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A New Roman Empire


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Febbraio 2022

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  • I was surprised to see the reports claiming we should be upset with a score draw away to Bayern...quite easy to forget we're so far the dominant force in Europe for the duration of the save (with a CL semi-final in the season before I took over too!).
  • Less surprising was fan (and my own) displeasure to Genoa ending our streak of domestic perfection. Their equaliser came from a deep free kick, a full back with 6 Jumping Reach heading in. More concerningly Justin Kluivert picked up a month-long injury leaving us with only two fit senior wingers. 
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Giovane Lupi (2022)

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When I was told "we've got every reason to be excited by Javier Ospitaleche..." I knew he would be some sort of a defender without even looking. Lo and behold, the best potential in our youth intake, yet again, is at centre back. Oh well, better than having no talented youngsters!

Vladimir Dragovic (Crvena Zvezda), Luis Aceval (Universidad de Chile), and Federico Guerra (Nacional) came from our affiliates but due to a combination of poor potential and personalities they'll all be sent packing immediately. 

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Yet again we have a high potential CD who is lacking technical ability but looks like with some good training he could stop anyone getting past him. Although we have a Uruguayan affiliate, Fray Bentos-born Ospitaleche is an Italian dual-national. Barring a change in playing style he'll probably never become a key player for us, but I'm certain I can make some money off him in about 8 years.

Edited by zlatanera
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Marzo 2022

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  • After taking February off (his game) Jovic bounced back against Bayern with a cool penalty and some real Inzaghi stuff in the six yard box to set us on our way. He then scored in his other three starts this month as he hunted down Immobile and Salcedo in the race for top scorer.
  • Incredibly after 26 games Bologna were still 2nd. Not looking like a title challenger given our incredible form, but realistic CL qualifiers. In a way the 1-0 was ideal: we remained on track to break our own records, whilst they shouldn't be demoralised into a collapse in form (given I've loaned them two centre backs I especially didn't want to see Jovic getting around them to bag a hat-trick).
  • The win over Cagliari was our 100th consecutive game without losing (in all competitions). 100!!
  • Napoli are now managed by Mauricio Pochettino. They would have been better off spending the money on a new partner for Koulibaly as a past-it Jan Vertonghen offered him no help against Jovic even as Calabria and Dalbert locked down the flanks. 
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Aprile 2022

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  • Months like this are why I build squads with such absurd depth I have to rotate the entire outfield to maintain happiness. Its only going to get worse in May where he have a Wed-Fri-Sun finish to Serie A. Getting through it with no injuries and no losses is always worth celebrating.
  • In contrast to the stability of my Lyon save, Mourinho's side have only 5 first team players remaining from the 2018/19 squad. They briefly threatened us at Olimpico, but we destroyed them in Lyon. 
  • We followed that up by facing yet another new Internazionale manager, this time Victor Goncharenko, formerly of CSKA Moscow. Nothing he could do about Cristante hitting it so hard the net nearly comes off though. That sealed the title with 8 games left!
  • Real Madrid, similar to us, have sealed La Liga already (in a rarity in the modern era 3/4 semi-finalists have won the league, with us and Real also winning last season) and are the most prolific team in Europe with Gareth Bale playing football rather than golf, and Rodrygo appearing to be ramping up towards Ronaldo-esque numbers (73 goals over two seasons so far). The game was an absolute classic:
  • 15' Real couldn't clear our corner and Tonali's inviting ball drew a foul from Carvajal, VAR giving a penalty which Jovic smashed into the top corner. 18' Hakimi intercepted a Tonali pass and sent Bale running, he slid it through the middle for Dembélé to finish one-v-one with Lafont. Straight from second half kick-off Sadio Mané cut inside and dribbled all the way to the edge of the box before teeing up Bale to complete the turnaround, with me fearing a rout. 58' a lovely move starting with Lafont and involving 9 players saw El Shaarawy level it again! 78' I swapped both full backs and brought on Schick for more counter-attacking threat, tweaking my tactic more direct as well. 85' a spell of Real possession around our area ended with Lafont only able to parry Dembélé's header back into his path and they were ahead again. 88' Lorenzo Pellegrini idiotically pushed Ramos in the area, Dembélé stepped up but Lafont's full stretch save denied his hat-trick!! 90+1' we countered through Ünder, straight down the middle before playing it wide to El Shaarawy, he put a low cross into the box and Schick turned in at the near post!
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Maggio 2022

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  • In the return leg against Real Madrid a knock to Ünder proved a blessing in disguise as the only goal of the game came from his replacement - Patrik Schick - using his superior physique to nod in at the back post in spite of Alex Telles' best efforts, a battle I wouldn't back the young Turk in.

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  • The previous record was Manchester United's run from September 2007 until losing the 2009 final to Barcelona!
  • For those keeping count, victory over Thomas Tuchel’s side sealed our 3rd consecutive Coppa Italia. Win next year and we’d equal Juventus’ 4 in a row whilst also equalling their record 13 Coppa wins.
  • The draw against Juventus, coming in that absurd Wed-Fri-Sun run, cost us our chance of beating last year's points total (we equalled it instead), as although they went down to 10 men I was reluctant to push the men too hard. Cristiano Ronaldo at one point sprinting back to his own corner flag to slide tackle like Wayne Rooney back in the day was an intriguing sight though.
Edited by zlatanera
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Finale di Champions League: Rivincita Rossa

In what seems to be a theme in my saves, we have a rematch from our previous final...last year's, which was between the two previous champions. Truly, a battle between European heavyweights!

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4 changes from the 2021 final for The Red Devils as €140m signing Dele Alli takes the #10 spot whilst Tahith Chong has apparently squeezed out Marcus Rashford. Paul Pogba yet again misses out with injury (as a United fan in real life this is painfully familiar). We're at full strength, with record signing Upamecano starts on the bench as I'm loathe to disrupt the Milenkovic-Manolas duopoly until the off-season.

 

United's opener was a mixture of farcical and sublime:

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Hernández hit the clearance like he never wanted to see the ball again...

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Martial stole in front of Manolas as he controlled it before racing through towards goal...

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Lafont rushed out and Martial coolly lobbed his compatriot!

 

Snobs may decry our leveller as "English". They probably don't win many trophies:

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Ünder lined up the free kick...

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He lofted it towards the far post where capitano Pellegrini headed home!

 

The game was clearly going to be a tight one and we weren't creating from open play so I told the players to Run At Defence as I find it more effective than Play For Set Pieces for actually winning set pieces (particularly given the Dribbling ability in our squad). 

It paid off as we won another free kick:

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This time Ünder delivered from the left with a bit more pace...

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Lindelöf got above Zaniolo and attempted to head it out for a corner...

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Jovic powered in a header!

