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(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

The above goal is just perfect in terms of players doing exactly what they’ve been instructed to:

  • Play Out Of Defence gives us that nice shape with Tonali dropping deep, then it combines with Distribute To Centre-Backs to make Lafont kick it short to Upamecano.
  • Upamecano's trait ‘Brings Ball Out Of Defence’ combined with my Dribble More instruction sees him drive forwards making their striker a non-entity defensively before he lays it off to a playmaker (which is the purpose of playmakers).

  • Lorenzo Pellegrini's role has Take More Risks hard-coded and combines with his traits of ‘Tries Killer Balls Often’, ‘Tries Long Range Passes’ to see him take out 4 men with a quick, direct pass for Ünder (Get Further Forward, ‘Likes To Try To Beat Offside Trap’).

  • Ünder then beats his man - Cut Inside With Ball, 'Cuts Inside From Right Wing' before pulling it back for our striker, Campanella, to do what he does best! (I'm also training Campanella 'Tries First Time Shots' but so far his only trait is 'Places Shots' and this is at such close range I don't think it necessarily applies, although you argue for it given how he puts it into the far side of the goal).

Edited by zlatanera
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2024/25 - Episode VI

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  • Luka Jovic missed this one through suspension, but Campanella sure stepped up! Campanella is actually incredibly similar attribute-wise to Jovic, only 4cm shorter, weak at Penalties (I devoted too much time to training his Free Kick Taking in his youth) and not two-footed, otherwise he would have been my main striker this season. 
  • One issue with winning the league so insanely early (2nd April 2025) is that a few players - including Campanella - didn't reach the requisite 10 appearances. It doesn't matter if they they pass the threshold afterwards (Campanella was on 9), they won't get a medal. I don't like that when I look back at player histories. Still, in real life I think we would get guard of honour in our next match...the Derby della Capitale! So I'll reconcile myself with the imaginary tears of Lazio ultras.

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  • Returning to the team for the derby, Luka Jovic scored our 4th goal - his 30th of the season - and broke Rodolfo Volk's near century-old record of 29 league goals from 1931/32!
  • Volk's record is actually 1930/31 according to Wikipedia, but either way it was in a 34-game league. As Jovic would only play 32 games by the end of the season, I'm still counting this one.
  • Hertha have quietly built a decent enough, newgen-heavy team and they put up a good fight initially in the first leg, until Ünder turned on Messi mode, not only scoring a screamer in the 87th minute but then assisting Kluivert to really kill the tie...
  • ...or so I thought! At Olympiastadion they shocked us by scoring twice in 5 minutes which had me genuinely concerned. Jovic grabbed an away goal and after that the game calmed down. That was his 40th in all competitions, breaking Edin Dzeko's record of 39 in 2016/17! It was also our first loss since May 2025, an incredible 285 games!! 
  • The Manchester United tie (its bizarre how I've faced my favourite club in the later stages for 4 consecutive seasons - surely we should be considered rivals by now?) was very tight, some outstanding saves from Lafont keeping us in it. He's not a headline-grabber but I really miss Nicolò Zaniolo in games such as that, his aggressive approach would have helped us break their Pogba - Milinkovic-Savic double pivot.
  • Dante Lopez made his debut at Pescara, 20 days shy of his 16th birthday. He didn't score or assist but got a deserved 7.3 rating. I started him against Palermo too and he grabbed his first goal for the club - again, 15 years old - chesting down a header in the area and placing a volley into the far corner with his weak foot!
Edited by zlatanera
Luka Jovic scored his 40th - not 50th - goal in Berlin; Grammar
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16 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

2024/25 - Episode VI

1656282531_RomawinSerieA.png.33a233e4d1406e39f3ed7c49c58d8d54.png

  • Luka Jovic missed this one through suspension, but Campanella sure stepped up! Campanella is actually incredibly similar attribute-wise to Jovic, only 4cm shorter, weak at Penalties (I devoted too much time to training his Free Kick Taking in his youth) and not two-footed, otherwise he would have been my main striker this season. 
  • One issue with winning the league so insanely early (2nd April 2025) is that a few players - including Campanella - didn't reach the requisite 10 appearances. It doesn't matter if they they pass the threshold afterwards (Campanella was on 9), they won't get a medal. I don't like that when I look back at player histories. Still, in real life I think we would get guard of honour in our next match...the Derby della Capitale! So I'll reconcile myself with the imaginary tears of Lazio ultras.

1862673890_March-May2025.png.4a53970f5280a197058d7499d592dda8.png

  • Returning to the team for the derby, Luka Jovic scored our 4th goal - his 30th of the season - and broke Rodolfo Volk's near century-old record of 29 league goals from 1931/32!
  • Hertha have quietly built a decent enough, newgen-heavy team and they put up a good fight initially in the first leg, until Ünder turned on Messi mode, not only scoring a screamer in the 87th minute but then assisting Kluivert to really kill the tie...
  • ...or so I thought! At Olympiastadion they shocked us by scoring twice in 5 minutes which had me genuinely concerned. Jovic grabbed an away goal and after that the game calmed down. That was his 50th in all competitions, breaking Edin Dzeko's record of 39 in 2016/17! It was also our first loss since May 2025, an incredible 285 games!! 
  • The Manchester United tie (its bizarre how I've faced my favourite club in the later stages for 4 consecutive seasons - surely we should be considered rivals by now?) was very tight, some outstanding saves from Lafont keeping us in it. He's not a headline-grabber but I really miss Nicolò Zaniolo in games such as that, his aggressive approach would have helped us break their Pogba - Milinkovic-Savic double pivot.
  • Dante Lopez made his debut at Pescara, 20 days shy of his 16th birthday. He didn't score or assist but got a deserved 7.3 rating. I started him against Palermo too and he grabbed his first goal for the club - again, 15 years old - cheating down a header in the area and placing a volley into the far corner with his weak foot!

