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[FM20] Journey to the West -- Coach my way through +50 leagues (50 countries) as a weekend warrior-turned World Class manager

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Hi folks! Referred by FM fans from Reddit to create this post and share my game journey as a long time FM fan. After taking a hiatus from FM (first played = CM 2003, last played = FM 17), I decided to drop my dedication in console game and come back to this. Now, traditionally speaking, I would start a save and coach my favorite team (i.e. Força Barça), and build my team AND myself to coach a national team. At some point, I would start adding new managers to control one team in each of the Big 4 leagues, and manage national team as well (I was so into it I had an excel spreadsheet with +300 lines per controlled team to keep track of my players' progression, both senior and U18).

This time is different. I decided to come in as a novice in real world (or at least I tried to mimic it) as a perfectionist (meaning I'll do whatever it takes to try to stay undefeated :idiot:). Reading some old post about manager reputation, club reputation, and etc., I learned that my game save/play is one of the more challenging one. So, I decided to create this post to update my progress in this game save. How is this different? Here are some of the quick summary:

  • Game save has leagues from 50 / all countries, with minimum 1 league per countries (I tried to have N-1 leagues for country that has N leagues, with N > 2).
  • My manager has a background of Sunday League Soccer Player (hard), from a FIFA ranking ~150th country (harder), outside of Europe / South America (hardest), with a balance (default) distribution of attributes.
  • It makes the save easier is I choose to coach in the top division, top team, in my home country

The goal is to coach myself to the top team (i.e. UCL title contenders with international fan base and world class youth academy) and build a dynasty. Although my ultimate job will still be Barca, I will still be happy to be the most decorated manager (in game) by dominating a few domestic leagues and a few continent club titles before coaching my "childhood dream".

Since I have started my save about a week ago and in-game time is now 2021 October, here are the quick summary of my current progress (2021 October):

  1. coached a local top team for 2 years and sweep all the awards (somehow, my team does not qualified for ACF despite winning the title in first season)
  2. picked up coaching a national team (FIFA world rank ~110) in the 2nd half of my 2nd season
  3. Quit my first job at the end of the 2nd season and tried to find a team reputation higher than my manager reputation (1 star or 25%) -- only found a 1.15 stars team elsewhere
  4. Currently plan to fulfill some of the random excuses in lower reputation leagues so that I can coach South American / European teams that are either 1) fighting for promotion in lower division, or 2) staying away from regulation in higher division
  5. National team will be on its own timeline. Ultimate goal will be WC, of course. But winning regional/continental competitions would be nice, too.

Here area some screenshots to show you what I have. Future updates will probably be an recap / report / summary every 6 months or a major continental/intercontinental/international event +/- transfer window summary -- unless anyone ask for specific details or questions. Cheers!

Proof of my giant DB for this silly save:

Profile when I started this thread:

Stats as of 2021:

Job history as of 2021 October (In-game):

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Stats as of 2025 July:

Job history as of 2025 July (In-game):

Managing experience route, as of 2025 July (In-game):

Edited by rnhpyx
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Round-Up of second half 2021 -- National team career (Philippines)

As discussed, I hopped on my first national team opportunity as I realized that I need to build my manager reputation ASAP. I did not know that The Philippines was out of WC Qualifier long time ago (placed 3rd in a group of 4). Having said that, and only after I signed up to be the national team manager, I am determined to bring this team to WC 5 years from now. The talents are not great, but I'll build for the future immediately (by relying on national team [coaches] reports).

First and foremost is to expand my national pool. The way I do it is rather straightforward:

  1. Players that are currently based in The Philippines
  2. Players that have the nationality
  3. Players that speak Tagalog (one of the [if not the] common languages use in The Philippines)

I found a few very talented players (from Australia, Greece, etc.) -- and they all rejected for call-ups, as expect. Working with what I have. I favor selecting players who are just as good (by reputation) but with higher potentials. I also opted to leave out those who declared they are going to retire from football, even if it will be 2 years from now (and if they are star player(s)).  Oh yeah, Paolo Perez was the gem from this search. Also, it seems that the Philippines produce some pretty good GKs that can be a starter for the EFL Championship level teams. If you need a budget GK, this could be a place to find some gems.

Finally, I like (or want) to play Tiki-Kaka and high-press counter game even if the players suck. How high the engagement, the defensive lines are, how wide the formation plays (especially defense), and whether I want to play offside trap -- these are all depend on the attributes of the starters. This is the kind of philosophy I stick with even with my club team (next post), but I don't really care as much about the formation position or the role of the players at this point. Look, the quality aren't that great, so I'd rather play my best players in their best roles and see how it goes.

The Philippines are not necessary a strong team in Asia, so to bring them to somewhere competitive will require a lot of "optimization". About 3 months into coaching them, we have qualified for the Asian Nations Cup. The team ranked about 110th when I first started (now is top 100), and the most challenging team in our group was Qatar (if you are familiar with them, you'd know they have a few stars that made it to Europe, which is a pretty big deal for a country that most people do not familiar with. They are also qualified for the WC 2022). Here are the rankings for our competitors:

By the time we have qualified and beat Qatar, our team got to 103rd (you can see the ranking position below). Also included in this quick screenshot is the formation that I run -- basically a 3-1-3-1-2, a diamond-like formation that is generally risky for relying offside trap and pray the opposing wingers not to concede goals. Obviously, role ability changes based on the quality of the players. So you may take it as a grain of salt for now.

Philippine Football Federation, at the time, gave me a C+ despite  "winning". I have no clue what kind of drugs they are on. I don't think there are much expectations from the FA, but you can also expect that meeting expectations for a ~100th national team isn't that high, especially they only have AFC to play for and not the WC.

Here's the deal, though. We are scheduled to face a WC regular -- Australia (very debatable whether they should be in AFC / ASEAN or not) in a friendly before another AFC Qualifying game against Bangladesh. Beating a WC regular will be near impossible. Look at the ranking right here:

I wish to show you all the key highlights but I can't, so you'll have to trust me on this. First goal was NOT a own goal dammit. It was supposed to be a 2 yard shot attempt from the right by Justin Baas with his right. The ball hit the near post, and as Bass was sliding out of bounds he shoots again with his left. The ball went through Thomas Glover legs, with the ball deflect off one of Glover's leg before hitting the net. They called it own goal. I called this BS.

Anyhow. First half performance was a pleasant surprised. Goalie Neil Etheridge was on fire. AND LOOK AT THAT POSSESSION. I know, I know. You'd be like "bro, what's the surprise when you play Tiki-Taka and have high possession? It isn't even 70%." I'd say if you look at individual attributes of The Philippines, and then Australia, you'd quickly realized that this was NOT expected.

Second half continues and our set-piece game paid off. If you have been on this franchise for long, you'd know that set-piece can be a extremely powerful opportunity to score (and make an upset). It totally worth the time to invest in how do you want to play your set-piece in different scenario. Wasn't Maurizio Sarri at one point created hundreds (if not about a thousand) different plays from set-piece? This is just a fraction of it. If I remember correctly, this goal is from a free kick, not corner:

We certainly were the underdogs but we were able to maintain possessions. Who cares about the conceded goal? All I know is 1) we (The Philippines) won and 2) Justin Baas was robbed.

Can you imagine what it is like to have 143 lbs / 65 kg less than your opponent's XI is like? It's okay. This isn't a buffet. You just need to know that the impossible is possible.

Which helped us to break into the top 100:

We went on and win the last game of the year. Definitely not happy with the performance and I made it loud and clear to my mates that the team needs to play better (or I'll keep being aggressive with them and make them cry).

We are currently undefeated in the AFC qualifier as of December 28 2021. Next update on the Philippines national team will be around July 2022. Next post will be on my club journey in India Airtel I-League (with a short intro of Hong Kong First Division League)

Edited by rnhpyx
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Round-Up of the start of my career and second half 2021 -- Club team career (R&F [Hong Kong] --> Dempo SC [India])

~ From mid 2020 to mid 2021 ~

Started my career as a Sunday league football coach yet with Continental Pro License doesn't do much down the road. But I'd like to make myself feel a little better when I need to land on a local team and take charge. I am not familiar with the current teams in Hong Kong Premier League, but I do know that Kitchee and Eastern were the top two teams a few years back. So I just picked a random team that aren't those two. And, of course, I took over the team with the highest odds to win HKPL -- R&F.

First several games in the first season involved unstable locker room. Mostly from the foreign star players. In order to maintain the lockroom atmosphere, I decided to sell the star foreign players over the course of first season, while I replace them with just-as-talented free agents. In the end, we became a quadruple winner -- the league, the shield, two cups (sounds very similar to the Premiership:

As you can see, I let go the major troublemaker Adama Guira. I also let go of Serge Deble because I don't feel the urge to keep him, even though he was a great player (and that pissed Tiago Leonco off, who was behind Daniel Angulo and didn't see much game time until Daniel was done with a season-ending injury). Finally, despite a great new signing (succeed from the previous manager) and a scoring machine, I sold Daniel Angulo because of a 7-11 months injury that he won't be good for nobody -- with his high salary and only a 1-year long contract. I recruited many players with expiring / expired contracts, with the best signings being Ante Vrljicak, Marquinhos (Ponte Preta / Palmeiras), Ita (Gremio, last contract in 2016), Pachu (Botafogo. Sold him to FC Seoul for $$) and Brando Sami (Napoli). I also over-signed a foreign player Lucas Gamblin (Newcastle's youth system) sitting / playing in reserved and U-18 team as a 19 years old, despite the fact that he was totally ready for first team football. That being said, he would form a great duo with a Hong Kong young star playing in the U.S.A. -- Kwok Wai Lim (NYRB Academy. Maybe a CPU generated player) doesn't count as a foreign player.

As I learned that somehow, winning HKPF does not give me a chance to play in continental competitions (somehow), I decided to search for a new job. But given that I'm a 1-star manager, all my applications fail. That's right, and of course, with Real Madrid too (not a fan of Perez, but also not a fan of Josep Maria Bartomeu):

Anyway, as I mentioned in the Philippines post above, I like to play Tiki-Taka and high-press counter. Formation changes based on players availability, but I definitely prefer to play 4 defenders. Here is the last game of the season (if I remember correctly), generally run a either 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1 Wide:

After this game, we are cross-season undefeated, back to back champ, and all the good stuff. Reading this thread, I decided to resign as soon as my players are off for vacation. And during that time, I use the vacation mode and apply for jobs with "higher reputation club" and come back every 3 days. I guess my agent silly enough to apply Kitchee for me (and somehow they DO have AFC games next season, again). But I don't feel like destroying the dynasty that I created, and up against all the star players that I recruited:

So I signed with a newly promoted team in a higher reputation league in a different country... stay tuned.

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Round-Up of the start of my career and second half 2021 -- Club team career (R&F [Hong Kong] --> Dempo SC [India])

~ Second half of 2021 ~

I leave my home country to a different country! People know all about the football / soccer scene in Europe, South America, and maybe MLS (U.S.A.), Liga MX (Mexico), J-League (Japan), A-League (Australia), K-League (Korea), and maybe a few teams in the Middle East and Central Asia. This particular league that I ultimately ended up with was known, at one point, for splashing cash to hire retired star players to play in India, for ~12 games a season -- Airtel I-League (India). I took over Dempo SC, a team who was just promoted to the first division (highest division) and is has no money.

To put it into perspective (and for whatever reasons), the team has no staff members. And it was a pain to hire because nobody wants to join us or move to India. As a result, you are basically limited to recruiting local staff, for the most part. You maybe able to recruit one or two from the neighboring countries, or within the region.

Ain't no scouts with judge potential higher than 9 wanna join us neither. Look at the local staff talent here:

And the schedule is weird too. I joined the team around July 21, 2021. Immediately I have to play the first competition, Durand Cupwithout any friendlies in August. Oh yeah. My players are forced to play with completely out-of-shaped conditions. The league doesn't start until late November:

And looking at my pool of talents, I made a mistake by immediately jumped into the market and sign free agents. Despite the league has been pretty generous for letting numbers of foreign players to play on the field and registered in the team, the wackiest thing I've seen in this league is this -- you have a transfer window of 2 days each year! December 25 and December 26! Even if the player is a free agent and ready to roll! So this doesn't help much to start the season with a odd of winning the league being 801.00 (bottom of the league).

Also, scouts are useless and you're just hoping for the best when the scouts tell you that they are all 5-star recruits and all with 5-star potentials (will show that below). My advice is that if you are signing someone, make sure they are immediately ready to play AND with great potential -- relatively to your own squad.

Anyway. Now that I joined this team, the odd changes from 801.00 to 601.00 (still at the bottom):

And I implemented a asymmetric 4-3-2-1 wide to accommodate some of the best players in the team. Abinash Ruidas was a great left wing until he was out for like 2 months. Best player in the team was definitely Samir Colaco (computer generated):

First game of the league ended with a upset (well duh) in a 4-2 win against Mohun Bagan (predicted to be the 3rd in the league). Rotation winger Nikjil Kadam scored a hat-trick, with 2 identical goals coming from cross from the left as he cut into the penalty area from the right. A touch, a shot, a goal. Twice.


Again, my players are not that great. But the best player, Samir Colaco, is truly one of a kind:


Even though injury like this is almost like a regular business, because most players don't have good natural fitness. This is my starting GK:

This team does have some up-and-coming Goalies (CPU gen), and because one of my signing won't be joining us until 2023, I have 1 more quota to sign a foreign player (for a total of 6). I pulled a trigger and signed Colombian Cesar Garcia (San Francisco FC from Panama). The transfer end up like this:

As you can see, some signings aren't that great because I messed up for being desperate early. The two sub-3 stars players are from the Philippines that I should have not signed. Better free agents also come along as the transfer window getting closer (again, the wait was from July to December). So I would advice those who are interested or planning to play Airtel I-League to be patient when you are signing free agents. You have to pay attention to the attributes and judge the players' potential with your guys, and take your scout reports with a bathtub full of salt:


Now that with the foreign forces joining us. Revisiting the squad would tell you that my players are really not that good, with the exception with the wunderkind Samir Colaco:

With the new players coming in and Samir are out for international duty (for 2-3 weeks), I am currently playing a 4-1-1-2 wing play. The expectation is that Japanese striker Henry (Audax(SP) from Brazil) can beat offside traps, Cesar Garcia can lurk around the area for some goals, Alhassan Koroma (East End Lions from Sierra Leone) gonna blast down the flank and cross to break deadlock, and the Liberian prospect Mohammed Sangare (Newcastle United youth team) will distribute them balls like Xavi, but at the age of 23, technique of 10, and passing of 16:

First match with this team -- a 4-0 thrash against Aizawl FC (predicted 8th place/mid table finishing) with Cesar scored a hat-trick:

Finally, here is an example of what patience is a merit (except, if I sign this player, I'll have to wait for a year for this player to join us and play. I am very skeptical about that):


Edited by rnhpyx
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Round-Up of first half 2022 -- National team career (Philippines)

After a thrilling end of 2021, 2022 has been very quiet and boring due to the lack of competitions. Aside from our 3rd Goalie Kevin Mendoza (HB Koge/AFC Eskilstuna) decided to betray us and foolishly thought that he has a chance to become a starter for Denmark, and hence he decided to represent Denmark instead at the age of 27 (which, by the way, doesn't make much sense to me since he represented Philippines in the Senior level), I forgot to include my man Justin Bass into the 23-men squad and he was pretty pissed. It was an honest mistake due to his previous injury and missed the selection. Other than that, we played poorly in a friendly against Bangladesh just before the last game of the group for the AFC Asia Cup 2023 Qualifier.

Again, we beat Qatar (86th, WC 2022 participant) as a currently 95th. Still a pretty big deal as discussed in the previous post on national team:

So, the summary of the first half of 2022 performance is a very shabby 1-1-0:

I see that Haiti (2 stars rep) is hiring a manager, but I don't know if they have qualified for the WC or not (too complicated to check and find out, somehow). So I decided that I'll just wait until there's a wave of layoff after the WC 2022 and starting to apply everywhere -- hopefully with a even better pool of players than the Philippines and ranked higher. The goal, as expected, is to qualify for WC 2026, but there must be some sort of continental nations cup that will happen before then, and winning that cup will certainly help boosting my manager reputation (which, once again, is needed to coach the top tier clubs).

p.s. if you are unaware of why would this save be more challenging than journeyman saves in large continents with competitive football leagues, you can read this post for the explanation.

Checking out on "July 1, 2022". Will check-in again on "Jan 1, 2023".

