmm…

  • 47' Mata floated in the corner, Manolas headed away, Lingard collected and clipped the top of the bar with his shot.
  • 57' I asked the boys to “Get Creative” as Henrichs came on for Cancelo. Manolas and El Shaarawy still aren’t happy.
  • 61' Lukaku is on for Martial, in a re-jig he’s on the right, and Hazard on the left.
  • 63' Karsdorp threw to Pellegrini who was tackled, won it back and crossed with his left, de Ligt headed away, with his first touch Tonali played it out to Gayà, his cross deflected off the first man and perfectly into the path of Jovic to hit it first time into the bottom corner! Manolas and El Shaarawy are looking composed now.
  • 68' El Shaarawy crossed, Jovic got a head on it but it was well over.
  • 75' Karsdorp threw it to Jovic who turned and curled a cross towards the back post, Henrichs headed away only as far as Gayà, whose own back post cross was touched by Hazard into De Gea, Mancini out-jumped Rashford this time and Pellegrini was able to turn and play in El Shaarawy behind the retreating defenders but his shot was weak.
  • 78' Manolas threw it high for some reason, Jovic flicked it on, de Ligt under no pressure found Mata, with Lindelöf they went back to De Gea for the clearance, Manolas at half-way powered a header into Zaniolo’s chest, Fellaini-esque he brought it down before spinning on the spot but going back to Tonali, he went short to Pellegrini who fed Jovic with his back to goal, he laid it off to Ünder whose shot forced a full-stretch save for De Gea.
  • 79' before the corner I brought on Justin Kluivert, who after 3 years under me now has a work ethic (14 Work Rate) for El Shaarawy and Chiesa for Karsdorp. Despite Zaniolo being on a 6.6 I value his physicality in the centre so he stayed.
  • 90+4' Mata sent in the corner, Jovic headed away, and the referee blew for full time! We’ve done it again!!

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Premi del Club e Statistiche della Squadra

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As previously mentioned, Ünder is proving to be the true star of the team in his Inside Forward role. Despite the tactic being less exclusively geared towards him this time around, he matched last season's league tally of 15 goals but also turned up in Europe in a big way with 7 goals in as many starts in the Champions League. Our fans clearly have long memories to nominate a goal from the first game of the season as the best, but it probably was (insomuch as FM clearly loves screamers over flowing team moves, not that we really do the latter). Given Luka Jovic (7.30) and José Gayà (7.02) both had good average ratings I'm surprised to see recognition for Lafont (also 7.02), especially as he didn't even make a save in the Champions League Final, but in other games he was the difference between victory and defeat.

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Goalkeepers excluded as usual. Not pictured here are Devid Bouah (7 starts, 1 assist, 7.21) and Eddy Salcedo (4 starts, 3 goals, 6.89). Our full backs were even more productive than the last two years: Florenzi would have easily beaten 2018/19's 10 assists without his injury, Chiesa could probably have cracked 20 if I didn't rotate them so religiously. I was especially pleased with Luca Pellegrini who hit a few long diagonals reminiscent of Blind-Van Persie in 2014's World Cup. Zaniolo continued his year-on-year improvement but Riccardi's 9 goals were a surprise - clearly the Mezzala role was the factor in bringing them into goal-scoring positions. Our front three (six) were all consistent, although Jovic and Schick were streaky, the former scoring 6 of his 21 goals in his final 4 starts (not that I'm complaining about his exploits at Camp Nou!). Vargas in particular pleased me as he vastly increased his production from 2019/20. 

This screen is the source of most of my agonising over the next season's tactical setup: do I try to get more goals out of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Cristante and Zaniolo? My wide forwards? Or the strikers? I want a Capocannoniere at least once in this save, but I won't compromise progress on other fronts for it. 