 

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That's two years in a row Luka Jovic has scored the winner in the final of the Champions League, for that alone he's more than worth the €29m (so far) we've paid for him! In truth United arguably edged it, there's a reason none of those screenshots are of flowing Roma passing moves, but margins are tight at the top hence my doing all my own set piece routines, and a win is a win is a win!

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Premi del Club e Statistiche della Squadra

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Although we continued our trend of - in the league at least - scoring more goals each season, the defence also tightened up significantly so I'm glad to see some recognition from the fans for our defenders. Gayà is outstanding, his attributes are more like those of a playmaker but with Crossing ability, although I feel that the full backs get a bonus in their ratings for the sheer amount of running they do. 

Vargas' goal was good - a curler from outside of the box into the top corner - and his future is giving me a real headache. Upamecano as signing of the season is pretty much by default given the others are all youth transfers who haven't yet made their debuts, but he did average over a 7.5. Ünder's production actually dropped off to 2018/19 levels, with his season bisected by a two month injury: he scored all of his goals before it, and contributed most of his assists afterwards (including 1 in each of the Champions League and Coppa Italia finals). 

That team of the season shows a bias towards some of the rotation options with Varnier, Locatelli, Cristante, Vargas and Schick all having primarily played the easy games but as you'll see below nobody performed poorly this season.

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Not pictured here are youngsters Elroy van Maanen (DR, averaging 7.18 in 5 appearances) and Marco Campanella (STC, 3 goals and 4 assists giving him a 7.54 from 11 appearances). As usual, most of our assists came from our full backs and in particular from our right backs. Bryan Cristante had his best goalscoring season for me yet, whilst Alessio Riccardi failed to match his previous haul due to my training him Tries Killer Balls Often to accentuate his strengths. As with 2018/19, this year was one for the forwards although producing such numbers despite never playing in a striker partnership is still brilliant from Jovic and Schick. They were helped by us winning a lot of penalties with the wider squad's dribbling capabilities: Jovic scored 9/12 and Schick 7/9 but still, a great season and I'm hoping with a little less rotation I might be able to get Jovic up to 40.

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Premi

  • Serie A
Spoiler

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I voted for Sinisa Mihajlovic.

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Yet somehow nobody's trying to sign him...not that I'm complaining!

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Only 3 in those lists don't play for Roma, and one of them is on loan from us!

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"Actually it was a full XI, mr awards guy"

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Finally I get a Capocannoniere!...but he's out on loan haha. Despite listing him as AM (L) Salcedo spent most of the season as a lone striker in a 4-1-4-1. He is arguably the reason Bologna got to the Champions League. Jovic is my first player to crack 20 league goals since Dzeko, incredibly averaging a goal every 80 minutes, by far the best in the top five leagues! 4th on the top scorers list is actually Patrik Schick with 14 goals, 1 every 107 minutes.

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No competition here. Forget talk of Salcedo playing "men's football", the "men" were playing Salcedo's football.

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Okay, so perhaps this one really is no competition, but Juventus gave an 18 year old 29 appearances. Traore was significantly more influential, but surely he should get 2nd place?

  • Champions League
Spoiler

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Serie A & Champions League

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Although consecutive 108-point unbeaten seasons shows real consistency, we actually made significant improvements in both scoring and preventing goals, which would have probably seen us break our own record were it not for that absurd Wed-Fri-Sun finish to the season. The main talking point here though has got to be Bologna's Eddy Salcedo-inspired push from mid-table bores to best of the rest and next season's Champions League! It was achieved in what many would label the traditional Italian fashion, with plenty of clean sheets, but getting more goals than he has years on this Earth out of a young striker was brave, and they showed grit to overcome a 4-month wobble in 2022 to smash Torino on the final day and clinch 2nd! Partially as a result of our blowing away all comers, with an unhealthy 35-point gap to 2nd this year, there hasn't been an established "top four" so far in this save, as although Juventus have finished 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 4th, the other two CL spots have changed year on year whilst Fiorentina and Sassuolo have drifted in and out of European placings too. 

At the other end, Crotone hired our U20s coach Luca Vigiani in April and nearly made a great escape, picking up 12 points in his first 6 games...before receiving a 5-0 hampering from ourselves, leaving them unable to get past Sampdoria on the final day.

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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. Lyon winning two of the last three Ligue 1 titles and making the knockout round consistently is a nice surprise too, but really other than my Roma side tearing Europe a new one this is very much same old, same old. Inter reaching the final with us in 2018/19 is still the biggest non-Roma surprise. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
8 hours ago, 04texag said:

 

I'd posted it up so much I just decided not to bother when I started this thread. Its literally identical to the one posted there, although I can't remember if I used Defend Narrower or not with Roma given their centre backs are huge whereas it was removed soon on when playing with Ajax due to Daley Blind's stature.

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  • 3 weeks later...
3 hours ago, john1 said:

fantastic  money to get for both of them :cool: Congrats on winning back to back #Champions League :applause:

Cheers! I thought about declining and going for 3 in a row, potentially trying to beat Madrid's 5 but I decided I'd rather refresh and try to dominate the decade! 

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Quote

"I told them I did not think it fair that Rooney should earn twice what I made," Ferguson says in Leading.

"[United co-chairman] Joel Glazer said: 'I totally agree but what should we do?' It was simple. We just agreed no player should be paid more than me."

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Edited by zlatanera
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Perché Il Riavvio continua

Anyone who has followed my threads will have noticed a lot of repetition: in how I set up my team to play, in how I build my squads, in the calibre of team I pick...so it shouldn't be surprising when I say that saves tend to end for similar reasons. In general its either the case that I bring in one or more big-money signings purely due to an itchy trigger finger then regret it as they squeeze out my favourites (every Manchester United save I've ever had - in FM18 I had a strike force of Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial!), or despite initially setting the club up for sustained success with youth development I find myself unable to part with my senior players i.e. Les Gones, where I left it after finding myself unable to part with Memphis in particular. 

 I then considered just why I had started this Roma save, which as well as the reasons listed in the two opening posts, was that in my afore-linked Lyon save José Mourinho's Roma side has two of the best newgens I've ever seen, which anecdotally seemed to be part of a trend, one which I wanted in on. So, although currently having no talents on the level of Fabrizio Rughetti and Ferdinando Caimi (in spoilers below), I decided to wholeheartedly commit to structuring the club to really allow for youth development, and actually move on senior pros! 😲

Spoiler

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Fabrizio Rughetti: under a more youth-friendly manager may actually have had a chance of gunning for Totti's scoring record

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I honestly thought BPD-style newgens with no major deficiencies in their games were impossible in FM19 until I saw Caimi. I wish I could just port him over to my save!

 

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Commerciallizzazione e Categorizzazione

Two completely unrelated things that didn't seem to warrant their own individual posts that I'd like to show here. 

