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Posted (edited)

Azzurri 2025/26

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For that first duo of qualifiers against Georgia and Northern Ireland I decided to select an almost entirely new Italy squad - Simone Bartolini (23), Luca Busti (22), and Amad Traore (23) the elder statesmen with 10+ caps - meaning 8 debutants took the field in the narrow win in Georgia, with a further 3 against Northern Ireland. Gabriele Trimboli is a centre-back, and yes he did get a hat-trick whilst rekindling his partnership with former Inter teammate Bartolini!

Stronger squads in the next two sets of qualifiers saw quite a bit of criticism in the press for a perceived Roma 'bias'. Which is inevitable as we're the strongest team in the nation and - although this will change as most of my newgen receipts are foreign - have a very strong Italian core. Juventus actually have some good Italians who got a chance with me in the first round but don't get a game at club level, but I did also feature players from Milan, Napoli, Leeds, Red Bull Salzburg (3 - 2 ex-Roma), Chelsea, Inter, Arsenal, Watford, Juventus, EA Guingamp (ex-Roma), Lazio, and Leicester (ex-Roma) in those latter four fixtures.

Weirdly some of the UEFA WC Qualification groups had one more team than others - so when we won all 8 of our games with a +38 goal difference that was the second-best in Europe behind Portgual's 45 (and level with Spain's 38) both achieved in two extra matches. Heavy rotation meant we didn't top any of the individual statistical charts but Amad Traore [4(1) apps, 6g, 3a] had the highest average rating with 8.52.

The one Red Bull Salzburg player called up who isn't ex-Roma (their defensive pairing of Gabriele Corbo and Marco Varnier) is my first success story in attempting to persuade foreign-born Italian dual-nationals to defect to the old country:

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Three or four conversations over the space of a year was enough to do the trick. Jorge Luís is a potentially wonderful player: two-footed, technically gifted, intelligent, and mobile. I am tempted to bring him into the fold with Roma and fix that trait though, perhaps retrain him as a CM so he could be the Italian-Brazilian Ángel Di María.

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We had nothing but friendlies in the run-up to the World Cup. So I chose to first take on one of the top sides in the world - Brazil in England - then keep it local and head up to Scotland. I forgot to change staff responsibilities so my assistant took care of those two victories. The pre-World Cup friendlies were chosen as Ghana and Wales are close in the rankings to the sides we face in our group, but if I'd known the Champions League would only conclude on 30th May I would have cancelled them. Luckily most of the non-Roma contingent were well-rested for the Ghana game and we made it through with no injuries.

Edited by zlatanera
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  • UEFA
Spoiler

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Ünder has finished 1, 2, 3 in consecutive years in this award so expect to not see it next year. Arp's win is the first for an out-and-out striker in the history of the award (which admittedly only started in 2010/11 - no prizes for guessing who won then).

  • Serie A
Spoiler

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Gasparini may have performed well, but I was still right to dump him as he isn't developing. Musa Barrow has been incredible - 24 and then 25 league goals the past two seasons, and he's got 82 in 78 for Gambia, who right now have players valued at less than €20k in their squad. Leitão is looking like earning himself a move to Barcelona after 1 season which is pretty great for him.

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  • Champions League
Spoiler

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Núñez is the €100m striker I mentioned who displaced Jovic. Since the end of the season Jovic has been transfer-listed and they've bought another striker for €146m - quite possibly the most complete forward in Europe right now - so no doubt Núñez will follow. Salah still going strong in his 30s is nice to see, and Livakovic got into this team despite only signing for Juventus in January. 

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  • Austria
Spoiler

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A good second season out on loan for Zaninetti. Whilst he's not my style of 'keeper, he's definitely going to be of Serie A standard. Might be already.

 

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So...the board are just fed up of affiliates? Convenient that they can hamper our future recruitment during a takeover attempt (more on that later), yet I can't sign players. I was just eyeing up players from each of those two clubs too, perhaps if I made a move sooner they would have stayed loyal?

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FIFA World Cup 2026

2026 sees the debut of FIFA's new ultra-diluted waste-of-time money-making scheme known as a 48-team World Cup. This one is spread over an entire continent for added environmental wins! What this means is instead of 4-team groups there are now 16 groups of 3 teams each, and 1 point - not win, point - gets you into the expanded knockout stage. Its a farce, in real life it has been labelled as such, but much like the EURO expansion (Portugal winning the whole thing was a novelty, it is not a good thing) it's here to stay due to money. 

I'll attach the entire expanded group stage and tournament tree in a spoiler tag below, but I imagine I'm the only who cares (its even more images in an already image-heavy post too).

  • Group Stage
Spoiler

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  • Tournament Tree
Spoiler

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A (4-3-3): Chiesa-Caldara-Romagnoli-Busti | Tonali-Pellegrini-Zaniolo | Bernardeschi-Campanella-D'Ambrosio

B (4-3-3): Rossini-Bartolini-Varnier-Pellegrini | Viviani-Barella-Mandragora | Traore-Fenu-Vignato

We're predicted to make the Quarter-Finals and surprisingly given the state of things when we won the Nations League, I actually struggled to decide who to leave out as - Roma's standard excellence excepted - Italians returned to form this year. In fact I struggled to choose the preliminary 30-man squad, let alone the final 23!

Mattia Caldara and Alessio Romagnoli were completely out the picture last year despite their obvious quality, such was their poor form for Milan. That continued into the past season as at one point the fallen giants were 30th, but they improved drastically and those two have been in my squads since November. Rolando Mandragora likewise was out of the picture in 2025, not due to form but the fact he has the attributes of a DLP-De yet the traits of a BBM/RPM hybrid. However he's really kicked on since a summer? move to Barcelona. Alessandro Plizzari is about equal in ability to four other options but I like his attribute spread more.

Of the Nations League squad 8 players miss out: Alessio Cragno and Andrea Belotti both are poor stylistic fits (more so for the latter), Alex Telles is aging and the emergence of Kevin Rossini means I can use Busti in his natural DL position for Italy, Filippo Romagna misses out as the Chinese league is of a lower standard than his competition who have been equally excellent, Gabriele Corbo - one half of the Nations League-winning partnership loses out to Varnier's two-footedness and Bartolini's overall high ability, Bryan Cristante didn't get a game for Arsenal, Antonio Fantino likewise, and Moise Kean loses out as behind Giovanni D'Ambrosio I wanted a player in a different mould in Emanuel Vignato.

Recently naturalised Jorge Luís (12 goals, 12 assists), Patrick Cutrone (20 goals, 10 assists), and Eddy Salcedo (17 goals, 2 assists) all miss out due to our sheer strength in depth in attacking positions.

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We easily dispatched 17th-ranked Senegal and 32nd-ranked Iran with entirely rotated outfield line-ups. Two clean sheets were nice to see too. Italy's possession numbers always seem to be higher than Roma in the same system - I'm not sure if its because the likes of Bernardeschi and Vignato are less direct than Ünder and Kluivert, or just the lack of cohesion in the national game means our possession-friendly shape counts for more.

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U.S.A. at the Rose Bowl (1994 Final venue, not fond memories for Italians) was a little more of a game. They have some obvious star talents (Adams, McKennie, Pulisic, Sargent) and also a couple of naturalised Argentines in Julián López (Racing Club irl 2018/19) and Daniel Mancini (Newell's). Still, I was disappointed not to keep a clean sheet, Pulisic's goal coming inside 60 seconds of the restart following our 2nd.

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A very similar level of opposition. Obvious stars (Hirving Lozano and Diego Laínez), weird naturalisations (Unai Bilbao - born in Bilbao, played for Athletic Club until 2018/19). Again, a clean sheet would have been nice but I did enjoy that D'Ambrosio scored the same goal twice: Bernardeschi dropping off and launching a diagonal ball for him to arrive in the area, take a touch and smash it in at the near post!

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Finally, a 'big' team! In midfield we're equal, goal and right back we're stronger but all over the rest I'd say Argentina are a stronger side. Odds-makers agreed, making them 6-4 favourites to progress. Héctor Cúper's 4-4-2 could have given us a lot of trouble on the counter, but instead a heavily rotated Italy side (both full backs, the entire midfield, and Amad Traore coming in for Bernardeschi at AMR) dominated without ever finding a way through. I held my nerve, not making any changes until extra time when I  brought on the cavalry: Chiesa, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Zaniolo, and Fenu replacing Luca Pellegrini, Barella, Viviani, and Campanella respectively. At the pause in extra time I switched up my tactic to one not used in 2 real-life years and we promptly got a goal! 

I just love that assist from Lorenzo Pellegrini. Dybala clean through on goal at 120:56 had me worried but he botched his square ball and Rossini hooted it clear to send us into the final!

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Posted (edited)

FIFA World Cup Final 2026

After 60 years, England made another final! Their attack looked devastating: Kyle Belford leading the line with support by Harry Kane, Jason Sancho, Reiss Nelson, Marcus Rashford, and Callum Hudson-Odoi, and their full backs are nothing to be sniffed at (Alexander-Arnold and Aarons on the right, Chilwell and Tymon on the left) but their midfield is that great Liverpool newgen, Harry Winks, and more centre-backs. For this match they fielded a Wilmot-Dier-Winks trio in front of Holding and Stones, clearly looking to his us on the counter...