So crazy seeing that red up on the screen, but kind of nice to see your human.

You definitely have faced United a lot. Do you ever play as them? I'm funny and never have done a save as my favorite team, City.

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@04texag I actually forgot I'd even lost, because they scored so early on, Jovic got yet another goal, and we won the tie. I thought United were the first team to beat us! Its kinda gutting in hindsight as I could have reach 300 by the end of August, but also relieving as its just such an incredible streak I don't care about trying to beat it. 

Yes, Manchester United are usually my first team in every FM. 19 was an exception as I wanted to have another go at River Plate, having only started playing outside of Europe on 18. But after a beta save with them, United were my first proper one. This was just as Ole first took over, and I got three consecutive 30-goal seasons out of Martial using him as Mbappé in the Monaco recreation. If I use FM20 at all before jumping to FM21 when I finally bore of this, it will be to have a go with that small squad they had last season (with the January update so I have Bruno of course). 

I'm surprised given your attempts at Juego de Posicion that you haven't attempted it on easy mode yet, their squad in FM18 and 19 was pretty much perfect (haven't seen him on 21, but I'm not so keen on Rodrigo as a Sané replacement).

Edited by zlatanera
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Ya, they have a wonderful squad for it. I'd take last year's squad, as I'm a huge David Silva fan. I think this year's could be just as good. I'm actually a very big anti sterling, he is just not a good player for pep's style, he is sloppy in possession, and very inconsistent. I would move him and get an older veteran to mentor and go along side Ferran Torres and Phil Foden. Plus, I like Ruben Dias a lot.

I've never done outside of Europe except my very first save which was with my MLS Houston Dynamo. My god the MLS is terrible.

River Plate would be a fun one.

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26 minutes ago, 04texag said:

Ya, they have a wonderful squad for it. I'd take last year's squad, as I'm a huge David Silva fan. I think this year's could be just as good. I'm actually a very big anti sterling, he is just not a good player for pep's style, he is sloppy in possession, and very inconsistent. I would move him and get an older veteran to mentor and go along side Ferran Torres and Phil Foden. Plus, I like Ruben Dias a lot.

I've never done outside of Europe except my very first save which was with my MLS Houston Dynamo. My god the MLS is terrible.

River Plate would be a fun one.

Mmm, I was frustrated when Dias signed as I would have loved to see him at United.

I tried MLS with Atlanta United on FM19 (2018 season) just after Almirón signed for Newcastle. It didn't stick. I think I made it through a season with Toronto on an earlier version though, somehow managed to loan all the Boca Juniors wonder kids like Bentancur.

Yeah, the Argentine league is insane, it keeps changing structure as they work back towards a 38-game 20-team system. They introduced a new cup competition for 2018-19 because there weren't enough fixtures to keep the clubs in the black, then changed its structure after just one season too. I think I had a 15-game month once on FM18.

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Finale di Champions League 2025

No more minute-by-minute commentary. I know my team are brilliant, I'm much more concerned with youth development now.

1700664392_ChampionsLeagueFinal.png.567a89fcba3a0a8cf7a530f767022bb3.png

It seems appropriate that in a stadium named after Ferenc Puskás we not only had a striker scoring at a rate higher than 1 goal per game, but an absolute goal-fest final with the losing side scoring a goal that could compete for the eponymous award (Jovic's bicycle kick from earlier in the season would take it). That's our 5th in a row, equalling Real Madrid's record too!

That shot count is misleading, in all the key statistics this was a very even game. When Sané did pull a goal back with 3 minutes plus 5 minutes of added time remaining I actually adjusted my tactics to keep the ball, something I have rarely ever done with this side.

Edited by zlatanera
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2 minutes ago, 04texag said:

I actually simmed some of a Brazil Santos team now that I think about it. Brazil is insane with the numbers of games. 

Yeah, would be really good for my style of play actually, the way I tend to have two First XIs rather than a squad. At least in the case of Brazil its for historic reasons though, whereas Argentina is just administrative chaos.

