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[FM22] Sophara United v2.0


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Hey and welcome back to the 2nd Edition (and the 7th Edition of the Create-A-Club saves) of the Sophara United escapades! Last year, I managed to take my Create-A-Club from the Vanarama South to the Premier League title (albeit only 1 title), with the save lasting into the 2050s. This year, I'll be Create-A-Clubbing from the League Two - I figure this year I feel like spending less time battling in the lower tiers and more time in the PL, hopefully. 

Same concept as the year before, except this time I will replace Tranmere in the League Two. The Champions League title and developing a real dynasty in the PL continue to elude - who knows, maybe this is the year!

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12 hours ago, xray1324 said:

Good luck!


6 hours ago, deez0r said:



1 hour ago, Mr Highbury said:

Excellent - I look forward to your updates. Hopefully you can finally win the Champions League with this save!

Thank you all! I am breezing through my first season in the League Two with Sophara United - I think I might have OPed my Create-A-Players a bit, lol. In any case, first (sort of) update of the save, the youth preview. Not looking good, though.



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42 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Good luck with this! did you inherit the Tranmere squad as well?

I removed everyone (staff and players) that were on the Tranmere squad. I started with only Create-A-Players and zero staff - for the staff, I am OK signing real people but for the players, it is strictly Sophara United youth only. When a Sophara United player is sold to another club, I don't bring him back but I love following all the careers of the newgens that come out of the Sophara Youth Academy. 


28 minutes ago, Maw74 said:

Good luck again, always great to follow your threads.:thup:

Thanks! Good to see you here :) I hope you enjoy this year's version.


It is mid-March and we have already achieved promotion - definitely OPed the Create-A-Players, lol.



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Not a great Intake by any stretch, but I am just happy to have bodies. It doesn't look likely that any of these prospects will replace the current starting eleven, though. 







Edited by abulezz
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NxGn 2022

I don't know if I'll show this every time but I love the fact that you can look over the Top 50 young players in the world every year. I feel it was a feature put in as a nod towards the youth-only crowd. No surprises this year - no newgen players on the list yet.







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2 minutes ago, DazRTaylor said:

I enjoy reading your threads so all the best.

A great first season too.

Thanks! Yes, it's been a fantastic first season. Hopefully I'll get up to the PL quicker than usual - the endgame is where I really enjoy myself, trying to get the PL and that elusive CL title. 

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Abul Ezz looked up from his desk as he handed the signed contracts and agreements to his PA, both excitement and anxiousness overcoming his emotions as he tried to maintain his cool. At the age of 20, Ezz had made a fortune dealing in stocks and cryptocurrency and was ready to invest in his love and passion that was football. After months of negotiations, Ezz had done it – he had managed to secure a place in the League Two for his new start-up club in place of the fallen and now non-existent Tranmere Rovers. How it happened is a story for another day but Ezz had done it by selling his idea to the FA and presenting them with England’s first ever club that would field players only from its own youth academy, the creatively named SYA, or Sophara Youth Academy. The idea was an immediate success and once the mundane details were out of the way, the paperwork was drawn up and the club was now ready to compete, with its first year being the 2021/22 season.

The months leading up to the club’s first match was intense – Abul Ezz, the new owner/manager, spent it building up his backroom staff and recruiting youngsters from all corners of the country, none over the age of 17. With the SYA setup and Sophara Park, one of the biggest stadiums in the League Two with the ability to seat over 15,000 people, ready for matches, the only thing left to do was to actually play. No one knew what to expect but Ezz was confident in the young talent he had recruited. And so the story of Sophara United began, England’s first ever club that would field only players that came up through its system.

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From start to finish, this was a season where it was obvious records would fall - and fall they did. While many questioned the ability of Abul Ezz to get his team off the ground – much less be successful – there was no one asking anything anymore by the end of April. From the first match, which was a 3-0 drubbing of Walsall at Sophara Park in front of the club’s newly found fans, it was clear the young talent Ezz, himself only 21, had gathered from around the country were going to make a lot of noise. In fact, the club did not drop a single point until ninth game of the season, where Forest Green held them to a 1-1 draw at their home ground in Nailsworth. Yes, their second ever game was a loss to Championship side Middlesbrough - who finished in 9th Place in their respective league - in the Carabao Cup, but even that was a hard-fought battle against an established team two tiers above Sophara United that had to go to penalties. Through the first three months, the club played a total of fifteen matches in the League Two, winning fourteen of them while scoring a league-leading 42 Goals and conceding only 10 Goals. By the time November had rolled around, everyone in the country had heard of the club with only teenagers that was steamrolling through established professional teams in one of the world’s most competitive and richest footballing environments.