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Serie A

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Juventus probably felt like this about 102 points, but given my constant tactical tinkering I think our extraordinary 108 points will stand for some time! Only Genoa (2-2), Napoli (1-1) and Torino (2-2) prevented us from being perfect. Napoli must really feel cursed: in 2009/10 83 points would have seen them crowned champions, but first Juventus and then ourselves have emerged as consistent ravagers of domestic competition. I wish I could take credit for Lazio's dropping away from 2nd to 6th but it was actually Juve on match-day 21 that started the drop off. I was very pleased to see Vincenzo Montella's Sassuolo side get a chance at qualifying for Europe, both due to enjoying past saves with them and because they're our loan affiliate. Fiorentina and Atalanta were surprises for the wrong reasons: no doubt our twice robbing La Viola of their goalkeeper as well as their star player can't have helped, but they did sign Karim Benzema...so yeah expected better from them; La Dea never hit the heights of reality in Serie A but I didn't see this coming as they seemed to have a strong summer window and had beaten me to clinch the Coppa Italia in the first season, but even sacking Gasparini couldn't save them. A 0-0 draw - one of only four in the season - was enough for Frosinone to ensure their survival at Parma's expense. Curious that all three relegated teams had the same -38 goal difference.

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Premi

  • Serie A
Spoiler

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A deserved award for Riccardi, who came up with the goods in winter before falling out of favour for no fault of his own in the spring. Nice to see another Roma player, Vignato, as runner-up too! I think he’ll get another year at Sassuolo and hopefully get some action in the Europa League.

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My tactic wasn’t quite as geared towards him as last season so performing consistently enough to retain this award (those 15 goals get him runner-up position in the golden boot) is proof Cengiz Ünder has made the leap and is a truly top class forward player.

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Surprising to see Szczesny in there given Lafont kept 20 clean sheets to his 18, less so Higuain who was top scorer.

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Davide Calabria and Sebastien Corchia are both Napoli players. Simone Zaza was joint 2nd-top scorer in the league with Ünder.

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Why thank you, I think I'm great too!

  • Champions League
Spoiler

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Unsurprising that the finalists dominate, although Rodrygo is in there as he managed to be competition top scorer despite Real Madrid exiting in the first knockout round.

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Schick actually scored 1 more goal than Jovic in Europe, although 4 of his 6 were in the group stage hammerings.

 

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Commercializzazione

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Our shareholders took a relatively modest €325k in dividends, but I'm only posting this because of the huge increase in that kit deal! The previous one was signed back in the pre- da Era days, what a difference a ton of trophies makes to our attractiveness to sponsors eh?

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Un'Altra Evoluzione Della Tattica

I'm something of a perfectionist in many ways when it comes to the tactical side of FM. I'm constantly wanting to improve what I'm seeing, and bring better performances (and statistics) out of my players. Yet on the other hand I'm simply too impatient to watch a match on anything other than Key Highlights (except for the one time I made a tactical recreation thread). Anyone(?) reading this won't be surprised that I've made another change to the tactic. Except this time I've actually altered some instructions slightly too.

I started by actually conducting a full review of my squad, looking at their attributes and traits along with more closely comparing them using a couple of views I've copied from one of the biggest influences on my FM playing style

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Firstly, I'd like to appreciate just how many green and gold squares there are :) That the stand-out players are Lorenzo Pellegrini (Captain), Luka Jovic, and Cengiz Ünder is not surprising. What is is that Nicolò Zaniolo doesn't really stand out. Like all of my squad he's a highly capable well-rounded player, but he's not who the team should be built around. Pellegrini is a playmaker so obviously getting the best out of him should lead to getting the best out of Jovic and Ünder, however much like Jovic (backed up by Schick) he doesn't have a like-for-like replacement, with Cristante more of a holder despite his traits and Riccardi too raw (and with a lower ceiling). 

Spoiler

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Lorenzo Pellegrini: Roman, Captain, Man of many Traits.

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Cengiz Ünder: the reason I'm still employed at the club.