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That quick turnaround in the first half had me fearing a slaughter, particularly as my ever-present central defenders Caldara and Romagnoli started the match at 80%, but we gradually wrestled control of the match. We were never looking like scoring though, so at 82 minutes I made just the one substitution in combination with a shift in formation: we went to a direct 4-2-4, with Alberto Fenu replacing Alessio Romagnoli, Tonali dropping to centre back and Zaniolo as our holding midfielder. It paid off big! Fenu becomes just the third teenager to score in a World Cup final after Pelé and Mbappé, and matched Pelé by scoring 2!

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L'Italia È Campione Del Mondo!!!

 

  • Awards
Spoiler

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Love the recognition for Romagnoli - despite a poor showing in the final - as he and Caldara were absolute rocks in front of Donnarumma.

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Edited by zlatanera
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Roma All-Time Top Scorers Update

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The wikipedia table I had previously been using has been altered into a less useful format, so I decided to make up my own spreadsheet to keep track. Francesco Totti's record looks to be safe for the foreseeable future: Cengiz Ünder will most likely be sold in the next couple of years, whilst at his current average of 17.5 goals per season, it would take Campanella another 13 years to catch up. He's good, with high Natural Fitness (16) but I doubt he'll be a regular starter when he's 37! 

Although...Alberto Fenu already has 32 goals age 18!

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Posted (edited)

Another exceptional season :cool: Have you got any targets in mind to replace Conti as new HOYD? Well done on winning World Cup :thup:

Edited by john1
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@john1 He wasn't HoYD, he was Director / Scout. So no replacement necessary, as he didn't count towards staff numbers.

First time I've actually managed to stick with international management long enough to fight for a trophy, its an undercooked feature but certainly fun enough as a change of pace from my all-conquering club side!

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Posted (edited)

Mercato - Estate 2026

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As usual, almost an entire XI enters the academy, with more pre-arranged. Another couple of true greats depart, as well as players in their early 20s who didn't make it. I'm rapidly closing in on €2billion in sales!

I do wonder if I could have had my first €150m sale by now if I didn't transfer list unwanted players to speed things along...but usually there's interest in everyone I don't want to sell i.e. Chiesa, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Ünder, all of whom are irreplaceable. 

La Partenza

Spoiler

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  • Far from the workshy trickster he started the save as, Justin Kluivert leaves Roma a devastating creative presence who is unafraid to put in the hard yards out of possession. Much like Luka Jovic I've seen his ability with both feet dissolve defences time and time again. But I've been lucky with young forwards, so I needed to move him on to allow Marco Campanella to drop off onto the left wing and free up space for Alen Miletic to excel. Barcelona were in his future plans, so I was glad when they offered a very reasonable price. 
  • His trophy haul - as part of the team, obviously - is just incredible: 8 Serie A, 5 Club World Cup, 6 Champions League (no medal in the 2023 madness because FM), 6 UEFA Super Cup, 7 Coppa Italia, and 7 SuperCoppa Italiana
  • He also took home FIFA Best Men's Player in 2024

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  • One of my favourite players of the save, Amad Traore has developed very well since joining us aged just 16, and I was surprised not to see him on the Icons list. Rated 'only' 3 stars in ability he's been a consistent force since breaking into the first team, averaging 0.5 goals per game whilst being good for at least 2 Messi-esque I'm-skinning-the-entire-opposition wonder goals per season (I really should have uploaded at least one), as well as carrying that form into the national setup. Given he was only on €50k with very reasonable renewal demands I did consider keeping him, but there's just too much talent in the pipeline to justify it. I had hoped for a bigger move, Benfica aren't even in an active league, but hopefully he gets over his injury and gets back to the top table. Unlike Kluivert is isn't goodbye forever either, he'll be integral to my Italy side as Bernardeschi ages out, and I included a 20% next sale clause so we can profit if he does move back to a big club.
  • Similar to Kluivert, Traore has an insane number of medals: 5 Serie A (6 really, missed out on a medal in 2025 because we won it so fast), 4 Club World Cup, 4 Champions League (really 5), 3 UEFA Super Cup, 6 Coppa Italia (one with Atalanta when they beat us, although he didn't get on the pitch until 2021), and 4 SuperCoppa Italiana.
  • He also has a U-19 European Championship, Olympic Games, and - in just 19 caps! - both Nations League and World Cup winners medals.
  • Christophe Bosc, Giuseppe Coppola, Andrea Marcato, and Sasa Krajacic were all Champions League winners in 2023 but were never going to break into the Roma side. Krajacic didn't have the best of luck with loan moves, and was coming off the back of a major injury so I was just glad to see the back of him whereas the other three all had strong seasons in 2025/26 allowing me to extract maximum value. Oh, and 20% next sale clauses, of course!

Novità per il Ventidue

Spoiler

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Rubén Blanco's decline began in earnest before his 31st birthday so I shopped him around, ending up just loaning him out. Both my young goalkeepers at the right age to think about making the jump have holes in their game, so I looked around and Romulo is by far the outstanding candidate. Very similar in mould to Blanco, but with ample room for improvement, he wasn't on my radar at Santos but has really developed well at Flamengo. Now he gets his shot in the Champions League!

Le Scorta di Talenti

Spoiler

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Stuttgart are one of my most frequent targets for youngsters, coming up trumps yet again with German-Polish centre-back Mateusz Kaszuba. Left-footed, reasonably technical, and quite fleet of foot he could become a top defender. I'll retrain him as a DLP-De at DM both for versatility and to develop his ball-playing abilities, before focusing on defensive attributes for a couple of years.

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A very well-rounded young goalkeeper, only that Composure is a real worry but he's only just turned 16 so there is plenty of time to improve. Decent Rushing Out without a major deficiency in other core goalkeeping attributes is a rarity at his age. 

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France-Réunion dual national Antonin Brossard looks - to perhaps overstate it - like the next Sergio Busquets. Strong on the untrainable attributes and two-footed to boot, yet with no major weak spots at a young age - hence the high price!

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Another young prospect from Alkmaar, yet another FM19 newgen with low Flair. But he's left-footed which is still a rarity in the middle of the park, and already quite an intelligent, creative player. 

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Pre-arranged last season, Andreas Evers is looking like the complete forward package (although those Long Throws and Long Shots attributes could do with swapping), even competent at all forms of dead ball situations! He also has a great personality and a trait I struggle to train onto players right from the start. 'German Cristiano Ronaldo' in the making?

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Another pre-arranged last year, I'll be retraining French-Malian Mahamadou Traoré as a right back, hence highlighting his - already good - attributes for the CWB-At role.

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I'm pretty well-stocked in wide forwards in Bernard Cardona's age group, but it seemed foolish to let someone else take advantage of our affiliate, and that 15 Heading and 12 Penalty Taking has me thinking he could make an interesting under-sized striker. 

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I see that Aggression-Bravery combo and just think "Hold me back bro! Yeah, bro, hold me back! If you don't hold me back I'mma fight this fool!...". Cocco is the best Italian prospect of this year's intakes according to my scouts...as national team manager I hope they're wrong. He was also available for a reasonable price despite making a flying start to his Serie A career so young. He won't see professional football for another 2-3 years! mwahaha

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Left-footed, some decent untrainable and a couple of my preferred traits ready-trained.

Alcuni per il prossimo futuro

Spoiler

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Bayern are bizarrely eager to let go of their youth prospects for prices that, whilst not a pittance, are significantly less than they'll have to pay to get them back. Two-footed, creative, and with a shot to take advantage of that trait, Kouadio could turn into a fun little player.

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His personality is far from ideal, but with high Determination Kunle Chukwudi should still develop. I get the feeling he's one of those newgens who looks good, but nothing special, in spite of a really high potential rating, then just explodes in training. Another one for my stockpile of young left-footed forwards too.

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Ingo Zajas really looks like he should have more than 2 Flair. I'll try to give him training as a Regista or Trequartista when he joins to see if I can get it up. But he looks like a knock-off Frenkie de Jong in the making.

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Untrainables...blah, blah, blah...I signed him for the trait. "Alexis Flores bends it like a left-footed Beckham on to the head of Fenu!" is the commentary in my head when I look at him.

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Like Oderlend the year above him, Patrice Etienne is nicely balanced for a newgen goalkeeper. Two-footed too. Nantes - along with Stuttgart and Lyon - are turning into one of my main feeder clubs. 

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Aleksa Jovanovic is an absolute bargain at €325k given he has 5-star potential. Very similar mould to Simon van Benthem only slightly younger, and I just couldn't excuse letting this one go given the price.

Laureati

Spoiler

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Jan Böhler joined back in summer 2023 as part of my first raft of really expensive youth signings along with Alen Miletic and Nicolò Bardini. If he's to end up costing me €29m he'll need to hit the ground running. A beneficiary of my increase understanding of individual training over the course of the save, I've increase his Dribbling by 4 already to being turning him into a proper #10. He'll keep working on it, but set pieces and intelligent are next as I attempt to make him into a German João Felix, or a hard-working Özil if you will.