Edited by rnhpyx
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Round-Up of the first half of 2022 -- Club team career (Dempo SC [India])

~ First half of 2022 ~

So we got 6 fresh blood to join our team -- Henry (Poacher, AF), Carlos Garcia (Poacher), Alhassan Koroma (Winger), Mohammed Sangare (Cent Mid), Arvin Gaspe (Full-Back), Paolo Casambre (Def Mid). The goal was for Henry to beat offside trap for scores, Carlos for shooting on sight inside the area, Mohammed to distribute the ball like a deep-lying PM (wishful thinking there), Arvin to boost the back line and Paolo to provide some more defensive support for the 2 starting DC, who are 16 and 17 years old.

First stop to share, that sometimes you do get frustrated and question intelligence of some players:


Dude need to be less sensitive.

Anyway, the board has been pretty happy that we were slowly running away from the relegation zone (remember the 601.00 odd for winning the title) even though they expected me to finish in mid-table. Only thing that I can say is playing without any useful scouts can really need to a hit-or-miss signing, which is why, even after the 6 signings, I still get a C+ (it could be explain later):

One of the interesting things that I see is these small clubs can't maintain a good balance because of all these bonuses on the contracts. Despite not using the transfer budget and still have some "salary cap space", or payroll budget, finance of the team is like the landslide warning sign on some freeways. This was taken after we start our season 12-0-0:


Ultimately, we did win the Airtel I-League as an undefeated champ! It was a hard earn effort because some of the games conceded just before the final whistle, or lose early due to red card or injuries. Nonetheless, at this stage, I'm just trying to make my way to the top the quickest, by whatever means. So, like Michael Jordan in The Last Dance said, "If you don't wanna play that way, don't play that way."

I later found out that clubs have little to no history in top flight division has all sorts of bugs regarding their records. Here, after the championship, the interview says our team has 5 titles which I'm very, very skeptical of:

As we won -- time to brag a little. Henry shed his tears of joy and, guess what? He was the REAL MVP:




And a lot of the new signings make various awards (but not the less bright one and I won't blame him. Due to the limited number of foreign Asian and foreign non-Asian players, he spent 2/3 of the seasons to sit in reserved):

A great season, but in a terrible financial situation that limits a lot of things in the developmental end. I have started to contemplate whether I should choose NOT to renew my contract and leave. Guess what? The board kind of decided for me when they refuse to offer me a 2-year contract instead of 1. So this is how they pay me back huh?

After all this (before the final league game):

They left me no choice but to shop for new club to manage. Yet, the reality and irony -- it takes two to tango:

So many haters out there. I later became more active to apply, but we'll come back to that in a second. 

Of course, somehow, one out of ten or twenty applications must be leaked, and the press would asked me to comment on that. This is a good time to play "the press" game by saying I won't rule out of any possibilities at this stage (even if you get ridicule by supports of a 2-star club). The board ultimately responds:

They want to talk about my contract that they broke the talk down. Fine, let's see what do you have this time around:

I basically able to fight myself a 2-year contract (instead of 1), and drop my salary from $1.6K p/w to $1.1K p/w, but manage to get a Fed Cup bonus ($4.5K) and a 10% yearly salary raise. I know that this is actually a win for the board (and not me), but at this point I am buying more time to securely stay on this team while 1) getting more accolades and possibly play some continental matches [looks very unlikely due to the club finance] and 2) buy more time to ultra actively applying 2-star clubs:

So I begged the $4.5K real quick:

to wrap up first half of 2022 as my players Argon for "vacaycay":

Last but not the least, many of these "records" don't add up:

Current mode -- in-game 3-day vacation and applying higher reputation clubs in cycles, until the next game with the national team later in the Summer.


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Round-Up of second half 2022 -- National team career (Philippines -> X'mas Surprise) featuring World Cup 2022 in FM20 (Results included!)

~Second half of 2022 ~

Last update we have 2 friendlies in the late summer -- a game against Bhutan and a game against Iran. Iran ranked 54th, which is still by quite a lot of distance compare to my prime Philippines at 91st. Our team also had one or two core players suffered from injuries and unavailable for call-up. So I called up 2 players, including a player that was eligible to play for Norway, to be on this team. I don't think I have the screenshot of his stats here, but trust me, he's an instant starter. As usual, name will be bold and italic throughout the post.

A quality of finishing, we beat Iran 2-0. Substitute Hikaru Minegishi scored once and won the PoM, as well as veteran Javier Patino had a nice header. Javier will ultimately retire before the AFC Asian Cup  in 2023.



And that is it for the updates from The Philippines! But wait! There is more!


World Cup 2022

So you know that I took over The Philippines after they were knocked out of the WC qualifier. But I followed this WC closely for several reasons:

  1. there will be a firing/employment window after WC for sure
  2. I wanted to know where are the current star players at. What are their stats? Do they play well?
  3. use this as a "predictor" for the future

So here it comes... World Cup 2022 results!


First few things to notice:

  1. The United States won the World Cup 2022 :eek:. En route to the Cup the beat Argentina by PK, Belgium (3-2, crazy game that involved 3 goals in injury time. Screenshots below), Spain (1-0), and Italy (3-2). They don't have that many players with that are filled with green (+16) attributes, so it was crazy. I told my friend as I watch these games -- he laughed his ass off and called it bribery :lol:
  2. Belgium dominated Portugal in quarter final by 5-1, as well as Germany by the same scores. 10 goals in 2 games against tier 1 national teams, and yet they lost against the U.S.?
  3. Brazil suffered a embarrassing lost against Scotland by 4-1. I'm unsure why, but Scotland certainly had a magnificent run in the tournament
  4. Chile made in to top 4! What a run. You may say that they got lucky with the draw and all, but it is what it is. Bonus: I don't recall seeing Alexis Sanchez on the team.

Let take a quick look at some of the results from these games:

A few quick summary based on "World Cup 2022 simulation in FM20":

- If a team suffered from a red card, it is destined to lose the game by a large margin (Germany 1-5 Belgium with Julian Draxler sent off in 23 mins -- they went on and conceded 5 goals afterwards; Brazil 1-4 Scotland with Emerson sent off on 61 min, and Scotland scored 4 straight goals in the remaining 27 minutes).
- Penalty kick shootout between France and Spain (Spain win 4-1), apparently Tiki-Taka era for Spain is long gone, but they do have some very talented wing backs (as usual) to try to make things happen. Multiple times I saw Álvaro Odriozola ran down the flanks and he was just unstoppable. All in all, however, PKs missed by Thomas Lemar and Houssem Aouar sealed the fate for France. Tough luck!
- Belgium 2-3 U.S.A. was the best game of the whole tournament (trust me, I watched it as I messaged with a friend). Half-time scored was 0-0, but shot attempts was a landslide 11 to 1 in favor of Belgium. Things changed in the second half, however. It started at the 76 minutes with Jordan Siebatcheu scored a rocket just outside of the penalty box from the right:
and then, as we thought that United States is gonna hold on the goal and win the game, a stupid foul committed by someone from the U.S. resulted into a penalty kick, which was converted by Yannick Carrasco:

As we are preparing for the extra 30 minutes action, miracles happened in this game 90+2 min goal by Jordan Siebatcheu (USA), 90+3 min goal by Orel Mangala (Belgium), and a 90+6 min goal by Brenden Aaronson (USA). Official injury time was 5 minutes:

and the rest is on the record book
- Finally, the final match up between the U.S.A. and Argentina. U.S.A. 4-1 Argentina by PK. Leo Messi was not involved in the shootout. Not sure why both Messi and Lautaro Martínez (top scorer for Argentina in the tournament) were both substituted out mid way through second half (aside from the low rating), but most of the substitutes actually played worse than the starters. Messi 6.3 (out 65'), Martinez 6.5 (out 51'), Sergio Aguero 6.3 (in 65'), Joaquín Correa 6.2 (in 45+3'), Mauro Icardi 6.3 (in 51'):

In the end, with a miraculous ending, the United States of America won the World Cup in 2022!

As expected, a wave of layoffs hits as soon as the tournament is over. Here is a brief list of victims:

And here is the list of openings (that I checked everyday because I wanna get out of Dempo SC):

And here we are on Christmas Day.... MAJOR CHRISTMAS PRESENT:

BRAZIL wants my butt!!! :hammer:

Instantly take all the screenshots, saves, shared with friends, all that. Remember, I'm a Sunday Footballer from a country at 150th place! :cool:






Call me what you want. But coaching a national team at 91st and the opportunity to coach a team place at 6th is a one in a million chance. Gotta take that shot. So, on behalf on myself, I apologized to my Filipino players, who have been tremendous throughout the year as we stayed undefeated:


And even though I have been turned down (rightfully so) by a bunch of other top national teams after I accept the offer:


I will make all of you pay. But first and foremost -- challenge the current World Cup holder in a friendly match!


to test water, of course. I also immediately expand my national pool to search for the undiscovered and potential talents -- both for the national team and for my future club sake. The pool has now more than 1,000 players:

My manager reputation also get to about 1.75 stars. So things are slowly but surely getting exciting!

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Round-Up of the second half of 2022 -- Club team career (Dempo SC [India])

~ Second half of 2022 ~

Since the summer, I have been actively applying jobs for new coaching position -- no luck, even when the club has the same reputation as mine (again, read this thread to learn about domestic and nationality bias). So it becomes a routine of mine (hence the slower reporter time and game time) to go to Staff -> Job Security -> Apply for jobs with a reputation higher than my current team everyday at 8 am in game. We are now the favorite to win Airtel I-League (from the previous season with an odd of 801.00, adjusted to 601.00, and win the title). We wrapped up like this:

Again, new signings Henry (Japan U-23) and Alhassan Koroma have been great, with Henry being the most consistent performer of all. There are local signings to replace some bums:

But no foreign signings, despite there are goldmine full of talents released from top 4 league's youth academies. We sign young talents such as Amarjit Singh, in-game India national team prospect Eugeneson Borah (CPU gen), current India national team player Pronay Halder, and a few others for free. Due to formation reasons, Eugeneson isn't starting right now but coming off the bench (for Samir Colaco [CPU gen]). Here is the transfer summary:

Here are the players attributes, with Eugeneson Boarh being the highly rated prospect, even though I like Techi Tatra (who I loan him out for playing time reasons). Prasanth Xaiver (CPU gen) in staying in to replace Aaron Rodrigues as the 1st reserved striker. It's just a matter of time before he took over Colombian poacher Cesar Garcia, who has been unproductive at the front and injured (less injury-prone than Henry, however). Amarjit Singh is also coming off the reserve the substitute either Alhassan Koroma (and to play a 1-2-1 Diamond midfield) or Mohammed Sangare as the proper MC:

We didn't have the best season to start with 3 draws, despite winning Durand Cup. With international duties and injuries, our team struggled to score as long as Henry is out. This Messi phenomenon is something that we need to fix soon. But I cannot, and you'll see why in a second. Here is the first half of the season so far. The schedule is different than the previous year due to World Cup 2022 in November and December.

The club is in financial trouble -- bad enough that the original payroll budget changed for $35K p/w to $19.6K p/w, with a current payroll at $23K p/w. Here is my job performance:

noticed that the board wants me to "Develop the best youth system in the country", but they refused my request to improve our youth facilities.

And here is the club's financial performance:

WE HAVE NO MONEY TO RENEW CONTRACTS. This is why I'm looking to move because of the board failed for a takeover (talked breakdown) and have no money to let me mutually terminate contracts with overly paid players that see no game time (those players have zero demand in the transfer market, both for sale and for loan).

I also made a mistake when I go to the boardroom. Instead of go straight to the board and ask them to adjust the compensation, I clicked the other option, something along the line of "if you really want me to stay, you gotta to such and such":

As a result, this move failed through, and I'm stuck with Dempo SC. Again, I don't know how and why my schedule sees no continental competitions. Which is another reason why I'm looking forward to leave this team. I'll keep applying jobs everyday and hopefully I'll be able to get to a team elsewhere. Ideally, Journey to the West.

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Round-Up of first half 2023 -- National team career (Brazil)

~First half of 2023 ~

As expected, after World Cup, national team schedule has been pretty quiet. After taking over Brazil, I spent a lot of time to figure out what should my standard starting XI be, as well as players that would be 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or even 5th backup solely based on attributes (and set piece strategies). All these are just to have something to start as we progress and make adjustment. In the last update, I shared that I arrange friendlies against Germany (ranked 12th, if I remember correctly) and the fresh off the stove World Cup 2022 champion U.S.A.. Before going any further, I want to see how was my former team, The Philippines, performed in AFC Asian Cup 2023. After all, I took the team through Group stage (5-0-0 at the time). It turned out that they played a terrible 4-5-1 formation with reserved-quality players :rolleyes: and lose in the Round of 16 against Turkmenistan over PK.


Back to the story. My Brazil's first game is against Germany. Here is what the original selection (23-men roster for WC 2022 that they were humiliated in a 4-1 game by Scotland) looks like:

yet it turns out that these players are currently at the top of most of their positions. So I ultimately made very little change on the roster (with the intention to keep a few "hyped" youngers as a Brazilian by giving them their first caps:

including Mailson (no capped at the time, originally Shaktar/Sport Recife, transferred to Leicester City for $22M in 2023), Bruno Fuchs (originally Internacional, transferred to  Manchester City for $26.5M in 2022), Rodrygo (Real Madrid / Real Madrid Castilla), and Marcos Leonardo (Santos). And there are a bunch of youngsters have no caps too, where I did/will give them a cap in the subsequent selections, including Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid, transferred to Liverpool for $123M in 2023), Gustavo Assuncao (FC Famalicao), Reinier (Real Madrid), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Phelipe Megiolaro (Gremio), Helinho (originally Gremio, after transferred to Flamengo for $16.5M in 2022, another transfer to SL Benfica for $21M in 2023), and a bunch of other young, potential players. Currently lacking are defenders (as expected) and a proper striker with respectable finishing. Currently highest are Neymar (AML), Carlos Vinicius (ST), and Marcos Leonardo (AML / ST) at 16. The whole Brazil has only 1 person at 18, and everybody else are 16 or below. So we'll have to brace till the guy with finishing 18 to be prime time, which is uncertain since the national scouts give him a 1.5 stars potential.

Here is the list/note of players I chose and will chose based on observing their strength in the position of 4-1-4-1 DM Wide (or what I called the Barcelona 4-1-2-3 / 4-1-2-2W-1 formation) this save (no editors whatsoever used):

  • GK: 1) Alisson    2) Ederson    3) Mailson
  • DL    1) Alex Sandro    2) Alex Telles
  • DC    1) Marquinhos    2)Edermilitao [natural DR]    3) Luiz Felipe    4) Bruno Fuchs
  • DR    1) Eder Militao    2) Emerson    
  • DM    1) Fabinho    2) Allan / Casemiro    4) Marcos Antonio    5) Bruno Guimaraes
  • MC    1) Arthur    2) Bruno Guimaraes    3) Allan / Casemiro    5) Marcos Antonio [Casemiro = replaceable]
  • AML    1) Neymar    2) Philippe Coutinho    3) Rodrygo    4) Gabriel Martinelli 5) Vinicius Junior    
  • AMR    1) David Neres    2) Antony    3) Malcom
  • ST    1) Roberto Firmino    2) Gabriel Jesus    3)Antony [natural AMR]    4) Carlos Vinicius / Marcos Leonardo

We have 2 game plans -- high tempo, counter-press, positive/balance modified Tiki-Taka, and a very similar settings but attacking modified Gegenpress. First game was a deeply-disappointing 1-0 win against Germany:

Rodrygo's early injury doesn't allow me to test how good Marcos Leonardo is, as I moved him to AML and sub in Roberto Firmino (which, in-game, is a national hero, almost). The possession game is weak and players didn't create as many chances as I preferred. This seems to be a trend as we challenge the WC winner in the next game (with a few replacement):


I yelled at the team at the end of the game. This is certainly a start, but it will take a long time to have a solid team to challenge WC 2026. Will just have to take it 1 day at a time, I supposed. Next update will cover the beginning of a long haul, 2-year long World Cup qualifier. TTFN.

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Round-Up of the first half of 2023 -- Club team career (Dempo SC [India] --> DL Pro [China])

~ First half of 2023 ~

The season is mostly marred by the horrific financial condition of the club and the lack-of-empathy club president and board (you know, the same old ridiculous expectations and provide little to none). This post is gonnabe L O N G. Beware!

Let's start of with the club finance. If you follow the post above, you would know that overall balance of the club is like a landslide zone warning sign that you may see in some parts of the road/country. Here is the dragged out, widen version:

As you can see, the club is in a denial mode, where they consider a balance of -$870k euros is "Okay". Like, WTF? :idiot: The payroll budget was ~$36K p/w at the beginning of the season, with a on-going payroll expense at $22K p/w. It was later changed to $16K p/w with the board refuse to mutually terminate overpaid players because "they don't have the money" o'\_( ' _ ' )_/`o. One thing I found out is that the Asian Confederation Cup schedule (that I qualified for in the previous season) doesn't show until the new year:

so we made no foreign player transferred this winter, and this winter has a 2-month long break without friendly games because of WC, we played the reserve / youth team before returning to the Airtel I-League. A 5-0 win against our own friend, Indian Arrows:

with the "Hope of India" Samir Colaco scoring a hat-trick (including a PK) as a AMR (even though I sometimes let him played his natural AMC as a Attacking MF with Support assignments.