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Firstly is that once Cristiano Ronaldo's extraordinary wages are off the bill Juventus should be ready to come back as a real force, given they absurdly bring in as much money through commercial revenues as the next 14 teams combined! I haven't tracked this throughout the save but whilst I'm pleased to see the spent forces at San Siro are behind us, these Americans really need to do a better job of capitalising on 3 Champions League in 4 years in case the transfer market dries up.

Secondly is that as players from my first European title start to retire, I decided to look up club records in real life and see how they compare. Of particular interest was this table of players who scored 50+ goals for the club:

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  • In reality I'd expect Dzeko to nab 3rd this season barring something calamitous, but in the world of my save he's already there with 125 goals!
  • Cengiz Ünder is 9th with 84.
  • Patrik Schick would then slot in at 10th with 83.
  • Daniele De Rossi would be joint-15th alongside Agostino Di Bartolomei with 69.
  • Luka Jovic, with one of the best Goals/match ratios on the list, would already be 24th with 51 goals in two season so far!

Given my new focus Jovic most likely will be sold in 2-3 years, but were he to continue scoring at the same rate it would take him 10-11 seasons to overhaul Totti at #1, a testament to the legend's consistency as well as his longevity. 

Edited by zlatanera
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Purga Dietro le Quinte

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Despite a significant strengthening of the coaching department last season as I moved away from my "Italians, Bosnians and Sevillanos" policy, the pause saw me decide to pivot once again and - outside of Scouts - only hire Italians, partial-Italians, or former players. Although for some reason they are not displayed, the only foreigners to escape the purge were Scouts John Calvert-Toulmin (English, former Man Utd, 100% knowledge of South America) and Radu Baicu (Romanian, former Monaco, widespread knowledge covering Eastern Europe, Central Europe and Scandinavia). 

I might not have undertaken this overhaul had two concurrent events saw Massimiliano Allegri leave Manchester City, freeing up a bunch of high quality coaches (the likes of Landucci and Dolcetti) and Fabio Paratici leave Juventus, meaning I had a DoF of similar calibre to Monchi available on a free as well!

  • Dario D'Ambrosio is the younger brother of Inter defender Danilo
  • Federico Fazio is the same one who played for me first season then fetched an absurd €75m fee despite his advanced age.
  • Claudio Marchisio gave me pause for thought as an almost-"One Club Man", but hey, Juventus are consistent winners, why wouldn't I want some of that?
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Mercato - Estate 2022

For consistency, I will continue to present a screenshot of every single player I sign (I like to look back and see just how they developed, especially if I cut them loose without making it to the first team), but I'm going to at least break it down so that you only have to expand one spoiler to see my first team additions.

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The biggest transfer window I've ever had in terms of departures, beating 2019/20's both in quantity (6 first team players out versus 5 then) and the absurd amount of money brought in (€461m being more than double the €216m brought in during that window!). At the end of which we now have the youngest squad in the league with an average age of just 23!

Of the 12 signings (and 2 pre-signings) only two - the most expensive pair, Belford and Blanco - are in the first team squad as I finally stuck to my guns and promoted from within whilst ensuring we have the most stacked youth ranks in world football. Sadly a lack of Italian talent other than a few standouts either already in my employ or at Juventus (one midfielder who looks like the perfect backup for Zaniolo yet sadly would probably cost €90m is particularly enticing) meant I went full Arsène Wenger / Steve Carr [delete as appropriate] and sent a charter Air Force to France.

La Partenza:

Spoiler
  • Patrik Schick was the hardest to let go, as on FM he's pretty much the second coming of Zlatan, minus the capabilities from dead-ball situations, very few guys who are 190cm+ with 17 Technique and an average of 15 in every highlighted attribute for Complete Forward. But the money was really good and this allowed me to free up space for a youth player who is already a better finisher than the Czech giant.
  • At 27, with 3 years remaining on his contract, and having just won everything you can win, Bryan Cristante was probably at the highest value he'll ever reach (€72m, falling to €60m when he moved). Our midfield is more obviously weakened by his departure than the attack by Schick's.
  • José Gayà was the other departure that gave me real pause for thought. He'd just turned 27, had a long contract and attribute-wise would be one of the best Advanced Playmaker-types in the game yet is a full back. However I also had not one but two 19-year old left backs needing game time, so out he went. 
  • Stephan El Shaarawy was nearing 30, injury-prone and had low Natural Fitness. If I kept him another season I risked his decline setting in and depreciating his value, so snapped Chelsea's hands off for a huge chunk of that PL money!
  • Marco Varnier suffered from what I will term 'Daniele Rugani syndrome'. Despite being a top level defender, homegrown, and young with room for future development he was behind 3 established stars who show no sign of slowing down. Best to cut him loose, he'll benefit in the long run with more game time whilst I'm able to free up a slot to bring through another youngster.
  • Olsen had a pesky wage rise clause in his contract, a more suitable backup was available and €28m was more than double his value, more than double what we paid for him, and he's 32 years old! Outstanding business.

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  • As you can see above, Mory Bamba is incredibly similar to Amad Traore in age, ability, they're both Ivorian too. Better Finishing and Vision would arguably make him a more suitable fit than Traore but the former Atalanta kid was performing outstandingly...still if I'm being perfectly honest it was more down to my preferring the appearance of the Italian flag than the feeling that Traore is more likely to fetch a much larger fee in the future.
  • The other four were just youth who weren't going to make it - Bouah and Milanese are real, Rosati and Manzi 2019 intake - who fetched some very respectable fees with sell-on clauses just in case I'm wrong (I'm not).

Novità per il Ventidue (22):

Spoiler

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€45.5m initially seemed pretty steep until l realised I spent €48m on Federico Chiesa only to use him as a full back. Belford has two full seasons of top flight experience, a great personality and a well-rounded profile (I would have traded Corners for Penalty Taking if I wanted him as my main striker however). He'll play at AML predominantly, but other than in height and Technique he's pretty close to Schick's level already.

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Although a 10-year contract means I expect Lafont to retire at the club unless I decide otherwise, I still wanted a better backup than Olsen or Scuffet, who himself was downgrade from Alessio Cragno. Blanco is exactly what I was looking for, good Rushing Out and Passing, but without losing anything in his goal-preventing abilities. Two-footed as well. He'll be my cup goalkeeper (Uefa Supercup, Supercoppa Italiana, Coppa Italia, Club World Cup, Champions League group stage).

Le Scorta di Talenti:

Spoiler

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Clearly a so-called “Freak Newgen”, Grall has played a full season in Ligue 1 aged just 16, becoming both the Ligue 1 and Stade Rennais youngest goalscorer in the process. The board aren’t happy with such a large fee but after a year acclimatising in the youth ranks, he’ll be a fixture in our midfield until the 2030s.

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A release clause bargain from Toulouse, our new affiliate who were relegated to Ligue 2. Similar to Grall he’ll remain in the youth ranks whilst he learns Italian, but will look to be involved in the first team sooner rather than later. Scouts rated him as injury prone yet now he's here the coaches see no issues. 