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Pedro Paulo hasn't shown much growth since joining us one year ago, but he looks one of the most likely candidates to be Cengiz Ünder's heir, so I moved on Amad Traore to give him the chance. Mentally he's already there, its the technical attributes that need work. I'm quite confident I can get his Free Kick Taking and Corners up, but I would really like his Crossing to improve and so far with 1 year of Winger training it hasn't. Still, he's at an age the best way to develop him is to play him, so he makes up a growing Brazilian contingent in the first team alongside Marcello and Romulo.

 

Edited by zlatanera
Updated Kluivert and Traore's trophy hauls, stats
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1 hour ago, zlatanera said:

@john1 He wasn't HoYD, he was Director / Scout. So no replacement necessary, as he didn't count towards staff numbers.

First time I've actually managed to stick with international management long enough to fight for a trophy, its an undercooked feature but certainly fun enough as a change of pace from my all-conquering club side!

Oh my bad :D /o\

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Posted (edited)

Brought in some great young players, Coco, looks incredibly decent :eek:  Bohler, looks decent too, hopefully he will hit the ground running :thup: 

 

Can I see list of your feeders clubs?

Edited by john1
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@john1 Cocco actually has the lowest potential of the lot! I'm excited and concerned about Böhler - I really see no other place for him right now than as a #10 because I have plenty of wide men and he doesn't have the positional discipline for CM. But I've struggled to get much production out of a #10 in FM19 except for that weird period where the ME made it Long Shot Manager 2019.

Rather than a screenshot - there are tons of random small Italian and US ones that we start with - I'll just list the ones I've added:

  • Dinamo Zagreb [Croatia](since terminated by the board)
  • Crvena Zvezda [Serbia](since terminated by the board)
  • Legia Warszawa [Poland](since terminated by the board)
  • Universidad de Chile [Chile](since terminated by the board)
  • Cercle Brugge [Belgium]
  • Deportivo Cali [Colombia]
  • Grasshopper Zürich [Switzerland]
  • Hajduk Split [Croatia]
  • Nacional [Uruguay]
  • Olimpija Ljubljana [Slovenia]
  • sc Heerenveen [Netherlands]
  • Sturm Graz [Austria]
  • Toulouse FC [France]
  • Vélez [Argentina]
  • Viitorul Constanţa [Romania]

...that's actually far more than I realised, even after the terminated ones!

My active leagues are Austria, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Italy (top 3 tiers), Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland so the clubs in those leagues are also loan affiliates. 

So far I've purchased from Toulouse, Grasshoppers, Deportivo Cali, Olympia Ljubljana (not an affiliate at the time), Hajduk (again, not an affiliate at the time but they gave me Darko Puljic), Vélez (again, not affiliated - it was Matías Vargas). The only player I've had come into my youth intake from an affiliate that was worth looking at was a goalkeeper from Grasshoppers. 

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1 minute ago, zlatanera said:

@john1 Cocco actually has the lowest potential of the lot! I'm excited and concerned about Böhler - I really see no other place for him right now than as a #10 because I have plenty of wide men and he doesn't have the positional discipline for CM. But I've struggled to get much production out of a #10 in FM19 except for that weird period where the ME made it Long Shot Manager 2019.

Rather than a screenshot - there are tons of random small Italian and US ones that we start with - I'll just list the ones I've added:

  • Dinamo Zagreb [Croatia](since terminated by the board)
  • Crvena Zvezda [Serbia](since terminated by the board)
  • Legia Warszawa [Poland](since terminated by the board)
  • Universidad de Chile [Chile](since terminated by the board)
  • Cercle Brugge [Belgium]
  • Deportivo Cali [Colombia]
  • Grasshopper Zürich [Switzerland]
  • Hajduk Split [Croatia]
  • Nacional [Uruguay]
  • Olimpija Ljubljana [Slovenia]
  • sc Heerenveen [Netherlands]
  • Sturm Graz [Austria]
  • Toulouse FC [France]
  • Vélez [Argentina]
  • Viitorul Constanţa [Romania]

...that's actually far more than I realised, even after the terminated ones!

My active leagues are Austria, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Italy (top 3 tiers), Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland so the clubs in those leagues are also loan affiliates. 

So far I've purchased from Toulouse, Grasshoppers, Deportivo Cali, Olympia Ljubljana (not an affiliate at the time), Hajduk (again, not an affiliate at the time but they gave me Darko Puljic), Vélez (again, not affiliated - it was Matías Vargas). The only player I've had come into my youth intake from an affiliate that was worth looking at was a goalkeeper from Grasshoppers. 

Cheers!

I am surprised the board cancelled Dinamo Zagreb link. Not bad clubs you have got there! Have they also let you pick the club you want?

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1 minute ago, john1 said:

Cheers!

I am surprised the board cancelled Dinamo Zagreb link. Not bad clubs you have got there! Have they also let you pick the club you want?

Yeah, me too. It was heavily used for loans too, I gave them the maximum of 6 players allowed by the Croatian FA and all played regularly, 5/6 developed well too. One thing I like is that all my affiliates bar Toulouse are top teams within their league - well Sturm Graz are a yo-yo team - usually coming in 2nd, 1st if I give them a good enough loanee like Giovanni D'Ambrosio dragging Grasshoppers to a title, meaning players get high average ratings and then grow.

Yeah after 18months - 2 years I've found all clubs will. I'm now at the stage where I have to use pretty much every excuse bar resignation to get them to consider a new affiliate, but then they always let me pick. 

I have a theory that the number of affiliates might be capped by the board, if this is the case I'll cancel a bunch of smaller ones that are of no use. 

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Show-Offs

Normally I don't like to share highlight videos, as I'm aware we're all playing the same game and - particularly with long shots - we've all seen it before. Now in many ways the following videos are no different. But I just found it amusing that my players decided - in the second game of the season, against lowly Genoa - to score two of the best I've ever seen (6-1 overall):

Lorenzo Pellegrini is two-footed - Strong Left Foot - yet of the 78 goals he's scored for me, I think that's the first time I've seen him use it!

33m - or 36 yards - is an incredible distance. To do it on the run, curling, and low? Fantastico, Cengiz. Fantastico!

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Cinquecento

500.png.ae1dd9d1078fdc8a63a12d9d6644e5f6.png

1011460473_Roma4-0Bologna.png.961cadcd1d24ab2f697431380f386ffd.png

500 games is a milestone I've only reached in one previous save, and that was back in my days of ignorance playing FM16 with a downloaded tactic and fmscout's wonderkid list. As you can see, it was a great game - our 85th consecutive league win!

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Incontra il nuovo capo, come il vecchio capo

As I alluded to in a previous post, we've been under a takeover bid (or rather, bids) recently. In fact, over the course of about 14 months from my first noticing that James Pallotta was looking to leave (just after the conclusion of the Nations League in 2025) there were three different bids from three different groups of investors before we finally got it over the line. The spoiler tags really just allow me to comment on how long it took, just skip past them for anything interesting.

Round One (2/1-24/2 2026)

Spoiler

467238141_Takeover-2ndJanuary2026.png.985a3c95829659848dd0d4996b2a4bdc.png

2nd January 2026 - far from ideal given its the transfer window, even if I am not planning to make any moves.

1109588405_Takeover-4thFebruary2026.png.3b5a76226361405965231c2efa4aeb44.png

4th February 2026 - luckily the transfer embargo phase kicked in after the window closed. Italian owners would be nice.

1203290082_Takeover-24thFebruary2026.png.4e56bcd60a1915e2fd571320837b4164.png

...and we're done. 

Round Two (13/5-12/7 2026)

Spoiler

915907600_Takeover-13thMay2026.png.0c6ba289ac703eb51b1acfafc409d347.png

Oh here we go, right in time for the Champions League and the next transfer window. yay! [/sarcasm]

535529243_Takeover-12thJune2026.png.d53765f8a3935079dd8dfd713f42c1ec.png

After scrambling to get all my transfer business in early, 12th June 2026 I found myself under another embargo. Another Italian ownership group though, and I only had one youth transfer remaining (Caine Oderlend, who eventually did get signed).

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26th June 2026 - Old Boss speaks sense.

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Really? Lack of funds? Are they trying to buy a club with €1billion in the bank for less than I spent on Dayot Upamecano or something?

Round Three (26/9-27/11 2026)

Spoiler

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26th September 2026. Here we go again...

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...and about 30 trials I had arranged to check out South America's latest crop of youngsters get cancelled. Still, a good time. Not too keen on "invest upwards of €0" and the foreign name though. 29th October 2026

477400401_Takeover231126.png.f283f1e9ba8af65e674e30903d57cbb6.png

...much like the penalty shoot-out between Manchester United and Villarreal a couple of months ago, I just want to be put out of my misery. (23rd November 2026)

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25th November 2026

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...and its done! 26th November 2026.