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Luka Jovic: Poacher in a world shaped by False Nines, but nothing beats knowing you have someone who will bury anything inside the box.

The aforementioned three standouts are in the spoiler tag above. But in fact, looking at this squad I was drawn more and more to the fact that I have some incredible (offensively) full backs and inside forwards, with a slightly less talented but hard-working midfield. If anything, I should be trying to recreate Liverpool were it not that none of my midfielders have an engine like any of Klopp's men: Zaniolo is the hardest worker yet has only 13 Stamina, Cristante as mentioned is slow, and whilst the others all can tackle they're really playmakers. I've never really been able to use them as playmakers due to my preference for a wide Trequartista. Matías Vargas makes a brilliant one, however over my tenure the 1st choice AML, Stephan El Shaarawy, has seen a few changes in his game:

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My obsessive cycle of once-monthly training reviews wherein I praise anyone with >7.5 training rating (unless they have 15+ Work Rate) and criticise anyone with <6.5 has seen all of my players become harder workers. Ünder (+2), El Shaarawy (+3), Kluivert (+4), and Vargas (+1) are now all well-suited to pressing from the front. El Shaarawy has also seen his Dribbling drop and as such now arguably, Stamina aside, looks like more of a Raumdeuter than a Trequartista. Anyhoo, this has been a really long-winded way of saying I've finally dropped the Trequartista role:

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Similar to Liverpool we now expect to see even more of our offensive threat come from "wingers" coming inside and "full backs" (mostly converted wingers) bombing on. Three playmakers was too much, but I quite enjoy using two so Lorenzo Pellegrini gets his natural AP-Su role in the centre ahead of Sandro Tonali, with Zaniolo still a Mezzala but now expected to (and no doubt relishing) contribute more defensively. Both Inside Forwards are instructed to Sit Narrower so that if we get the ball inside they're available for combination play, but also to drag their markers inside and give even more space on the flanks for Chiesa, Florenzi, Gayà (who actually has better playmaker attributes than anyone bar Lo. Pellegrini) and Lu. Pellegrini. 

I'd moved away from symmetrical roles and duties, but I'm not too concerned about being completely predictable as a) the AI largely doesn't do the same so space will be in different areas game to game and b) my offensive players have different traits.

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As I mentioned before I don't want my midfield sprinting up and down all day long as the ball flies over them, so we now have even more of a focus on retaining possession with Much Shorter Passing the lowest setting on this mentality. We also Work Ball Into Box both to discourage my striker from dropping deep then trying to go it solo (which Jovic's pesky Runs With Ball Often trait made him do quite a bit), and to allow the Complete Wing-Backs to get up the field and stretch the play. We no longer Overlap as the wing-backs are already on Attack duties and I'm not trying to give my #10 the highest mentality on the pitch.

I've dropped the goalkeeper distribution instructions as Lafont has great Vision and the trait Uses Long Throw To Start Counter-Attacks which I've only really seen once on FM19 so is quite exciting. I've also removed Counter as I don't see any need to force it, I have plenty of players on high mentalities with roles and/or traits encouraging them to be bold with the ball as is, and we're brilliant defending opposition set pieces so will still get opportunities. 

Finally I've selected Higher Defensive Line and Higher Line Of Engagement as with now even Schick having an acceptable Work Rate attribute I think we're safer really pushing up, with the knowledge that Manolas (14 Acceleration, 17 Pace yet also 186cm with 16 Jumping Reach) and co. can stop any balls over the top. I also removed Tighter Marking as it is surprisingly a weak point of the squad - obviously I knew Florenzi and Chiesa would be no good, but only three players (Varnier, Manolas, Milenkovic) have 15 or higher which I'm taking as a baseline given the rarefied air we're operating in.

This was long, I might stop doing this unless I manage to win the treble without tweaks or something. 