November and December saw a dip in form for Sophara United – out of nine League Two games, the club would win two, draw three, and finally lose with their first coming away to Exeter in a tough match that would end up 1-0 for the home side. After losing two in a row – both away matches, one at the end of December against Hartlepool and the other at the beginning of January against Salford – they would not lose again for the entirety of the remaining 2021/22 season. In fact, their 36 Wins, 3 Losses, and 115 Points all shattered the previous League Two records. No one could stop them, and save for the loss against Salford on the 1st of January, 2022, the club did not lose in any other match this year. They managed to win the League Two title with a difference of an incredible 31 Points between them and Runners-Up Swindon Town, with the club’s young players topping the league in most relevant statistics – for example, striker Andy Holland’s 35 Goals were not only the most in the League Two this season but also set a new record. The team finished a league best 114 Goals and 37 Goals Conceded. Despite their early First Round exit in the Carabao Cup as well as their failure to qualify to the knock-out stages of the Papa John’s Trophy, their capabilities and talent were left questioned by no-one. Perhaps their most disappointing result came in the FA Cup Second Round against fellow League Two outfit Rochdale, who took a 2-1 victory at Sophara Park in early December in what was considered a very winnable game on paper. Inexplicably, despite being on the touchline for every match, the League Two Manager of the Year award went to Matt Taylor of Exeter, who finished in 3rd Place. The controversial decision pointed to some serious pushback from the old guard towards Abul Ezz’s policy of playing only SYA graduates, a premise that has not sat well with those that run the transfer market like a business.

The excitement that now surrounds the Sophara United team as they ascend to the League One is barely containable. Its young players are celebrities and stars around London thanks to their unprecedented season and their success has shaken the footballing world. The story of Sophara United has become a popular one to tell, but there is a lot of doubt going into the 2022/23 season that they can repeat their heroics. In fact, the media has been nearly unanimous in their analysis that the club would do well to just avoid relegation in their first season in the League One. Of course, manager Abul Ezz is having none of it.







Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Elvis Kozic, 18, was one of the cornerstones of the squad, registering 18 Clean Sheets (4th in the League Two), 0.80 Con/90 (2nd), and 7.09 AR that was the highest of any GK in the league. He played in all 46 Games and was named to the League Two Select 2022, the highest award a GK can receive for his position in the league. A rare carrier of three nationalities (Sweden, Bosnia, England), the latest scouting report on him suggest he has the potential to be a good Championship-level GK in the future. In fact, Hearts of the Scottish Premier League and Brann of the Norwegian Premier League have hinted their interest in Kozic, which could lead for some interesting summertime drama as Ezz has no intention of letting him go.




Drew Dowell, who Ezz named as club Captain before the season began, started the season at LB in great form but on Christmas Day, he broke his foot and was ruled out for the next three months. He came back in shape and solid, but it did take a little bit of time for the rust to wear off after such a long absence. He managed to play in only 28 Games, registering 2 Assists, 1.76 TpG, 88% Passes Completed, and 7.06 AR, solid all-around numbers that helped make Sophara United the best defensive team in the League Two. Although there was a visible difference in the player he was prior to the injury, the club’s medical team do not expect any long-term effects from the injury nor do they expect the problems and pain from it to linger into next season. Strong in the air, versatile, and a smart player, Dowell, who will turn 19 this summer, makes up for his slowness with his timing and positioning. He was a great leader during the club’s first year and has grown to be very influential in the locker-room.

The starter with the lowest AR (6.90) was RB Ger Lennon, who despite being thought of as one of the players with the most potential on the squad ended up being perhaps its most inconsistent starter during its first season. That is not to say he didn’t play well but the 17-year-old Irish U21 defender – who is also wanted by Hearts – would have benefited from more consistent form. He played in 35 Games (28 Starts), registering 2 Goals, 1.50 TpG, and 88% Passes Completed to go along with his 6.90 AR. He is generally considered one of the most talented players on the squad and he has already earned 8 U21 Caps for Ireland. Born in Longford in central Ireland, Lennon’s recruitment was the result of a special focus Ezz put on the country, sending his Chief Scout to find young players that would buy into the concept he was building in London.

Backing up Dowell was young Irish defender Jesse Cummins, another player who came to London to join the club as a result of Chief Scout Khaled Badra’s trip to Ireland. Cummins, 17, showed exceptional progress throughout the season during training, improving his Marking and other defensive skills significantly. He played in 36 Games (23 Starts), registering 2 Assists, 1.83 TpG, 90% Passes Completed, and 6.96 AR, taking over the LB duties when Dowell went down with a broken foot at the end of December. Although weak in the air, he is considered the club’s second-best prospect at the fullback position after Lennon.






One of the four players Badra recruited from Ireland, Tom Horgan, 18, was not only undisputedly the finest defender in the League Two this season but was arguably the best player in the entire league, with only Forest Green’s 25-year-old winger Nicky Cadden registering higher than Horgan’s 7.56 AR. Born not too far from Ger Lennon’s hometown in Ballaghadereen, Horgan and Lennon were in fact scouted in the same game and recruited together. Playing 41 Games and registering 4 Goals, 6 PoMs, and 93% Passes Completed to go with his 7.56 AR, Horgan was called up to the Irish U18 team and was named Captain, something which is owed to how well-liked he is by the fans. He is very strong in the air and despite his poor technique, his leadership and football IQ more than make up for the lack of ability with the ball at his feet. He is considered a central piece of the side by his manager going forward into next season, and he was one of the six Sophara United players to be called up to the League Two Select Team of the Year.

Horgan’s strong understanding and partnership with James Burgess, the club’s other starting CD, was the foundation of the club’s powerful and tight defense. Burgess, 18, was nearly as impressive as Horgan, also making the League Two Select while playing in 44 Games and registering 3 Assists, 5 PoMs, 95% Passes Completed, and 7.47 AR, which was also one of the highest of any player in the league. The combination of Burgess and Horgan was the envy of the league and there is strong interest how well they will respond to the higher level of football presented in the League One after their success this season. Born in Warrington just east of Liverpool, he earned himself some England U19 Caps while showing good progress in his development.