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This is selling him short, but as Martin is pretty much the only young goalkeeper with good Rushing Out who isn't staggeringly deficient in other key areas, I couldn't afford not to sign him. 

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Remember how I sold José Gayà because I had too many young left backs? Yeah well, now they're promoted the Primavera squad looked dire. Alexandre is on the 3rd country of his career aged just 16 having taken in his native Brazil (Corinthians), France (Lyon, where was he in my save?!), and now Italia. The youngest player in Coupe de la Ligue history, I'm hoping him and the chap below will drive each other's development over the next couple of years.

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A rare Italian newgen I both want and can afford, Tosoni is also a 16-year old journeyman having been poached from Empoli's youth system by Atalanta then signed up by us in return for a van full of cash all in the space of 26 months. 

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A high potential youngster on the transfer list, I mostly paid €1.8m for a Very Strong Left Foot, but French-Spanish Sanchez does look like he'll become a useful little player (just noticed he's 185cm)!

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€222k per year is already looking like a bargain in getting first look at Toulouse's conveyor belt of talent. Causse looks a prototypical Deep Lying Playmaker already.

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Atalanta's youngest-ever player, D'Ambrosio is probably the least-developed signing of the summer, but I have no doubts he'll be a Serie A-standard forward. Italian too which is a bonus for the club of the capital.

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Similar to the two young left backs, I signed Bertrand in spite of strong production in his position from our own academy, as I want an XI of potential first team players at each level of the club (Under 18s, Under 20s, Loan). Similar to Giuliano, Guadagno, pretty much any FM19 newgen full back really, he's physically dominant and strong defensively but pretty woeful going forward. Still, should be useable.

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We already have the youngest goalscorer Crvena Zvezda (another affiliate) on the books in Luka Jovic, in a show of dominance over the region we now have Partizan's youngest goalscorer too! Despite producing over 1 goal per game last season he'll spend a year in the under 20s before we plot the Serb-Croat's next move.

Primavera:

Spoiler

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Lining up in a 4-2-3-1 to facilitate some new positions, I think you'll agree I've succeeded in having an absolutely stacked Under 20s squad. Marcello, Bosc, and Krajacic would be my go-tos should a long-term injury afflict one of the first team players. The high Decisions attribute across the board is nice to see. In the case of Marcato and Guadagno I think it is an indication of how my HoYD Massimo Tarantino's preferred Tactical Coaching Style affects newgens.

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A very young Under 18s squad, Patrice Grall should be in the Under 20s but I want to develop him as a DM and there was more space here to use a 4-3-3 to allow that. 6/12 are actually from the Roma academy (Zaninetti, Tucci, Piccione, Marku, Gagliardi, Ospitaleche, Coraggio). 

Due per il prossimo futuro:

Spoiler

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Despite the great potential at the centre of defence in my youth ranks, I couldn't resist pre-arranging a third transfer from Toulouse. Marking, Technique, and Determination were the standout attributes here but given Jonathan Cloarec is so young I expect even that 6 Passing to be 11+ by the time he's aging out of the youth squads. I do feel somewhat bad about poaching all of Toulouse's youngsters after their relegation, but they only have one youth coach so he's far better served with me.

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Another affiliate is Colombian side Deportivo Cali. Not being in an active league they only have four players on the books, and one of them is this guy! Julián Ramos is athletically dominant without sacrificing technical ability just like my preferred Pellegrini-Zaniolo midfield so far in the save. Not being able to get him until he's 18 isn't ideal, but hopefully his personality will see him make the most of the limited opportunities on offer in post-apocalyptic Colombia. 

 

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Numeri di Squadra

An underrated pleasure in Football Manager is announcing your own squad numbers. I've used variety of systems in my previous saves, including the Argentine system where you right back is #4 when managing River Plate (or once in Spain when I signed a bunch of Albiceleste stars). In this save I started out with the real life numbers, sticking to this as I brought in new players (Federico Chiesa retaining his Fiorentina €25, for example). The past two seasons I numbered my preferred XIs 1-11, 12-22, before reverting to my previous system as can be seen below.

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The only two not wearing their numbers from 2018/19 are Sandro Tonali, whose #4 was already taken by Milenkovic so instead wears his current Milan #8, and Luka Jovic who wore #8 at Frankfurt but gets his preferred #9 for Roma. 

Anyone who is actually reading this would have noticed in the previous post I allowed 7 first team players to depart yet only brought in 2. That's because there are five hot prospects making the step up from the Primavera for 2022/23:

Spoiler

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A standout from the 2019 intake, Luca Busti is somewhat lacking technically, but his physicality and intelligence are already strong. Initially I'd planned on him being Chiesa's understudy but an inability to find takers for Matías Vargas saw Florenzi's transition to the centre delayed a year, so he'll be a substitute for a season. Hopefully bringing him on early enough will see him develop.

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Neither myself nor my coaches thought Marco Campanella was a standout when he came through alongside Busti, rating midfielder Filip Capodaglio higher and as such I have no earlier screenshot to link you to. His development has been spectacular so far, such that I allowed Schick to leave in order to create space for him to prove himself as an out-and-out striker. 

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A rather pricy youth signing in 2020, former Feyenoord full back Elroy van Maanen will, as stated when I signed him, play in the centre of defence for me. His Bravery could do with being higher but I'm hopeful I can improve his Passing, and the aggressive Manolas alongside him will mask any weaknesses as he continues to learn his craft. 

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Brought in just last season, if you consider Luca Pellegrini to be José Gayà's replacement, then Darko Puljic is Luca Pellegrini's replacement as backup DL. Not as flashy as the other two, but certainly technical enough for my system (15 First Touch seems like it should be a gold icon) and with ample room to grow. I just wish he'd lose that trait already so I can work on giving him good ones.

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A second Traore screenshot in consecutive posts, kinda a cheat as he's already won the FIFA Club World Cup, Supercoppa Italiana, Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League, but those opportunities only came up due to injuries. Amad Diallo Traore grasped them with both hands (or feet?), out-performing Matías Vargas in many metrics so this is his official promotion to the first team. A look back to summer 2019 shows strong development including, and perhaps in spite of, a poor personality when he first joined. Whilst he's never going to be an 18 Determination Perfectionist, the continuous improvement shows that even though its not as easy as on FM18 and earlier, a poor personality isn't completely insurmountable if the quality is there. He backs up Cengiz Ünder as Kluivert moves over to AML and finally gets a season as first choice.