 

929760762_TakeoverComplete.png.d77729e261974fca6502e570d2678fc6.png

Okay, a few things to process here:

  • Francesco Totti is gone, he's just not in the game any more. For that I will hate Nico Gmeiner forever.
  • Yusuf Yazıcı is a real-life footballer. In the game he usually starts at Trabzonspor, although he doesn't appear to have been loaded, and IRL he's played for Lille since 2019.
  • Three of those philosophies are fine, although I prefer "Play attacking football" due to the fact that we tend to put flowing moves together yet average around 50% possession over the season. However, "Sign high profile players" could be an issue. Although it could also be an excuse to splash out and replace my entire right flank (both Chiesa and Ünder are approaching 30), its really just not my style - I tend to have saves with my favourite club Manchester United where I do that on occasion, whereas in this save my only "high profile" transfers since I got my squad sorted out late summer 2020 with the arrival of Chiesa have been Kyle Belford (€45.5m in 2022) and Dayot Upamecano (€82m cash in 2022). 

147411032_ClubDebts.png.40a42f6a63cce143fa06e637dcac9bd5.png

  • Oh yeah, and we're still in debt to James Pallotta. They really have stuck to their promise of spending €0!
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Un Contendente?

1960461270_Matchday11Napolikeeppace.png.b179248bee3e22c4ae5e915541cc6f6b.png

Well, Napoli have had the best start I’ve seen yet by a rival in this save! Perfect over 10 games, matching us having conceded only 1 goal whilst averaging 2.3 per game at the other end. Could they be a real challenger? Game 11 sees us welcome them to Olimpico, so an early opportunity to find out. 

My pre-match team talk:

giphy.gif.8c8d357fac92d3590d012c4f5a3e5cf2.gif

The result:

2084589583_Roma3-0Napoli.png.596d05c8d172344a343a939b98f3db52.png

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Gutted they got rid of Totti :( Such a shame they didn't wipe James Pallotta loan off :thdn: Surprised to see Napoli started well :eek: 

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@john1 yeah I hate it when board takeovers do that. Athletic Club would often elect a new chairman then push out 70+ year-old club legends, and with the Ajax takeover glitch in FM19 Edwin van der San is always out of the club within a year, refusing to sign up them retiring within two.

I guess because the loan is manageable - and only has another 6 years left - they just left it but yeah...I was really hoping anyone with the budget to take over Roma would be a tycoon. I had this whole plan of splitting off the save into alternate histories: one where I just sit on the money and stick to my youth-development thing, versus one where I splash out on a bunch of superstars - the likes of João Felix, Kylian Mbappé, and Kai Havertz are in their peak years whilst Man Utd have a van Basten clone (actually scored a goal per game in the league at Real Madrid) and a few other newgens are immense. Don't get me wrong, I could afford to do a combination of the two - sign all the best youth to eventually fund my outlays like Chelsea do irl - but it would be even more time-consuming.

Yeah Napoli being that good at the start was a shock, even though they got 89 points last season. Looking back though and between 23rd October 2025 and 8th November 2026 domestically they lost 4 games - all to Roma, twice by just 1-goal margins. They're on course for 90 points again this year, as well as being in the Champions League knockout stages (alone with Empoli!) so Bruno Lage may be building something special...just not special enough! mwahaha. 

Edited by zlatanera
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@Hootieleece Yeah other than a brief aborted attempt at Roma with Totti, my oldest ever players are Basque - I think I got Xabi Prieto to his 37th birthday at Real Sociedad once, and Aritz Aduriz always retired after 1-2 seasons in FM only to still be playing when that time came round in real life. I even did a youth-only save with Lyon once where I brought the likes of Benzema back to retire, and they were all gone by 36.

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Cento, e Cinquecento (ancora)

1988878923_Roma3-0Verona100thconsecutiveSerieAwin.png.784a61ed80c6e332dddb01f0e553f6bc.png

A routine 3-0 domination of Verona was our 100th consecutive Serie A win! Fittingly for the way I've played this save we had goals from a standout foreign attacker, Roman club captain / midfield maestro, and one of the first newgens I brought through.

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490053197_Lazio3-5Roma500thgameincharge.png.608fd18f15297caaf26ff457352c46b6.png

Well, my 500th game with Roma was a cracker! Those 3 goals were more than we conceded in the entire first half of the season, so we're no longer on course for another year with a single-digit Goals Against column, but it is a derby after all - I'm surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. Upamecano's goal was...not a typical centre-back's goal:

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Posted (edited)

Mercato - Invierno 2027

542024332_WinterTransfers2027.png.57c57fa913684c5fedb21b2594fa3ef6.png

That's right, I actually spent some money! In January too! 

...it's a loan-back deal, so Dayot Upamecano's arrival remains the last time I actually changed my first team squad mid-season.

La Partenza

Spoiler

 

Tomás Jiménez were two very talented youngsters who were simply never going to get a chance to nail down a starting spot due to the strength in depth ahead of them. Jiménez is almost Marcello's equal in most key attributes for DLP-De but the Brazilian is one of the most complete midfielders around, whilst Urh Lah is pretty much the Slovenian Patrice Grall, only about 90% as talented (seriously, its that close). 

One frustrating problem - not shown in the screenshot - is the fates of two of my young loan army. Francesco Verde and Valentino Fontana are full backs, loaned to Grasshoppers with the promise of regular game time. Grasshoppers don't use full backs, so I recalled them and shipped them out to Cagliari. In the 3 days that took, in spite of my having selected starting XIs in my youth teams, they both appeared for the Under 20s, putting them under the thumb of the "only 2 clubs in a season" rule, meaning they're out there training at inferior facilities, not developing, not playing, and I couldn't recall them inside the window as you need to wait 28 days. They were never going to be starters, but this lunacy has definitely set back their careers.

 

Prima Squadra (2027-28)

Spoiler

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Roman Dryshlyuk actually spent time on trial with me back in 2024, but the coaching staff didn't think he had what it takes. Their tune has changed now - he came in as a 90 recommendation with 4.5-gold-star potential! Although ideally he'd have a green Bravery attribute, I snapped him up because he's the closest thing in the game to Federico Chiesa under 25 and he's only going to get better. Scout report even recommends retraining him as a right back. I included a loan-back deal as a) I'm not shipping out Chiesa or Rossini mid=season, and b) this deal was signed on the dotted line at the end of deadline day so I wouldn't have time to find him a better move. 

This is my most expensive - and only senior - transfer since Kyle Belford arrived for €45.5m in summer 2023. If he fulfils the criteria for that €52m valuation (unlikely given part of is predicated on hitting 40 and 50 goals) he'd become the club's 2nd-most expensive transfer after Dayot Upamecano, ahead of...Federico Chiesa. Yeah, my requirement that full backs do a passable Dani Alves impression means they can be quite expensive!

Le Scorta di Talenti

Spoiler

1330212941_AleksaJovanovic.png.09fa79b24a17c2bb3845b35241f7c654.png

I think I mentioned it in summer but basically Aleksa Jovanovic was just too cheap not to sign.

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Likewise, I stand by my "potential Frankie de Jong tribute act" assessment of Zajas, even starting how out training as a Libero (Attack).

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Posted (edited)

Giovane Lupi 2027

Massimo Tarantino: "Gabriele Sannino stands out as one of the better players from this year's youth intake."

On 27/06/2021 at 22:55, zlatanera said:

Zlatan da Era: "He's another ***** defender, isn't he?"

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Andrei Arnold (Viitorul), Pape Sow (Toulouse), and Marcus Vinicius (Volta Redonda) come through from our affiliates. Even allowing for the fact that these star ratings are comparing the youngster's potential to a squad stacked with World Cup winners, not the best bunch. Still, I'll look to sign Gabriele Sannino, Luigi Venturi (although his personality is atrocious), Alessio Bezziccheri, and Andrei Arnold.

165256338_Screenshot2021-07-17at01_21_51.png.419b06809f74d651a03e2037e0311952.png

My HoYD wasn't wrong, Sannino really does stand out. I've been burned before with youth intake players starting with high potential (Alberto Fenu has had an all-time great career age 18 but already peaked with absolutely no growth from when he joined the club, for example), but with a little bit of training the young man from Cisterna de Latina could be a top quality BPD. Not Upamecano's level of technical ability but certainly he's not far off matching Nikola Milenkovic, with no major holes in his defensive game either!

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Kevin Scholes-ini

Zlatan da Era: "Hmm, quite a few options at right back and Rossini has topped out a 3-star potential, barely improving since he joined the club...maybe sell him in summer?"

Kevin Rossini:

We were 7-0 up at half time in that one, but never looked like scoring the 3 goals needed to beat the club record 9-0 defeat of Cremonese in 1929.

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Perché Dayot Upamecano è Essenziale

Put simply, nobody else in world football in 2027 has the skills and traits to do that, bar Frenkie de Jong - who isn't really a centre-back. Miletic's left-footed finish had me thinking of Robin van Persie too!

Luckily, at 28 years old Upamecano has excellent physical attributes:

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Much like Kostas Manolas, he should easily be able to contribute age 34-5! Hopefully at that time someone else has finally emerged - I will break my transfer record for his heir if necessary.

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The History Glitch

...and just like that, this buggy game brings me down to Earth. Its probably not a big deal for most people, otherwise it would have been logged and fixed when FM19 was the active game, but if you take a player on trial then later sign him, it completely messes up his history - he just won't create any after joining up. 

For example, how it should work can be seen with Giovanni D'Ambrosio:

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He wasn't taken in on trial as Atalanta were very keen on him - they made him the youngest player in their history shortly after he came through the youth intake. His history shows that, then this move to Roma, youth trophies, success on his first loan with Grasshoppers, then wild success in just shy of two seasons in the Roma first team so far.