Sophara United’s best player in the center of the pitch this season was one of the four players Badra recruited from Ireland, the versatile CJ Beech. Inexplicably not named in the League Two Select, Beech was a central figure – figuratively and literally – in the Ezz 4-2-2-1-1 formation that ran through the competition. In 42 Games, he registered 6 Goals, 13 Assists, 4 PoMs, 85% Passes Completed, and 7.27 AR – his 13 Assists were good enough for 3rd both with his team and in the league. Comfortable playing in any midfield position – including down both wings – Beech, 18, showed tremendous improvement as the season advanced, so much so that he is now the target of interest from Premier League clubs such as Burnley, Norwich, and Sheffield United.

Alongside him was 18-year-old Ronnie Flood, who did make the League Two Select despite his 7.12 AR being significantly lower than Beech’s 7.27 AR. In 44 Games (36 Starts), Flood registered 6 Goals, 8 Assists, and 83% Passes Completed to go along with his 7.12 AR. Flood certainly deserved his call-up to the League Two Select, however – he is unquestionably one of the most naturally talented players on the squad. Hailing from Liverpool, the MC has now earned some U19 Caps for England with scouts saying he could potentially be a Championship-level midfielder if he keeps progressing. Like Horgan and Burgess behind them, Beech and Flood formed a very strong bond playing in the center of the pitch together, despite suggestions that both are better suited for other positions.

Despite his skills being best used as a striker, Joe Reardon, 18, found himself being used primarily as a MC this season, giving rest to both Flood and Beech. He played 40 Games (35 Starts), registering 4 Goals, 5 Assists, 86% Passes Completed, and 7.01 AR. A committed, outspoken personality who leaves it all on the pitch, Reardon is actually considered one of the most naturally talented players on the squad, surpassing both Flood and Beech in his PA rating. He will definitely have eyes on his next season to exactly what he is capable of.






Stan Drummond set a new League Two record this season with an incredible 23 Assists in what was an exceptional season for the 18-year-old right winger. Twice named the League Two Young Player of the Month (November, February) and once the League Two Player of the Year (February), Drummond was more often than not unstoppable for opposing defenders. In 41 Games, he registered 14 Goals to go along with his 23 Assists, as well as 8 PoMs (3rd in League Two), 37 Clear-Cut Chances (tied for 1st), 3.54 DpG, 1.14 TpG, and 7.53 AR. A shining star for the team, he unfortunately got injured at the end of the season, getting a broken arm after being tackled against Oldham, ruling him out for the last couple of weeks of the season. He will be out of action for the beginning of the pre-season but is fully expected to be fit by the time the 2022/23 season starts. He was a unanimous selection to the League Two Select 2022 Team of the Year.

Playing down the left flank was John Smith, a player that is even more versatile than CJ Beech in that he can even play up front when called upon. In 42 Games, he registered 12 Goals, 11 Assists, 1.92 DpG, 1.39 TpG, and 7.23 AR while being perhaps the most underrated piece of Sophara United’s deadly attack this season. Smith, 18, was also one of the players capped by England’s U19 team and was – like Drummond – a constant nightmare for opposing fullbacks thanks to his intelligence and is being considered for a captaincy position in this upcoming year.





Tom Holland might have broken the League Two record with 35 Goals but it was Joe Sheppard, playing behind him as a shadow striker, that won the club’s first ever Player of the Year. Considered Sophara United’s most talented player both internally by the backroom staff and externally by the media and experts, the 18-year-old was exceptional all season long. In 44 Appearances, he registered 21 Goals (2nd in League Two), 18 Assists (2nd), 6 PoMs, 1.81 DpG, 1.01 TpG, and 7.55 AR, good enough for 3rd in the league. He also led the league with 37 CCC and 181 Key Passes, which made his omission from the League Two Select even more baffling. His presence was felt from box to box, and his scoring touch was on full display all season long. He became the recipient of the first contract renewal in the club’s history, becoming its highest paid player at £3.7k per week. Out of all the players on the team, he is the perhaps the brightest star with his shirt having sold the most quantity throughout the season.

Breaking the League Two record with 35 Goals and 22.40 xG, Tom Holland, 18, was amazing this season from start to finish. In 42 Appearances, he not registered 35 Goals and 22.40 xG but also registered 4 Assists, 7 PoMs, 83% Passes Completed, 53% Shot Target, and 7.32 AR. Between Sheppard and Holland, the team developed two bonafide stars for its fans, both of whom regard their manager Abul Ezz in the highest manner. His 4/5 CA is second on the team only to Sheppard’s, and he is now attracting interest from as far away as Australia, with Melbourne enquiring about the striker. Ezz has publicly, and adamantly, stated that the player is not for sale despite reports that he could be subject to offers worth well north of £1M. His partnership with Sheppard will be perhaps the most watched – and most integral – part of any success they will be striving for next season in the League One.