Just about a month into the new year, new financial report hits, and I guess the whole board are attending the 12 Steps of AA (Alcoholic-Annonymous)? They admitted that the financial condition is "insecure" at $-980k euros:

As we brace through this drama, we started our first continental competition -- Asian Confederation Cup (ACC hereafter), which, unfortunately, I won't explain the format because it was too complicated for me to comprehend. Remember, last season we were supposed to be the last team to finish Airtel I-League with a winning odd of 801.00. Our first game is against Air Force from Sri Lanka. It was chill (8-1 after 2 legs):

We then play against our next opponent, and our team was partially effected by the more restrictive foreign players policy. So the lineup is far from the best, before the team started showing tired legs and injuries at the back started to become a problem:

At some point I promoted the 17-year old Abdul Babu (CPU gen) to be my starting GK. I also started to use the 17 / 18 years old striker Prasanth Xavier (CPU gen) more in ACC, with veteran striker Aaron Rodrigues, mainly due to the foreign players restriction. Our key, foreign players keep us in the running over this brutal season. Here's an example:

March 1, 2023. The president decided to tell me in the fact that the club wasn't doing well and have to further drop my payroll budget to a pathetic $16.22K p/w, which became a problem  when attempting to renew contracts of star, essential players:

and the irony here is that because of no money, I was forced to be extremely conservative on signing free agents, and take more risk on signing players that may not have potential. P.S. -- we never have budget for scouting:

they gave me a D on transfer. I believe I shall reciprocate... with the results, before I leave.

We are now in the middle of ACC and this was a beautiful game because Prasanth's first start in ACC resulted in a hat-trick:

Meanwhile, back to I-League, we have a close title race with rival East Bengal as they also have a very outstanding season. Despite this, we were able to win this crucial game by a clean 3-0:

We ultimately defended and clinched the Airtel I-League title, after an annoying draw against city rival Churchill Bros:



and with this domestic title I am now the historically the best coach in my home country:

And you can see how the board getting cocky with our achievements, for they are now only satisfied with the league title when they ran their budget to the ground:

as the overall balance dropped below a whopping $-1M euros.

We concluded the season with draws that we should have won. Three of the foreign players (Henry, Alhassan Koroma, Mohammed Sangare) performed great throughout the season and winning awards and whatnots:


Despite all these. Our team struggled to perform in ACC with even more of these:

where we should dominate our opponents. In the financial aspect of things, extra almost $500k euros don't really do much to the club finance at this point. It was raised to about $-835K euro:

after a long stretch of daily job application, 3 post-interview rejections, I finally got a chance to interview with a club that has "rich" financial status -- DL Pro from China (Ping An Chinese Football Association Super League, or Chinese Super League, rank either #1 or #2 in Asia by competition reputation). The interview went well and, in fact, questions / requests that I asked in the boardroom seem to hit all the right spots. Eventually, they gave me an offer (look at the budget!):


and because we are in the middle of ACC, I tried to delay the offer (they won't let me change the start date, or they didn't ask when is my ideal start date for this job during the interview). I was able to successfully delay the decision twice, hence postponing the offer acceptance by 2 weeks. Within the available time, Dempo SC was able to qualify group stage and advance in ACC some-sort-of-elimination-stage:

But in the end, I have to take the offer or let it go. So I took the offer from DL Pro:



and I instantly start younger players in GK, DR, AML and AMR. The mid lane seems to be the strongest, so I ultimately spend some time to look for read-to-fight players on the flanks.

So, to revise the club vision, here is the full list. DL Pro is currently 3rd from the bottom of the Chinese Super League, and I joined the team a little past midway of the season:



Because of the mid season break in China, whereas in other countries are post-season break. It was not easy/feasible to arrange friendlies with non-domestic clubs. So I arranged a series of very low reputation domestic clubs to get players in conditions as well as getting used to my Tiki-Taka game:

conversion ratio varies. Still need to improve finishing consistency.



The club try to find me a good affiliate club, but none of them are good so I just settled for some club that seems acceptable:


Fast forward to July 1, when contracts end and start. I made my first few signings -- on are free transfers. I signed Granit Xhaka over Thiago Alcantara due to age and my well-around attributes. They are equally $105K p/w at their age of 30 and 32, respectively:

I also reunite with Paolo Perez from The Philippines national team and AC Milan youth team, who will be a decent 3-star, rotation MC that, hopefully overtime, can build enough value for resale:



So next update will be the end of season. And the goal is to "challenge the title". Let's see what will happen!

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Round-Up of second half 2023 -- National team career (Brazil)

~ Second half of 2023 ~

National team fixture has been slow, especially the year after WC. Our Brazil was getting ready to participate in my first (two) ever World Cup Qualification Game(s). After two international friendlies win against Germany and the United States (again, World Cup 2022 winner), I was able to let a few young guns to represent Brazil for the first time. With the WCQ coming up, I consider the establish a more consistent squad to build the team work down the road. Unfortunately, we were hit by some major injuries, so while we were able to maintain the roster for the backcourt (or every position behind MC), I have to make some adjustment to the front (AM L/R, ST).

Vinicius Junior is good, but not good enough in FM20. Neymar is a 5-star, but injury prone (at least during international fixture).

I picked Roberto Firmino only because the fans really love him and he has the highest rating. But because of his role in the club, he doesn't really score much as a forward:

In this selection, we lost Emerson due to a suspension, and both Gabriel Jesus and Neymar due to injuries:

As one of the image above have mentioned, I recalled David Neres due to previous injuries. DUDE :applause:IS:applause:A:applause:BEAST!:applause:

I know, I know. It's just a hat-trick against some random Bolivia team. But using 4-1-2-3 DM Wide with gegenpress, having inside forward on both wings, with finishing at least 14, really increase the number of shots. This game also features first-timer Gabriel Martinelli who is currently my 4th choice of AML behind Neymar, Philippe Coutinho (who actually doesn't play well in AML), and Rodrygo [Also a BEAST]:

Fast forward to the 3rd and 4th game of WCQ against Chile in Maracana Stadium and Venezuela (surprisingly good), I decided to drop Roberto Firmino due to recently recovered injuries and generally poor showing in premiership as a forward (I think his rating was a 7.5 but score 1 goal in 5 games or something). So this call up was another time to recall those who were missed in the previous round, as well as to give international newbie a chance (this time is Reinier). First game against Chile, we dominated the number of shots in the game. And this is also the game where I determined that Rodrygo (AML) + David Neres (AMR) could very well be my preferred starting Insider Forwards in this formation. David had a 9.6 rating with a hat-trick, the next international game he got a 9.0 for 1 goal and 2 assists:

The forth game against Venezuela was a exciting game. They are a team that refused to give up, and put up some impressive numbers of shots. Noticed that I decided to rest David Neres and let Antony (São Paulo) play (he's my 2nd best AMR). Rodrygo also scored his 1st international goal in his 3rd cap:

To to recap the second half of the 2023, my Brazil has tied the top of the FIFA World Cup Qualification (CONMEBOL) with Argentina (no Messi as he retired) -- 4 games, 4 wins, 9 goal differences. Our players have been showing good performance so far in the tournament. David Neres is currently leading in goals, player rating, and ranked 2nd in assists:

International fixture in 2024 will be just as chill. So stay tuned...

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Round-Up of the second half of 2023 -- Club team career (DL Pro [China])

~ Second half of 2023 ~

So a fast recapped -- I started out manage a top-flight team (R&F from Hong Kong) in a league ranked ~34-41th place (Hong Kong First Division League) by competition reputation in Asia, I moved the a team that tried to stay away from regulation zone and finish in mid table (Dempo SC from India), in the top division league ranked 26-27th (Airtel I-league), and then moved to a then-defending from regulation team (DL Pro from China) in the 1st place by competition reputation (Ping An Chinese Football Association Super League).

Noticed that I took over DL Pro around May 2023 where there's a mid-year / summer break of the league. Our team at the time was ranked 13th (out of 16 teams). And you know that this save is coming from a perspective of manager, who is trying to do whatever it takes to lead the largest club in the history, just to build a dynasty and be Arsene Wenger who will always be around the corner and steal your wunderkinds:

Let's take a look at the second half of the fixture as a 13th place. Title challengers are Shanghai SIPG, Beijing Guoan; defending champion is Guangzhou Evergrande. Old school powerhouse(s) including Shandong Luneng and Shanghai Shenhua:

Basically we have a tougher schedule immediately after the mid-season break, and ease out in the end.

I play 4-1-2-3 DM Wide all the time. While most of the time tiki-taka, sometimes gegenpress. Mentality changes depending on opponents, and opposition instructions always on (by position). Here is the formation:

as you can see, we have a few things to deal with -- horrific / untested connection of 2 pairs of players (Lei Yuning and Li Shuai; Lyanco and Aly Camara). I swear I have never seen a orange dotted lines before, but there you are. A couple things changed here as well. I loaned out Diego Demme to make a foreign player space for Khéphren Thuram, I bought into Granit Xhaka for free (who turned out to be a pain in the ass in everything), Ma Fuyu for free, Jasper van der Laan (CPU gen) for $70K euros and immediately loan back to the NetherlandsTian Quan and Peng Linhao (CPU gen) to loan, as well as a few other folks that were not in this screenshot. But the story follows. A quick look at the transfer history (some are my decisions, some aren't [scheduled]):

To recap the transfer summary:
1. Humam Tariq joined before I did. I sold him for opening up a Foreign player spot and his inability to play AML.
2. Qu Peng was a young strikers with a potential to be a 2.5 / 3-star forward.
3. Paolo Perez was from AC Milan Youth team and a youngster that I coached in The Philippines National Team.
4. Sold a bunch of 1, 1.5 stars who are replaceable by some players from the U-19 team.

Here are some of the signings that I am pretty proud of:

although both are only 4 stars, they would have been instant starters in this team -- should they have no limit on non-Chinese players. Jasper van der Laan would really have been a steal.

First official game, straight 3-0 win against Shanghai Shenhua. Aly Camara has been dominating the aerial game for our team that scoring becomes regular for him, as a DC. Matias Vecino has been a very consistent MC for me as well. The team features a lot of young players who I prioritize for their development:


VAR is extremely common (and annoying) in Chinese Super League games.

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As the drama later develops, it turned out that not only FM20 has been pretty decent at predicting young prospects' ability -- it can predict the pooholeness of a person too!

First this: [ Granit Xhaka speaks out on ‘hatred’ from Arsenal fans after telling them to ‘f*** off’ ] 

then this:

basically, Granit Xhaka doesn't not react well to any team talk that has a nature of disapproval (e.g. if you were disappointed by half-time). He also doesn't react well to any common shouts ('demand more', 'show some passion', 'get creative'). And then he started this drama. First, he feels there is a "lack of depth in attacking midfield". Although I differentiate attacking wingers from attacking midfield, I did promote a couple young players to the first team, who ultimately replaced veterans as starting XI. He then went on that I broke the promise and threatened that "I am a professional so I'll stop it here. But I'm sure the teammates would like to know how you handle this." (something along this blackmail line). So soon after he used this "finding it difficult to settle in the area" to double-down on his "lack of depth" complains. Because of this, and because of his training rating being the bottom of the team (yet, he was paid the most in the team), I issued a warning for him regarding his training performance. That results a "feels training criticism was unfair". Xhaka DROPPED 3 BOMBS ON ME :mad:, as a team leader, quick enough to make captain Aly Camara to called for a meeting of about 14 people about all these drama. I believe my response to the "unfair treatment" with (along the line of) "nobody should be excused from the training / performance / rules / my leadership / whatever" to drop Xhaka's "finding it diffcult to settle in the area" from high 14 down to 2 (Lyanco being 1 of the 2). Leadership support raised from Abysmal to Very poor. I got my plan to sell him before the next season. I instantly regret to sign him for a multi-year contract, when he couldn't even deliver in the season. But that's for another story down the road.

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The season goes on and we continued to win. Here's a game where our team scored 2 goals (90'+5 and 90'+6) to get away with a 4-2 win against Henan Jianye:

Fast forward to the final 2 fixture, we were able to maintain our winning streak and climbed from 13th place to 2nd place. The highest finish of DL pro is 5th (I think), and the team needs to finish top 2 to guaranteed a spot in the AFC competition next year:

Late into October, after the debacle by the drama king, Granit Xhaka dropped the charges (but it's too late, our team has limited foreign player spots and enough talents to have a place to keep him):

How so? We have 2 prospects are joining us (1 of them is Taiwanese, so he will occupy a special foreign player spot [from either Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Macau]):

To take a look at Djordje Kovacevic (CPU gen) who will take over Xhaka's place, this young fella can play both MC and AMR:

Who needs a Granit when you have a Djordje?

Into the final fixture, we are qualified for AFC Champions League:

With the final fixture features a miracle - Beijing Guoan dropped a game against Hebei China Fortune, while we got a easy 2-0 win against Guangzhou R&F -- WE WON THE LEAGUE TITLE BY 3 POINTS IN THE LAST DAY!



Here is the a good recap on the season, and why I was brought on into this team:

And nobody expect us to be at the top of the table:


As we wrap up the season, here are the list/gist of player performance -- fans favorite = 1. Captain Aly Camara, 2. Matias Vecino, 3. Shan Huanhuan; singing of the season = Khephren Thuram: young player of the season = Shan Huanhuan:

Shan Huanhuan, despite being DL Pro's home grown and only at the age of 24, he also became the most popular Chinese player period:

We got 4 players (3 foreign) selected in the team of the year. Can you guess which of the 4 foreign starters missed the selection?

We has a great run in second half of the season. Apparently, the team was at the bottom of the table at one point!

One of the key reasons is that, apparently, we may have one of the best defense in the back at the center:

And I was able to KO'ed one of the objective:

Still more to come:

We are able to increase our team's reputation to 7th in the country. After AFC Champions League in 2024, we should be able to reach top 3 then:

So the season is over, but a few things are cooking:

Youth facilities should help speeding up our young talents [although the class of 2023 wasn't good, at least we have a 4-star prospect at the goal, with a current rating of 2-star (who will replace the 1 / 1.5 star starting GK]:

The there's the wild, wild demand of managers (~78 teams including 4 national teams) that I actually am OK to wait:

I think Haiti National Football Team has been without a manager / head coach for the entire year.

Can't wait for 2024!

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Round-Up of first half 2024 -- National team career (Brazil)

~ First half of 2024 ~

I was wrong. I was wrong about the international fixture in 2024 was "just as chill" -- it was a lie. Copa America 2024 -- all in the summer! Here is how the groups look like:

Major rivals in the group including Colombia (ranked 16) and Mexico (ranked 11). It should be a reasonably easy to qualify for the second leg. So to prepare for Copa America in June, I scheduled a friendly against Senegal (world ranked 13).

Before June, there are still 2 matches for the WCQCONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers against Colombia and Peru. So the game against Colombia would be a good test to see how we stack up against them. We have played 4 games in the group thus far, but we haven't played Colombia and Peru. Here's a quick recap on the fixture of the WCQ:

As I have reported that I am interested to not call up Roberto Firmino due to his low scoring during the season, this just proves me right.:

11 hours of goal drought is BAD :herman:

The games in WQC were alright. We struggle to score against Colombia and we have a tendency to concede mid / late in the second half:

the Colombia game also sees Malcom's first cap for Brazil. David Neres was out due to injury. Philippe Coutinho was not selected because of a recent injury / out of shape PLUS he is no longer the 2nd strongest AML for my team (based on overall attributes). He's also not necessary young compare to a bunch of inverted winger / inside forwards on the left -- RodrygoGabriel Martinelli, or Everton. So in my book, he's international career is pretty much over, and he probably won't make it to the World Cup 2026.

Fast forward to may, we have to choose 26 players for the preliminary squad before cutting 3 poor fellas out of the team. I find this process brutal and unnecessary.

We have a few injured players and many out-of-shape folks that they will just have to suck it up and play hard to gain fitness, while confront the fatigue from matches.

