FM2012 Calcio Catania SpA: Kings of Sicily
Since FM2009 I have always done a save with Catania and they have fast become one of my favourite teams. I have come to admire the club due to their continued progress – the team have become an established Serie A team since achieving promotion in 2006. Catania have largely been in the shadow of the longer established Palermo, and because I will always back the underdog (possibly due to being an AFC Wimbledon fan), one of my aims when choosing Catania is to overtake Palermo as the dominant Sicilian club and to eventually challenge the traditional northern powerhouses of Italian football. This was my initial aim when I first chose to manage Catania back in FM09, and I have fond memories of Jorge Martinez’s goals leading the club to a 10th place finish, a major achievement in my eyes when the club were tipped for relegation. In the following edition of FM the bulk of the squad remained with a few quality additions such as Mariano Andujar and Maxi Lopez and I managed to secure a Champions League spot in the one and only season I played with Catania. In FM11 a save with Catania is possibly one of my favourite ever FM games. I was saddened to see Jorge Martinez depart for Juventus IRL (he hasn’t had much luck there), so it took me a while to start a game with Catania as I couldn’t bring myself to play without Martinez. However, I discovered that IRL Catania had signed a replacement for the Uruguayan, in the shape of little known Alejandro Gomez. This guy more than replaced Martinez and after initially struggling to improve (1st and 2nd seasons I finished 9th and 10th respectively), in the 3rd season I got my act together and stormed to the title with a midfield diamond formed of Real Madrid rejects Canales, Granero, Gago and the emerging Paulo Ganso (how I managed to sign him i’ll never know). I often become quite emotionally attached to clubs I play with on FM and Catania is no exception.
An extensive history of the club is available on Wikipedia -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcio_Catania
The key information:
The transfer/wage budgets:
Top half finish - £1.7m/£300k p/w
EURO Cup qual. (league) - £2m/300k p/w
Champions Cup qual. (league) - £2.2m/£325k p/w
Title Challenge - £2.4m/325k p/w
Winner - £2.6m/£325k p/w
Juan Pablo Carrizo GK
Andrea Campagnolo GK
Tomas Kosicky GK
Alessandro Potenza D(RC)
Marco Motta D/WB/M®
Ciro Capuano D/WB(L)
Giovanni Marchese D(L)
Nicola Legrottaglie SW, D©
Nicolas Spolli D©
Giuseppe Bellusci D(RC)
Marco Biagianti DM, M(LC)
Mario Paglialunga DM, M©
Mariano Izco M(RC)
Sergio Almiron M©
Felipe Seymour DM, M©
Francesco Lodi DM, M©, AM ®
Davide Lanzafame M/AM(RLC)
Pablo Barrientos M(LC), AM(RLC)
Alejandro Gomez AM(RLC)
Andrea Catellani AM(L), ST
Adrian Ricchiuti M/AM©
David Suazo ST
Gonzalo Bergessio ST
Osariemen Giulio Ebauga ST
The number 1 jersey simply has to go to Carrizo, Campagnolo and Kosicky are barely adequate backup. Carrizo is on loan from Lazio and can be purchased outright for a small fee quite easily. Mariano Andujar is out on loan and out of contract at the end of the season but if you decide to keep him, he is a solid goalkeeper in his own right; probably not good enough to displace Carrizo but definitely worth keeping around next season.
The choice of right backs is between Motta and Potenza. In my opinion, Motta is the man to choose but Potenza is a solid backup and possesses the ability to cover the other flank as well. Motta is on loan from Juventus for the season but can be signed for free as his contract only has 12 months to run. At left back the decision who to play is definitely harder, as Capuano and Marchese are similar in ability. For me, Capuano got the nod and is in my opinion that little bit better than Marchese but selecting the latter would be perfectly reasonable.
The three centre backs are all roughly similar in ability and it was probably the hardest area of the team to choose first choices. I ended up going for Legrottaglie despite his age, as he still possesses considerable ability. Bellusci is the youngest of the three at 21 and has relatively high potential so I decided to play him as first team football would only be beneficial. To be honest the third centre back, Spolli is of a very similar level to Bellusci and Legrottaglie and could easily command a first team spot.
Of the two defensive midfielders, Biagianti and Paglialunga, the former is a leading candidate for the captaincy and one of your key players. The latter certainly has to potential to play at Biagianti’s level but is probably best used as cover. Seymour, on loan from Genoa, is another defensive minded central midfielder and I tended to pick him over Paglialunga when Biagianti was unavailable. At 21 he can only improve but it is unlikely that he will be needed the following season when he returns to Genoa. Of the more attack minded central midfielders, Almiron is equipped to act as your playmaker and is one of the best players in the squad. Age is an issue however, and he may not last more than a couple of seasons. Ricchuti is more at home in an advanced midfield role and were you to play with a classic number 10, he would be your man. Unfortunately, he is 33 and his ability rapidly declines over the course of the season.
Of your right wingers, Lodi is certainly technically superior but lacks pace. He is comfortable in a central midfield role. The other options are the industrious Izco, who could be retrained to play at right back or wing back and Lanzafame, the fastest and most dynamic of the three and a striking option. He is in a co-ownership deal with Catania’s Sicilian rivals, Palermo. On the left you have one of your star players, Gomez who is equally comfortable in a front two or three or as a central attacking midfielder. Barrientos is almost as versatile but can offer another option in central midfield if you require creativity. Catellani should not get anywhere near the first team unfortunately, due to the level of the players who also play in his postion.
The quality of the out and out strikers is quite frankly poor. Suazo is the wrong side of 30 but does provide a reasonable quick outlet. Bergessio is a fairly mediocre target man but can do a job when asked. Ebauga is on loan from Torino and is probably the best of the three centre forwards, able to play a wide variety of roles up front. This is arguably the weakest area of the team but you will have Maxi Lopez next season when he returns from a loan spell with AC Milan, who is a genuinely good forward.
Back when FM09 was around, I created my first club thread with Catania (link http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/149868-Official-Calcio-Catania-Thread-Can-You-Save-Them-From-Relegation) and now that I’m free for the summer I thought I’d have another go and hopefully maintain it for longer. I’ve already played one season where to my surprise I managed to finish 2nd! A report of that season will follow and I will post updates on my progress and signings and I hope that anyone else who chooses to play with Catania will do the same! Happy FMing!