It was the year of Bayern Munich, who not only won their 10th straight Bundesliga title but also captured their 7thCHAMPIONS LEAGUE just two years after winning it all in Lisbon against Paris Saint-Germain….This time, it was Manchester City who were the victims, losing out to the German champions 2-1 in Saint Petersburg, Russia….The two-time English Premier League champions advanced to their second straight CL Finals but again fell short of lifting the trophy – last season, it was EPL rivals Chelsea that denied them….Robert Lewandowski, Bayern’s 33-year-old striker, won the competition’s Golden Boot award for the second time in three years with 10 Goals, although it was Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne who was generally considered this year’s best performer, winning the 2022 CL Midfielder of the Season award….Despite their domestic struggles, Barcelona made it to the Semi-Finals before falling to their former coach’s current team in Man City….The 2019 winners Liverpool fell in the other Semi-Finals matchup in what was one of this year’s most intense ties, ending 5-3 to the eventual champions Bayern Munich….The German champions ran through the full stretch of EPL teams before lifting the trophy – Man United in the Second Round, Chelsea in Quarters-Finals, Liverpool in the Semi-Finals, before finally defeating Man City in the Finals.




The ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE crowned Manchester City champions for the second season in a row and the fourth time in the past five years as they finished a strong 10 Points ahead of Chelsea (2nd), who had their highest finish in the past five years….Attackers Bernardo Silva’s 14 Goals and Kevin De Bruyne’s league-leading 17 Assists were crucial to their campaign but perhaps even more important was GK Ederson, who won the EPL’s Golden Glove for the third year in a row….Man City manager Pep Guardiola was crowned the EPL Manager of the Year of the second straight season, leading eight of his players into being chosen for the 2022 EPL Select Team of the Year….Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to England with his former club Man United (5th) was a personal success if not on a team level – the 37-year-old legend led the EPL with 19 Goals and 9 PoMs, while his 7.60 AR was good second in the league….While many doubted his ability to contribute, Ronaldo silenced all those who questioned whether he could still perform at such a high level given his advanced age….Not only did he perform well, but he will be joining Portugal at Qatar 2022 in hopes of experiencing the thrills of the World Cup one more time (presumably) before he retires….Mohamed Salah, 29, led Liverpool to its second straight 3rd Place finish, leading the league with 7.68 AR and capturing the EPL Footballer of the Year award for the second time in his career, with the first being in 2018…..The EPL Young Footballer of the Year went to Man United’s new signing Jadon Sancho, with the 22-year-old registering 4 Goals, 7 Assists, and 7.23 AR on his way to capturing the award….Unfortunately for Man United, it was Arsenal (4th) that captured the last Champions League spot, while the other European spots went to West Ham (6th) and Leicester (7th), both of whom finished above their predicted places.



Elsewhere in Europe, Real Madrid (1st) recaptured the SPANISH LA LIGA title from rivals Atletico Madrid (2nd) led by a rejuvenated Eden Hazard. The 31-year-old Belgian attacker scored 16 Goals and registered 7 Assists and 7.45 AR, finally starting to live up to the £105M his club paid Chelsea for his services three years ago. Real Sociedad (3rd) were the surprise of the season, led by the excellent form of 25-year-old new Spanish star Mikel Oyarzabel, who registered 17 Goals, 10 Assists, 12 PoMs, and 7.54 AR as he captured the 2022 La Liga Player of the Year award. Meanwhile, limping giants Barcelona (4th) had their worst finish in the past twenty years….The ITALIAN SERIE A saw AC Milan win their first title in eleven years, led by the seemingly ageless 40-year-old Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Defending champions Inter Milan (5th) missed out on Champions League football, with Lazio (2nd), Juventus (3rd), and Napoli (4th) beating them to it. 32-year-old Ciro Immobile (22 Goals) led all goalscorers as he propelled Lazio to their best finish in twenty-two years, continuing to hold on to his title as the most dangerous marksman in Italy over the past few years….In Germany, the BUNDESLIGA title went to Bayern Munich for a record 10th time. Despite putting early pressure on the champions, Borussia Dortmund (2nd) ended up faltering off, even with newly crowned Golden Ball and World Footballer of the Year recipient Erling Haaland’s incredible season. The 21-year-old had a personal dream season, also capturing his first Bundesliga Footballer of the Year after registering a league-leading 26 Goals to go with 13 Assists, 12 PoMs, and 7.80 AR….Predictably, Paris Saint-Germain and their team of all-stars captured the FRENCH LIGUE 1 title, although it was a lot closer than many thought it would be with Monaco (2nd) finishing only 5 Points behind. Kylian Mbappe (35 Apps, 15 Goals, 7 Assists, 8 PoMs, 7.59 AR) captured the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award, followed closely by 34-year-old all-time legend Lionel Messi’s 7.58 AR and 11 Goals.

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After two and a half seasons of dominating the Bundesliga goalscoring charts, Erling Haaland moved to England to join two-time defending EPL champions Manchester City…The move will cost Man City £110M for the 21-year-old striker, who is coming off of a phenomenal season with Borussia Dortmund having registered 26 Goals, 13 Assists, 12 PoMs, and 7.80 AR in 34 Appearances…Haaland, who led Dortmund to a 2nd Place finish this past season, was also crowned the 2022 Bundesliga Footballer of the Year, the 2022 Best Player in Europe, and also won the 2022 European Golden Shoe…Dortmund bought him from FC Salzburg in early 2020 for only £17.75M…His new contract will pay him almost £300k per week, with the hope that he will fill a void left by the departure Kun Aguero as no player on Man City scored more than 14 Goals during the 2021/22 season.