We start out Copa America 2024 against old rival Colombia -- with an easy 3-0 win. Second half was a little disappointing due to lack of highlights / attacks. But I enjoy the 3 goals differences compared to the 1-0 win earlier this year:

As Copa America in progress, the fatigues of many players becomes apparent (while not being sharp). A 4-0 win including a brace from David Neres was certainly a treat, but, as you may noticed, our advanced forward Gabriel Jesus or the deep lying forward Roberto Firmino are not impressing me. Luckily, we got wing back Eder Militao who's a decent free kicker to and got on scoresheet at times:

Suspension, injury, all that is slowly hitting us. I started to do a squad rotation early in the group stage -- as in I start with a completely different XI to try to keep my players fresh and fit. But this cannot be done when you are dealing with this. Starting side backs are out for either injury or suspension, one of the starting playmaker was also out due to injury. Fortunately, my team is reasonably deep, but as you can see, many are still not fit:

We then struggle to keep a clean sheet against Venezuela and Peru. Concede early or late in the game -- not a fan:


As we approached to July and mid way through Copa America, we qualified for the quarter final. It maybe a little tougher than Argentina's bracket, and I personally would expect us to face Argentina in the final.

Next update should be post-Copa America and continue into the WCQ. I'm currently considering taking control of the youth teams (U-23 / U-22 / U-20 / U-19) when there's a major tournament. But I haven't made up my mind yet because it takes a lot longer to push my club career forward. So we'll see.


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Round-Up of the first half of 2024 -- Club team career (DL Pro [China])

~ First half of 2024 ~

If I haven't made it clear before, Chinese Super League starts around March and ends around November. So for the first month or so it has been slow. But all the events just pop-up and becomes kind of a hectic schedule -- AFC Champions League Group Stage starts in mid February, Chinese FA Super Cup in late February, Chinese Super League in early March. We kind of have to start the AFC Champions League without being fully fit. But let's recap what happened so far.

So we signed 2 players in the winter (before the new season starts) -- Chen Ming-chiang (CPU gen), a Taiwanese striker from Atlanta United and Djordje Kovacevic (CPU gen), a "wonderkid" from Bayern MunichChen Ming-chiang was brought it to provide a good rotation / second option / competition for starting striker Shan Huanhuan, while Djordje Kovacevic was in to clearly replace Granit Xhaka as one of the MC. Here are the fan reactions based on my purchase, which were based on my scout with a Judging Potential rating of 18:

We are still the most competitive league in Asia (#1), despite the weird fact that FM20 does not have J-League but have some J-League teams:

Expectation reminder was hit in the face by the faceless president Zhang Lin. TL;DR -- win the single game domestic cup, reach group stage in continental competition, qualify for continental competition, and reach semi-final in multi-games / multiple rounds domestic cup:

New season predicted us to finish #5. And we are not particularly active in the transfer market. I did make DL Pro to become a 3-star team, which isn't too shabby. But this projected line-up is way off lol:

As we are preparing the season, drama king (#1) Granit Xhaka now feels "settled". Again, it's too much, too late:

and somehow I was hit by this little random bug in FC20:

AFC Champions League Group Stage drew our DL Pro against the (in-game no-namer) FC Tokyo from Japan, Muangthong Utd from Thailand, and FC Seoul from Korea. The only interesting here is that my former players Pachu and Igor Sartori back in the R&F days were in it.

Pachu was a good player, and so was Igor Sartori, but Igor Sartori can only score in Hong Kong First Division League and not necessarily in a league that is more competitive. So when he created drama in my R&F, I sold his butt and made a profit. Pachu is still occasionally a starter for FC Seoul, but Igor Sartori is mostly on the bench, sometime not even. (He eventually retired as a scout after being released by FC Seoul in March 2024):

Who would wanna hire such a crappy scout?

Anyway, Granit Xhaka has done nothing to help his case with a regularly poor performance in training:

Just when you think things were going great... we have ANOTHER ONE:

How is he a drama king #2? Well, he ain't gonna replace my DC core Lyanco and Aly Camara, nor will he take the reliable veteran playmaker Matias VecinoSo when the AFC Champions League can only allow 3 foreign players -- this young gun is not going to make the list (despite I expected him to start every league game, which he did):

No, he was nor is not more valuable those 3 foreigners that I just mentioned above. And, once again, this SECOND DRAMA KING turned the team against me. Intriguingly, all 3 of my key foreign players feel the same way:

And I actually defused this bomb, despite the dynamics screen insist that there were 26 players agreed with him:

The very next day, Djordje Kovacevic hits me with this BS:

Just soldier on. We won a the FA Super Cup against Shandong Luneng in a close 2-1 game, despite controlling the possession and maintain a large margins in number of total shots:

Starting the Chinese Super League, drama king #1 Granit Xhaka further backtrack his decisions and emotions. Too late bro:

The season starts with a few new teams being very competitive -- Shangdon Luneng and Jiangsu Suning. Other teams that are expected to perform, they perform. The only other surprise is Guangzhou Evergrande, second runner-up last season, ranked 8th after first 9 games. I supposed losing Elkeson really hurts them:

Overall, the board has been happy and so far, reasonable with the expectations:

Drama king #2 Djordje Kovacevic has been busy with first-team football (as a freshman in the team) that he let go the drama that he created:


Leadership support has since been in Excellent form:

As we get through AFC Champions League Group Stage undefeated, we first face Sydney FC in an away game. A late goal by the Taiwanese Chen Ming-chiang helped us with an away goal advantage:

And the board is happy enough to give me an A+:

On the other hand, this year young recruits have been just as "bad" as before. last year, we got a 4-star potential GK Li Xuan (CPU gen) who is now my starting goalie at the age of 17, this year seem to be in the similar shoes. TL;DR -- "Don't expect much from this youth intake":

We got past Sydney FC 1-0 in the second leg with a penalty in 90'+5, despite only making 7 shots and control majority of the possession in the game. If I remember correctly, Sydney FC didn't make a shot on target:

We draw against the same group enemy FC Seoul in the quarter final, with the expectation to play either Chinese Super League rival Beijing Guoan or K-League representative Ulsan Hyundai in the semi. Whoever that would be, I will face a brand new, unfamiliar opponent in the final.

There are several openings in the higher / highest reputation teams. I applied to those but got rejection. This is the only ridiculous thing that I got, which is my "complete lack of experience in guiding teams away from relegation". Whatever, FM20. You know I g0dd4mn did with DL Pro and Dempo SC:

After the season of 2024 is over, I'll actively apply for a new club. I might splash some cash on this team before I leave, but we shall see!

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Round-Up of second half 2024 -- National team career (Brazil)

~ Second half of 2024 ~

In the previous update, my Brazil went through group stage of Copa America and got to the quarter-final. We played Chile in a match where we supposed to score with ease -- ended with a 5-4 win over penalty shootout. With either the hectic schedule 1 game every 2-3 days). this game we got the reserved XI to play. Despite we dominated in shot attempts, we continue to suffer from a dry spell at the front:


so we are pretty lucky to get passed quarter-final, because we don't deserve to win this match. I have my starting XI again in the semi against Colombia. I don't remember if I changed the width of the formation or not, but I definitely made some minor adjustment. We scored all 3 goals in first half, but second half was rather quiet. My man David Neres once again scored a brace!

Which leads to the previously predicted final showdown -- Superclasico in Copa America:

We were able to keep Argentina down to 2 shots total in the first half, but they were able to maintain the ball and increase their total shots over the remainder of the match. I made a few changes where I can tried to push the wingers and forward much more forward -- no luck. Striker continues to disappoint me, and these substitutions (Antony for David Neres, Roberto Firmino for Gabriel Jesus, Allan for Arthur) do not make much differences). So we got away, again, via a penalty shootout, with a 5-4 for Brazil:

So we got one over our arch rival Argentina and won Copa America 2024:hammer:

it is, obviously, a slightly disappointing results because we did not control the possession of the game. Which is the first thing the journalist ask in the post-match conference:

My response to this question would be the bottom one.

So to quickly summarize the performance in Copa America, we have our starting DM Fabinho with the highest pass completion (97%) in the tournament. David Neres tied the 2nd place for PoM and number of goals (4 goals in 6(1) appearance), Marquinhos came 3rd for the number of interceptions, Marcos Antonio (reserved DM / MC) has the 2nd highest average rating, young winger Gabriel Martinelli has the 3rd highest of shot attempts:

as you can see, Argentina is definitely a threat to Brazil. Tons of great players that can create a new, golden generation for their national team. A quick note on some of the accomplishments from our players. Eder Militao, David Neres, Ederson all are part of my starting XI:

We also have 6 players, including the 3 aforementioned players, made it to the Copa America Dream Team. After this event, however, Arthur has been demoted to my reserve MC, as I ultimately make space for the 22-year old Reinier to become another playmaker in the team:

After Copa AmericaNeymer decided to step down as the team captain of Brazil, so Marquinhos promoted to become the captain, and I make the advance PM Bruno Guimaraes to be the vice-captain (who I believe he is the captain of Man Utd in 2024 in-game). Neymar is still the starting left wing for the national team and nobody has as strong of a finishing and attacking attributes as his -- he will be there for awhile.

CBF has been understandably please with my performance after the win:

Despite the win, our Brazil maintain its 3rd position in the world as of July 14, 2024 (eventually we swap our spot with Argentina):

And here we come to the randomest event of the summer, for my national team career:

ARGENTINA WANTS ME! And I DID NOT EVEN APPLY! That being said, I turned down their offer, even though it is my opinion that the future of Argentina seems to be brighter than Brazil, with more prospects at the back. But until I get the World Cup 2026, I have no intention to leave Brazil. Let's take a quick look at how did that happen:

it turned out that Lionel Scaloni resigned after being in charge for many years. And, somehow, I became Argentina's top candidate without even apply! That's new! I am very flattered! I also like the self-ridicule attempt at the end of the sentence by FM.

Fast forward to September (and onwards), each month will feature 2 international games, specifically the WCQ games. Our first game in the CONMEBOL WCQ is against Paraguay. We were able to control most part of the game, but the way we conceded the goal was nothing but pathetic, with Alex Sandro holding on to the ball for seconds, lost possession, regain it, and repeat, before getting it by a counter-attack. In the prep talk, however, the drop down menu doesn't give me ways to yell at him for being responsible of the conceding goal. instead, it was (according to the prep talk) Neymar who is (supposed to be) responsible :rolleyes:. This game also featured some novice to get their first international cap, specifically Victor Hugo (CPU gen) and Kaio Jorge (Santos). Anyway, quick summary is here:

Second game in September is against Uruguay, We deal with suspensions of 2 of our starting XI defenders, Alex Sandro and Luiz Felipe. Here is how the formation was like, before [top] and after [below]:


The international newbie Marcos Leonardo finally scored in his 6th international cap with a brace. And we were able to put up some shot attempts. Unsure how we keep losing the ball and struggled to get it back (gegenpress after all), but it was fortunately for us that we didn't concede even though they had the ball and had shot attempts as many as we did:

So the September games end. Up next: Argentina and Bolivia in October, Ecuador and Venezuela in November:

First game against Argentina with the new headcoach (who is not me) was a surprised cake walk. Look at the stats:

Argentina had 2 shots in the entire game :eek:! This is also the game where Neymar finally break the all-time leading scorer with international 78 goals, 1 over Pele.




Into the November games against Ecuador and Venezuela, both forwards Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino were just recovered from injuries and were not in shape. So I called up younger forwards Marcos Leonardo and Kaio Jorge for the first time. I also called up Reinier in place of Allan for Allan is now 33 and Marcos Antonio can play as a DM. In the game against EcuadorEder Militao bailed us out with his free kick goal (again, his rating might be low (14) but he can score). We dominated the shots in total once again, but the low conversion rate is starting to bother me despite winning by 1-0. Second game against Venezuela was a tight game, even though we scored 3 goals including a extra time PK by NeymarLuiz Felipe scored a nice header at the box (forgot if that was his first international goal). With this win, our Brazil have qualified for the World Cup 2026. We also up our world ranking by 1 spot to #2.

So to summarize, we maintain a winning streak despite struggling to score at times. Here are the games we played and results in 2024:

Current schedule in 2025 will feature 6 more games for the WCQ. Not sure what will happen in the summer. I may control a Youth national team if there are tournaments happening though. TTFN!

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Round-Up of the second half of 2024 -- Club team career (DL Pro [China])

~ Second half of 2024 ~

Into second half of the year (and season), we are trying to be competitive between Chinese Super League, FA Cup, and AFC Champions League. For FA Cup, we got to the semi with 3 other powerhouses that finished top 4 -- Beijing Guoan, Shanghai SIPG, and Guangzhou Evergrande. Our opponents in the semi-final is Guangzhou Evergrande, who have won the past 2 years of AFC Champions League as well (2021-2022, 2022-2023).

In the middle of the year, I sold the drama king #1 Granit Xhaka to Norwich for $16.5M euros. He was clearly happy for the move and hate my guts. As you will see in the following:



This is the first time where I see a relationship can be labeled as "Rival", even though he's still a player and got nothing on me. Besides, dude was a softy (negative response to all of my prep talk and does not deliver (2 assists in 15 games). I'm glad that he moved on because he created a space for me to sign another player who, in principle, can immediately contribute.

Are you ready for this?

  • Out: Granit Xhaka ($16.5M euros)
  • In: James Rodriguez (Free, released from Juventus)


I have to admit that I did not do much scouting of James Rodriguez because I thought he was just too good to not sign him up. The signing could also increase our club statue. As the reliable Matias Vecino is also aging with his expiring contract, I wanted to use James Rodriguez to replace Matias Vecino as the starting XI MC, at least in the league. It turns out that, despite he is very technical and all, his lack of physical attributes and defense make him an overall worse MC than Matias Vecino. Having said that, I cannot possibly replace him with Matias Vecino in the league, and he isn't going to take the time away from our future MC Djordje Kovacevic (CPU gen) as Djordje has already missed out of AFC and became the drama king #2. With restrictions on foreign players and all that -- all these pointing towards one thing, which is I made a bad decision to sign him, because James Rodriguez is a redundant player.

Friendly headcoach from our rival Guangzhou Evergrande, Patrick Vieira, was fired. It is kinda suck for him because he was given half a season before getting fired. But I supposed that is a very common thing in FM, especially for underperforming top teams regardless of their leagues.

One of the biggest match of the season for us DL Pro is any game against Beijing Guoan, who have been performing great in all competitions. Our game was a close one and, despite losing Lyanco from a major injuries that sidelined him for weeks or months, we were able to keep up with that. Li Xuan (CPU gen), in particular, put up a wonder defensive display at the age of 17/18.


So, as I briefly discussed, James Rodriguez was not a good signing. He was upset that he was left out of both the AFC and the league squad, which is understandable (as I was waiting to play him after Matias Vecino's contract to expire before letting him start. So when we had a talk and he found my response ("made it up to you") unacceptable, he tried to create this drama for me:

As I went through something like this twice now, third time is just a straight up charm. Everyone is happy (except for James Rodriguez), and the whole team move on lightning fast.

Back to the league, we are now 19-2-0 in 21 games. Beijing Guoan placed 2nd with some good margin. We, however, beat Guangzhou Evergrande in mid season with a dramatic comeback 4-2 win. We conceded 3 minutes into the game before I start spamming "Demand more", and got 2 penalty kicks, 3 goals in the next ~20 minutes. Half time was 3-2. The game kind of quiets down before Djordje Kovacevic scored in injury time.

Quarter-final starts with our old friend FC Seoul (see above for the history between two former players of mine from R&F [Hong Kong] and now in FC Seoul). We got past the 1st leg with a injury time goal by starting forward Shan Huanhuan.

And our next CSL game, a 2-1 victory against Zhejiang Greentown, secured a spot for next year's AFC Champions League, which is one of the required club goals. Team leader Aly Camara scored yet another header early in the game for us before Japanese international Shoya Nakajima tied the game in second half. Shan Huanhuan bailed us out against in 90'+6 for this undeserving victory:


this action alone pleased the owner with one of the club vision, once again (to me surprised, this isn't about the AFC qualification requirement):

and just looking at the overall performance evaluation, the club is generally very happy and I have been maintaining that A+ for awhile:

And one of the funnier things happen as the season progress is that some of our coach(es) are truly delusional when it comes to judging players' potential. I didn't know that I have 3 players that can be better than James Rodriguez :rolleyes::

As much as I love these guys (both Wang Xiang and Zhu Juanbo are AM R), they will never come close to James Rodriguez at his 33 :lol:.

Quarter-final, second leg game of AFC Champions League against FC Seoul ended with a 0-0 tied. My DL Pro advanced with a 1-0 aggregate to semi-final against Ulsan Hyundai, who is also from Korea / K-League. On the other end, Al-Hilal (KSA) of Saudi Arabia, the previous three peat winner (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021) before Guangzhou Evergrande took over the AFC Champions League two years in a roll, will face the newcomer Al-Duhail from Qatar.