Whereas Alen Miletic appears to have dropped off of the face of the Earth:

550028795_Screenshot2021-07-18at16_09_00.png.87f6c503713982253c43de92751ce22b.png

His is the most extreme example I've found, most players at least acknowledge their trial with Roma whereas that column on the left is the only part of the history page that acknowledges Miletic's quick trial (he was such an incredible prospect I made my mind up in record time). But then...nothing. No mention of youth trophies, 2 domestic clean sweeps, 2 UEFA Super Cup, and 2 Club World Cup. Just...nothing. 

This appears to have afflicted all of the players I brought in on trial. Which is about 80% of all newgens the game has created in the past 5 seasons, so there's no escaping this. If it was an isolated incident I would have just sold the offending players and moved on, but it isn't. I can retool my scouting and no longer bring players in on trial, but that's actually just as unrealistic as my mass-trialing system. Very frustrating.

I had been toying with downloading the editor - if its still available - but I'm not sure if it'll be able to fix it. I guess this is encouragement for my prospective Benfica youth-only save, but yeah...not great, Bob!

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Another History Glitch

As I believe I've stated previously, there is a slight issue where we're winning the league so early that some players may not have made the 10 appearances required to gain a league winners' medal, even if by the end of the season they'll be on 15+. For example, Marco Campanella doesn't have a record of winning Serie A in 2025 despite making 15 appearances and scoring 12 goals, with a further 4 assists. Well, I've found a solution - and a possible hack to get goalkeepers medals too:

1931984041_Screenshot2021-07-19at23_27_16.png.bce63026b42a6ffc2d7d366e0cc20a5d.png

Above is Andrea Gagliardi's history and milestones. As you can see he initially went on loan to Empoli for 2026/27 and was doing quite well - they were in the Champions League places, and just under 1 in 2 is his best rate of scoring so far, similar to what he achieved at Dinamo Zagreb. But then he spent 5 months out with a damaged spine. I recalled him, and nursed him back to health, deciding to give him minutes in order to help sell him come summer. Well, his first appearances was in the title-winning game against Sassuolo. He started, scored, and was subbed off at half time. That was his 1st league appearance, yet he got a medal!

Clearly, this means anyone who gets onto the pitch in the game you clinch the title will have a league winners' medal even if that's their only appearance,  just like how cup winners' medals are given to anyone who makes the bench. Its unrealistic, but after all this is a game.

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A Forgotten Milestone

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The above is an excerpt from one of my favourite clickbait / "fan" sites most recent offering on Raphaël Varane's prospective transfer to Manchester United. At the same time as I was reading this, I was deliberating about who out of 4-5 candidates will be my right backs next season. It got me thinking, and a quick check confirms that Kevin Rossini is - at just 20 years old - the new holder of this record...only he's not. As a wise puppet famously retconned - no, there is another.

My initial thoughts were that it was Patrice Grall: signed as a 16-year old having already played a full season with Rennes, the 2023 final was only his second appearance for us and a although it was Rossini's debut too, the Frenchman was younger as French newgens can be a mere 14 years old when the game generates them. He then appeared in the 2024 edition as a first team regular whereas Rossini was in the youth ranks. I even had a screenshot ready in this post, only for me to realise that actually - as with many absurd records - its Alberto Fenu:

1634704100_AlbertoFenu.png.76e75bb2731cb30e434135f46a2ae0a5.png

[Spoiler Alert] We won the 2027 edition. On 29th May 2027, Alberto Fenu was a mere 19 years and 88 days old winning his 3rd Champions League title! For a teenager who has barely developed (even physically), he's had an incredible career so far. At age 18 he had:

  • 31 goals in 59 appearances for Roma
  • 2 Champions League
  • 2 Serie A
  • 2 Coppa Italia
  • 2 Supercoppa Italiana
  • 2 UEFA Super Cup
  • 2 Club World Cup
  • 1 Olympic Games
  • 9 goals in 10 appearances for Italy
  • 3 of those were on his debut, along with an assist for good measure.
  • 2 more were in a game-winning appearance off the bench to win:
  • 1 World Cup

Since then he's added 1 of each of those club tournaments and a Nations League and now has 11 in 17 for Italy and 55 in 96 for Roma. Along with the 3 CL record he holds the following:

  • UEFA Super Cup youngest player - 16 years, 165 days
  • Club World Cup youngest scorer - 16 years, 291 days
  • Coppa Italia fastest goal - 16 seconds 
  • Italy youngest scorer - 17 years, 20 days
  • 3rd teenager to score in a World Cup final (Pelé, Mbappé)
  • 2nd teenager to score a brace in a World Cup final (Pelé)

The guy's still 2 years off being able to drink in the US, but I don't think you could fit his trophy haul in the back of a police cruiser with him!

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Posted (edited)

Roma 2026/27

I'm not doing anything too interesting tactically or narratively, whilst all those screenshots of players are far more interesting to me as they show development in more easily digestible terms than the attribute changes graph. So I'm going to pare it back to one post for each of Roma and Italy, except perhaps if I manage them to the next World Cup final too.

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We start off, as usual, with the UEFA Super Cup. Surprisingly, despite dominating "their" trophy at a time when they've won 6 consecutive La Liga titles (although they would lose this season's to Barcelona on head-to-head) this was only our 5th meeting with Los Blancos, after group stage ties in 2018 and a semi-final in 2022. That they're involved as Europa League champions must sting for all their terrible fans. Poor Carlo Ancelotti must have been having dejá vu to a previous heart attack when D'Ambrosio scored so early in his first competitive match after leaving Manchester United (head-to-head reads P11 W7 D3 L1, and the L was part of a two-legged tie that I won, with 2 Champions League finals in the mix). Not a substitute this time, but Fenu picked up where he left off in the 'States with a late winner!

1971989311_FIFAClubWorldCupFinal.png.2c2d2568d16652958cb499546219b02a.png

We once again underlined European global supremacy, following up a 6-2 thrashing of Jiangsu Suning with this demolition of River Plate. As an FM supporter of River Plate (couldn't tell you any of their results, but like the kit, some of the remaining players, and would watch Copa Libertadores were it more easily available to me) I'm saddened, but as Roma manager this was very satisfying.

1895954335_SupercoppaItaliana.png.989f9fa9ba12d2925a0ade0db3d0fdd6.png

Supercoppa Italiana features Coppa Italia runners-up when a team completes The Double, in contrast with the Community Shield over here which would use the league runners-up. A casual demolition job for the 'B' team. 

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In April we won our 8th consecutive Coppa Italia, in a derby to boot! Despite Kean's equaliser I was never unduly worried, merely frustrated at the possibility of tiring my players out by potentially taking 120 minutes to get the job done. Having both goals scored by academy products is always satisfying, as is punishing the team that put out my latest informal feeder club Empoli, who had an incredible season competing on 3 fronts with a mere €30m wage bill.

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His performance in the Coppa final sees the fans finally consider Lorenzo Pellegrini to be a club legend!

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Bizarre scheduling choices - we didn't play between 6th and 27th March, when everyone else got a round in before the international break - meant winning Serie A in round 32 still meant winning it in May. Yet another "final" goal for Fenu (although we were always going to win the league, on top for 34/38 rounds). Abysmal concentration to concede at 90+3' against a mid-table side late in the season though.

At this point, our easy progress through the Champions League meant we were on course for an entirely winning season! By which I mean not only would we have a 38-0-0 record in the league, but also win all our cup games in 90 minutes and win each individual leg in all our Champions League ties (as well as going 6-0-0 in the group stage). However...

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Not only was this our first league draw since a 3-3 at Udinese in 2023/24 (Eddy Salcedo scoring 2), but for most of the match looked like possibly our first league loss since 2019/20. Tahsin Yılmaz - a free transfer to Napoli having spent his Manchester City career on loan around Europe - was pretty much untouchable, always in spaces that I'd expect Marcello to be in, only to pop up somewhere else if the Brazilian did appear in traditional DM positions. 

Alberto Fenu once again reprised his super-sub role, coming on when Diogo Jota put them ahead and scoring with his only shot. That capped our winning run at an insane 114 games!

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*just* the 135 goals then, with our chances of keeping concessions in single figures gone before Napoli got involved. They now have to be considered a seriously good side having posted back-to-back 89-point seasons, but a club with a €48m record signing is never overhauling us domestically, and will be hard-pressed to get past the English in Europe (although QF after having not been in the CL for 4 seasons is impressive too). Lazio are apparently a Champions League-level club now which...well, Porco Rosso said it best.

Empoli were in 4th from games 20 to 29, but fell away after that. Injuries hit them hard - Roberto Firmino signed on a free in June then immediately damaged his achilles and didn't play until 2027, whilst Andrea Gagliardi (one of 5 Roma loanees) damaged his spine in December and was recalled. Firmino then missed most of May too. I'll have to loan them a new crop this year as most of them are being sold.

Milan deservedly miss out on Europe having somehow managed to only get 9 goals out of Luka Jovic, loaned in from Manchester United. They failed to score in 8/10 games in January and February before Allegri came in and righted the ship by unleashing our loanee Nicolò Bardini to the tune of 16 league goals in his first professional season. I was disappointed to see Genoa go down - if I liked their colours at all they'd be a great team to restore to their former glories.