Kylian Mbappe shook the footballing world after staying true to his word and signing with Real Madrid on Free Transfer, running down his contract with Paris Saint-Germain…The 23-year-old superstar, who is one of the most valuable players in the world, failed to impress in the Champions League last season alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi although he did have a great season overall…He won the Ligue 1 Best Player award as PSG were crowned champions, his fourth French Ligue 1 title…He was also named in the 2021 World Team of the Year and was also named the 2022 European International League’s Best Young Player…With a wage close to £350k per week, he becomes Real Madrid’s highest paid player on the squad.



The Qatar 2022 World Cup draw saw England fall in with Italy, Nigeria, and South Korea in Group C, while defending champions France will face the toughest group on paper after being drawn with Holland, Colombia, and Ivory Coast in Group G…Group A will see the hosts play against Spain, the Czech Republic, and Chile…In other highlights, Brazil and 2018 Runners-Up Croatia will face off in Group B, and Germany will play Portugal in Group H…The World Cup is scheduled to take place in November.


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GOAL 50 2022

I am loving this and the NxGn 50 award features! No real surprises in the top ten - Haaland has been scorching for Man City scoring 10 in 13 since joining them in the EPL. Man City GK Ederson is the highest rated player at his position at 11 while teammate Aymeric Laporte is the highest rated defender coming in at 17. The youngest player in Bayern Munich's 19-year-old winger Jamal Musiala, who makes his entry at 50. 






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1 minute ago, abulezz said:

They actually missed out on the Champions League last season, but Ronaldo is ageless it seems. Still dominating. 

wow, it seems that way on my save too lol, 22 goals at the end of the season from him

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14 minutes ago, xray1324 said:

that looks decent

I'm still at a point where I need bodies to develop, regardless of the talent. I have alot of my create-a-players locked up for the next few years and we're doing good in the League One, so there is no urgency in finding a star to carry the team like in the Vanarama leagues. 

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Despite the controversially being played in November, Qatar 2022 got underway amongst huge fanfare as it was the first time the tournament was being hosted in the Middle East…..The first day of matches did not disappoint, with the highlight being Brazil running through runners-up Croatia 4-0 in Group B and Spain defeating Chile 4-3 in a highly entertaining Group A showdown…..In one of the most anticipated matches of the Group Stages, Italy ran away with a 2-0 victory over England in Group C. Italy had defeated England one year prior in the Finals of the Euro 2021…..In another highly anticipated match, Germany defeated Portugal 1-0 in Group H with Cristiano Ronaldo officially participating in his fifth World Cup, a new record…..The defending champions France started their campaign in convincing fashion, defeating Ivory Coast 3-0 in Group G as the First Matchday came to a close.

The Second Matchday brought with it two surprise results during its first round of action, with Brazil being held to a 1-1 draw by Iran after the latter scored an 89th minute goal to equalize the match, while in Group A Spain were defeated by the Czech Republic 2-1 while also getting a player (Atletico Madrid’s 27-year-old defender Mario Hermoso) being sent off…..Although they were unimpressive, England managed to right the ship somewhat with a 1-0 victory over South Korea in Group C, putting them second to Italy who defeated Nigeria 2-0 in solid fashion…..Uruguay become the first team to mathematically guarantee qualification to the Second Round with a 2-0 victory over Algeria, leaving Australia and Switzerland fighting over the other spot in Group D…..Matchday Two’s most anticipated game was between defending champions France and Holland, with the former coming out 2-1 victors in a tough game.

Going into Matchday Three, only Uruguay had officially ensured qualification into the Second Round, although there were a number of teams that already had one foot in the door…..in Group A, Spain sealed qualification with an emphatic 5-0 victory over the hosts Qatar, although it the Czech Republic who qualified top of the group having won all three of their matches…..Despite a big victory in their first match, Brazil stumbled to the Second Round after a 1-1 draw against the USA left them in 2nd Place in Group B behind the team they defeated 4-0, Croatia…..England and Italy were predicted to make it out of Group C and the experts were proven right, with the latter winning all three of their matches and topping the group…..Despite falling 3-0 in their final Group D match to leaders Uruguay, Switzerland still managed to beat out Australia and make it to the Second Round on Goal Difference…..It was Poland who joined Argentina making it out of Group E, knocking out a Mexican team that disappointed its fans by not making it into the knockout stages…..No surprises in Group F as Belgium won all their games and topped the group, with Denmark joining them in the next stage and the expense of Senegal and Costa Rica…..There were also no surprises in Group G as the world champions France won all three matches and were joined by Holland in the next round…..The Cristiano Ronaldo farewell tour ramped up the intensity after he nailed the Group Stages only hat-trick against Japan, moving on to the Second Round tied for top goalscorer in the competition thus far with 4 Goals. Germany not only won all three of their games but also did not concede a single goal, putting weight behind their claim as one of the – if not THE – favorite to take the entire thing as they did at Brazil 2014.