As we are in the final third / forth of the CSL, we beat Shijiazhuang Ever Bright in a 4-1 away win to secure our 2nd Chinese Super League title! A brace by the ever-reliable Matias Vecino help securing the match. Lyanco was still out due to injury and other outfield starting XI were rested due to congested fixture.

And while we can take a deep breath and ease a little bit, take a look at #3 to #8 and their scores (TL;DR - 44, 44, 43, 41, 40, 36 in either 25 or 26 games). Our deep-lying PM Matias Vecino at the time was the top scorer in the league (:eek:) with 14 goals, who he also had the highest average rating (7.64) and tied first for PoM (6). This season ultimately ended with the Chinese Super League dropped to 2nd most competitive league in Asia, after K-League.

AFC Champions League semi-final, 1st leg was an away game against Ulsan Hyundai. We were able to make a comeback win 2-1. Again, Shan Huanhuan bailed us out last into the match!

After 26/27 games of CSL, team placing 3rd to 7th maintain a pretty close margin (TL;DR - 44, 44, 44, 44, 41 pts). Something worth noting is that Guangzhou Evergrande made an big push. They ranked 8th after first 9 games (4-1-4) in CSL and is now placing 3rd after 26 games (13-5-8), meaning that the last 17 games they maintained a respectable 9-4-4:

AFC Champions League semi-final 2nd leg, another bored draw at home allowed us DL Pro to beat Ulsan Hyundai by 2-1 aggregate. Al-Duhail successfully upset the finals regular with an aggregate 2-1 win against Al-Hilal (KSA):


In CSL, we ultimately complete the unbeaten run with a modestt 1-0 win against Shandong Luneng. The final standing between 4th and 7th place were within 3 points margin and probably decided based on match results of the two (or more). 3rd place Guangzhou Evergrande = 52 points, 4th place Shangdon Luneng = 48 points, 5th place Shanghai SIPG = 48 points, 6th place Shanghai Shenghua = 46 points, 7th place Jiangsu Suning = 45 points.:

Here is a quick summary of some accolades. Matias Vecino won the CSL Player of the Year (average rating 7.57), he, as well as Djordje Kovacevic, team captain Aly Camara, rotation turn regular DR wing back Tong Lei, and young starting goalkeeper Li Xuan were selected to be the CSL Team of the Year starting XI. 4-star prospect Khephren Thuram was selected to be the substitute:

AFC Champions League final 1st leg against Al-Duhail of Qatar was a pleasant surprise -- they provide lesser fight than what I would expect. Their Japanese international Hiroki Sakai did not play well in this game. Zhu Juanbo scored a powerful strike to the top left corner just outside of the box so secure a 1-0 win for us.

and then I get the update/reminder/blessing from the president, twice:

Chinese FA Cup final 1st leg against rival Beijing Guoan was yet another disappointing performance but with acceptable results. We were outplayed by shot attempts as well as possession, but team captain Aly Camara once against scored a header in the 90th to help us secure a win. This game I rested a few starting XI to prepare for the AFC Champions League final 2nd leg (yes, 2 legs for this AFC Champions League, so I didn't play my startin DL, DR, DC [just for AFC as Lyanco suffered from a major injury that I did not registered him for the 2nd phase of the competition, and make space for Djordje Kovacevic], AM R and AM L.

As we are almost done with the season, James Rodriguez decided to drop the issues. Contrary to Granit Xhaka, I really don't have a problem with him. It's just a bad timing and me made a bad decision to sign him. He maintained his playing time in the reserve league, but I'm sure he would much rather playing in the CSL.

As the head coach of Brazil national football team, I get to vote for the player of the year / Ballon d'Or. Look at the candidates and look at how many of them are playing for Barca. This is crazy!

AFC Champions League final 2nd leg was a surprise. Not only we performed well with respectable number of shot attempts, but we also crushed Al-Duhail with a 3-0 away win. The most interesting thing is that second half substitutes Chen Jie (CPU gen) from the DL Pro academy, as well as Tian Quan that was on loan from Shanghai SIPG, these two youngsters scored their first goal for our club in this final. Chen Jie scored a header as soon as he substitute in for Aly Camara. All in all, it was a great run!

So the final game of the AFC Champions League is a wrap. The loaned player, soon-to-be-permanent DM Tian Quan received the PoM award, We got some money, fans were happy, we were the underdogs and won, and the finals seem to be the highest scoring matchup for us (by goals aggregate):

6 of our players made it to the Asian Champions League Dream Team -- besides the usual Li Xuan (GK), Aly Camara (DC), Matias Vecino (MC), we have on loan and soon-to-be-permanent Peng Linhao (DL), homegrown winger/free agent Zhu Juanbo (AM R), and regular starter, the last minute savior Shan Huanhuan (ST) were elected:

Chinese FA Cup final 2nd leg against Beijing Guoan was a thrilling 3-2 win for us. Although winger Wang Xiang was sent off in 50 minutes (which forced me to substitute Djordje Kovacevic with the mid season transferred, winger/striker Zhao Ziteng, we were able to break the 1-1 tie with a penalty kick converted by Shan Huanhuan in 62'. Although Beijing Guoan was able to tied the game with a 86 min goal, Matias Vecino sealed the deal from distance with a 90'+2 goal. Our DL Pro won the final by 4-2 aggregate.

So yeah, we wrapped up our 2024 season with a quadruple, and Aly Camara continued to impressed the world with his excellent level of headers and scoring.

Undefeated season, more accolades, just a quick summary here (TL;DR - Fans Player of the Season = Matias Vecino [55% >Aly Camara's 26% >Djordje Kovacevic's 12%], Signing of the season & young player of the season = Djordje Kovacevic at 19:

Single season goalscoring record, assist record, most PoM awards, shutout record were all broken by endgame savior Shan Huanhuan, AM L winger Lei Yuning, captain Aly Camara and our new hope goalie Li Xuan:

Season average rating record was also broken by Matias Vecino again. More and more data suggested that nobody can replace the important of Matias.

Here is the happy update regarding the increase of club statue in the continent. DL Pro's reputation is now #5 in Asia following the win in AFC Champions League. Finals opponent Al-Duhail is around 14th, Al-Hilal (KSA) is the current #1,  our semi-final opponent is #4 (Ulsan Hyundai), and other rivals in the CSL are at #2 (Guangzhou Evergrande), #6 (Beijing Guoan), and #7 (Shanghai SIPG), respectively:

As I mentioned in the previous post (of my club career updates), I will start my job search after all the dust are settled. Here is an example where I got the interview -- with AJ Auxerre:

my experience from that interview is that if you have little chance of getting that job, the 2nd paragraph usually starts with "Despite". You will also consistently get this kinda BS when I have plenty of set pieces goals:

I supposed that FM20 will just find whatever excuses they can get to reject you (even though they don't have to give you an excuse, which I got rejections like that).

So eventually, someone wants me. From Europe, supposedly reasonably wealthy, and with a decent reputation. Can you make a guess? Here's a preview, next update we will be straight to business!

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Round-Up of first half 2025 -- National team career (Brazil)

~ First half of 2025 ~

First half of 2025 has been pretty quiet -- just 2 games of CONMEBOL WCQ against Chile and Colombia. We played Chile in Copa America 2024 Quarter final and win by penalty shootout. So it is motivating for us to start the new year with a clean win. Building up to these games, there are some injuries left and right -- 3rd choice DC Bruno Fuchs, two new rising strikers Marcos Leonardo and Kaio Jorge are unavailable. So I called up Dico (CPU gen, who is now my 5th choice DC) for the reserved DC spot. I also forced to recall Roberto Firmino (now 33) and Gabriel Barbosa (never called him up in my time as the manager of Brazil national team) because Gabriel Jesus basically played no games, or as a substitute. There's also a weird situation where both Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior were missing in the national pool and cannot be called up for the squad. All in all, it was weird.

We controlled the entire game that features a screamer by the up and coming MC Reinier, who is playing for Real Madrid in 2025:

A clean 4-0 win with a landslide attempts of shots:

With the pretty good form, we go into the second game against Colombia. We previously beat Colombia 1-0 in the WCQ (March 2024), 3-0 in the group stage of Copa America, 3-1 in the semi final of Copa America -- feels like we should be pretty prepared for it. However, it really seems like the older players at the front hurt our chances to score against a more competitive opponent -- we got away with a 1-0 win, despite also controlling the game:

And this point, we have already qualified for the World Cup 2026. 4 more games are on the team schedule:

Let's take a look at the table as well as the individual stats for a second:

We have a comfortable 10 points margin ahead of the 2nd place Argentina that my future call up should include more younger players in the squad. Individually, starting DL Alex Sandro has been great for us -- leading the average rating as well as placing 3rd on assists.

The next international friendly that I can arranged is for March 2026 (next year) -- against the currently #1 England. The game should be exciting then. But still, 4 more WCQ games this year!

Edited by rnhpyx
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Round-Up of the first half of 2025 -- Club team career (DL Pro [China] --> RCD Espanyol [Spain])

~ First half of 2025 ~

As reviewed in the last update for my club team career -- WE MADE IT TO EUROPE! I got an offer from RCD Espanyol, who were struggling with the season in 2025 (and they are at the bottom of the table in 2020 thus far). It takes 6 years in-game to land a position in a top-flight league. The next challenge, obviously, is to land a position in the naturally UCL title contender team (if not Barca)!

But to take a step back, and because there are so many things that I need to share about the first 6 months in RCD Espanyol, this update will split into two posts. So, here we go!

As soon as I accepted the position at Estadio Cornella-El Prat, I spent almost a day just to plan out the game plans, set pieces, etc.

one thing that I dislike the most is the club emphasizes set pieces -- why is it important to a club to "make the most of set pieces" when the only metrics that they have is the score? And why am I being stressed into making it happen? More importantly, why should I be responsible for not making the most of set pieces when the players that I have are just not that great in the air? These are the things that I have in mind as soon as I saw the club vision:

It doesn't help that a lot of these players have a low minimum release clause that will be difficult to keep these players in a long run. First thing first -- contracts! This is the sort of inbox that kind of demotivating after just joining a team in the middle of the season:

Inauguration post is always important:

As soon as I hopped to the league table -- you know that this team doesn't do well. Despite being projected to finish the team at mid table (10th to be precise), Espanyol has been under-performing for the first half of the season, placing 15th with a 7-0-11 record with just 21 points. The relatively good news is that among the last 7 teams in the league, we have a single digit goal differences at -5. So it seems like they have been struggle to lose or barely win games with small margin (but, interesting, zero draws). The interesting thing in the season, at this point, is that teams such as CD Leganes (the team that my character played for in PES2017/2018 n MyLegend/MyCareer/MyPlayer mode), Alaves, or Granada ranked higher than Espanyol (not expected from the recent historical standpoint). The good thing is that, despite having only 21 points, the 6th place (Europa spot) Villarreal has ONLY 29 points, and the 5th place Valencia has 30 points. We are 18 games in, I think that making up 9 points differences in the remaining 20 games should be very doable.

However, I was sort of being tricked to sign this deal with Espanyol. One of the reasons I chose them is because the club is "rich". Looking at the finances, it appears that they are not THAT rich. Specifically, while the club maintain a positive overall balance, transfer budget definitely isn't great, and what's worse in the payroll balance is currently negative:

Although the balance improves as they are getting some recurring income, this is something that I have / had concerns at the beginning.

In terms of the team, I failed to take screenshots of how I run this Espanyol. Inspired by some videos that I watched, I maintained the formation 4-1-2-3 / 4-1-4-1 DM Wide / 4-1-2-2-1 / 4-5-1 (whatever you wanna call it), but I play vertical tiki-taka instead of the traditional tiki-taka. I still have a gegenpress strategy as my aggressive plan B. But to start my first game, my team missed starting DC Marc Bartra due to injury. So I roll with backup DC Fernando Calero for awhile. That being said, this lineup has no aerial games. First game against Celta Vigo looks pretty decent, but the unnecessary booking at the back isn't something that I'm particularly pleased. We controlled the possession and the number of shots were there. However, much like my Brazil that also plays tiki-taka, scores don't seem to come easy -- the two goals were scored by substitutes Wu Lei (veteran) and Carlos Alvarez (hot prospect):

Interestingly, this duo also scored (and win) the friendly match against Paris Saint-Germain back in July 2024! So how they struggle in La Liga is somewhat interesting. Also, these are the remaining league games that Espanyol have. Noticed that we are facing FC Barcelona later in January, Real Madrid in mid February, Atletico de Madrid in mid March -- meaning that the strength of the schedule ease out in the final stretch of the league. And the somewhat decisive games will be in the final 3 fixtures in May -- Valencia (#5), Athletic Club (#12), and Sevilla (#3). Are they particularly tough or fearful? Not really. But it seems like those games will be decisive for the UCL qualification.

Random news:

Man City has some sort of fetish to splash cash from Inter Milan. Previously $111M euros on Lautaro Martinez, now $171M euros on Degnand Wilfried Gnonto:idiot:


So we got to the 3rd round of Copa del Rey, and we drew to play Celta Vigo again, after the 2-0 win earlier in the month:

Fast forward to the Catalan derby -- we basically park the bus and hold a draw against FC Barcelona. If you don't know what kind of players they have, see the above posts on selecting the FIFA Ballon d'Or -- they have tons! That being said, I'm satisfied with this draw because they are clearly out of our league. After 2 weekends, we are now up to 10th place, which is the acceptable position for my first year of Espanyol, even though the club wants to qualified for Europa:

In the 3rd round of Copa del Rey, I started using more substitutes / young players to try to implement the concept of rotations to my players. Against Celta Vigo that we previously won 2-0, I started young prospects Pablo Martinez (CPU gen, GK), Sergio Navarro (CPU gen, DL), Carles (CPU gen, MC), Raul (CPU gen, AML / ST), prospect Carlos Alvarez (AMLRC, ST), and Sergi Vito (CPU gen, DC/DM). It was a nice comeback win for us after demanding and pushing my players to be creative throughout the game:

Now we are qualified for the 4th round of Copa del Rey, here is how the tree looks before the draw:

And here is how it looks after the draw, where we play Athletic Club (2nd from the final league fixture opponent):

It appears that there was an upset against the league-leading FC Barcelona by the 19th ranked Girona FC, a clean 2-0 win:

Our next game in the league against CD Leganes first see Carlos Alvarez to start because we lost our first choice striker Youssef En-Nesyri to the African Nation Cup (I think). This game also sees prospect Miquel (CPU gen, MC) to play and start for EspanyolLluis, the 2nd starter DC, suffered from injury that also altered the back line. Turns out that Lluis is pretty injury-prone. I have also started prospect Sergio Navarro (CPU gen) regularly as my DL as he is totally ready for the starter position as well as having the highest free-kick rating of the team (15) and potential (4 stars). Long story short, a nice 1-0 win for us and once again, Carlos Alvarez bailed us out:

Random news:

Nobody has successfully to survive the board of Liverpool so far. Since Jurgen Klopp was fired in 2021, this position is cursed -- Antonio ConteJose MourinhoSergen Yalcin are a few folks that unsuccessfully attempt to lead Liverpool to glory. They certainly can't say YNWA when they got the termination letter.


Copa del Rey round 4 against Athletic Club was a close one. Both teams maintain good possession (54:46), and our team actually did reasonably well in terms of shot on target percentage (80%), but the number of shots were just acceptable (10) in 120 minutes. Carlos Alvarez once again played the savior role by scoring all 2 goals for us, including a 113-minute goal. Veteran Ayoze Perez did not make the most out of this rare starting opportunity.

After this game, we made it to the 5th round / quarter final of the Copa del Rey against, unfortunately, FC Barcelona.

Despite having a not-so-stellar performance and with 3 years remaining on his contract, Zelimkhan Bakaev decided that he wanted to have a new contract  and refused to take "no" as an answer. Some of these men really don't have a clue to realized that "no means NO". As most of the drama kings, he turned half of the team against me. The only good thing? Team leader and starting goalkeeper Ionut Radu is not on the list. You guys are free to dox these individuals, however:

This conversation ended with 14 players support me (lead by Marc Bartra) and 7 against me (lead by one of the two starting MC Parfait Guiagon). My reaction to the press after this incident also gained support from those 14 players:

Moving forward, we are up against Real Betis with our full-strength starting XI -- a 2-0 win including a header by starting striker Youssef En-Nesyri.