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On 07/11/2020 at 21:53, zlatanera said:

Campo d'Allenamento

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

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

 

Spoiler

 

Core.png.6fcfedf309af1a22d91e5c6a7a8c0ee2.png

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

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

Attacking

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

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

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

Defending

1584635771_Defending-Zero.png.9c43dc62bef29fa872fd098d8832c36f.png

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1340307035_Defending-One.png.45e60f13545bd5e01d48edf734f5583d.png

107276192_Defending-Two.png.68a69a282d1de06882fa597b47b1b321.png

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

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

Transition

1819904668_Transition-Zero.png.9169f9839f592b75475f31112c5c78ce.png

  Reveal hidden contents

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2029878835_Transition-Two.png.2ccc5c2ab0a631bab6e32d7c5522f5f1.png

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

Possession

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  Reveal hidden contents

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

 

 

A quick update on this: after two years, I'm seeing absolutely no difference in the - generally positive, with some exemptions - development of my players. Personality appears to be the primary factor influencing the speed of development (although some players do - perhaps as part of the added realism in development from FM19 onwards - just seem to pause for a year or so, whilst others are like old fashioned newgens turning into top class talents by age 18). Individual role training is the primary driver in focussing attribute development (except for Alen Miletic weirdly improving his Crossing attribute by 2 despite it never being part of his role training, whilst many players who were training it showed no improvement).

Set piece attribute development has stayed steady despite my removing the sessions from the schedules, which confirms what I belatedly realised - that without fully controlling the youth teams and thus being able to specify set piece takers, those were wasted sessions. 

I've actually come to the conclusion that delegating youth training would probably see no noticeable drop-off in player development, but I'm a control freak. So I'll be reverting to my match prep-heavy schedules that train individual roles instead. The only significant changes from those I posted in my Les Gones thread are the removal of all set piece training and the addition of a few rest sessions as with my small youth squads I did find a two-game week to be almost a guarantee of at least one 1-2 month injury.

Edited by zlatanera
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Die Meister, Die Besten, Les grandes équipes, The Naatiooons Leeeague!

The 2025 edition of the Nations League is hosted by England Brighton, with all fixtures taking place at Amex Stadium. Despite our successes with the 4-4-2 DM in our early World Cup Qualifiers, I picked a squad primarily to play 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1. 8 Roma players (Busti, Campanella, Chiesa, D'Ambrosio, Lo. Pellegrini, Lu. Pellegrini, Tonali, and Zaniolo) and 3 ex-Roma (Corbo, Cristante, and Varnier) made up the core of the squad, with Milan's Gianluigi Donnarumma and Juve's Federico Bernardeschi the only nailed-on starters not to have previously worked with me.

1109239890_NationsLeagueSemi-Final.png.13c0917cab4b0c815bf3c55b464521fe.png

I initially sent out the blues in my trusty 4-3-3, and although we quickly pegged back the Dutch after a lightning start,  I wasn't happy. A 35-year old Daley Blind at left back should have been an open invitation for the former-Fiorentina Chiesa-Bernardeschi right flank to run riot, but the defensive triad of de Ligt, van Dijk, and de Jong were immune to our press. Switching to the 4-4-2 DM with Zaniolo on the right and Bernardeschi on the left at half time saw us become much more threatening, although the disconnect between the largely Roma midfield and Andrea Belotti was terrible. Still, Kenny Tete was forced into a professional foul to stop Amad Traore running clear and finishing it inside 90 minutes, so it was no surprise when the same player surged down the left and set up Campanella to win it soon after the extra time kick-off!

779214030_NationsLeagueFinal.png.1a564310b8dfa62e84dc2739fc86a9af.png

Germany are man-to-man better than us, so I started out with the 4-4-2, with Giovanni D'Ambrosio (fresh off a 32-goal debut professional season in Switzerland) partnering Campanella up top. Havertz' early goal on the counter had me fearing a Brazil 2014-esque demolition, but we rallied and arguably should have put the game to bed before Goretzka's equaliser dragged this one out too. I expected Bernardeschi to be MotM if I'm being honest, he ran himself into a month-long injury playing two positions and provided the pre-assist for Cristante's winner. 

So, not the Italian Total Football I was hoping to develop, but a trophy is a trophy!

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Premi del Club e Statistiche della Squadra

587732239_ClubAwards.png.fccee9dab846000b2c64fb71001f6b93.png

No surprises here with Jovic as Fans' Player of the Season given his incredible form. Campanella hit double figures again despite reduced minutes, including the title-sealing hat-trick. Attribute-wise he's actually about equal with Jovic, a much better dribbler but not two-footed. The only surprises in that Team of the Season are Rossini > Chiesa and Tonali > Grall.

1237906057_PlayerStats1.png.d249a4f91a54dcf335dd63d8cd9a839a.png
1517741104_PlayerStats2.png.43652c3d76840c46a53e5259b47ad319.png

Four players aren't pictured on this screenshot: Filippo Favero: 3 apps, 1 assist, 7.30; Jan Böhler: 1 app, 6.40; Dante Lopez: 2 apps, 1 goal, 1 assist, 7.75; Alen Miletic: 1 app, 1 goal, 6.90. Alessandro Florenzi's strange appearances is because I kept subbing him on at 90 minutes to a) get him a league winners' medal and b) see that he finishes his career with an "even" number of appearances at the club (345). None after January though, as I've basically pushed him into retirement. Luca Busti's high average rating was a pleasant surprise given he has played all across the back line. Javier Ospitaleche wasn't expected to move up to the first team this season but performed well when van Maanen was injured. Justin Kluviert couldn't match last season's production, which is unsurprising given he's not really a goalscorer anyway. King Kyle's goal tally dropped for the 3rd consecutive season as newer, shinier things have taken some of his opportunities. But given the well-documented struggles to get AMC to be productive on FM19/20, I'm quite pleased with 9 goals and 9 assists (although he can take set pieces, he rarely did due to Pellegrini, Ünder and/or Marcello being ahead of him depending which team he appeared with. A glance at Alberto Fenu's history page doesn't look great, as only 4 of those goals came in the league, but hitting double figures and scoring an International hat-trick (admittedly in that demolition of Faroe Islands) age 16 (now 17) is a pretty impressive start!