Uruguay was perfect in the Group Stages, scoring 8 Goals and conceding none, but then they ran into England in the Second Round. The Russia 2018 Semi-Finalists defeated the South Americans 4-2, with Man City’s 27-year-old midfielder Jack Grealish scoring his second goal and winning his second PoM award so far this tournament…..Switzerland barely made it out of their group and it showed, as Italy continued their dominant performance at Qatar 2022 with a huge 4-0 victory. Lazio’s 32-year-old striker Ciro Immobile, who was the 2022 Euro Cup Golden Boot and Player of the Season as well as the Serie A Top Goalscorer recipient with 22 Goals last season, scored his third brace of the tournament, bringing his total to a competition best 6 Goals in four games…..The first real drama of the Second Round took place as Poland bested Belgium in an upset thanks to heartbreaking (for the Belgians, at least) last second goal in the 96th minute to win the match 3-2 after equalizing in the 88th minute…..No surprise upset for Denmark, however, as Argentina breezed through their match with them and ended up with a 2-0 victory…..One of the two most anticipated matches in the Second Round, France vs. Portugal ended up being an anti-climactic affair as it stayed 0-0 all the way until the end. Penalties decided the outcome, and it was the champions who advanced at the expense of Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese…The second of the anticipated matches saw Germany continue their perfect record, this time against Holland, as a late 82nd minute goal gave them a 1-0 victory that ensured their place in the Quarter-Finals.



ITALY vs. SPAIN: Spain entered the match having conceded 7 Goals in their previous four matches at Qatar 2022 while the Italians were looking like the team to beat – they had conceded no goals leading up to this match and they had Ciro Immobile, who was leading all goalscorers with 6 Goals. Despite all the firing power, Spain became the first team to hold the Italians the entire match without a goal, ended the match with a tough 1-0 victory despite being relative underdogs in this particular battle. The Italians, given how they performed so far at Qatar 2022, were disappointed with the result as they had the look and feel of a team that would be able to go all the way. The Euro 2021 champions missed out on the Semi-Finals for the fourth straight time, however, with the last being at Germany 2006 where they won their fourth and last World Cup trophy. RESULT: Spain 1 – 0 Italy

CZECH REPUBLIC vs. ENGLAND: The Czech Republic were one of the most impressive teams at Qatar 2022 going into this match – they had only conceded one goal and had defeated Spain in the Group Stages and knocked out Brazil on penalties in the Second Round. England were typical England – high intensity, lots of mistakes, but ultimately an exciting attacking team capable of beating anyone on their day. Well, this was their day – it took extra-time but England advanced to their second straight Semi-Finals, having defeated the Czech Republic 4-2 thanks to two late goals from Phil Foden and Harry Kane. RESULT: England 4 – 2 Czech Republic

POLAND vs. FRANCE: The defending champions, on paper, looked to have the easiest tie of the Quarter-Finals, but Poland had other plans. The match itself was nothing to write home about – both goals came in the first half and after 120 minutes, the result was still 1-1 much to the champions’ dismay. Poland then produced the shock of the tournament thus far and knocked out France on penalties, advancing to the Semi-Finals for the first time since 1982. RESULT: Poland 1(p) – 1 France

ARGENTINA vs. GERMANY: There is no doubting that over the past few decades, the Germans have had Argentina’s number, having defeated them in the Finals at Italy 1990 with Maradona on the team and then again at Brazil 2014 when Messi was the star. It looked like history was set to repeat itself by Argentina saved themselves in the 90th minute, equalizing the game 1-1 in dramatic fashion. That would be the end of the good news for the South Americans, however, as Germany would take the match on penalties, setting up a tantalizing showdown with Spain om the Semi-Finals. RESULT: Germany 1(p) – 1 Argentina



ENGLAND vs. POLAND: The Cinderella story that is Poland at Qatar 2022 finally came to its conclusion in the Semi-Finals as England managed pull off a 2-1 victory. This was the first World Cup Finals England had made since winning the entire thing on home soil in 1966, doing so on the back of three players: Harry Kane (3 Goals, 2 Assists, 7.23 AR), Jordan Henderson (2 Goals, 2 PoMs, 7.25 AR), and Jack Grealish (3 Goals, 2 Assists, 7.33 AR) – none were outstanding, but all three were consistent and rose to the occasion when it mattered. Poland, who also made it this far thanks to a team effort rather than the solo efforts of stars, can write this tournament off as one of the success stories of their team’s history – meanwhile, the English will be heading to the Finals to try and bring him their second ever World Cup title. RESULT: England 2 – 1 Poland

GERMANY vs. SPAIN: Many were billing this as the Finals before the actual Finals, with both teams amongst the heavy favorites to lift the World Cup trophy. Spain last did so at South Africa 2010 while the Germans took it four years later Brazil 2014. It was one of the most entertaining matches at Qatar 2022 and it was Spain who came away with it after scoring the only goal in extra-time to take the match with a 3-2 victory. It was the brace from 20-year-old Barcelona wonderkid Ansu Fati that propelled Spain to only their second Finals appearance of all-time as the youngster solidified himself as Spain’s star of the tournament and its newest legend. RESULT: Spain 3 – 2 Germany



ENGLAND vs. SPAIN: Both teams reached the Qatar 2022 on the strength of their team play – while neither had a standout star who had shone above the rest, they both were exceptionally strong offensive teams that had won their previous games behind the strength of their attacking line. Both teams had also been to the Finals only once before – England in 1966 and Spain in 2010 – and both teams had won in their only trip to the pinnacle of football. In the end, despite an onslaught of shots onto their opponent’s goal, it was Spain who came away with a tough 1-0 victory with the only goal coming from 28-year-old Man City defender Aymeric Laporte in the 5th minute. It was another heartbreaking loss for the English, who just one year ago fell to Italy at the Euro 2021 Finals. Spain were crowned World Champions for the second time in their history, with Germany defeating Poland to take the bronze medal.