After this game, we have started a 5-match unbeaten streak for the past month:

Copa del Rey quarter final against FC Barcelona was an upset 3-1 win -- literally all 3 shots on target converted to goals, despite we clearly lose the number of shot attempts by a landslide -- 5 vs. 32:

Quique Setien was not happy about the game and I don't blame him -- I would be pissed too. After this game, it set us up for a semi final against Granada FC (ranked #19 earlier when they beat FC Barcelona in La Liga). It's nice to see Real Madrid has to play against Atletico Madrid, however:

Looking back at the league, it appears that Granada is making a run just like us (ranked 12th in February) while FC Barcelona once again on the wrong end after forcing a draw against then ranked 20th Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña:

The game against Celta Vigo once again separate by a small margin -- a modest 1-0 win scored by our very own Raul. Despite being a natural striker, I have a tendency to put him on AML because of his pace and lack of finishing:

Copa del Rey semi final against Granada -- the two that I may have mentioned quite a lot scored all 3 goals in the 3-1 win -- a brace by Carlos Alvarez and a strike by RaulKeep in mind that the starting XI is mostly reserved / young players, with the exception of Lluis and Sergio Navarro, who plays as DR in the cup instead of DL. The starting MCs Miquel and Carles as are both from our own youth academy. Of the five players at the positions of 2 MC, AML, AMR and ST, Ayoze Perez was the oldest of the 5 at the age of 31, and Carlos Alvarez being the second oldest of the five at the age of 21. This game set us up to fight against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey final:

Remember the few major games in the league for the remaining 20 games after joining Espanyol? After FC Barcelona? That's right, the game against Real Madrid. We had a great first half against Real Madrid after tying the game just before half time at 1-1:

And the giant has awake -- a HAT-TRICK by Youssef En-Nesyri! I don't remember how many headers are there, but he's pretty good at that while moving. The two assists dished by DR Victor Gomez would certainly be remember as one of the heroes in this match, as well as the starting AML Manu Vallejo. Same cannot be said for Thiabaut Courtois, probably a game that he wanted to forget (maybe he played a little too much of F1 2019 during this quarantine :lol:):

A match report from Voetbalzone. After this game, we are now at the 5th place of the league -- just about 45 days since I joined the team!

After this weekend, here is a quick summary of the table. We are within the 5th to 7th place between Valencia and Villarreal. We are also 9-12 points away from the 4th place Sevilla for the UEFA Champions League spot. We still have 13 games to play, Since we are playing Sevilla at the end of the season, we will need to make 6-9 points advantage in the next 12 games. It will be challenging, but I'm hopeful with the strength of the fixture.

A quick summary of the fixture as of mid February:

Sprinkle with some award and club performance evaluation from the board after the games against SD Eibar (2-1 W) and CSKA Moscow (1-1, home friendly):


Next update shall be the second half of the second half of La Liga 2024-2025!

Edited by rnhpyx
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Round-Up of the first half of 2025 -- Club team career (RCD Espanyol [Spain])

~ Second half of the first half of 2025 ~ (Part 2 of the update)

Mid-march, biggest match up must be the away game against Atletico Madrid. As discussed, At. Mad. was sitting at #3 in mid-February, and every game matters in order for us to qualify for Champions League / UCL. This is once again, a close match and decided by the 21-year old genius Carlos Alvarez in the 90+3 mins with a long range volley:

Copa del Rey semi final, 2nd leg. We were humiliated by Granada in a 4-2 away lost, despite winning by away goals in a 5-5 aggregate. We played terrible with little shots despite controlling the possession. But, generally speaking, I'm ok with this aggregate win since the starting XI for the league were rested, and all the youngsters and reserves get to play in the cup (all XI were swapped).

Back in La Liga, we continue our strong performance by taking down Getafe at home with a 3-0 win (including a beautiful free kick by Sergio Navarro, and a 2-0 win against Girona FC

By late mid-March, after a 3-1 away win against Real Sociedad, we are sitting pretty at 5th and within reach to get to the 4th place (UCL qualified), where Atletico Madrid with 57 points, or 2 points ahead of us (and played 1 less game than us). There's also Sevilla at the 3rd with 60 points and played 1 less game. So the worse case scenario is we are 8 points from 3rd place and 5 points from 4th place.

Into April, we have some new youth recruits. Juan Pablo San Jose was the best of the best -- a potential 3.5-4.5 stars prospects at the age of 16 who can operate as AMR (who is featuring the 28-year old drama king Zelimkhan Bakaev and the aging 32-year old Ayoze Perez). Any strong, new wingers coming in would have a easier time to crack into first-team football. We also signed essentially anyone with 2.5 stars potential, such as Antonio in this case. But the long term run is to sign young players who are guaranteed to be 3-3.5 stars potential with a potential reaching 4.5-5 stars.

Although no transfers were made (or pending for July), the board has been pretty happy with the undefeated streak:

We continue to make a run in La Liga. Although we have some folks sitting out due to injuries or suspension (e.g. starting DR Victor Gomez), we managed to take down RC Deportivo (3-1 away win),

CA Osasuna (4-1 away win) with prospect Juan Pablo San Jose making his debut AND scored a goal from the right:

the team is on a good track to making progress in La Liga and building Juan Pablo San Jose as on future right winger in the team. He also broke the youngest goalscorer record of our RCD Espanyol:


Copa del Rey final against Atletico Madrid -- same as last time, a 1-0 win. Just like most of the time, Carlos Alvarez scored the decisive goal out of only 4 total shots (3 on-target). Our team normally suffered from goal attempts when we played against teams that can maintain possession very well, which is why most of the time when I played against top teams, I played gegenpress as opposed to vertical tiki-taka. That also translates into higher total number of fouls to get stuck in.

With this Copa del Rey win, we also secured our first European competition in recent years, as well as breaking the cup winner streak that were either Barcelona or Real Madrid since 2019-2020 season. Carlos Alvarez scored 9 goals in the cup, which itself is the new competition record:

Back to La Liga, we continue to slash through our opponent through the fixture towards the last 3 games of the league. Including AlavesGranada, and Real Zaragoza.
A somewhat even game with Alaves was decided by early goals by Carlos Alvarez and young prospect Carles.

A landslide attacking performance by our team was only ended with a 1-0 win against Granada with Victor Gomez bailed us out with a goal inside the box after getting a second pass started from the left to the center, to him who was cutting into the box from the right, in traffic.

The 3-0 win against Real Zaragoza was a sweet one just because we controlled the game throughout even though with a cup-dominant roster. Captain Ionut Radu and Sergio Navarro are the only two starters remain as the starting XI in this game.

Third from the last game against Valencia -- we are already in the 4th place and trying to make a run at the 3rd place. Valencia is at the 6th place trying to fight for the 5th and stay for the position in participating UCL Playoff. The game seems to be close with a final score of a 2-1 win to us, but in reality we controlled most part of the game:

After this 36th game, we have a 1-point lead ahead of Sevilla at the 3rd, but with an extra game played. FC Barcelona has long secured the La Liga title, and Atletico Madrid is trying to fight for the 4th place with us in order to play UCL next season:

Fixture / week 37 we are up against Athletic Club / Bilbao, which was once at the 12th place and now at the 8th. They have no chance to fight for the 7th spot for European competition, so they are probably not pushing for the win. As a result, we finished the game with an away 2-0 win. By the end of the 37th weekend, we are 2 points behind Sevilla at the 4th place -- it really comes down to the FINAL FIXTURE of La Liga! This isn't about the UCL qualification but about bragging rights!

Needless to say, we got away with a 1-0 win against Sevilla with a 86' score by reserved winger Ayoze Perez. This game seals the deal -- we finished 3rd in La Liga! Starting out at the 15th place with a record of 7-0-11!

Now that the season is over, we were able to make a strong run in the second half of the season to finish 3rd. Increase in leadership support despite some drama earlier by drama king Zelimkhan BakaevCarlos Alvarez, despite being a reserved, finished 2nd in the spanish goalscorer list with 14 goals (3 goals less than the winner Raul Moro from Real Madrid), also being on the La Liga team of the season (as a sub) -- it was a great season, especially for Carlos Alvarez.

So to summarize, we were able to go from 7-0-11 in January and finish with a 26-1-11 by the end of the season, with a goal difference of 31 and scored 69 goals that also put us at the 3rd place, or second runner-up.

Next update shall be the end of the year, but I will update with a bit less information -- even though this will be the first full season in Europe / at La Liga!

Heads-up -- I signed a tons of youngers during the summer for free.

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Round-Up of second half 2025 -- National team career (Brazil)

~ Second half of 2025 ~

As the season of 24-25 over, Casemiro decided to retired from football / soccer completely, after being released by Real Madrid and nobody wanna pay him for +$200k pw euros.

As a result, with aging stars such as Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, as well as a bunch of stars at their primes struggled to get playing time because of the regens / CPU players, such as Gabriel JesusArthur, Rodrygo -- I decided to call up a bunch of new or regens as well -- Wallace MoreiraAbedi, Glaucio (CPU gens), and Gabriel Veron.

First game against Peru was a decent match, with veteran Neymar got on the score sheet with Marcos Leonardo while working his way towards the all-time caps record hold by Cafu. The 2-0 win was acceptable, considered that we still managed to have double the shot attempts than Peru, despite having less than half of the possesssion.

Second game against Paraguay we showed complete dominance by keeping their shot attempts at 0, even though, once again, we have less than half of the possession. Abedi and Wallace Moreira made their national team debut while Abedi scored his first international goal together with Kaio Jorge (in his 4th appearance). Conversion rate is a little disappointing, however:


Final 2 games for the CONMEBOL WCQ games in October are against Uruguay and Argentina. Selection continue to lean towards new players such as Dega. We have 4 times more shots than Uruguay, but we only beat them by 1-0, with the only goal scored by Abedi. Will take any W, however.


Final game is the Superclasico against Argentina does not decide the qualification outcome because we are qualified as 1st and 2nd. So even though the odds are against us, I'm totally ok to end this with a draw:

A powerful header from DC Luiz Felipe helped us secure the 1-0 win in a close match. Failed to maintain possession but able to get more shots and shots on target than Argentina was a surprise!

As the WCQ is over, we ended the qualifier undefeated, with Alex Sandro has the 2nd highest average rating in the tournament, Neymar has the 3rd highest assists, Luiz Felipe tied for 1st with the most PoM, and Ederson (who are now fighting for the starting GK with Alisson) has the highest shutouts of 10:

As this WCQ is over, we are now ranked #1 in the world:

To summarize the second half of 2025, we have not be converting our shot attempts well, despite able to win games with 2 goals or less:

Draw for FIFA World Cup 2026 shows that there are somehow shows that each group has only 3 teams, top 2 qualified. We are in group K with Austria and Egypt, which I don't expect we will have any problems to qualified:

International friendlies and World Cup up next!

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On 17/06/2020 at 02:46, Johnny-Trotter said:

Interesting career path so far. Fantastic job with Espanyol and it looks like Brazil are enjoying their time with you too. From managing Brazil in previous FMs though, I remember that they fire managers very easily.

Thanks for reading/following! Yeah, this is obviously an unrealistic save compare to most others, but I'd like to showcase that "this is what it takes to get to the top" kinda thing! Based on players rating, I think Espanyol definitely have potentials to fight for continental competitions, with the squad has a few best players at the age of 26-28 (in 2025). That being said, to compete against Barca, Real, and any other top teams that are willing to spend +$100M each season for a mega star -- I have to actively scout and sign young CPU gen players (not a fan of the term "regen") into our academy. 2 updates from now I should be able to show a bunch of free transfers, as well as some folks that I paid, can build a great future to compete La Liga and continental competition with ease.

I think your assessment of Brazil is correct, and is probably true to many top ranked national teams. Expectation from traditional football powerhouses is "win everything", so it is a very high bar to meet. More importantly, the more "traditional" a national team is, the more rivals it has, and therefore the performance against rival teams are always under scrutiny. I don't think there are too much reasons for me to try to build a dynasty in the national team front, because the pool of quality new gens are too random to control / build a good team (or my selfish way of saying "i'm too stubborn to change my formation to accommodate new players"). Here is a quick fun fact on my save -- head coaches history of Brazil vs. Liverpool:


Edited by rnhpyx
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Round-Up of the second half of 2025 -- Club team career (RCD Espanyol [Spain])

~ Second half of 2025 ~

Last update I covered that how our Espanyol were able to fight through the table (starting in January 2025) in the 2nd half of the La Liga season to and finished at 3rd place with UCL qualification. Here is what happened by summer:

We sold drama king Zelimkhan Bakaev to Zenit, James Igbekeme (a backup DM) to Tianjin TEDA, a young prospect Carles (CPU gen) to Real Valladolid after a loan. However, we signed a ton of young players, mostly for free, to our team.
Roberto Piccoli was a 24-25 years old, 3 stars striker (training him to be a IF AML for his dribbling skills and off the ball attributes)
Elia Petrelli was a 23-24 years old, 3 stars striker who runs quicker than Roberto, but overall weaker otherwise
Benat Iturrino (CPU gen) was a 16 y/o AMC (training to be a MC) with 3.5-4.5 stars potential
Fabio (CPU gen) was a 20-21 years old, younger version of Roberto but with 4-5 stars potential -- "kinda cheated" from the Brazil national pool and found his 4-star potential using the national team scouts (20 JA, 20 JP)
Theo Kleiven (CPU gen) was a 17-18 y/o DC with 4-5 stars potential / PA
Diego Martinez (CPU gen) was a 18-19 y/o DR with a 3-4 stars potential, although injury prone
Hector (CPU gen) was a 20-21 y/o AMC (turning to MC) with a 2.5-3.5 stars PA
Carles (CPU gen) was a 20-21 y/o M/AMC with a 2.5-3.5 stars PA
Marcelo Pinto (CPU gen) was a 20-21 y/o DC/DM with a 2.5-3.5 stars PA
Josep (CPU gen) was a 17-18 y/o DM/AMC with a 3-4 stars PA from Barcelona
Sergio Arribas was a 23-24 y/o MC (turning to DM) with a 2.5 stars ability, 3.5 stars potential from Real Madrid Castilla [ultimately became my 2nd choice DMC after selling James Igbekeme)

The aforementioned 2.5-3.5 stars (or above) PA CPU gens have respectable physical attributes (most, if not all, are at least yellow font numbers) that are physically ready to compete in RCD Espanyol B. So I put them all in (and train with) the senior team, and let all of them play 90 mins in U-19 and, whenever physically ready [i.e. condition >=90%], play in Espanyol B (Segunda Division B de Espana Grupo II, or EFL League One equivalent).

How are the fans react to it? Here is a quick summary of the 6 that I first signed:

With this new roster, oddmakers predicted that my Espanyol will finish 6th in La Liga, with the winning odds at 8.00. Based on the 7th place odd of 31.00, it is suggested that our team is definitely consider top 6 of La Liga. In other words, we deserved to be consider, or compete, in continental competitions -- even if I did not qualified UCL or Europa.

Due to the volume of updates and games, I decided to only show key fixtures in this and future updates. First up is a early game against Atletico Madrid. Advance playmaker Parfait Guiagon pushed us through the game shorter after half-time, and bring us a 1-0 away win. Generally speaking, our team doesn't do well with shot attempts against top teams in La Liga -- just because I often play my team cautious / balance with my normal 4-1-2-3 / 4-1-2-2-1 formation and vertical tiki-taka, as opposed to my other strategy (what I called "giant killer" game plans based on gegenpress).

Into late August -- there's the UEFA Champions League / UCL group draws. Guess what? We have the TOUGHEST GROUP POSSIBLE :eek::

Do you know how much the other 3 teams can spend during each transfer window, combined? Paris Saint-GermainAC Milan, and Bayern Munchen -- First reaction to the draw -- this is ********. I can at least aim for a 3rd place finish and down to Europa -- if I managed to draw all 6 of these games (:idiot:). As a newbie (to our team, to my career, to UCL) -- this is possibly the toughest group in the modern history of UCL.

This sentiment shared by reporters / journalists. This is the first question they asked in the press conference after the draw:


But, no matter what, we gotta play our games to challenge La Liga title. We start out our season really well, including a huge 5-0 win against Granada. Because of the uprising of Carlos Alvarez (top scorer for us last season as ST / Advance Forward) and the gone of drama king, I decided to start Carlos as a AMR (one of his two natural positions). Later on, it proves that the 22-year old assists more than scoring as a attack winger, but he definitely has the ability to score with his crossing = 16, dribbling = 17, finishing = 14, passing = 15, technique = 14, acceleration = pace = 15, agility = 17 as of March 2026. Dude is a cheap beast! Meanwhile, even though starting striker Yousseff En-Nesyri still hold his position, he struggle to score against tougher opponents that I started looking forward to have Fabio to challenge his starting strike position up front. Although, credit goes to Yousseff for his aerial dominance (scored a lot of his goals by header).

Needless to say that this 5-0 win against Granada brings most of my team to the "Spanish First Division Team of the Week" -- with 8 players total (most in my Espanyol career thus far).