 

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Luglio / Agosto 2022

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  • Sampdoria, meet 'Belfogol'?
  • Porto were the only team I'd encountered so far in the save and not beaten, knocking us out of the Champions League in 2020 before we drew both games in our group last season. Brahimi curling one in from range inside 5 minutes had me worried, but luckily some classic Jovic poaching, a wonder strike from Chiesa and a 96th-minute double-save from Rubén Blanco on his debut got us the win!
  • Milan (H): 2 disallowed goals (1 apiece), 4 that stood, and a red card (Kluivert)!
  • Lazio (A): Jovic's injury meant we again finished a game with only 10 men, but still added a 4th in that time!
  • Inter (A): Another Milan side, another 2 disallowed goals, another win!
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Settembre 2022

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  • Bologna (H): Yet another game featuring a disallowed goal and us going down to 10 men, this time Chiesa committing a random act of violence at 2-1. This can't possibly keep up...
  • Prior to the Man City game Mory Bamba had scored 4 for Palermo, making me consider if I'd sold the wrong (Italian-) Ivorian. Two headers and a stunning left-footed volley from Traore on an arguably greater stage was a brilliant riposte!
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Ottobre / Novembre 2022

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  • Attending the Juventus game - in which we restricted them to just 1 shot, off target - were senior scouts from Barcelona (Chiesa), Real Madrid (Milenkovic), and Manchester United (Ünder), yet the reports afterward indicated no interest from any of the trio in a transfer away. Yet another example of just how significantly our stature has improved. 
  • Surprisingly despite all our success, when absent-mindedly exploring the many rankings in the game I found that we aren't in the top 100 for season ticket prices. No. 100? A little outfit called Carlisle United, who play in League Two!
  • Amad Diallo Traore must wish he could play against Manchester City every week, the finish to that game was pure insanity. I would have uploaded a highlight but its misbehaving at the moment. An early João Felix header was cancelled out when Campanella robbed Laporte and left Ederson in no man's land with a curling shot. I would have taken the draw, but then 90+1' Riccardi handled in the area. 90+2' João Felix steps up, hits it perfectly towards the bottom corner...Blanco saves! 20 seconds later Blanco punches away the resulting corner, Campanella flicks it on away from Diogo Jota, Traore picks it up in his own half and runs...and runs, turning Florentino Luís inside out...and runs...into the area where he powers a shot past Ederson!
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Pausa Invernale 2022

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If you can count, you may notice that this year's winter break comes after only (on average) 13 rounds. That's because of a little-know travesty known as FIFA World Cup 2022, hosted by an Absolute Monarchy (not a good thing if you are not royalty) called Qatar. 

  • 10 points between us and Juventus actually marks the smallest 1st-2nd gap since 2019-20, when Juve were only 5 points behind. They have a strange squad: 8 players over 30 in goal, defence and midfield but only 1 in attack, CR7-age-37, who is supported by Bernardeschi, Pavon, and a bunch of newgens. I don't expect them to catch us, actually Milan can overhaul them if they win their 13th fixture. Ronaldo is 3rd top scorer (7) behind Ünder (10) and Norbert Balogh (8) but he's got to be holding them back now, I'm interested to see if they cane become a force again once his wages are off the books.
  • The top 6 is effectively "normal service resumed" sadly, especially considering Lazio (3) and Napoli (1) have games in hand over SPAL.
  • SPAL are managed by World Cup winner Fabio Grosso, with 3 of the class of 2019 on loan there (Claudio Giuliano, Filip Capodaglio, Biagio Schettino) so to see them doing so well is great!
  • Bologna, now with a Roma contingent numbering 5, have understandably dropped off this season with European commitments. Sadly Eddy Salcedo doesn't look like matching his production from last season, with 4 goals from 16 appearances currently. Still, Vasco Leitão and Emanuel Vignato are both getting their development back on track whilst Gabriele Corbo still marshals their defence, aided occasionally by Antony Angileri.
  • Loaning Manuel Gasparini to Verona seemed a gamble, its early days but that appears to be paying off too as they've actually conceded fewer goals than Bologna. Strangely despite playing in the top flight signing a contract extension and actually developing his current ability, Gasparini's value is stuck at a measly €230k. Also, back in 2019-20 when Juve were 2nd Verona were 15th...yet ended up relegated. Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself!

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What an absolutely beautiful sight (ignoring who is in 1st), Lazio in last place! Sadly there appear to be few other surprises in the group stage, with FC Porto the only team outside the Big Five looking like qualifying, and Bologna in 3rd place after getting a 'Group of Death' (Real Madrid, Bayern, Bologna, Young Boys). Still, I can rejoice in the above image, as well as the fact that we've smashed 20 goals past our group so far despite playing a change XI for every fixture so far, Amad Traore level in the top scorers chart with Marcus Rashford!

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World Cup 2022

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12 Roma players performed on the biggest stage: Justin Kluivert (Holland); Matías Vargas (Argentina); Nikola Milenkovic and Luka Jovic (Serbia); Alban Lafont and Dayot Upamecano (France); Alessandro Florenzi, Luca Pellegrini, Federico Chiesa, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicolò Zaniolo, and Alessio Riccardi (Italy). 

Serbia didn't make it out of their group, finishing 3rd behind Spain and Argentina (none of my guys contributed in Serbia 2-2 Argentina). Italy came 2nd behind Belgium, with the dubious honour of being the only team to make it to the knockout stages with a negative goal difference. Federico Chiesa did get an assist in their final group game however. France topped their group in style, Lafont their starting goalkeeper and Upamecano played their final two group games, scoring in a 7-0 demolition of Australia. Holland topped their group too, Kluivert assisting three goals.

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As you can see in the knockout rounds it quickly went wrong for all but two of the Roma contingent. Argentina paid the price for their negativity against England, with Nicolás Tagliafico starting on the left in a 4-4-2, although Vargas did his part by scoring their equaliser and scoring his spot-kick. Whilst Federico Chiesa played 3 key passes for Italy, Zaniolo was the worst player on the pitch and Julian Weigl the best as Germany humiliated Gli Azzurri. Kluivert was a sub as Holland overcame Croatia before Laínez and Lozano took advantage of strange choices (Daley Blind at right back overlapping Tahith Chong, anyone?) to end his journey at the Quarter Final stage.

France though...well, as you can see they went all the way! Upamecano missed out against Brazil, but played every minute in the final three rounds. Lafont saved a penalty from André Silva in the Quarter Final, before a team effort squeezed past England and they were into the final!

The stats suggest 2-1 flatters Germany as they completely lost their heads, fouling France 17 times and seeing Joshua Kimmich pick up a double yellow. With all due respect to them, lining up with a strike force of Davie Selke and Maximilian Philipp (a lot of 4-4-2 going around, apparently) doesn't suggest you want to win in style. 

Anyway, France became only the third team to retain the World Cup after Brazil (1958, 1962) and Italy (1934, 1938) and I'm not biased, my guys were a key part of it!

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Premi Globali

Spoiler

 

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I honestly thought I might be in with a shot of having my first ever World Player of the Year (now renamed), but I forgot that Ünder hadn't really performed in the first half of the year, so Neymar is a deserved winner. Still, first podium finish of the save (only the second of FM19 after a runners-up place for Nabil Fekir in Les Gones)!