I'm actually devoting a separate post to Jovic's exploits so for now I'll end with Cengiz Ünder. Possibly my favourite real player of this save - although Jovic comes close, I think I prefer the guy assisting all those Champions League Final goals - his consistency is amazing: his seasons under me are as follows: 14G 7A; 23G 17A; 25G 13A; 14G 11A; 22G 12A; 21G 12A; 22G 12A. Other than the first season, 2021/22 was the only time he didn't hit 20 goals and that can be easily explained by him missing the entire month of March with injury, as he normally turns up in the big games. 

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The Serbian Supremacy

1311876977_SerieARecordGoalscorer.png.40b14b29a08bd25baad144be540e7f8d.png

Something I alluded to throughout the season  is that Luka Jovic hit - and maintained - the form of his life. The raw numbers are in the post above, but I'll restate them here as those stats screens confirm the allegation that FM is a "glorified spreadsheet".

1958269314_Screenshot2020-12-04at01_10_25.png.f5d3604d12419150650a48ed2550f3e7.png

Its not unusual - particularly for me, when I give a youngster a start in an easy game - to see a player with more goals than games...but over a full season, with 42 starts? Those 49 goals exactly equal Jovic's tally over the previous two seasons when he made 65 starts, and work out at an average of 1.17 goals per 90 minutes!

The league was, unsurprisingly, where most of those goals came with 38 in 32. Luka had the most MotM awards (8 - 1/4 of his appearances), the highest average rating (7.90), grabbed those 38 goals in 76 shots on target (exactly 1 in 2) out of 124 total, for a conversion rate of 30% (highest in the league), although admittedly took more penalties than the next five players combined (15 penalties, 15 goals), whilst not even ranking top for offsides such was the quality of his movement. 

He scored in the UEFA Super Cup (1), Club World Cup Final (5), Supercoppa Italiana (1), Coppa Italia Final (1), and Champions League Final (1), in his first league game of the season (a hat-trick against Cagliari) and the last (a brace against Empoli). Those two goals in UEFA finals were the team's first and last games too. 

He beat or equalled a couple of my personal FM records:

  • 49 goals far eclipses my FM19 record of 33 goals from Anthony Martial (who also scored the winner in the Champions League that season). 
  • 49 goals equals André Silva's 49 for my Milan side on FM18. He scored more penalties, and 1 fewer in the league but that squad were continental also-rans whereas Jovic lives for the Champions League Final.

He also beat real life records:

  • Despite what the screenshot above says, the Serie A goalscoring record is 36 goals. Gonzalo Higuain first achieved it in 2015/16, and Ciro Immobile equalled it in 2019/20. 
  • Also in 2019/20 Immobile set a record for the most penalties in a season with 14. Jovic took 16 with a 100% conversion rate.
  • The highest-scoring season by a Roma player was Edin Dzeko's 39 goals in 2016/17, which Jovic matched then added another 10 to!
On 23/10/2020 at 23:17, zlatanera said:

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:

279929839_RomaGoalscorers.png.a8dcbb985bf9c7fafc9fa853fa6c499d.png

 

  • 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. 

3 seasons ago, I predicted Jovic would take 10-11 years to overhaul Totti. He's now up to 2nd with 149 goals in 191 appearances. 0.78 Goals/match makes him by far the most productive in that ranking. If he maintained his current rate he would match Totti in 123 games, or about 3 years, for a total of 7 seasons. As much as I would find it an aberration, I'm sorely tempted to forgo some youth development and chase it down!

Edited by zlatanera
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On 23/10/2020 at 23:17, zlatanera said:

Categorizzazione

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:

279929839_RomaGoalscorers.png.a8dcbb985bf9c7fafc9fa853fa6c499d.png

 

  • 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. 

  • As previously stated, Luka Jovic is up in 2nd with 149 goals.
  • He would actually share this position with Cengiz Ünder, who also has 149 goals!!
  • Apologies to Stephan El Shaarawy - missed off the previous ranking - who would rank 13th with 76 goals.
  • Justin Kluivert and Lorenzo Pellegrini would be joint-16th alongside Agostino Di Bartolomei (and in-game Daniele De Rossi) with 69.
  • Nicolò Zaniolo would be 18th its 65 goals.
  • Amad Traore would be 25th with 50 goals - 0.5 Goals/match is bettered by only Jovic, Rodolofo Volk, and Pedro Manfredini.

Marco Campanella and King Kyle are both on the precipice of the rankings with 48 goals apiece, although I think only the former will get the chance.