 

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Mercato - Estate 2021

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By far the quietest window of the save so far, as I focussed more on improving the backroom team upon notification a lot of them had only 1 year left on their contracts. I had intended to splash the big bucks on Pietro Pellegri as a homegrown, younger, less injury-prone upgrade on Patrik Schick yet despite declaring him my Top Target, getting Pellegrini singing his praises, sending Monchi to watch him and making some rejected bids as he hit form with Bordeaux last season (eventually top scoring in Ligue 1 with 18 goals) he signed a contract extension with Monaco in March and so they kept demanding over €100m for him whilst Real Madrid insulted me with their offers for Schick and I was able to talk him out of leaving (perhaps unrealistically given they're his dream club and would probably offer a higher squad status). I did toy with signing Dani Olmo from our affiliate Dinamo Zagreb but he would have necessitated either pushing out Vargas, who is an absolute dream of a backup, or switching to a 4-2-3-1. I'm also monitoring Dayot Upamecano so could see next year being a big one.

La Partenza:

Spoiler
  • As previously mentioned, I had two right backs with histories of cruciate injuries who suffered recurrences in 2020/21. Alessandro Florenzi is a club stalwart, Vice Captain and attribute-wise has a bit more nuance to his game than Rick "Hits Early Crosses" Karsdorp. Luckily there was interest, and transfer listing him to speed things up saw Aston Villa happily come in and double our money on him, in spite of Brexit (a nice one, with a limit of 17 foreign players).
  • Keres Masangu and Mirko Antonucci were never going to make it despite some decent performances on loan and a cool Curls Ball trait, respectively.
  • Elio Capradossi would make a good 4th centre back, especially as he's an academy product, but I'm happy with my current options and he fetched a great price from newly promoted Brentford given he spent two years scrambling to avoid relegation in Genoa.
  • Camillo Baglieri and Raul Morichelli were in the last year of their youth contracts, and although the former had a good personality I cut them loose for less future clicking.
  • Mory Bamba, Eddy Salcedo and Devid Bouah join Gabriele Corbo, Antony Angileri, Emanuel Vignato and Alessandro Cortinovis out on loan. 

Altri due per il futuro:

Spoiler

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Whilst checking out Dinamo's youth ranks my scouts spotted this absolute gem at rivals Hajduk. Although we do have a prospect in the academy, as well as a two-footed right back in the last youth intake, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get in the guy who in a couple of years will have probably surpassed the two Bornas (Sosa and Barisic) to become Croatia's starting left back. He'll spend at least this year in the academy, getting the full benefit of welcoming and hopefully some positional versatility too, before probably being loaned at Serie A level.

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Initially more of an impulse purchase, this one. With Jovic and Schick both young, Pellegri potentially on his way, Salcedo out on loan and Marco Campanella getting his first appearances with the first time I wouldn't appear to need another young striker, especially one near-enough identical to Campanella. However other than Amad Traore we have no quality on the flanks, and I play Inside Forwards who are effectively strikers anyway, so €800k for a guy who had helped Moreirense FC gain promotion to Liga NOS with 5 goals then stay there with another 12 goals all before his 19th birthday was not something to pass up. We beat out PSG's interest without having to up our wage demands too! 

 

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Agosto 2021

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  • We kicked things off with the UEFA Super Cup. Only one change from my ideal XI, Olsen getting the start in goal as my cup 'keeper. A bit of a damp squib, the winner coming from quick short passing following a throw allowing Pellegrini space on the edge of the box to hit a low drive past Svilar. Good to win, also good to see Bruno Lage broke the Benfica curse!
  • Milan took the lead mid-way through the first half on the counter, VAR called in to confirm Suso wasn't offside. With 10 minutes left we still hadn't really created anything so I went more direct and 83' we won a corner which Pellegrini headed in, before 90+1' saw another corner, André Silva fouling Ünder. 90+5' André Silva was played clean through over the top but Manolas recovered, sliding in at what seemed like 100mph in the box to keep the winning run going!
  • Lecce rather interestingly played one of those phallic narrow 4-4-2 / 4-2-2-2 formations Cleon explored as "the Brazilian Box". Federico Chiesa was very happy, charging up his flank unopposed to rack up 3 assists inside the first 17 minutes. Scorers: Luka Jovic (8, 17, 68), Stephan El Shaarawy (12, 43), Lorenzo Pellegrini (63), Marko Pajac o.g. (78)
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Settembre 2021