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At the Quarter Final stage of the Champions League, a far cry from previous seasons saw 4 Italian sides take part! Sadly, not only were there also 4 English sides, but the story of the tournament, Empoli, drew us. They'd done incredibly well to get so far, drawing 1-1 at Carlo Castellani then humiliating PSG 3-1 at Parc des Princes. Federico Chiesa took an early red to respect the #narrative, but our quality was too much as we prevailed 3-0, before a Pellegrini goal brightened up a drab return leg. Sadly, Napoli and Lazio could not get the job done in Manchester, proving once again that Serie A clubs in the latter stages of the Champions League are much like Highlanders

We then eased past Manchester City 4-1, 1-0 (Fenu 85' to keep up that winning streak!) to set up a re-rematch of the 2021 final against Unai Emery's Manchester United (lol, if only irl).

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Despite United having spent €1.2billion net! over the course of the save, including €366m just on strikers in the past two seasons, it was a very boring game, with only 4 highlights: Keiron Pino - a newgen in the mould of Wayne Rooney's Euro 2004 peak - surging past our entire team before drawing a stunning reflex save from Romulo, us winning the penalty, and the two goals.

That's our 8th former-European-Cup triumph (and our 7th consecutive) meaning we're now officially the most successful Italian team in the history of the competition! 

I'll finish up with a few records:

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Missed off earlier, but this streak was ended by Napoli in our 3-1 win that ended their perfect start.

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Thankfully its very intermittent when I receive these notifications. We're currently at 267 games without defeat!

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...and there I was, raving about Rossini. Oh well, Pellegrini has a nice fat new contract to show he's valued.

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Edited by zlatanera
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Azzurri 2026/27

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For our first international break I named an unchanged side from the World Cup, and was rewarded with a performance every bit the equal of our recent triumph, Federico Chiesa's idiotic early red card at 0-0 being brushed off by the team as we rallied to a famous win at the Bernabéu. Despite not having a right wing, we gave them such a chasing that José Gayà at DL ended up on a 4.9 rating!

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Our 3-2 victory over Switzerland in November saw us beat Vittorio Pozzo's side's 30-game streak between 24th November 1935 and 20th July 1939. As Roberto Mancini himself has said, despite his side having a longer streak (at the time), winning a World Cup makes mine more impressive.

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Selecting Bardini may have seemed like favouritism given he'd only scored 2 goals in 2027, but given his entire team had only scored 5 I considered that mighty impressive. He certainly repaid my faith! 

Romania were an unexpected challenge.

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Paul Pogba was clearly just fed up of trying to win the midfield battle with Zaniolo and Pellegrini only 5 days after they'd dominated him in the Champions League final. Zaniolo's volley was a classic - arriving late after a corner and smashing it into the roof of the net!

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A much tighter game this one, all three goals resulting from set pieces: Sané capitalising on a scramble in the box, Romagnoli tapping in from a flick-on, and then Tah gifting us the win! 

A slight glitch meant I couldn't register Luca Pellegrini for the Nations League finals as he was serving a one-game suspension, as the Final doesn't appear in the schedule, but despite this 12 Roma players were part of this squad: Busti, Tonali, Pellegrini, Zaniolo, Chiesa (getting rare opportunities as a forward), D'Ambrosio, Campanella, Rossini, Ospitaleche, Guadagno, Fenu, and Bardini! 

I'm undecided what to do about transitioning the squad. Most of the Roma contingent will be fine, and I've already ruined Andrea Belotti's life by freezing him out 1 goal short of Luigi Riva's record, but Caldara and Romagnoli - the bedrock of my recent success having missed the 2025 Nations League due to poor club form - are 33 and 32, respectively, most other real defenders (Rugani, Romagna, Mancini) are 30+ also, after which there are about 6-8 players of similar quality (but not quite as complete players). 

We're now tied with Spain as the most successful teams in the short history of the Nations League, each having won 2 of the first 5 editions, whilst Germany beat England in the 2021 final. 

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Posted (edited)

Premi del Club e Statistiche della Squadra

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Surprisingly our joint-top scorers, Ünder and Fenu, are nowhere to be seen in either FPotS or TotS. All 3 players who were voted for saw their production decrease from last year as our forward line kicked on and allowed them to focus on defending, defending, and controlling the midfield, respectively. Romulo had no competition for Signing of the Season, but he did concede in less than half his games and may have single-handedly decided the direction the Champions League final would take. 

Kevin Rossini was immense. Despite having barely improved in the past two seasons - in fact if I compare screenshots from 2025 and 2027 he's just moved attributes around to fit our style - and having only 9 Dribbling, 10 Crossing, and 11 Vision, he racked up an incredible 18 assists with 5 goals too. Our previous record was Federico Chiesa's 15 last season, which is to expected given he's a converted forward. Whilst young Rossini can't touch José Gayà's 8.01 average rating in 2021/22, this is still one of the best campaigns by a full back I've ever seen!

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No surprises in our full backs once again contributing to a significant proportion of our goals. Unlike last season none of our centre-backs are pushing towards double figures for goals as we scored more from open play rather than relying on aerial dominance to combat being kicked all over the continent. Marcello once again goes goalless due to sharing a pitch with Ünder and Pellegrini. Speaking of whom, our captain hit double figures in the league for only the second time in his career, but also double figures for assists - he's aging like a fine wine, with only his Dribbling having taken a slight drop off. 

Jan Böhler and Pedro Paulo were both new to the first team - although they might not have been had I been aware of the history glitch - and more than justified their place. Pedro Paulo really did an excellent Ünder impression, scoring free kicks, back-post rockets, and a couple of dribbles into the centre followed by a shot, and was suitably rewarded with his first appearances for Brazil! Perhaps because he hasn't previously been absolutely dominating from the wing, I was more patient with Böhler as an AMC than I was Kyle Belford (who - now I have the editor - I can confirm is one of the top 5 strikers in the game), although his production wouldn't look as good without one incredible performance against Udinese in the cup: 2 goals, 3 assists, 8 key passes, and 3 dribbles. Despite fielding a dedicated DM they just couldn't touch him!

Marco Campanella understandably scored fewer goals than last season now he's back on the wing, but scored and assisted more than 2024/25 in the same role. D'Ambrosio's assists dried up but his goalscoring exploits more than made up for it, whilst Miletic (1 more) and Fenu (7 more) both continue to improve year-on-year.

Last but not least, Cengiz Ünder enjoyed his finest goalscoring season since 2021's 25 goals, hitting 20+ in the league for the first time in his career!  

The following youngsters also got game time with the first team:

  • Paco [DR}- 6(1) apps, 1 goal, 2 assists, 1 PoM, 7.96 avg rating
  • Souleymane Diallo [DC] - 2 apps, 1 PoM, 7.15 avg rating
  • Gabriele Sannino [DC]- 2 apps, 6.95 avg rating
  • Steve Michaud [DL] - 3(1) apps, 1 assist, 7.80 avg rating
  • Dante Lopez [AML] - 3 apps, 2 assists, 6.97 avg rating
  • Andrea Gagliardi [ST] - 3 apps, 2 goals, 1 assist, 7.37 avg rating
Edited by zlatanera
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Premi

  • FIFA
Spoiler

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Cengiz Ünder is my first player to take hom this prestigious award! His form only improved in 2027 (6 goals in his last 4 games) so could he be the first person to retain it since Cristiano Ronaldo 10 years earlier?

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I get to vote for this one hehe

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So...its just the Ballon d'Or again?

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Technically there are 12 Roma players in this, Kluivert did most of his best work with us before moving to Barcelona in the summer.

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That's our 2nd consecutive winner after D'Ambrosio took the nod last season, and 3rd in 4 (Amad Traore in 2023). He's the highest-rated of any player to win this award too.

  • Europe
Spoiler

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Ünder's 2nd Best Player in Europe award after 2027.

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Again, 2 consecutive and 3/4. Belford took it in 2024, not Traore.

  • Champions League
Spoiler

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Luca Busti truly is the next Paolo Maldini. First he excelled at right back, then left back, and now centre back! Playing style is actually similar too - he's very intelligent, averaged 3.29 interceptions per 90 and only picking up 2 yellows in 45 appearances despite our high press.

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Abel Ruiz has been insane these past two seasons: back-to-back 36-goal Pichichi wins, 42 and then 45 goals in all competitions. Barcelona have elections this summer so no doubt they'll change board and then sack Jorge Sampaoli, the man responsible for bringing this form out of him.

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  • Serie A
Spoiler

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As I previously stated, these goals were something else! 

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I voted for Bruno Lage.

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This one surprised me, given for goals + assists he performed the worst out of our full backs. Can't argue with at average rating though. His 23% conversion rate in front of goal ties him with Fenu as 3rd-best in the league, and they're both likewise tied for 2nd for the amount of goals conceded whilst they were on the pitch (9 - Marcello and Rossini only conceded 7).

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Lafont was robbed. All 9 outfield players are Roma players, although Bardini was out on loan at Milan.

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Given they nearly beat us, I have no arguments with a Napoli forward appearing in this.