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Premi

  • UEFA
Spoiler

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That's the best goalscoring season of anyone in this save, or any player in Europe IRL in their domestic league since Messi's 37 goals in 2016/17!

  • Serie A
Spoiler

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Absolutely no surprises here!

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Lafont coming in 2nd in Goalkeeper of the Year can probably be attributed to the fact that although the number of goals conceded has remained pretty constant over the last four seasons (11, 12, 10, 14) they came over more games - 31 clean sheets last season became 25 this time around, still incredible but meaning those 14 goals conceded came in 13 games. Xavier Sanchez coming in 2nd in Striker of the Year is not something I would have guessed at the start of the season when I sold him to Empoli, but he scored 19 goals and assisted a further 3, so about 1/3 of their total output.

136304570_SerieATeamoftheYear.png.afcb3d5eca44d71a4ea11b9915252816.png

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There hasn't been any surprise about the destination of this award since about November. Fábio Silva's 24 goals and 2 assists mean he contributed to 43% of Fiorentina's total. He's on loan from player-hoarders Manchester United - Matías Vargas, Bruno Fernandes, Romelu Lukaku, Mason Greenwood, and Silva are a world class attack yet they're all loaned out for pennies, such is their depth. 

1969580290_Under17BestDefender.png.7646c0ba535c2420ad7f66607ad1982b.png

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  • Champions League
Spoiler

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My heavy rotation is what lets us down here, the most appearances any of my players can make are 9 if they featured in every knockout game. 

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  • Croatia
Spoiler

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  • French Youth Invitational
Spoiler

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  • Swiss Super League
Spoiler

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D'Ambrosio has had a brilliant season. Perhaps due to my own bias as one of my players, he is the only man to feature for my Italy squad not playing in the top five leagues. 

 

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Serie A, Champions League, e Curiosità Internazionali Casuali

596839951_SerieA.png.3b91f667392555a9adc46a904f051e07.png

We finally accomplished it, a 38-win season! When we started out by conceding in 7 of our first 9 games I did wonder if by the time we got to the new year we'd at least see an end to our year-on-year improvement, or perhaps even get "FM'd" and finally lose, but a clean sheet against Sampdoria in October proved to be a turning point - we didn't concede in our next 11 and started smashing 5 and 6 past teams again. There's a sort of - symmetry? - in our GF column dropping by 4 and our GA column increasing by the same amount from last season.

Milan are the only other team who kept their place in the top four - and have done for 3 seasons - as Fiorentina and Lazio dropped 7 and 4 places, respectively. Empoli are the real surprise package: since Michel Preud'homme took over in January 2022 they've finished 17th, 12th, 11th, and now 6th, which I believe is their best ever placing!

Only 1 of 3 promoted teams went down, and surprisingly Perugia weren't last - Parma didn't have a points deduction or anything, they were just terrible. Our only Serie A loanee was Vasco Leitão, who contributed 12 goals to Inter's revival - they hadn't qualified for Europe since 2020/21, or the Champions League since 2018/19 when they also made the final to face us. I honestly think if an Italian team is going to beat us, it will be them (so it will probably be one of Atalanta, Frosinone, or Torino who took the promotion spots from Serie B).

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No repeat heroics from Dinamo Zagreb, who finished 4th in their group. Hertha Berlin were the main surprise this season, with their first Champions League campaign in this millennium only coming to an end after they'd achieved the incredible feat of beating this Roma side over 90 minutes (but gladly for us, not over 180). The semi-final draw had no possible combination that didn't feature at least one fierce rivalry, as both Manchester clubs and Liverpool obviously loathe each other, but Man Utd are my main rivals of this save. The only finals not to feature a northern English club in this save are 2018/19 (Roma-Inter) and 2022/23 (Roma-Dortmund).

The Europa League saw Atlético triumph in the final over Bournemouth - still managed by Eddie Howe!

Around the "World":

  • Clarence Seedorf's Sturm Graz - with 3 loan players from Roma - finished in 2nd place behind Red Bull Salzburg, having come in 7th the previous season.
  • Dinamo Zagreb maintained their domestic hegemony, but this time with 5 Roma players: 3/4 of their defence, a winger, and a striker.
  • Stéphan Causse and Christophe Bosc - both initially purchased from Toulouse - helped keep our affiliate in Ligue 1 without the need for a play-off (17th).
  • Francisco PInto, our goalkeeper loaned to Leverkusen for two seasons, is now a world class G-De. They actually improved their points total from their title win the previous season but lost out to Bayern.
  • Giovanni D'Ambrosio's 32 goals in all competitions carried Grasshopper Zürich to 2nd in their league (with 30 more goals than the previous season) and to the Europa League knockout stages. 
Edited by zlatanera
grammar
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  • 2 weeks later...

Coda?

Much as I could probably gain some satisfaction from continuing this save ad infinitum - in particular as a clean sweep next season would see me beat Juventus' Serie A and Real Madrid's Champions League streaks, with a World Cup at the end - I'm feeling the pull of other challenges, possibly including FM20 (FM21 would perhaps be an option when its available at a reduced price in 2021). So, I'll just leave the one noteworthy event of the post-season before I created my 'final' save point.