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  • A good month, we've played some very nice football at times although it was disappointing to fail to create any chances against Porto.
  • We're top of the league on goal difference ahead of...Bologna! With Gabriele Corbo marshalling the defence and Eddy Salcedo leading the line, and the league in goals (7 in 6 games)!
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Ottobre 2021

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  • I had fears about a prolonged struggle to break down Bolognas 4-1-4-1 shape but in the 9th minute we pulled off one of my teams' classic FM19 moves: four-five short passes from a throw allowing a player (Lorenzo Pellegrini) space on the edge of the box to pick his spot! That set us up for a rout, although Salcedo still managed to get a late One On One vs Lafont forcing a great save from our No. 1. 
  • Despite Monaco demanding in excess of €150m for Pietro Pellegrini this was his first start in the competition. 35' Cengiz "Arjen Robben" Ünder took Tonali's space in his stride, cut inside towards the D then unloaded into the top corner! 90' Keita Baldé got goal side of Chiesa and won a penalty. Tielemans hit it with power, but it was straight down the middle and Lafont held it!
  • Before Dennis Praet's goal for Sampdoria, Lafont had gone 867 minutes without conceding. 867! 
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Novembre 2021

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  • Our biggest win over the Old (and getting older by the transfer window) Lady yet also put us past the Serie A record win streak (International's 17 from 25th October 2006 to 24th February 2007)!
  • Fiorentina-Roma post-summer 2020 has become the Southampton-Liverpool of this save. We fielded Lafont, Chiesa, Milenkovic and Viola academy reject Zaniolo. Surprisingly none were involved in putting us 2-0 up. At half time I swapped some roles so Chiesa was now an IWB-At with a Winger in front of him, just for fun, and succeeded in creating a rather satisfying goal:

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Old Man Manolas

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  • I didn't expect to receive this message in the last international break, but given Greece aren't going to pull off a repeat of Euro 2004 any time soon I'm not complaining about getting the undivided commitment of my best defender. Given his 18 Natural Fitness and existing brilliant physical attributes I think Manolas could still be lining up in a Champions League final in four years' time!
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Dicembre 2021

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  • A frustration of the Club World Cup - in addition to the fixture madness it induces later in the season - is that if you don't have a computer with enough power to load the entire planet you inevitably end up in a situation such as I faced with Deportivo Toluca: a "big" game against 11 non-existent players. If I were to use OIs or man-marking I would be very frustrated as they didn't have attributes. Florenzi's goal, a volley from outside the area, was spectacular though.
  • Santos actually had a team to string together, with one Federico Fazio playing his final professional game at the heart of their defence! 2-1 flattered them, on another day it could have been 5-0.
  • Manuel Gasparini had an incredibly easy professional debut against SPAL. He faced 0 shots on target (of 2 overall) and played (and completed) 3 passes!
  • Way back on 27th May 2020 we actually lost a game, away to Fiorentina. The next match, and final one of that season, saw us beat Lazio at home. How fitting then that another home victory over Lazio sees us go an entire calendar year unbeaten!
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Pausa Invernale 2021/22

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  • That's right, we're perfect! Obvious if you read back on my monthly summaries, but I've never done this before so I'm enjoying it. Perfect!
  • Bologna are the surprise package so far, as even if the rest of the top teams won their games in hand they would still be in 4th with a buffer to 5th. Gabriele Corbo has played every minute, and Eddy Salcedo isn't close behind as Mihajlovic is keeping his promises. Salcedo is top scorer in the league so far, 1 ahead of Luka Jovic! 
  • Juventus are a mess, with only 6 goals Ronaldo is still their top scorer, whilst Emre Can has created more chances by himself for Lyon than their entire midfield and attack. I love it! 
  • Fabio Liverani's Lecce side are interesting, with a preference for narrow formations seeing them all the way up in the top half! Admittedly they're 15 points off 4th yet only 10 off 19th, such as is to be expected in a league with two teams having single-figure AG columns, but that's still impressive.