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Oh yeah, only my 3rd Capocannoniere! This is Ünder's 2nd time round, after 2022/23 (one of three times in the first five seasons that you didn't need to hit 20 goals to win it).

If I don't bring him into the fold, I think I should give Bardini to Empoli, see how they do with a proper striker.

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  • Club World Cup
Spoiler

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Last year Miletic was also player of the tournament, with 3 goals in 1 appearance and a 9.60 average rating.

  • Croatia
Spoiler

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giphy.gif.cbb019c17dd276c8544bbba01ffa1461.gif

Okay, Tom

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Oh yeah, we're rolling in it! Looking at the graph I didn't realise until it was too late that we had over €1billion in the bank last summer too. No wonder our new owners didn't feel the need to invest anything...

This is only part-way through the transfer window too!

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4 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

giphy.gif.cbb019c17dd276c8544bbba01ffa1461.gif

Okay, Tom

784124205_Billionaire-BrunoMarsandTravieMcCoy.png.99472c323ef77b0d2654f6cd12e1cfef.png

Oh yeah, we're rolling in it! Looking at the graph I didn't realise until it was too late that we had over €1billion in the bank last summer too. No wonder our new owners didn't feel the need to invest anything...

This is only part-way through the transfer window too!

Holy wow, that's a lot of coin! Also, long time, glad to see you are still rocking on and rolling with this save update.

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On 18/07/2021 at 16:15, zlatanera said:

The History Glitch

...and just like that, this buggy game brings me down to Earth. Its probably not a big deal for most people, otherwise it would have been logged and fixed when FM19 was the active game, but if you take a player on trial then later sign him, it completely messes up his history - he just won't create any after joining up. 

For example, how it should work can be seen with Giovanni D'Ambrosio:

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He wasn't taken in on trial as Atalanta were very keen on him - they made him the youngest player in their history shortly after he came through the youth intake. His history shows that, then this move to Roma, youth trophies, success on his first loan with Grasshoppers, then wild success in just shy of two seasons in the Roma first team so far.

Whereas Alen Miletic appears to have dropped off of the face of the Earth:

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His is the most extreme example I've found, most players at least acknowledge their trial with Roma whereas that column on the left is the only part of the history page that acknowledges Miletic's quick trial (he was such an incredible prospect I made my mind up in record time). But then...nothing. No mention of youth trophies, 2 domestic clean sweeps, 2 UEFA Super Cup, and 2 Club World Cup. Just...nothing. 

This appears to have afflicted all of the players I brought in on trial. Which is about 80% of all newgens the game has created in the past 5 seasons, so there's no escaping this. If it was an isolated incident I would have just sold the offending players and moved on, but it isn't. I can retool my scouting and no longer bring players in on trial, but that's actually just as unrealistic as my mass-trialing system. Very frustrating.

I had been toying with downloading the editor - if its still available - but I'm not sure if it'll be able to fix it. I guess this is encouragement for my prospective Benfica youth-only save, but yeah...not great, Bob!

 

On 19/07/2021 at 23:31, zlatanera said:

Another History Glitch

As I believe I've stated previously, there is a slight issue where we're winning the league so early that some players may not have made the 10 appearances required to gain a league winners' medal, even if by the end of the season they'll be on 15+. For example, Marco Campanella doesn't have a record of winning Serie A in 2025 despite making 15 appearances and scoring 12 goals, with a further 4 assists. Well, I've found a solution - and a possible hack to get goalkeepers medals too:

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Above is Andrea Gagliardi's history and milestones. As you can see he initially went on loan to Empoli for 2026/27 and was doing quite well - they were in the Champions League places, and just under 1 in 2 is his best rate of scoring so far, similar to what he achieved at Dinamo Zagreb. But then he spent 5 months out with a damaged spine. I recalled him, and nursed him back to health, deciding to give him minutes in order to help sell him come summer. Well, his first appearances was in the title-winning game against Sassuolo. He started, scored, and was subbed off at half time. That was his 1st league appearance, yet he got a medal!

Clearly, this means anyone who gets onto the pitch in the game you clinch the title will have a league winners' medal even if that's their only appearance,  just like how cup winners' medals are given to anyone who makes the bench. Its unrealistic, but after all this is a game.

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I just noticed something...look at the Career Achievements tab at the top of the profile page. It shows 18 team trophy wins - which makes sense. 12 first team trophies plus the Europa League with Salzburg, and he could easily have won 6 youth trophies in his two years in the academy too. So the game is acknowledging that he's won, it just refuses to tell me about it. 

I've cycled through all three of the default skins too, which don't have that tab but do have a player history - they don't show it at all.

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@04texag thanks!

Yeah, had some free time and I really wanted to smash through those records. At another impasse now as I can't decide how ruthless I want to be, or rather what type of ruthless. A few key players are 28-30, but their backups aren't at the same quality - yet are performing outstandingly - and they all have high Natural Fitness so I can't decide what I should do - keep the old guard around knowing I have na incredible amount of money available if I need it a few years down the line. Complicating matters is the two most immediate decisions are on Kevin Rossini (Chiesa's backup) - who has just posted the most assists from a full back I've ever seen, but is less my style than new signing Dryshlyuk - and Alberto Fenu - enough said, but he's peaked and we have yet another incredible striker coming through at a critical age. 

Complicating matters is that I'm still feeling the pull of a youth-focussed save with that Benfica golden generation - but I'm undecided if its youth-only or not. Basically my only real reason to continue this Roma save is to win Euro 2028, so the club stuff has no focus.

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1 minute ago, 04texag said:

28-30 is pretty much prime. With high natural fitness they should be good until 32 easy. That said, getting value out of selling them would seem to indicate 30-31 selling

Yeah, value isn't really an issue - I have only 5 players valued under €50m, with my entire 24-man squad currently valued at €1,426,500,000, along with that incredible bank balance. Plus I regularly extract 2-3 times value on younger players, and 2 times value for anyone valued under €60m (other than that record €130m for Kyle Belford, €110m seems to be the Premier League clubs' ceiling when I offer players out). 

In the process of typing all this I think I've solved it! I'll let the Pellegrini's retire at the club (and if I play long enough, Luca Busti too) but move on everyone else - just like how Manchester United saw Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes stay until their 40s but were otherwise ruthless, even moving on Ruud van Nistelrooy. Although, moving on Federico Chiesa to give room to Dryshlyuk and Kevin Rossini would perhaps be like moving on Van Nistelrooy for Danny Welbeck, rather than Cristiano Ronaldo...

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Zlatan da Era - "Mister 20%"

As I've previously mentioned in my absurdly extensive transfer breakdowns (which won't stop, I'm an obsessive archiver) that I don't expect anyone to actually read, I put a 20% percentage of next sale clause in all my sales of players under ~28 (in summer 2026 Amad Traore got a clause, but I just extracted a maximum fee for Justin Kluivert). Well, they're really paying off!

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92628949_TransferClausepayment-Leito.png.8ea5cde1a4dfded90fcab54e8c4d9cff.png

So that's €12m on top of the existing €68m we brought in when we initially sold of Leitão and Coppola. At a rough estimate we've taken at least €45m from sell-on clauses - that's almost an entire Federico Chiesa!

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He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow…

So, in a vain misunderstanding of its functionality - I wanted to alter my player histories to be accurate after I discovered that glitch - I purchased for myself the In-Game Editor. 

After finding that it couldn't do what I wanted, I decided to have fun. I set a couple of ground rules:

  • I won't look at editor data when making any decisions on transfers or contracts
  • I won't look at editor data on my own players until my coaches already tell me they've reached their potential

Then decided to root around and see what interesting tidbits I could find!

Firstly, I looked at most of my first team as nobody - not even young Fenu - is rated as having any potential left to fill out, to find out who had the highest PA (I won't get into numbers). To my surprise, it was Luca Busti!

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Now obviously I'm aware that his growth has been incredible and that given an apparent outsize cost to physical attributes his ability must have been very high, but what I didn't expect is that he's pretty close to the ability of Paul Pogba and his class of player! It makes sense though as, aside from 14 Natural Fitness meaning he won't be playing for me when he's 40, he is very much living up to the 'Roman Paolo Maldini' tag I've bestowed upon him. If I play this save long enough to see his physical decline, I'd be interested to see if his mental faculties hit a new level.

Kyle Belford is a close 2nd, confirming that it was a mistake to let him go.

I also took a quick look at myself, some of it was...surprising, to say the least.

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  • 2 Ambition - I guess because I've never looked to leave Roma?
  • 1 Professionalism - ... ... ... stai scherzando adesso?
  • 2 Dirtiness Allowance - I never use 'Get Stuck In', 'Tackle Harder'  or 'Play For Set Pieces', warn anyone who gets a 2-yellow sending off and fine 2 weeks wages if they get a straight red.
  • 2 Versatilityseparate from Adapatability, which I set at the start of the game. I guess this is because my primary tactic has been a "4-1-4-1 DM Wide" for 9 seasons, before which it was 4-2-3-1...which is now my 2nd formation.