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Yes, despite being only 22 (21?) years old and possessing a very unique skillset among newgens of having 14+ for pretty much every attribute you would want for a Complete Forward - including Corners and Free Kick Taking - I decided to cash in on 'King' Kyle Belford. If I had been under any pressure at all to sell more established stars he would have been capable of hitting a 30-goal season for me, but as it was he found himself shunted around to accommodate youngsters such as Alberto Fenu, whilst being unable to displace my stellar Ünder-Jovic-Kluivert attack (although were I to continue, Campanella may get ahead of Kluivert). So even though our debt is manageable and I don't need to raise transfer funds, the possibility of a club and national record sale was too good to pass up. 

Edited by zlatanera
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16 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

Coda?

Much as I could probably gain some satisfaction from continuing this save ad infinitum - in particular as a clean sweep next season would see me beat Juventus' Serie A and Real Madrid's Champions League streaks, with a World Cup at the end - I'm feeling the pull of other challenges, possibly including FM20 (FM21 would perhaps be an option when its available at a reduced price in 2021). So, I'll just leave the one noteworthy event of the post-season before I created my 'final' save point.

1675774981_ClubRecordSale(KingKyle).png.ddfb81c8288cfcbc3706fa5e4cd039ae.png

1347763810_NationalRecordSale(KingKyle).png.b4a1e9a1605d68dafc326bfb45c16d23.png

Yes, despite being only 22 (21?) years old and possessing a very unique skillset among newgens of having 14+ for pretty much every attribute you would want for a Complete Forward - including Corners and Free Kick Taking - I decided to cash in on 'King' Kyle Belford. If I had been under any pressure at all to sell more established stars he would have been capable of hitting a 30-goal season for me, but as it was he found himself shunted around to accommodate youngsters such as Alberto Fenu, whilst being unable to displace my stellar Ünder-Jovic-Kluivert attack (although were I to continue, Campanella may get ahead of Kluivert). So even though our debt is manageable and I don't need to raise transfer funds, the possibility of a club and national record sale was too good to pass up. 

That is an insane offer, hard to pass those type of offers up. It's what I did after season 1 in my Lazio save when Man U offered 110 million for Sergej.

You should really get 21 if you are at all interested. It plays more like 18 to me, which I think is a good thing, yet builds on some of the improvements and QoL changes from 19&20. 

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2 hours ago, 04texag said:

That is an insane offer, hard to pass those type of offers up. It's what I did after season 1 in my Lazio save when Man U offered 110 million for Sergej.

You should really get 21 if you are at all interested. It plays more like 18 to me, which I think is a good thing, yet builds on some of the improvements and QoL changes from 19&20. 

Well...only if there's a way of replacing the player. I'd sell Jovic given Campanella is almost equal to him in every regard except two-footedness, but now Cristiano Ronaldo has retired in my save there is nobody out there who can match Ünder's combination of Dribbling, Finishing, Free Kick Taking, and Long Shots (not to mention Crossing and Corners) so he would only be sold when he's about to decline. 

Oh I intend to, and will use Dortmund first when I do so, but there are just so many ideas still appealing to me:

  • Benfica's golden generation, which in the two years since FM19's release has been dismantled. Possibly with the added challenge of actually using Felix as an AMC which everyone claimed was impossible on FM19/20.
  • Another go at Lyon (Nabil Fekir not kicking on into the stratosphere has been a real disappointment for me, in 2018 he looked ready to become a top, top player).
  • A Brazilian save, most likely with Grêmio (my poor laptop struggling with the requisite leagues to have a full Copa Libertadores and enough active European leagues is preventing this so far)
  • My favourite club, Manchester United, are arguably more appealing in FM20 (which I do own) than in any FM I own, with a very lean squad. 
  • Going back to an earlier FM and getting insane numbers similar to real life out of Messi / Ronaldo.

I'm basically running up against the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, work consumes 10 of them, sleep 9, leaving only 5 to spare and I also really love films. First World problems!

Edited by zlatanera
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  • 5 months later...

The absurd lengths Bayern went to to finally get 'Lewy' his 41st goal (my personal favourite is where he tries to get a touch onto a header that is already going in on the line for the 1st, or maybe 2nd goal) reminded me that there is fun to be had in being so dominant (a 285-game all-comps unbeaten streak ended in the Champions League, but still 191 and counting in Serie A!). 41 in 29 puts Luka Jovic's 38 in 31 in perspective too.

Before that however, I also have to figure out what to do with my Italy squad. Unlike in the main inspiration behind most of my later FM-careers I don't have a squad of homegrown world-beaters to build around. The Barzagli-Bonucci-Chiellini era has given way too...Gabriele Corbo, Marco Varnier, Filippo Romagna, and a newgen who marries excellent technique and mental abilities with dismal Heading and Passing. We're top-heavy without any actual wingers too (Federico Bernardeschi is 30 and after Amad Traore, a very good footballer but not World Cup-level, there are just out-of-position strikers and newgens with weird attribute spreads). Switching to a 4-4-2 and picking the big teams off on the counter is all well and good, but we don't have the quality to fill out my 4-3-3 yet (Euro 2028 maybe, when Roma newgens have come on) and with an average-at-best central defensive pairing all-out-attack seems more and more viable. 5 goals in 4 Nations League group stage games was boring too. So, we could go back to my most effective attacking system:

1551790537_Italyintheold4-2-3-1.png.95faef54535ed354cd4157fb5961fa8e.png

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Uno Sbriciola Impero?