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  • Only one surprise in the Champions League, but its a doozy as Valencia (8th in La Liga) and Juventus (5th in Serie A but more of a European heavyweight) qualify ahead of Manchester City, who appear to have bought Benfica (Ruben Dias, Florentino Luis and João Felix).
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Mercato - Inverno 2022

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  • I'm a big believer in the summer transfer window, but not averse to making major moves in winter should it become a necessity, as it did here. 
  • Simone Scuffet finally found his loan, for 18 months to Hertha (who may have been taken over), whilst Angileri and Cortinovis had outgrown Serie B (Cortinovis in particular was regressing under new management at Brescia, formerly run by my old U20s Assistant Manager) and head out to reinforce my budding feeder club Bologna.
  • Gianluca Mancini had 18 months on his contract, and claimed nothing could keep him at the club. I've constantly had to rotate my centre backs to keep him happy so negotiated with him a price of €55m - both a substantial profit and €10m more than his value, allowing me to stand firm when for three weeks Liverpool acted like they couldn't afford that.

Le nuove reclute:

Spoiler

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A move that was actually arranged last January, our annual nEU transfer is the complete midfield package, although his stature makes him an outlier compared to a first team centre of six Italians over 6'0". It may be ridiculous to talk about a succession plan for a 21-year old (incorrectly) dubbed "the next Pirlo", but at the very least he'll be keeping Sandro Tonali honest in the next couple of seasons. 

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Our youth system has primarily produced defenders so far, so the option to add to our Eastern contingent on a budget, with the potential for a first-teamer, was intriguing. Not necessarily expecting him to ever play for the first team but I expect to turn a profit.

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Pinto's contract was expiring in June and we beat out interest from about half the Premier League and Paris Saint-Qatar for his signature. I then elected to bring the deal forward, forgetting he'd been promised a loan move so he's now trying to keep Peter Bosz's Hannover side in the Bundesliga. Not necessarily my style of keeper, and I've signed Alban Lafont to an 8-year contract but it never hurts to be prepared!

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Our youth ranks are also lacking wide players - although both Mory Bamba and Amad Traore, aged 19, are approaching first team quality there was nobody 15-18 - so Lakhal, who made his debut for Rennes aged 16, joins for one of my usual structured deals. I may have to alter my training system to get that First Touch up though, as we seem to develop physical and mental attributes very effectively yet not technicals. 

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Finally, thanks to the Mancini money I was able to pay the €82m release clause and snag myself this guy! I normally don't go for the >€50m transfers, especially not without instalments, but if I wanted a top notch BPD this guy was really the only one available in the next 1-3 years without smashing my wage ceiling (Matthijs de Ligt is on €300k, for example). Something of a "Treat yo self" transfer this one!

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Gennaio 2022

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  • The first of two ties against Milan in a week was played in the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium in Beijing. Why? Money. Anyway we won, completing the ‘treble’ of Supercoppa Italia, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup for the second time.
  • One week later, the storytelling arm of the fixture generator allowed us the opportunity to equal Milan’s 58-game unbeaten run in the early 90s against them. Appropriate that it ended up being a cagy 1-0 with a centre back (Manolas) as MotM!
  • Our winner against Crotone, with Chiesa charging out of nowhere on the right to smash the ball low past Silvestri to keep us perfect, had definite shades of a certain YouTube-able Brazilian goal…

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  • ...but more importantly, we've only gone and done it! Capello's all-stars' record is history!
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