BEST PLAYER & BEST YOUNG PLAYER: While there were some stand out performers at Qatar 2022 such as Kylian Mbappe (7.76 AR), Cristiano Ronaldo (4 Goals, 7.70 AR), Ciro Immobile (6 Goals, 7.56 AR), and Kevin De Bruyne (7.80 AR), none of them were featured in the Semi-Finals. Instead, it was 20-year-old Pedri of Spain and Barcelona who took home the Best Player award after registering 2 Goals, 3 Assists, and 7.27 AR and generally being Spain’s most influential player during the tournament. Despite his young age, he was asked to carry a heavy load for his national side and he more than lived up to it. Jack Grealish (3 Goals, 2 Assists, 7.26 AR) played a very similar role for England, helping them reach the Finals for the first time since 1966.

BEST GOALKEEPER: There was really only one GK to consider for the award and it was Spain’s Unai Simon. The 25-year-old Atletico Bilbao player, who had 9 Goals Conceded, 3 Clean Sheets, and 7.09 AR, was responsible for many crucial saves and it goes without saying that without his efforts, Spain most likely would not have won their second World Cup title.

GOLDEN BOOT: From the beginning, it looked like Italy’s Ciro Immobile was a man on a mission. The 32-year-old Lazio striker had 6 Goals in just 5 Games – all 6 Goals came in three games where he propelled Italy to victory with braces. Had Italy managed to advance past Spain in the Quarter-Finals, there would have been no doubt that Immobile would have captured the Best Player award instead of Pedri.





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WORLD GOLDEN BALL/PLAYER OF THE YEAR: While Erling Haaland was one of the favorites to repeat as winner of the three World awards, it was actually his teammate Kevin De Bruyne who ended up winning them for the first time in his career. The 31-year-old Belgian midfielder, who had been amongst the world’s best players for years now, had an exceptional season – he led Man City to their second straight EPL title and was also named the Champions League’s 2022 Midfielder of the Season having also led his club to their second straight CL Finals. With 14 Goals and 30 Assists this year, the Belgian beat out Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski and teammate Haaland to capture the awards.



WORLD GOLDEN GLOVE: Although it seemed like a close vote, there really was only one man who could have won the award this season and that was Paris Saint-Germain’s Gianluigi Donnarumma. The 23-year-old Italian GK beat out Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois (who the 2022 World GK of the Year award) and Man City’s Ederson having conceded only 28 Goals in 47 Appearances while registering 26 Clean Sheets and 7.39 AR – the highest of any GK in the world this year.



WORLD U21 FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR: Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala – despite competition from Barcelona’s Ansu Fati – was the clear choice here. Musiala, 19, delivered 16 Goals and 7.22 AR in 46 Appearances this year having already solidified himself as one of his club’s most important players. He won the Bundesliga and Champions League titles as a starter on a star-studded team while also capturing the 2022 German U19 Player of the Year award. He is already considered one of the world’s global superstars and helped his nation win the bronze medal at Qatar 2022.



TRANSFERS/OTHER NEWS: The largest transfer during this season’s January transfer window was 24-year-old Uruguayan midfielder Frederico Valverde, who made the move from Real Madrid to Paris Saint-Germain for £72M. The Uruguay international (47 Caps/4 Goals) was having a good season with Real Madrid (11 Apps, 2 Goals, 4 Assists, 2 PoMs, 7.17 AR) before the move. He will be paid £245k per week with PSG…..The only other notable transfer was Turkish GK Ugurcan Cakir, who was sold by Trabzonspor to Tottenham for £41M. The 24-year-old Cakir is a prominent member of the Turkish national team (23 Caps) and was named the 2022 Turkish League GK of the Season before breaking the Turkish club record for largest transfer fee…..Closer to home, the Sophara United board decided to cash in on John Smith, selling him to Premier League club Sheffield United for a fee that could rise to £1.8M. This went against the wishes of owner/manager Abul Ezz who ended up relenting due to the financial situation of the club…..The only real surprise out of the major European leagues was Monaco topping the French Ligue 1 charts, 2 Points ahead of heavily favored PSG. Man United were also a bit of a surprise as they remain top of the EPL table as January comes to a close.






Edited by abulezz
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13 minutes ago, xray1324 said:

his physical stats look decent enough, and at-least he's determined

He could develop into something of a good rotational player and I suspect he won't be too bad, but my hope is in a few years his level would be below what I would currently have on my team. It is all about the new few Intakes and what they turn out and if I can keep my Create-A-Players at the club long term. 

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9 minutes ago, abulezz said:

He could develop into something of a good rotational player and I suspect he won't be too bad, but my hope is in a few years his level would be below what I would currently have on my team. It is all about the new few Intakes and what they turn out and if I can keep my Create-A-Players at the club long term. 

fair enough

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NxGN 2022/23 AWARDS

This is the first year there are rookies (newgens) in the list. Below is a list of some players and analysis on them.







WINNER: JUDE BELLINGHAM, 19, England (19 Caps/3 Goals) – Borussia Dortmund, Midfield – (Previously Unranked): Bellingham, 19, was unranked last year but has jumped to the NxGN 2023 award winner in just one year. It has been an incredible rise through the ranks of football for Bellingham, whose transfer value is now close to £125M….Bought from his childhood club of Birmingham in 2020 for £25M, this is now his third year in the Bundesliga where he has become the brightest young star in world football….Named in the 2022 Bundesliga Team of the Year and also winner of the 2022 European Golden Boy award, he was part of the English team that made the World Cup Finals at Qatar 2022 where they lost to Spain….He has now earned 19 Caps and scored 3 Goals for the English national team….In 20 Appearances this year, he has registered 3 Goals, 9 Assists, and 7.46 AR….A player without any glaring weaknesses, his 7.46 AR is currently tied for the 3rd best in the Bundesliga.