Fast forward to mid September -- our first UCL game against Bayern. As mentioned, we played the game cautious with our vertical tiki-taka -- got away with a 3-1 (away) win against Bayern Munich! Noticed that, despite being able to control the possession, we only have 7 shots total. 7 shots leads to 3 goals -- that is crazy! Another young prospect Raul (CPU gen, now 3 stars) starts together with Youssef En-Nesyri and Carlos Alvarez to form a pretty good trio. Although Raul usually scored by header via a cross from the right winger as he cuts into the box, this is one of the few rockets that he shot and scored. Although most players played a great game, it was marred by our free kick expert Sergio Navarro who got a red in 86'. It sucks, because despite my complain earlier in the summer (about the board's expectation), we did score quite a lot from set pieces. A red here means that we will missed games in the UCL group stage, which are all important in this group of death.

Here is just another example of how we have been getting pretty good with our set pieces (thanks to mostly Sergio Navarro) as our team progress, as well as we have a tough fight against Sevilla who we were fighting for the 3rd place last season, down to the final fixture. The final score doesn't do its justice, where the game was a lot more competitive, as seen on the shots and possession % of the game. Our team also got into some minor discipline issues, with players often got a yellow card despite NOT having the "get stuck in" command checked in my standard vertical tiki-taka strategy.

In our first Barcelona derby, we beat 3-1 against FC Barcelona at home. As expected, we lose a lot of possessions against top teams, and our team was able to capture our limited chances at the goals. Also, what did I tell you? Both Youssef En-Nesyri and Raul are pretty good with their headers ;)! Raul is somehow unstoppable whenever the ball crossed deep from the right to the far post / far center of 6-yard box as he was cutting into the box from the left for a header. This game puts Espanyol to the top of the table! And I'm enjoying every moment I can get with Raul now, because he has been unhappy with his contract since May 2025 -- after we signed a provisional contract (to $31k p/w euros) in 2027. I believe that I may sell him should any younger players can out grow Raul, who have met his potential at 3 stars.

Back to UCL, second group game against PSG without Sergio Navarro due to suspension -- it was, to my surprised, that we actually have a moderate chance of beating PSG then drawing PSG based on the odds. And the better news was that some of their lethal scorers (who are now pretty old in 2025) are not playing the next game. With their recent lost, this give us a bit of a morale boost:

Because we just played Barcelona, this game against PSG used a lineup with a mix of starting XI for the league (or top opponents) and that for the cups. As a result, some younger players or reserved players were used to start against PSG. It was the cup starting forward, the $18M man Fabio who scored for us against PSG. It is to my surprised that we managed to maintain a respectable possession, despite not having as many shot attempts as we could. Ionut Radu is a beast :eek:. Definitely a cheap man's Marc-André ter Stegen. If you are new into your save, consider signing him for your non-top team. He's cheap for his wage (was about $45k p/w before I renew his contract to $100k p/w to raise his min release clause):


So after 2 games, we are actually LEADING in the group (A) of death! :D

Third game in the group against AC Milan. Not sure what to tell you, maybe just the following:
- Ionut Radu is a beast (18 saves in this game, 0 conceded)
- The Raul/Alvarez/En-Nesyri trio seems to be getting better each time based on the shot numbers!

How Ionut Radu has a 7.1 is beyond me. Obviously, Youssef En-Nesyri played a great game with the hat-trick, but don't forget Oscar Melendo who dished 2 goals as the AP as well!

Back to La Liga, we beat Valencia at home with a easy 2-0 win. Manu Vallejo, who was the starting AML and now a reserved winger, still managed to contribute in games was a very pleasant surpirse.

4th game in UCL Group A against AC Milan was a comeback victory for us, after unnecessarily conceded a goal by Jorge Alberto (CPU gen), who was inside the box and unmarked, despite having defenders in other parts of the box and he was standing around the same depth as our defensive line (but it wasn't a pass through to break the trap). Raul scored a header (once again) and substitute MC Sergio Arribas stepped up and blasted a goal by the near post at 86' helped us win this game:

With a 4-0-0 on our hands, it looks like we should be getting to the second round / elimination round of UCL. Here is just a interesting statistics that, our Espanyol produced the most local / Spanish players in La Liga, 6 more than FC Barcelona.

5th game from the group of death against Bayern, we converted 33% of our shot attempts to goals and won the game 3-0 at home. Raul scored twice (including a header) while Manu Vallejo scored a rocket-like volley on the right. Losing the total number of shots but able to maintain possession against Bayern Munich was a pleasant surprised. Does any of these sound familiar by now?

To put things into perspective on what kinda teams are we playing against La Liga, here's another list of candidates for FIFA Best Men's Player (TL;DR = 7 of 10 players are from Barcelona):

With the top of the table performance in both La Liga and UCL group A of death, the board are certainly pleased.

We finally have our winning streak broken by PSG second time around. We lost a lot of possessions AND total shot attempts (never a good sign for us when we lost both). I think PSG just bought our Brazil vice-captain Bruno Guimaraes from Atletico Madrid. But the point is that I'm pleased with this tie because our team played terribly, and Ionut Radu once again saved us from embarrassment.

By the end of the group stage, our RCD Espanyol managed to came out top in our group of death and send PSG to Europa!

The draw for the knockout round has been relatively kind to us -- against Hertha BSC / Berlin. At least there are way better / brutal match ups in the first round -- Bayern Munchen vs. FC Barcelona, Real Madrid vs. SL Benfica, Juventus vs. Manchester City. Can't complain!

Finally, this happened again since my R&F era! ("This is a terrific group of players coming through and has the potential to be a real golden generation for the club")

Definitely glad to hire a new Head of Youth Development. Even more impressed is that he didn't (yet) brag about getting some bright youngsters because of his unmatchable charm or whatever.

Finally screenshot for this update -- here is why I would encourage anyone who came across this post to look up Ionut Radu -- for winning FIFA Best Men's Goalkeeper (and hence, FIFA FIFPro Team of the Year):

Although one may argue that Dominik Livakovic's 7.33 rating looks way better, but I would also argue that Ionut Radu plays in rotation with prospect Pablo Martinez (CPU gen, 2.5-3.5 stars PA) and Fernando Joao (CPU gen, 3 stars PA) and he always starts against the toughest opponents. So there's my defense for his 7.00 rating.

Next update should continue to cover RCD Espanyol's journey in UCL, La Liga, Copa del Rey, and snatching youth players out of their academies within the first week of youth intake!

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Round-Up of the First half of 2026 -- Club team career (RCD Espanyol [Spain])

~ First half of 2026 ~

First and foremost -- I am skipping the update for the national team updates, because my Brazil is in the World Cup 2026 that runs between June and July. So I'll update it after the event, or possibly push it back to a year summary.

Winter transfer window -- we signed 5 players, including 2 free transfers and splashed cash on yet another Brazilian wonderkid. Here is the quick summary:

We signed Elia Petrelli, who supposedly the cheap man's version of Roberto Piccoli (turned out he's useless AND a drama king). The other 4 youngsters are supposedly have 4.5-5 stars potential, but it turned out that Waldemar (CPU gen, Brazilian) was a flop. French DC/DM Asier Rodriguez (CPU gen) and German DC/MC/ST Maximillian Stach (CPU gen) are young signings with 4.5-5 stars potential -- although I signed them mostly for building up the defensive line, as we have problems with aging back line as well as lack of challenge for the starters. Brazilian AML/R Paulo Cesar (CPU gen) was a signing scouted from Brazil national pool, and intend to replace the aging wingers while providing immediately impact, with the current wingers Raul and Carlos Alvarez reached their maximum potential of 3 stars at the age of 21 or below.

Supercopa, or Spanish Super Cup semi final against Real Madrid was settled by penalty kick shootout. Our team, despite having a respectable 55% possession, struggle to create more shots. Ionut Radu made two saves and converted his PK to secure us a 4-3 win:


Next up is the final against FC Barcelona in Supercopa final, which is also my 300th game as a head coach. By playing the match cautiously, we were able to have take the shield home with a 2-0 win after attempting 7 shots against Barcelona's 10. We are still having a difficult time to maintain possession in games against teams that love the possession game as well. So it seems like that we have to play shorter, less creative passing -- even with players' passing attributes at 15.


Our mid season schedule is getting crazy, as we have juggling between La Liga, Copa del Rey, and UCL. There are times where we play back-to-back-to-back tough teams. Here is an example where we got away with another win against Barcelona in La Liga after Supercopa final. Youssef En-Nesyri keeps on banging goals for us with his head. This 3-2 away win was a slight improvement from the previous again in Sueprcopa final -- with higher possession and shot attempts, but conceded more (two) goals.

In Copa del Rey, we beat Malaga 3-2 in extra time, and CD Leganes in PK shootout during the 4th and 5th round of Copa del Rey. Our Cup XI / backup players have been struggling to play well, period. Although Fabio has been scoring goals at times, wingers have not been productive at all. So this is something that I'm intend to address in the summer with new signings and promoting more youngsters to play in first team football at the senior level. Current starting wingers are Paulo Cesar and Carlos Alvarez, rotating wingers Raul (CPU gen, 22 y/o), Roberto Piccoli (25 y/o), and Manu Vallejo (29 y/o) have not been particularly outstanding for us. The season has loaned out 4.5-star prospects Juan Pablo San Jose (CPU gen, 17 y/o) and Antonio (CPU gen, 18 y/o). Since I cannot sell veteran players Wu Lei and Ayoze Perez now, their contracts will expired. JP and Antonio will first be loan out and, should I be able to sell Manu Vallejo in off-season.


Take a look at the fixture in the final 4 months. We had some back-to-back tough matches in January, and in February we will have to play:
1. Real Madrid (Copa del Rey)--Atletico Madrid--Hertha BSC (UCL) in February,
2. Real Madrid--Real Madrid (Copa del Rey)--Celta Vigo--Hertha BSC (UCL) in March

Certainly this schedule has no mercy for us!

Copa del Rey semi final, first leg against Real Madrid -- we have a nice 2-1 away win with a 62% possession while having a comparable 11 vs. 13 shot attempts. Both Marc Roca and Paulo Cesar made a rare appearance on the scoresheet. It was a close call for Paulo Cesar, who may easily called offside on his goal.

Fast forward into UCL first KO round, first leg against Hertha BSC. We were able to dominate the game in possession despite having to play a mix of starters and reserves after a back-to-back tough games against Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. An 4-1 away win in the snow gives us a lot of advantages should the round decided by away goals.

Fast forward into La Liga match against Real Madrid in March, despite fully repressed by Real Madrid by the total number of shots, we managed to convert our 6 total shots, 5 shots on target against Thiabaut Courtois into 3 goals. This is one of the crazier away win, a 3-0 win that should deem impossible in real life. Youssef En-Nesyri once again scored 2 goals with his head. Together with Ionut Radu, this is easily one of the best game of the season for our RCD Espanyol in La Liga.


Following the 2-1 away win against Real Madrid in Copa del Rey back in February, as well as the 3-0 away win against Real Madrid just 3 days ago, we came home for the second leg. The screenplay was similar -- we won the possession, we lost a lot of shot attempts, and yet we didn't score against Real Madrid and managed to advance by away goals. This is the first lost RCD Espanyol has since I can remember. However, this lost is "acceptable" because the lineup we use here is predominantly cup-exclusive / reserve players, with the exception of Ionut RaduLluis, and Sergio Navarro, a.k.a. most of the defensive line. It once again shows that we are lacking of quality players at the back, which we need to address ASAP -- whether from our youth team or from purchasing players elsewhere.


Here is a quick summary of the current schedule after the home lost against Real Madrid.

We advanced to the second round of UCL after a modest 1-0 win at home against Hertha BSC. After drawing, we will be playing Borussia Monchengladbach in the quarter final, and will be playing the winner of Arsenal or Sevilla in the semi final of UCL. This drawing is certainly more friendly for me than the other line -- Manchester Utd vs. Bayern Munchen and Real Madrid vs. Manchester City.


By mid March, our unbeaten run in La Liga has us secured for a spot in UCL. We are also on the track of breaking our own and La Liga records for the most points in a season.

Early April is the time for youth candidate intake. Our Head of Youth Development Edorta Murua finally bragged about his ability to influence / recruit players that are NOT the brightest youngsters of this recruit. Per the description, we recruited a 5-star goalie Rafa Barbara, a 3.5-4.5 stars attacker Edith Pena, and a few others. Considered that Espanyol B team has been taking in oldies that I don't like, PLUS, somehow, they asked me to renew the contract for their players despite I have delegate the tasks to somebody else, I figured that the less stellar youngsters can play in the U-19 team until they are no longer eligible, and move to Espanyol B team. Here is the summary of "potential 'golden generation'" in 2026:

April fools' day, we are on the verge of winning the La Liga title against Real Sporting, who sits at the bottom half of the table. At this point, we have a good 21 points margin ahead of Barcelona. We are literally sitting pretty!

Needless to say we sealed the deal, knocked up the La Liga champion title! Oscar Melendo dished 3 assists from the corner -- a symptom that he wanted to renew his contract with a hike in salary.



We broke the La Liga winning streak by Barcelona since the 2019-2020 season. Our future is pretty bright, too. Take a look at the number of 3.5-5 stars potential players. From the look of it, I think we have about  12 players that can potentially create a legacy for RCD Espanyol:

Credit, obviously, goes to the board who are willing to let me hire tons of scouts. These are the real MVPs:

Special shout out to Eugene Krasnikov and Gerardo GalloGerardo Gallo was scouting, at one point, +400 players. As the scouting team opens up, I was able to get scouts to help clearing up the scout assignments. I normally use scouts, such as Carlos Vargas (JA 15, JP 20) to scout a young prospects who clearly isn't ready for immediately first team football; scouts such as Daniele Bernazzani (JA 18, JP 20) to scout those who seems to be ready for first team football and gauge their potential. Scouts that are 20-20 would be for (possible) wonderkinds. The candidates that are more skeptical would be scouted by those with JA greater than JP. If they don't reach 4.5 / 5-star potentials even with a scout with low JP, I tend to move on.

First leg of the UCL quarter final against Borussia Monchengladbach was a tough fight. We barely squeezed out a home goal to beat them 1-0. And then we have to play Valencia in La Liga, second leg against Monchengladbach, and Barcelona for Copa del Rey final.


Second leg of UCL, we were able to win 3-2 at Borussia-Park again Borussia Monchengladbach after a hat-trick by Youssef En-Nesyri, including a header!

That leads to the UCL semi final against Arsenal, which has a crazy lineup (i.e. Andrew Cowherd [CPU gen, 21 y/o American, a scout rating of 94, $98M from Napoli], Dega [CPU gen, 20 y/o, Brazil backup DC for WC2026, $23M from Internacional], Karel Hoogma [CPU gen, 22 y/o Netherlander, $101M from Ajax], Jose Manuel Suarez [CPU gen, 21 y/o Spanish, $50M from Real Betis], Aryton Lucas [Brazilian, $41M from Flamengo], Youri Tielemans [$48.5M ($59M) from Leicester, Christiano [CPU gen, 21 y/o Brazilian, a scout rating of 81, $13.5M ($16.75M) from Atletico Mineiro], Zulu [CPU gen,  23 y/o, Brazil starting AMR for WC2026, $29.5M from Sao Paulo], Erling Haaland [$75M from Dortmund in 2021], etc.) AND finished 2nd in the Premiership with 87 points (26-9-3), 2 points behind the eventual league winner Man Utd (28-5-5).

Copa del Rey final against Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu -- 1-0 win with just 4 shot attempts but 57% possession. Youssef En-Nesyri once again scored with his head, and a rare Fernando Calero became the man of the match. One thing to noticed is, despite having a mix of starters and reserve players to play due to schedule and honorship (that is, I feel like more cup players deserve to play, despite facing against a top opponent), Paulo Dybala's PK was denied by our 2nd best goalie, the 20 y/o, 3.5 stars potential Pablo Martinez. I'm happy that I can make Quique Setien to be in distress because I've been eyeing his position for soooo long. We have now successfully defended Copa del Rey, and see that we are one of the only 3 winners who won the cup in the past 6 years (the other 2 being FC Barcelona and Real Madrid), each winner have won the cup twice.

UCL semi final, first leg against Arsenal -- we are basically playing FC Barcelona at their physical prime -- we scraped away a 1-0 win by a PK from Carlos Alvarez. The game is otherwise pretty quiet, as we maintained 56% possession with just 6 shots total. Arsenal, on the other hand, had 29 shots total. It was one of those games where you spam clicking "get creative" and doesn't do much.

Second leg of the UCL semi final ended with a goaless boring draw at home. However, we see a little bit more shot attempts despite losing a little possession. It is beyond me why Erling Haaland with a finishing of 18 was assigned to play MR in this Arsenal team. Maybe I should try to get the manager job there instead.