I'm unsure which is more prestigious now, but in my Manchester United save Anthony Martial did win the Ballon d'Or in 2019.

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Alban Lafont retains his status as the best goalkeeper in the world!

A look down the most valuable goalkeepers shows only Gianluigi Donnarumma in the top 10 who is under 28, he's held back by playing for a mediocre Milan side (I'm tempted to liberate him but can't replace my man Alban), so until the newgens com good he could be looking at a good spell as the undisputed best, although the likes of Alisson, Ederson, and ter Stegen have more flashy attributes.

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Hmm...Frenkie de Jong at centre back, Coutinho and Hazard double-pivot? Something tells me the awards voters don't think much of defending. 

 

 

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Dicembre 2022 / Gennaio 2023

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  • The Supercoppa win is a highlight here, coming with an entirely change XI that saw van Maanen head in his first career goal, and Traore show real ruthlessness to score our 2nd whilst I Gobbi had a man off on the sidelines injured.
  • Italy hired Vincenzo Montella as their new manager after the World Cup. Not even a press article suggesting they might be interested in me...quite offended, if I'm honest.

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  • We haven't drawn since last season when Juventus held us, coming as that fixture did as the middle one of 3 games in 5 days.
Edited by zlatanera
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Mercato - Inverno 20231890055648_Screenshot2020-10-29at18_10_51.png.3d25d3a61ce815245efee6d9ee41be0f.png

A relatively quiet window here, as I'm mostly focussing on getting players in age 16: youth intakes are generally in Spring (Primavera apparently, the same as the common name for youth teams) which means most of the business is done in summer. Still, aside from finding a more suitable loan for Francisco Pinto, there were two unexpected transfers:

Uno per il passato:

Spoiler

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Aleksandar Kolarov - if this looks like a bit of a left-field transfer…that’s because it is. Physically shot, Kolarov has proved me right to release him, lasting 6 months with Milan and 18 with PSV before being without a club from June until now. However, his good personality means he may have some potential as a coach. Claudio Marchisio’s spell as U18s Assistant Manager ended after a mere 6 months when he took the Perugia job, freeing up a spot on the coaching staff. Despite Kolarov being set to retire on June 29th he wouldn’t accept an entirely non-playing role. So he’ll split his time as player / U18s coach for 6 months then coach full time. I've demoted him to the Under 20s so hopefully his great personality will have an influence some of our young talent.

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Una partenza:

Spoiler

 

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Arguably even more of a shock, this one. Piccione was on a youth contract, developing well due to his personality but with limited potential: 1.5-star, with Nikola Milenkovic being 3.5-star for comparison. I was debating signing him to pro terms, as despite that concerning Positioning attribute he really was improving fast. Still, when Inter came in I negotiated. €5m + 20% was accepted far too speedily, so I rejected and to my surprise got €2.5m + €7.5m instalments + 20% next sale. For someone who most likely would never make an appearance for us before carving out a solid Serie B career, an outstanding deal!

 

 

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50 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

Dicembre 2022 / Gennaio 2023

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  • The Supercoppa win is a highlight here, coming with an entirely change XI that saw van Maanen head in his first career goal, and Traore show real ruthlessness to score our 2nd whilst I Gobbi had a man off on the sidelines injured.
  • Italy hired Vincenzo Montella as their new manager after the World Cup. Not even a press article suggesting they might be interested in me...quite offended, if I'm honest.

2079076278_ConsecutiveWinsRecord.png.584ff68980dce38e17b1efc98ae905df.png

  • We haven't drawn since last season when Juventus held us, coming as that fixture did as the middle one of 3 games in 5 days.

You are crushing it, well done

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2 hours ago, 04texag said:

You are crushing it, well done

Thanks! Starting to get a little bit of an itchy (tactical) trigger finger, but at the moment I'm satisfying myself with curiously wondering how despite all my players looking broadly similar, I've gone from a heavy focus on the strikers scoring to a fairly even spread across the front five despite only one personnel change in midfield. [I say 'fairly' even because whilst most players are averaging 0.6 goals per start, Campanella (ST) is at 0.3, whilst Belford (AML) is at 0.88 and Traore (AMR) is at 1.0].

Definitely thinking of a change in formation next season though. Possibly something asymmetrical, which I know you won't be a fan of, as I want a striker partnership without sacrificing Ünder.

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2 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

Thanks! Starting to get a little bit of an itchy (tactical) trigger finger, but at the moment I'm satisfying myself with curiously wondering how despite all my players looking broadly similar, I've gone from a heavy focus on the strikers scoring to a fairly even spread across the front five despite only one personnel change in midfield. [I say 'fairly' even because whilst most players are averaging 0.6 goals per start, Campanella (ST) is at 0.3, whilst Belford (AML) is at 0.88 and Traore (AMR) is at 1.0].

Definitely thinking of a change in formation next season though. Possibly something asymmetrical, which I know you won't be a fan of, as I want a striker partnership without sacrificing Ünder.

I mean, you do you, but I typically don't do the asymetrical stuff. I too will often get bored if I don't vary  things up, either through tactical changes or personnel. What do you think you'd tweak to work on the striker partnership?

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51 minutes ago, 04texag said:

I mean, you do you, but I typically don't do the asymetrical stuff. I too will often get bored if I don't vary  things up, either through tactical changes or personnel. What do you think you'd tweak to work on the striker partnership?

Right now I'm leaning towards taking some inspiration from a Rashidi FM18 tactic and moving my AML up to STCL as an Advanced Forward, changing Ünder to a Trequartista, Zaniolo to a Carrilero and Pellegrini to Mezzala. Although your thread and the other one on Guardiola tactics have me considering that Wingers + IWB combo too.

Or I might go for something a little different and try a 3-5-2. I could either drop Tonali into defence to help the build-up, perhaps in a system featuring an AMC (Ünder as Shadow Striker perhaps), or make it more of a flat midfield which is where I'd run into trouble trying to accommodate Ünder. He's already a club legend with just 3 people between him and Francesco Totti in the rankings though so perhaps does need to be offloaded. 

Just a lot of thoughts flying around. Luckily the 2023 half of the season is manic which prevents me getting bored, 9 games in February alone!

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That's a lot of games in a packed schedule! You should really give my JdP tactic a try, it creates some lovely combination play. I'd be interested in seeing the tactic your mentioning too though.

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1 hour ago, 04texag said:

That's a lot of games in a packed schedule! You should really give my JdP tactic a try, it creates some lovely combination play. I'd be interested in seeing the tactic your mentioning too though.

Yeah, suits my style though. I tend to get easily distracted by the many great tactics being posted, or some real life football, and end up wanting to start over if I don’t maintain momentum.