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I hadn't loaned anyone to Legia as they're not in an active league, nor had they produced any newgens of interest...no doubt they'll spawn Poland's next Lewandowski-level talent now!

Dinamo Zagreb are a much bigger loss. Although their best newgens haven't been of interest due to their positions, its been great to be able to loan players to a side regularly playing on the front foot domestically whilst also getting my young players European experience. Last season I loaned them 6 players who racked up 202 appearances between them.

The board weren't in the mood for more affiliates previously, hopefully that changes now. 

 
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  • 2 weeks later...

Commercializzazione

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I intended to make this post part of my annual summaries as I do find it interesting...alas, the only point of comparison is 2021 - 3 Serie A in a row, 2 non-consecutive Champions League titles. At that time our shareholders took €325k at the end of the season, now? €64million

In terms of shirt sales, Jovic was 5th back then too, Ünder 1st and Pellegrini 3rd, but we've sold almost double the amount and €100m more merchandise in total.

The kit sponsorship was also €108m over 4 years, so its disappointing to see that we're not taking in more money in that front given our almost unprecedented European dominance and global pre-eminence. Overall though our sponsorship has doubled, but everything else has only seen minor increases: prize money is obviously capped; broadcast revenues likewise; corporate and hospitalality and match day commercial are linked to the state of the stadium, and although we did average just under 60,000 seats filled last season we're still not at fully capacity in a stadium we don't own. So its a good job at the time of writing I've brought in €1,360,000,000 in transfer revenue!

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On 17/12/2020 at 01:41, zlatanera said:

Coda?

1675774981_ClubRecordSale(KingKyle).png.ddfb81c8288cfcbc3706fa5e4cd039ae.png

1347763810_NationalRecordSale(KingKyle).png.b4a1e9a1605d68dafc326bfb45c16d23.png

Yes, despite being only 22 (21?) years old and possessing a very unique skillset among newgens of having 14+ for pretty much every attribute you would want for a Complete Forward - including Corners and Free Kick Taking - I decided to cash in on 'King' Kyle Belford. If I had been under any pressure at all to sell more established stars he would have been capable of hitting a 30-goal season for me, but as it was he found himself shunted around to accommodate youngsters such as Alberto Fenu, whilst being unable to displace my stellar Ünder-Jovic-Kluivert attack (although were I to continue, Campanella may get ahead of Kluivert). So even though our debt is manageable and I don't need to raise transfer funds, the possibility of a club and national record sale was too good to pass up. 

1141809598_HugeMistake.gif.1f2bdf2bd52812f2bc6006ff1dbd4e26.gif

So...I think from the comment I left, December 2020's zlatanera wanted to keep that front three together for yet another year, as the most effective way to beat Real Madrid's Champions League record. However, when restarting I soon realised the number of youngsters coming through - particularly strikers - meant Jovic and Kluivert both needed to go. Then I realised most of those youngsters are left-footed, whilst Kyle Belford - who played his best football in his first season at AML - is right-footed. As it was, Kluivert didn't leave as Barcelona chickened out at pushing their spend on Roma players over €200m. Still though, I may regret this one.

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Posted (edited)

Zlatan da Era - The New José Mourinho?

A man who needs no introduction, José Mourinho has famously been repeatedly criticised for both a lack of opportunities for young players, and in certain cases seemingly having a negative impact on their development (Luke Shaw comes to mind). In this save I've generally been very strong on youth development, bringing through the likes of Luca Busti, Marco Campanella, Amad Traore, and Darko Puljic at just the right time to see them really kick on in their development. However, with recent youth intakes providing me seemingly first-team-ready youngsters in Kevin Rossini, Alberto Fenu, and then Dante Lopez, I think I may have blooded them too early.

We all know that FM, being less variable than real life, sticks pretty rigidly to the follow rule that training drives development under 18, game time (at an appropriate level, and with a good rating) after. However with Rossini (about 9 months in the youth ranks) and Fenu (2 months) I quickly fast-tracked them to the first team. Before I put the save on ice I had every intention of doing the same with Dante Lopez. However, a look at the aforementioned youngsters suggests I may be hurting them by keeping them in the first team squad with its  low-intensity training schedules.

2106444325_KevinRossini.png.30ccf61611794911665f55350359160d.png

Kevin Rossini came through the academy in 2023, made his debut in the bizarre 2023 Champions League Final, spent most of 2023/24 in the Primavera before moving up to the first team in 2024 to be mentored by Florenzi as he declined, making 9 appearances, before another 28 (half of them starts) this past season as an 18-year old. His development has been...non-existent. +1 Long Throws, Anticipation, Off The Ball, Vision, Agility, and Natural Fitness as well as +3 Determination. This despite regular appearances in a top league and the highest level of European football, consistently getting high ratings as he plays in a dominant side. The personality being sorted out through mentoring is great, but Luca Busti had improved 19 different attributes after his first full season in the first team, having been in the youth ranks until age 19, undergoing significant development during that time. Darko Puljic, who similar to Rossini was already at a high level when I signed him, spent a year in the Primavera from age 17 to 19 (July birthday) increased 9 attributes before really kicking on as a first team regular from 19. So all is not lost, but if things don't begin to look up in the next year I'll be very concerned.