With this win, not only are we qualified for UCL final at "home" (Camp Nou), but also qualified for FIFA Club World Cup. At this point, I have submitted an application for Chelsea, who fired Pep Guardiola after finishing 5th in the prior season, and 3rd in this season (and reached the semi final in Europa).


Proof of Pep getting his ass kicked by Roman Abramovich.

Who are we playing in the UCL final? Surprise, surprise! We are playing Bayern Munich in the final! In case you forgot -- we played each other in the group (A) of death. Here is a quick reminder of our past encounters:

It is funny that my RCD Espanyol is now considered to have similar reputation as Bayern Munchen:lol: So you think this should be an easy game because of the match up? Well, if only this is basketball, but it isn't.

There are a few screenshots that were lost because of my restarting computer without saving the files. So I didn't capture much of what our players or team accomplished (awards) by the end of the season. Here is just a screenshot to show that our Fabio won the Spanish League Young PoY. I think he is ready to take over the '"head"master' Youssef En-Nesyri, who is now earning a whopping $125k euros p/w. Does he worth it? Sure. Would I rather let Fabio to prove his worth by letting him starts and sell the $62M euro Youssef? Absolutely. We had a chance to sign Reinier (24 y/o Brazil starting MC in WC2026 [only because of his ability. He didn't play enough minutes whatsoever to deserve to be in my squad], surplus to Real Madrid), yet with his salary ($425k euros p/w), even if the price tag seems alright ($53M euros), I cannot sign him. So, to sign high caliber players that are expensive AF, I can only sign them by dropping our team salary expenses.

Week 38, final fixture of La Liga. We played Sevilla. We won with an easy 2-0 away game. Why is this important? Because Sevilla finished last season at 4th place, and this season they finished at the bottom (20th place) and will relegate to La Liga 2Segunda División. As I was typing this, I realized that I should look into their roster and see if I can scoop anyone cheap with relegation release clause.

It's kinda sad that a team plays in UCL has to be relegated in the same season. Noticed that all the relegating teams did pretty well in the previous season. It suggested that La Liga is always improving, where teams can make big improvement in just 2 transfer windows.

So we are building up to the UCL final against Bayern Munchen. Odds are against us, as expected (especially since we are UCL finals newbie in 126 years).

Guess what? All you need is 1 goal. And it is even sweeter if that is a goal in injury time. Bonus if it is a rocket. That's what Oscar Melendo did to save the team for an extra 30 minutes, possible a PK shootout. This is why he deserved his contract renewal. WE ARE THE KING OF EUROPE! :D For the record, we, as expected, did not win UCL convincingly. But a win is a win, and all I know is that Arsenal did not -- despite having best individual performances from Erling Halland and Ollie O'Sullivan (did not referenced him earlier, but tells you enough how many good players Arsenal has). 

To quickly recap our final third, we have been playing acceptable in games that matters. The reserve team has been rather disappointing by drawing almost all the La Liga games (as the starting XI have to play in UCL, Copa del Rey final, and key Li Liga games). The Sevilla game I played the starting XI to keep the condition and tried to send Sevilla to Segunda division:onmehead:

UCL awards -- we have players getting awards in all but 1 position -- defender. This is another evidence to show that we need to improve our defensive line. Out wing/full backs are good, but they have no backups. We also have no strong central defenders at the moment that we saw our offside traps are practically useless against fast attackers. At the age of 35 with acceleration 9 and pace 6, Marc Bartra saw his last starting XI game after UCL and La Liga. Our very own Ionut Radu won the 1st place of UCL GK of the season, Oscar Melendo as the first runner-up for UCL MF of the season, and Youssef En-Nesyri with his unbelievable heading skills got the 1st place of UCL FW of the season:

After the UCL campaign, Quique Setien decided to resign from Barcelona after years in position. I immediately jumped onto the job application and applied. Although, last time I check, Luis Enrique is now have an odd of 1.8 to become the next manager / head coach of FC Barcelona.

From the commercial perspective, we earned 150X, or 1500% more of competition prize money compare to last year. We also have Fabio to become the 5th most popular player at the team per jersey sales. Marc Roca was good, but his ridiculous demand ultimately forced me to sell him to Monaco. He has been a great servant, but we will not have to push for the DM position from some of the youngsters.

From the statue perspective, RCD Espanyol made a huge jump on European club ranking -- from sub-100 to 39th place.

The chairperson wants to renew my contract with Espanyol, so I agree. He asked if I want to renew now, and I said no. I did request to improve youth recruitment and they were like "OK done". So the board requests seems a little weird -- start and finish on the same day. With the head master, I'm also delight that we fulfill the playing style requirement.

So by now, I applied to both Chelsea and Barcelona. Chelsea did reply with an interview. The interview went well, but I didn't get the job.

Apparently Roman Abramovich was not happy with Pep Guardiola's track record as The Blues.

So, going into the 2026-2027 season, here's a quick preview of who have we signed who will be joining our team. The ones that are more exciting for the fans are probably Claudio Gomes (free transfer from Man City), Ki-Jana Hoever (free transfer from Liverpool), and Jean-Jacques Gomes (free transfer from Inter Milan). There are 5-star prospects too, but too many to list. Noticed that some of them will join us in 2027. So next update will only cover about 7 players:

Next season I will try to look for a move to go to a even higher reputation club. But since I have been signing good prospects, I'm only go for the really top teams, title contenders in the 4 major leagues in Europe.

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Round-Up of first half 2026 -- National team career special (Brazil + World Cup 2026)

~ First half of 2026 ~

Our Brazil wrapped up 2025 with a winning streak to complete the World Cup Qualifier for World Cup 2026 in Canada+Mexico+United States. We have goal conversion problems and win games with 1 to 2 goals margin (gegenpress).

There are two international friendlies in March 2026 before the World Cup in June, as well as 2 more friendlies before World Cup (the final 2 friends were play after cutting down the WC Preliminary Squad down to 23). This is some worth pointing out because Neymar is approaching Cafu's all-time most capped record, but he isn't as good of a player as he was (specifically with his physical ability) that I am contemplating not calling him up for WC2026.

In the first friendly against world #2 England -- I decided to call up new, young players to prepare for WC2026. Caue (CPU gen) for starting left backs Alex Sandro (now 35). Dega (CPU gen) for center back Gabriel. Glaucio (CPU gen) for AllanMarcos Antonio at DM, Abedi and Wallace Moreira have long replaced Arthur and Casemiro / Marcos Antonio.

First game against England at home leads to a 2-2 draw in regulation, and settled with a PK shootout. We won the PK by 4-2. Problem that we struggled, in part, is because a lot of key players at the front struggled to get minutes at their club. Reinier requested to leave Real Madrid because he sees no minutes at all. David NeresRodrygoRoberto Firmino and others non-CPU gens all are playing as substitutes at their clubs.

Next game against Italy we scraped a 3-2 win at home. We have a good amount of shots against the world's most expensive player Degnand Wilfried Gnonto of Italy. Although we lose possessions because we play gegenpress, we managed to have lesser fouls than Italy. Highlight of the game is Dega, who scored twice in his second international appearance at the age of 20, as a DC (and the PoM of this game).


After these 2 international friendlies, Neymar is now at 143 caps (80 goals) for Brazil. Here is the retroactive info:

Because of FM20 won't let multiple people to hold the record (there must be a winner :onmehead:), I called up Neymar to be part of the 30-people preliminary team for WC2026. At this point, I dropped a lot of big name folks who struggled to get minutes in the game, that includes Gabriel Jesus, Kaio Jorge, Antony, and Malcom. I also did a thorough research on who should be considered for this call up, and I called up a few new faces (with the intent to let them play the 2 friendlies before WC), including Phelipe MegiolaroRonaldo Henrique (GK), DicoFile (CPU gens, DF), Matheus Henrique (DM), Tete (AMR), and Zulu (CPU gen, AMLRC/ST).

It appears that my selection shocked the world with a bunch of international novices, as well as leaving out some of the bigger names such as Mailson (always the 3rd choice GK) among others. As the 5th choice of goalie, Ronaldo Henrique plays better than Mailson in GC per match. I cannot possibly select a GK that allows more than 1.0 goals per game in my team, even as a 3rd choice GK. Besides, Mailson isn't a whole lot better in terms of attributes or ratings.

In terms of Neymar's situation, I failed to realized that we won't be able to play all 30 players "one last time" before the WC2026 friendlies start. So, ultimately, regretfully, I'll have to let Neymar go and he stayed tied with Cafu's record, despite it doesn't show.

First friendly in June was against Wales where we won by penalty kick shootouts (and I failed to take screenshots fo the game). Second friendly was against Holland. We played a decent, close match with a bunch of international virgins to start or played the game (i.e. Phelipe MegiolaroDicoTeteZulu are involved).

Here is how we have perform thus far leading up to World Cup 2026. We have not been great or dominant.

FIFA World Cup 2026 - U.S.A., Canada, and Mexico

Group K of World Cup 2026, first game is Brazil vs. Austria. Austria gave us some surprise early in the game. After Zulu's goal in 3rd minute, they scored two back in the 10' and 19' minutes to take the lead. However, Zulu, the new rise, king of the right flank (despite natural position is AMC), scored a hat-trick (including a PK) in his 3rd international appearance [:eek:] to push us passed Austria to take a 4-2 win. Zulu is crazy. I took a screenshot of the post-match stats as well as his attributes here. So yeah, despite a natural in AMC, his traits and attributes clearly showed that he's an unstoppable winger. In case you missed it, I have briefly mentioned his name in my RCD Espanyol log during the run of UCL against Arsenal (although he was on loan at VfL Wolfsburg). You can take a look at that post.

Of course, this hat-trick is too big for media to go unnoticed.

Our second and final game in the group against Egypt ended with a modest 1-0 win -- after attempting 27 shots (vs. 2 from Egypt) with 61% possession. The game is understandably marred by fouls by Egypt. I'm disappointed that our key playmaker Bruno Guimaraes missed a PK early in the game, but I'm glad that we got a win.

Deserving result, could be better however. Statistical dominance doesn't guarantee a win, obviously.

Here is the summary of World Cup 2026 after group stage (text version below the screenshot):

Group A: 1) U.S.A (2-0-0), 2) China (0-1-1), 3) Sweden (0-1-1)
Group B: 1) France (2-0-0), 2) Venezuela (0-1-1), 3) Australia (0-1-1)
Group C: 1) Germany (2-0-0), 2) Guatemala (0-1-1), 3) Nigeria (0-1-1)
Group D: 1) Belgium (2-0-0), 2) Morocco (0-1-1), 3) Japan (0-1-1)
Group E: 1) Poland (2-0-0), 2) Colombia (1-0-1), 3) Honduras (0-0-2)
Group F: 1) Peru (2-0-0), 2) Holland (1-0-1), 3) Mali (0-0-2)
Group G: 1) England (2-0-0), 2) Jamaica (1-0-1), 3) South Korea (0-0-2)
Group H: 1) Mexico (1-1-0), 2) Norway (1-1-0), 3) Thailand (0-0-2)
Group I: 1) Uzbekistan (2-0-0), 2) Wales (1-0-1), 3) Cameroon (0-0-2)
Group J: 1) Portugal (2-0-0), 2) Uruguay (1-0-1), 3) Costa Rica (0-0-2)
Group K: 1) Brazil (2-0-0), 2) Austria (1-0-1), 3) Egypt (0-0-2)
Group L: 1) Italy (2-0-0), 2) Iran (1-0-1), 3) Ghana (0-0-2)
Group M: 1) Croatia (2-0-0), 2) Ivory Coast (1-0-1), 3) Saudi Arabia (0-0-2)
Group N: 1) Argentina (1-1-0), 2) Turkey (1-1-0), 3) Senegal (0-0-2)
Group O: 1) Denmark (1-1-0), 2) Canada (1-1-0), 3) New Zealand (0-0-2)
Group P: 1) Spain (2-0-0), 2) Guinea (0-1-1), 3) Chile (0-1-1)

First two teams of each group advance. 32 teams total (instead of 16).

In the round of 32, we draw against 2nd place of Group L, Iran. Like the game against Egypt, we dominated the ball and the total number of shots. Rodrygo, who is now playing as a striker in rotation with Marcos Leonardo since the drop out of Neymar and Roberto Firmino, got himself with a brace with his PoM performance.

Here is a quick preview of the semi-quarter final / round of 16 / second round in World Cup 2026. We are playing Wales in the next round, who came out from Group I as a second behind Uzbekistan and beat Portugal 1-0 in extra time. Portugal, winner of group J was eliminated in the first round, while the 2nd place of group J, Uruguay, advance to the second round after beating Uzbekistan 2-0. Also worth noting at this early stage is that Peru eliminated Colombia in a 4-2 win, Norway eliminated the (TRIGGER LANGUAGE WARNING) "traditional paper tiger" England 2-1. So there are a few surprises in this World Cup so far.

Another upset in the tournament so far is Argentina lost to Ivory Coast despite having so many attacking talents in a 1-2 lost. I wonder if they are going to reach out to me again to coach their national team, because I would consider it.

World Cup 2026 round of 16, Brazil vs. Wales. We starting to play our starting XI a little bit more, but let the reserved players to start or substitute in if they have low match fitness. This game our playmaker Bruno Guimaraes scored twice against Wales in a total team shots on target of 18. Statistically, we have completely dominated Wales. Not much to see here otherwise.

After round of 16, we have advanced to the quarter final and play against Croatia, who beat Mourinho's Spain 1-0. We also see France lost to Germany 2-0. Otherwise, most results are somewhat expected. Norway, who features their starting DC, a 18 years old Theo Kleiven from my RCD Espanyol, had a convincing 3-0 win against Peru. Ivory Coast also barely defeated Denmark in a 3-2 win, who also features my RCD Espanyol starting MCL Parfait Guiagon, made their way to face Italy in quarter final. In other words, us 3 are the only people represented the club at this stage of the World Cup.

Quarter final against Croatia was a close one on scoresheet. Despite having a powerful offensive statistics, our Brazil failed to score against Croatia in 120 minutes. The game has to settled by a PK shootout, we we won 4-3. Bruno Guimaraes once again missed the PK after the in-game PK 2 matches ago. Our starting right back, the best defender in Brazil, Eder Militao continue with a strong performance in the tournament, finishing the PK shootout with his PoM performance that includes a 17 km coverage.

We are playing Belgium in the semi final of World Cup 2026.

Semi final against Belgium, our gegenpress continue to squeeze out more shots than our opponents, which allow us to beat Thibaut Courtois twice in the 2-1 win. Tete, who was the international virgin before this campaign, scored his first international goal via a PK at 20', together with the second best DM Glaucio (CPU gen), who scored his first goal as well just 3 minutes later via following a shot on the right that bounces off a defender, before an instinct volley blasted just outside of the box. This game which features predominantly reserved players have see a very strong performance at the center of the midfields, with DM Glaucio (CPU gen), MC Abedi (CPU gen) and MC Wallace Moreira (CPU gen) to scored player ratings of 8.3, 7.2, and 8.7, respectively.

As we have reached the final, I have surpassed the coach performance expectation.

Who will we play against in the FIFA World Cup 2026 final? Small world maybe -- our friendly opponent earlier this year -- Holland / Netherlands. The Netherlands certainly took one of the toughest path to the WC final. After easing past Mexico in a dominant 4-1 win, they beat Germany 1-0 in quarter final, a PK shootout win against Italy in the semi, and now, they are facing us.

This World Cup final match is an awfully close match. Understandably, with their possession game as well as individual skills, Holland controlled majority of the possession in the final -- a whopping 64%. They even have nearly a double of the shot attempts and shots on target. However, a simple, single penalty kick goal by starting DM Fabinho took us the World Cup 2026 title. Brazil is the World Cup champion! (And NOT the United States who won it in 2022!)

With this win, we remain at the top of the world rankings list. Alex Sandro ends his international football career, and I was brave to admit that we played poorly in the final despite the W.

So to summarize, our Brazil successfully win the World Cup in North America after all these years. We beat Holland 1-0 in the final, the same margin that we beat them a few days before the World Cup kickoff. 

As expected, after World Cup, a bunch of national teams either fired their head coach or the managers resign. Here is a quick list of vacancies available. I am interested in coaching outside of South America next time around. So while I'm open to coach Argentina, I think Europe maybe my next calling. Granted, did not apply to any of these openings.

More or less about a week later, we got a mail from the inbox -- Portgual wants me. They pay double of what I am making in RCD Espanyol. Should I take it? Although they have an early exit in World Cup, why would they reach out to me?

This question cannot be answered, but it was long speculated that they intend to poach me soon after the World Cup is over.

They do have Fabio Silva though.

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