Once the transfer window was closed - and knowing that I've consciously selected players who are a better fit for my style than just those with the greatest abilities right the way through, most recently exemplified by excluding Andrea Belotti from the Italy squad in favour of anyone who has 11+ Vision - I decided to check out 5 or 6 players who have been consistent 100 recommendations from my scouts for 2-3 seasons. To my surprise, Barcelona currently have a player with the same PA as Messi. This makes him officially the best player in the world:

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Naar is Dutch-Curaçaon and started his career at AZ Alkmaar, although he strangely got his debut in a season on loan at Udinese in 2022/23. In 2024/25 I contemplated out-bidding then-Bundesliga Champions Leverkusen for him (€38m) but with Pellegrini, Tonali, and Zaniolo backed up by Grall, Marcello, and Belford what would have been the point? Of course I then made the mistake with selling Belford…but anyway, he had two great seasons in Germany, then moved to Barcelona for €73m last year, conducting them to their first La Liga since 2018/19 alongside his countrymen Elroy van Maanen and Justin Kluivert! 

FM19 has a real problem with that Knocks Ball Past Opponent trait though. Sure he’s fast, but it really doesn’t suit his game and if he didn't have it I'd say after the false start of Arthur, Barcelona finally have their heir to Xavi. I had a similar issue with Lyon where Tanguy Ndombele infected Houssem Aouar and Maxence Caqueret with it. At Roma Zaniolo gave it to Riccardi - along with Runs With Ball Often, another which is highly contagious - and then has never been used as a mentor again, despite his status as a Team Leader.

Edited by zlatanera
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Mercato - Estate 2027

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As usual, we bring in a full team of teenagers to fill out the youth squad (tarnished somewhat by my knowledge most of their biographies are screwed up). What has a changed through is the sheer number of outgoing players at 11 - my biggest clearout since 2022/23 - with an average age of just 22! Whilst this does mean my first team squad skews slightly older, particularly in the defence, I don't see us as being at risk of becoming a fallen giant any time soon. It also marks the first time we haven't sold someone for over €70m since 2021/22. Finally, I've now sold €2,300,000,000 worth of players!

La Partenza

Spoiler
  • Mario Marku - billed as a possible heir to Sandro Tonali back in 2021 - ability-wise has lived up to his initial promise. He's just unlucky that actual Sandro Tonali is happy to be a backup whilst in Marcello we have Brazil's greatest defensive midfielder since Kléberson ruined his career by moving to England. €60m is almost three times his value. Yet another of our 2023 Champions League winners to depart, he also broke into the Italy squad (unbiased, Mattia Viviano was in dreadful form) and took home the Nations League.

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  • Kevin Rossini both did and didn't live up to the hype. His career so far - 3 Serie A, 3 Coppa Italia, 4 Supercoppa Italiana, 4 Champions League, 4 UEFA Super Cup, 3 Club World Cup, UEFA Nations League, and a World Cup - by age 20 is insane, but its not just like he was being carried either - He averaged 7.77 last season and provided 18 assists. But he's barely improved since coming through in 2023, and in fact since I wondered if I'd ruined his career in 2025 he's mostly just re-arranged some attributes, losing some Positioning and Tackling ability in order to improve Off The Ball and Passing. So when Liverpool offered a good price, it really helped me make my mind up about keeping on Federico Chiesa. 

 

  • As a direct consequence of Rossini bursting onto the scene fully-formed, I perhaps neglected Vittorio Guadagno - 2021 intake. He leaves as perhaps a better player overall, but  has poor Off The Ball as well as sharing Rossini's weaknesses for Crossing and Dribbling. I do wonder if he could have become a more complete player had I promoted him age 18 instead of the shiny new thing, but he's still having a good career - 2023 Champions League and 2027 Nations League winner already.

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  • I think the writing was on the wall when I did a career breakdown for Fenu. Similar to Kevin Rossini he came through the academy in 2024 fully-formed, and while if I were really focussed on youth he would have had an even longer career, again like Rossini he may have blocked the progression of a better prospect (in this case though its less ambiguous). Still, he scored the winner in the World Cup Final age 18, he's one of the newgens I'll remember for years!

 

  • Hamza Lakhal joined me in January of 2023 and is a fine Winger. But I use the inside Forward role and have legions of converted strikers to fill it, so I was very happy to move him on to join the ex-Roma contingent at Barcelona.
  • Julián Ramos joined us late - age 18 in 2024 - from our Colombian affiliate, developing into a good #10. However Jan Böhler is better. He only cost €300k so flipping him for €33m is a great deal!
  • Andrea Gagliardi came through in 2021 with Guadagno and Marku, but wasn't marked for greatness. He's been effective however and joined them in winning the 2023 Champions League, as well as somehow scamming himself a medal for the most recent Series A season. In terms of raw ability Gladbach overpaid, but like I said - he's effective.
  • Adriano Tosoni was a rare Italian youth signing, joining from Atalanta in 2022 alongside Giovanni D'Ambrosio. Similar to Rossini and Guadagno he's just the wrong style of player. Unlike those two however, with Luca Pellegrini, Darko Puljic and Luca Busti ahead of him I don't feel guilty about not bringing him into the first team setup. €21m + 20% was not a good deal - he's already valued at €40m with Spurs (and took a well-earned pay rise from €5k/week to €170k!).
  • Rubén Blanco should have been moved on last season but there was no demand, whereas now we make a profit on a 32-year old backup goalkeeper. To be fair since joining in 2022 he's been great - filling in for Lafont in the league for 7 games that season, but also playing all the cup games except the Champions League final and picking up 4 caps for Spain.
  • Roger Martin is another 2022 purchase. A year ago I was thinking he really might be something special - after successive loans to Grasshoppers and then Empoli, carrying both into the Champions League, he made his debut for France! He's seen no growth since though, and €5.5m on an initial €4m investment actually works out at a loss, according to the board. 
  • Walter Guerra came through in the same intake as Fenu. He's not very good.

Le Scorta di Talenti

Spoiler

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Pre-arranged last season. Should score some screamers. I'm doing well out of Bayern's youth intakes.

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A nice cheap release clause, we now have a left-footed option to play on the right in our class of 2032. Celta are becoming another frequent target.

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Pre-arranged last year.

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Another one off the Monaco production line, yet another FM19 newgen with great Heading but small stature. They can't all be like Patrice Evra guys!

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Maybe, finally, I'll be able to bring through a right back who can run it down the line and cross?

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Horvat could be an absolute bargain. With 4 Finishing I definitely see him as more of a creator than a scorer, but by the time its decision day in 6 years I expect that Flair will be 15+ and he'll be a Croatia international.

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Centre-backs with good Heading, Marking, and Tackling yet also acceptable ability on the ball tend to either have low Aggression and high Bravery or vice versa. I prefer the first one.

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Pre-arranged a while back.

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Pre-arranged last season.

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Although I already had Etienne coming in who is the same age, I can't resist taking a good prospect from my affiliates. Hajduk were unable to sign him to a contract, which kept the price down, and although most of the players I bring in are initially said to have 5-star potential my scouts and coaches really do seem to think he could be a somebody.

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Pre-arranged last season. A proper street footballer with great Dribbling, impossible to knock off the ball despite his small size yet weak Off The Ball. I reckon if he was an FM20/21 newgen he'd have Likes To Beat Man Repeatedly as a trait.

Alcuni per il prossimo futuro

Spoiler

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Every 3 months Fabio Paratici (20 for scouting abilities) changes his mind on whether or not Rafael is worth signing. He has Italian nationality so I just took the plunge. Whatever potential he has, with 20 Determination I'd imagine he'll reach it sharpish.

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As I said, I can't resist a prospect from an affiliate. Good trait too.

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12 Stamina allows him to outrun confused American tourists trying to eat him :lol:

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A creative #10 with Bravery is a nice combo, but I've mostly signed Erman Uğurlu to play on the left wing.

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Another half-Italian, I had to pay quite a bit for Bucci, his fee potentially rising to €25m. The last time I did that I got Miletic, Bardini, and Böhler so hopefully we continue the streak! He looks like he's already got a great physique so when he joins next year I'm going to experiment by training him in roles that don't require it such as Enganche and Attacking Midfielder, see if I can't push development more towards the technical side.

Laureati

Spoiler

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The man who I moved Fenu on for (ironically to the same place that loaned him last season). If I weren't such a hopeless romantic it would have been Bardini who scored the winner for Italy in 2026. But he barely developed until about March of that year having joined at a reason level - but less than Fenu. With his attribute spread he could be the Italian equivalent of Brazilian Ronaldo, only he's also 6'5"! I'm working on his Long Shots but that trait definitely needs to go.

 

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I'm sometimes guilty of being a bit absolutist with player attributes - for example I might have overlooked Cengiz Ünder if I spotted him as an 18 year old as he has only 7 Aggression and 8 Bravery, making him highly unlikely to lay his body on the line...

That's inside a minute against lowly Palermo! In this case other attribute such as 15 Anticipation (knowing he can score this), 16 Technique and 15 Finishing (getting the touch towards goal), 17 Acceleration and 18 Agility to throw himself to the ground, and perhaps even 15 Balance and 9 Strength when he's down there, all come into play. Heck, the definition of his 16 Flair

Quote

"This attribute reflects the player's natural talent for the creative and unpredictable" - FM19

could be argued to have an effect in encouraging an unorthodox finish.

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