Moved away from straight-up copying but I’ll definitely be looking to your thread for inspiration!

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FIFA - "Nessun trofeo per te!"

I was so caught up in observing the (National) World Cup that I forgot about the Club World Cup! To my surprise it wasn't even on the competitions tab. So I searched manually...

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So I have to win the Champions League three times in a row in order to have the chance to retain my title? Clearly, Mr. Pallotta got behind on his bribe money for FIFA donations to Swiss charitable organisations...

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Febbraio 2023

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  • Our clean sheet against SPAL saw Alban Lafont (11 games, 1,023 minutes) break Gianluigi Buffon's (10 games, 974 minutes) record for consecutive shut-outs! Furthermore I hadn't noticed at the time but with 27 clean sheets last season he'd smashed past Buffon's record of 21!
  • A week later his streak came to an end as I heavily rotated my team to face Sampdoria, including making three half-time substitutions to grant more minutes to fringe players.
  • No such excuses for the madness at Roma Under 23s Bologna. A Corbo own goal put us in front before Emanuel Vignato showed why I signed him: assisting Perisic; taking a pass from Angileri, beating two men and smashing one into the top corner; then assisting Salcedo too! He then showed why I'm not using him by going off injured before the half was out, replaced by another of our loanees Vasco Leitão. We left it late but eventually our quality came through with two late goals to snatch a draw!

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  • Victory over Napoli made it almost 3 years without defeat!
  • I know we've made the extraordinary, well, ordinary, but its worth repeating that putting 6! past Juventus is an incredible result.
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15 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

Victory over Napoli made it almost 3 years without defeat!

Are you serious? This is just absurd. I can never get a team to come anywhere close to this.

 

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Giovane Lupi 2023

"Kevin Rossini looks as if he could possibly emerge as one of the best players of his generation."

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Well of course he's a defender! If I can get even half of these young lads who have come through so far in the save to achieve their potentials we're looking at a new golden age of Italian defending. In general actually a pretty poor intake but I'm after quality - I can use my substantial transfer budget to find the quantity - so will look to sign on Rossini, Francesco Verde, Valentino Fontana, and Enrico Cecere. 

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As you can see, Verderio-born Rossini looks like he might live up to that generational talent monicker, coming through at a high level of current ability. That high Heading is unnecessary, but nice to have. I'm considering just skipping the reserves and bringing him straight into the first team squad next season as Alessandro Florenzi's decline is setting in. Although his Teamwork is disappointing, his general style has me considering renaming him "Gario Nevillio"!

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5 minutes ago, 04texag said:

 

Are you serious? This is just absurd. I can never get a team to come anywhere close to this.

 

Yeah, it's insane. I have definitely had some luck, both within games and with the fact that my first tactical recreation sent me towards this highly effective playing style. This is an incredible squad though (last season's outfit being stronger). Still, I'll be ecstatic if I can make it to 200 games!

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Marzo 2023

1875613661_March2023.png.9fa8e2d6e800afb794fcbe7e4c85b9b9.png

  • It feels like we play Juventus every week...not that I'm complaining!
  • Lorenzo Pellegrini's 31st minute free kick was his 50th goal for the club, in a derby, sealing our 100th consecutive Serie A game without defeat!! Roman academy product Luca Busti getting MotM out of position at right back was pretty sweet too
  • Milestone season: Ünder's first goal (of 4!) against Inter was his 100th for the club!
Edited by zlatanera
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I was thinking about your save last night, and what just doesn't compute for me, is how you don't ever get "FM'D". This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I have a great squad, good tactic, we are humming along. We play a minnow or low table team, we dominate the game, beautiful play, lots of chances and shots on target, off the woodwork. The opponent get's 2 shots off and scores a goal on a free kick and wins the game 1-0. It makes me livid, and happens at least 2-3 times a season. How do you never encounter this?

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@04texag  I think I understand how you feel, its like how I feel when I see the results achieved in the Caixa Futebol Academy thread. To be perfectly honest, I don't know.

In the earlier seasons I still did get "FM'd", for example Porto prematurely ending the defence of my first Champions League title over two legs via a Kostas Manolas distance header own goal. But then I seem to have hit upon some unholy combination of factors meaning a 2-2 away draw at Old Trafford is the closest thing to that over the past 3 seasons of the save:

  • A great tactic (that accidentally evolved to be very similar to one of Ö-zil's tactics, basically unconscious plagiarism)
  • Absurd squad depth (last season the first team was overall stronger, but this season the youth ranks have such quality that I can lose a first team player for a month and simply promote his backup then promote a youth like Marcello to be his backup). Seriously, look at the first image in this post, ignore the star ratings and look at the names instead. Its a deeep squad. This means in the rare occasion we do require a late goal I usually have a couple of guys to bring off the bench who could be league MVPs if I didn't rotate them, the little teams just can't cope (I think in England this wouldn't be the case due to the superior finances meaning you don't get the likes of Milan lining up with 8 youth contract players on the bench in a cup final). This will be tested to the limit in this season, I have a Tu-Thu-Sat-Mon-Wed sequence coming up where either bookend is a CL semi-final.
  • Great set pieces: We're usually 1st or 2nd in every competition we're in at scoring off corners, indirect free kicks, and penalties (the latter as basically my only tactical move is to up the tempo and select Run At Defence so that the likes of Kluivert repeatedly get fouled in dangerous areas). As my throw-in routine is short it doesn't count (not that the league stats feature throw-in goals anyhow), technically it doesn't work right either as despite being told Go Forward my striker always comes short, but it leads to ample opportunities to shoot either side of the 18 yard line - see this post for a video and a screenshot of the routine) which my midfielders and right backs (who are both wingers really) excel at. I honestly think if you include the throw-in goals we could be looking at 40-45% of our goals being set piece related.
  • Dynamics: I gave myself 20 Man Management, Level of Discipline, and Motivating which means my team talks, shouts etc. have maximum effectiveness, and pick players for personality as much as ability (wouldn't touch that Mercenary you hired, rather sign a slightly inferior player who'll do what he's told). So when we concede after 13 minutes to Milan and I give my men the hairdryer treatment, they work their socks off (and their hair wet again - with sweat) to get back into the game. 
  • Luck. An often underrated factor. I have actually been very lucky with injuries, aside from in 2020/21 where both my full backs missed half the season each with cruciate injuries. Even then, I was able to retrain Federico Chiesa to cover which only worked due to my aggressive transfer strategy and tactic (wouldn't have worked if I used a NFB instead of CWB). Or that the few times we concede a penalty, Lafont has probably saved over half. Or Eden Hazard blazing over the crossbar through on goal whilst Jovic has ice in his veins and gets his shot off under pressure. I can't emphasise this enough, I believe luck is incredibly important. If you go back to the first @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! thread I linked, in his first attempt at the save he makes some reactive tactical changes that come off whereas I could try the exact same thing with the exact same squad and it won't come off. You could probably use this thread as a blueprint and not win a thing first season too (well, the league could be done but the cups are more tricky). Heck, even a knap tactic can be defeated thanks to an awkward bounce.