1415064755_AlbertoFenu.png.940f04917428ee67aeb70de253d823ed.png

Alberto Fenu came through in 2024 and was thrust into the first team pretty soon after, being a member of the squad for the entire 2024/25 season making 28 appearances and scoring 14 goals. Yet he's merely increased 9 attributes. Alen Miletic - in the youth ranks since 2023 but also starting at such a high level he made his Austria debut (and scored) aged just 16 years old, so a very fair comparison - has seen improvements in 29 out of 36 attributes including an incredible +4 Long Shots, Technique, and Agility. Similar to Rossini, we'll have to see if he just explodes next season, but again, not great. 

I do think the lack of training in the first team, rather than any negative effects of their game time, is to blame. In the frequent 2-game weeks there are actually only 3 sessions that develop their all-round play, to accompany 2 Delivery sessions and the Match Preview / Review sessions. By contrast in a similar week for the youth team they would get 11 attribute-focussed sessions.

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Campo d'Allenamento (ancora una volta)

On 14/04/2020 at 15:49, zlatanera said:

Individual Training

My preferred individual training roles hit a wide range of attributes, particularly in the technical and mental categories. However the attributes that don't get trained tend to be shared among the aforementioned roles, namely; Decisions, Teamwork, Work Rate, Balance, Strength, and Stamina. So I've introduced the following quarterly rotations:

  • SK-Su - additional focus on Agility & Balance <-> Strength 
  • FB-At - additional focus on Long Throws <-> Final Third 
  • BPD - additional focus on Agility & Balance <-> Quickness 
  • RPM <-> SV / BBM
  • IW / IF <-> RMD / SS
  • CF <-> PF 

I noticed goalkeeper roles don't train many physical attributes despite most of the top goalkeepers possession good attributes in the likes of Balance, Strength and Stamina. Long Throws is to hopefully reduce the amount of idiotic 'short flat bullet throws' as I'm now calling them, that give away possession whilst Final Third is introduced to boost Vision. Only Libero of the DC roles can train Acceleration, Agility & Balance and even then you have to train undesirable attributes in order to do so, an additional focus is more appropriate. The one blind spot of Complete Forward training is it doesn't hit Concentration, an attribute I've noticed a lot of Poacher-type players such as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Bas Dost score highly in, Pressing Forward is the only role that does so, whilst also hitting most of the Advanced Forward attributes.

So, as I tinker yet again with my training system - still primarily based around Guido's FM19 Grêmio System, adapted to lessons learned over my many saves - I made another 'discovery' (like most of my FM 'discoveries', its really a correction of previous inattentiveness).

Below are the highlighted attributes - on the Profile screen - for the role of Complete Forward with each of the two available duties:

CF-At.png.52dff25db4801e5a3637c389fd9c6309.png

Complete Forward (Attack)

CF-Su.png.eb10785572f7ed5407d067e7ad91468e.png

Complete Forward (Support)

As you can see, although the same attributes are highlighted, they show up in different shades. This is also the case with default skins, but my skin highlighting the key ones in a yellow-gold coloration really drills it home. Although on the training screen - again, same as with default skins - all the targeted attributes are highlighted in the same shade, it stands to reason that the emphasis would remain. Hence Marco Campanella, whom I believe predominantly trained as CF-At in the youth ranks but also built versatility training roles such as IF-Su, AM-At, and T-At - Passing in gold, Finishing in silver - for well over a year, saw his Finishing increase by 3 points yet his Passing increase by 5.6.

A closer look at some others finds that in some cases my previous rotations were adequate, whereas in others this could be a game-changer. So now my 3-monthly individual training rotations should be like so:

  • SK-Su / G-De [Communication has always increased slowly, perhaps as it is emphasised less in Sweeper Keeper training. Not SK-At as I don't value Eccentricity]
  • FB-At / CWB-Su [CWB-Su duty has less of a focus on Flair than -At, the rotation is because FB is inherently defence-minded, CWB is not]
  • BPD-De [no rotation]
  • RPM / BBM [RPM doesn't get Finishing, Tackling, Strength whereas BBM doesn't hit Concentration]
  • IW-At [no rotation]
  • IF-Su / W-At [IF doesn't train Crossing or Stamina]
  • CF-At / CF-Su [as shown above, CF-Su has more key attributes, but CF-At is more likely to increase Finishing, with 92% of our goals coming from situations requiring that attribute]

Obviously if a player has a significant weakness to their game I mix it up. A wide forward with poor Decisions might get Trequartista or Raumdeuter training, whilst I'm inclined to train Alberto Fenu (the player in the images) as a Target Man (Attack) to sort out his Balance. I like to take guys who can play MC and DM and get them trained up at DC too, in which case I'll often use Libero training.

Edited by zlatanera
do-over
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