2nd PLACE: FLORIAN WIRTZ, 19, Germany (18 Caps/7 Goals) – Bayer Leverkusen, Midfield/Winger – (2022: 6th): Initially bought from FC Koln in early 2020 for just £180K, Wirtz has been a star for Leverkusen over the past three years….In 25 Appearances this season, he has registered 1 Goal, 4 Assists, 4 PoMs, and 7.41 AR, which ranks amongst the best in the Bundesliga….The rivalry between Bellingham and Wirtz as to who is the better young player has been a narrative the German media have been pushing all season long….During the 2021/22 season, he broke his club’s record with 11 Assists and was named to his first Bundesliga Players’ Team of the Year, making his debut in the summer of 2022 for the German national team….He would be part of the team that won the bronze at Qatar 2022 and has so far earned 18 Caps/7 Goals for Germany….Valued at around £80M, it is going to be tough for his club to keep him as he has already publicly stated he wants to move to a bigger club.



3rd PLACE: YUSUF DEMIR, 19, Austria (7 Caps/1 Goal) – AC Milan, Winger – (2022: 15th): The Austrian international, who spend last year on loan with Barcelona, was bought by AC Milan from Rapid Vienna for £9.25M at the beginning of the season and now is already valued at around £50M….Although his performances have been inconsistent (17 Apps (2 Starts), 2 Goals, 6.74 AR), his potential and talents are undeniable….Already one of the fastest players in the Serie A, his technical skills have improved drastically under the AC Milan training team….He jumped 12 spots to be considered the third best prospect in the world since his move….He has already earned 7 Caps for Austria, scoring a single Goal so far in his international career….His move to AC Milan has made him the most expensive Austrian player of all-time….Despite his struggles in form, he has not lost the faith of his manager Stefano Pioli, who remains committed to developing one of the most talented young players in the game.



4th PLACE: HAYTHEM BEN AMOR, 16, Tunisia/Denmark – FC Nordsjaelland, Defender – (Previously Unranked): Ben Amor came made his entry into the global scene after breaking his club’s record for youngest player of all-time and breaking the club and Danish 3F Superliga record for youngest goalscorer of all-time….The 16-year-old has already made his debut for the Tunisian U23 team although the Danish national team has expressed strong interest in making him a full international….Despite his young age, he is considered the finest defensive prospect under 20 in the world today….He has played 6 Games in his rookie season thus far, registering 6.73 AR….Already very strong in the air, he has shown good progress in his defensive abilities overall….Valued at around £10M, the expectation is that he will be worth a lot more than that by the time next year.



5th PLACE: JUAN ESTEBAN GOITEA, 16, Argentina – Banfield, Midfielder – (Previously Unranked): The highest ranking South American player under the age of 20, Goitea is currently in his rookie season having made 5 Appearances for his club’s first team, registering 92% Pass Completed and 6.90 AR….He has already broken his club’s record for youngest player and goalscorer….A defensive-minded midfielder, his technical skills and ability with the ball at his feet is already at high level despite his young age….He has already been labelled as potentially the next Javier Mascherano by the Argentine media….He is currently valued at around £10M, but like Ben Amor, that is expected to be a much higher number this time next year.



7th PLACE: GIOVANNI VAN OOIJEN, 16, Holland – Cercle Brugge, Midfielder – (Previously Unranked): Another 16-year-old rookie who has cracked the NxGn top ten, Van Ooijen currently plays in Belgium and actually eligible to play for the Belgian national team thanks to his second nationality….Poor in his technical skills – a weakness that has been spoken about – he nevertheless is exceptional in the air and has good defensive skills despite being only 16….There has also been comments about his nonchalant approach to training and he is known as being an unambitious type who has not yet proven he has the drive to push himself to become a world star….Despite all that, he has made 15 Appearances (5 Starts) so far in his first season, registering 2.15 TpG, 92% Pass Completed, and 6.87 AR….A bit of a controversial selection in the NxGn Top Ten, he does have his doubters about how good he can be….He is currently valued at around £7M.



OTHER NOTABLES: At 11th Place comes Bobi Ristovski, the 16-year-old FK Vojvodina (Serbia) rookie midfielder who carries both Macedonian and Serbian nationalities. He has yet to make his League debut for his club but has already earned 2 Caps for the Macedonian national team thanks to his highly advanced passing skills. He has been praised for his professional attitude and it is unlikely that Ristovski will stay too long in the Serbian league as he is already attracting the attention of some of the bigger clubs on the continent….Belgian 16-year-old winger Nabil Delmas is already a regular starter for his club Mouscron (Belgium), having played 28 Games and registered 9 Goals and 6.84 AR. Despite worries about his personality and ambitions, Delmas is already recognized as one of the most talented technical players under the age of 20 today….The highest ranking GK this year is Fuat Buz, Galatasaray’s 16-year-old Turkish rookie. He came on as a sub earlier this season and that has been his only appearance for his club thus far, although he has already earned 2 U21 Caps for his country. He broke his club’s record as its youngest player of all time.




Edited by abulezz
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