I should also say much as I'm enjoying this save, as a simulation of actual football this nearing 200-game unbeaten streak is a real aberration, if I were to finally play FM20 for real and find myself unable to achieve such things I'd be pleased. Won't stop me bragging if I get to 200 though:cool:

Edited by zlatanera
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17 hours ago, zlatanera said:

@04texag  I think I understand how you feel, its like how I feel when I see the results achieved in the Caixa Futebol Academy thread. To be perfectly honest, I don't know.

In the earlier seasons I still did get "FM'd", for example Porto prematurely ending the defence of my first Champions League title over two legs via a Kostas Manolas distance header own goal. But then I seem to have hit upon some unholy combination of factors meaning a 2-2 away draw at Old Trafford is the closest thing to that over the past 3 seasons of the save:

  • A great tactic (that accidentally evolved to be very similar to one of Ö-zil's tactics, basically unconscious plagiarism)
  • Absurd squad depth (last season the first team was overall stronger, but this season the youth ranks have such quality that I can lose a first team player for a month and simply promote his backup then promote a youth like Marcello to be his backup). Seriously, look at the first image in this post, ignore the star ratings and look at the names instead. Its a deeep squad. This means in the rare occasion we do require a late goal I usually have a couple of guys to bring off the bench who could be league MVPs if I didn't rotate them, the little teams just can't cope (I think in England this wouldn't be the case due to the superior finances meaning you don't get the likes of Milan lining up with 8 youth contract players on the bench in a cup final). This will be tested to the limit in this season, I have a Tu-Thu-Sat-Mon-Wed sequence coming up where either bookend is a CL semi-final.
  • Great set pieces: We're usually 1st or 2nd in every competition we're in at scoring off corners, indirect free kicks, and penalties (the latter as basically my only tactical move is to up the tempo and select Run At Defence so that the likes of Kluivert repeatedly get fouled in dangerous areas). As my throw-in routine is short it doesn't count (not that the league stats feature throw-in goals anyhow), technically it doesn't work right either as despite being told Go Forward my striker always comes short, but it leads to ample opportunities to shoot either side of the 18 yard line - see this post for a video and a screenshot of the routine) which my midfielders and right backs (who are both wingers really) excel at. I honestly think if you include the throw-in goals we could be looking at 40-45% of our goals being set piece related.
  • Dynamics: I gave myself 20 Man Management, Level of Discipline, and Motivating which means my team talks, shouts etc. have maximum effectiveness, and pick players for personality as much as ability (wouldn't touch that Mercenary you hired, rather sign a slightly inferior player who'll do what he's told). So when we concede after 13 minutes to Milan and I give my men the hairdryer treatment, they work their socks off (and their hair wet again - with sweat) to get back into the game. 
  • Luck. An often underrated factor. I have actually been very lucky with injuries, aside from in 2020/21 where both my full backs missed half the season each with cruciate injuries. Even then, I was able to retrain Federico Chiesa to cover which only worked due to my aggressive transfer strategy and tactic (wouldn't have worked if I used a NFB instead of CWB). Or that the few times we concede a penalty, Lafont has probably saved over half. Or Eden Hazard blazing over the crossbar through on goal whilst Jovic has ice in his veins and gets his shot off under pressure. I can't emphasise this enough, I believe luck is incredibly important. If you go back to the first @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! thread I linked, in his first attempt at the save he makes some reactive tactical changes that come off whereas I could try the exact same thing with the exact same squad and it won't come off. You could probably use this thread as a blueprint and not win a thing first season too (well, the league could be done but the cups are more tricky). Heck, even a knap tactic can be defeated thanks to an awkward bounce.

I should also say much as I'm enjoying this save, as a simulation of actual football this nearing 200-game unbeaten streak is a real aberration, if I were to finally play FM20 for real and find myself unable to achieve such things I'd be pleased. Won't stop me bragging if I get to 200 though:cool:

I really appreciate your thorough reply to this. That said, it just feels like I'm missing something to be able to pull this off, as I can check pretty much all of those boxes. Even for the most part set pieces, although I don't typically dedicate someone to their art, meaning I could sign someone with high skill and train it further individually. I did do this in fm 19 with thiago almada and he became a free kick beast. 

Could you share information about how you do team training? Do you have any set custom schedules you use?

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5 hours ago, 04texag said:

Even for the most part set pieces, although I don't typically dedicate someone to their art, meaning I could sign someone with high skill and train it further individually. I did do this in fm 19 with thiago almada and he became a free kick beast. 

It could simply be that FM20 is better at real football, where 100 game unbeaten streaks aren’t a thing.

With set pieces I think it definitely makes a difference to have a good free kick taker, I’ve benefited in this save from Ünder, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Vargas all having 15+ Free Kicks. However, my greatest success from Corners came with Ajax where Frenkie de Jong only had 9 Corners but was great mentally. 
A big training post sounds like a nice project for the first day of lockdown, but if you want to see something 90% accurate to what I’m doing then check out this post from my short-lived Les Gones reboot. 

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Thanks, I'll check that out. 

 

I've seen conflicting information before on important corner taker stats, like vision and decisions ( for using mixed). What do you see as important that frankie had?

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59 minutes ago, 04texag said:

I've seen conflicting information before on important corner taker stats, like vision and decisions ( for using mixed). What do you see as important that frankie had?

I suppose I should bear in mind that my Ajax team probably won a lot of corners given we conducted domestic games almost entirely inside the opposition's half. 

If you hover the Corners attribute it says "This attribute reflects the player's ability to accurately take a corner". So its' just accuracy. I'd say his Anticipation ("..the player's ability to predict and react to events..."), Composure ("...steadiness of mind and ability to make intelligent decisions with and without the ball"), Decisions ("...make the correct choice with and without the ball") and Vision ("...see a potential opening and spot an opportunity another player may not have seen") are a big factor. If you train Corners it covers the Technique attribute, and whilst in 19.1 he only had 13 Technique ("...important in being able to pull off a tricky pass or cross-field ball") that is still pretty good. I think perhaps Teamwork ("...reflects how the player can follow tactical instructions whilst working for and alongside his team-mates" - could this mean how well he is able to stick to set piece routines?) and even Flair ("...player's natural talent for the creative and unpredictable") could be a factor too. 

The attributes of the guys on the receiving end obviously matter too. I think in that (aborted) save where I had Frenkie as a corner taker Daley Blind got 8 goals by Christmas, all from corners, despite relatively poor aerial ability for a centre back (180cm, 11 Jumping Reach, 12 Heading) and only 11 Off The Ball. But he is otherwise very intelligent with high Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, (Positioning, I don't think applies) and Teamwork.

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