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FM17 - Uni is over, time for a gap year!

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On 28/08/2017 at 21:39, Nobby_McDonald said:

On for the treble...

It's exciting, but Man Utd pose a much bigger challenge than Leipzig.

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Croeso i Gymru! And welcome to the Millenium Stadium here in Cardiff, host for the 2025 Champions League Final between German champions Schalke and English champions Manchester United. Let's take a look at the starting line ups tonight.

 

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Let's start with the "Home" side for this tie, German champions Schalke. They field an unchanged side to the one that beat RB Leipzig in last weeks DFB Pokal Final and will look to play with much the same swagger they did then and that has served them so well in the competition so far. Yeboah and Hoxha are the ones to watch for Schalke tonight, the two young wingers are the gems of German football, and their combined technical and physical abilities will prove a tough test for José Mourinho's men.

 

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And now the "Away" side from just a short trip over the border, English champions Manchester United. Like their German counterparts, Manchester United also field an unchanged side from their 4-2 win against Liverpool on the final day of the Premier League season, two weeks ago. Man Utd will look to play in the same compact and defensive way they have played under José Mourinho's tenure, whilst looking to use the quality of their front four to attack with speed, precision, and efficiency. Man Utd field a side filled with quality and experience, we have a treat of a game on our hands.

 

This game represents the "Up and Comers" against the "Old Guard", as Schalke will play in their first ever Champions League final, and Mourinho's men will look for to break Liverpool's record for English European Cup wins as they aim for a seventh trophy in total, their fourth under Mourinho. This final will be a question of whether the inexperience of these situations will get to Schalke, and if Man Utd's experience will help them fend off the young challengers.

 

Man Utd are surely the favourites here today, but Schalke won't roll over easily, but with both on highs after recent success, it's hard to say who will edge this game.

 

The teams are lined up for the anthems and kick off is nearly upon us!

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Kick Off: The teams are ready and the referee, Daniele Orsato, gives Schalke the signal to start the game. Schalke start with a bright attacking intent, but Man Utd keep them out as the play breaks down.

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14th Minute: Frasca brings down the header from Ellison and looks to start a counter attack as he passes wide to Hoxha. But Shaw intercepts the pass and plays a low ball to Pogba. Pogba plays a short pass to Dele, who turns and has the attention of three Schalke defenders. And Dele plays a magnificently weighted pass into the box for Dybala who is one on one with Bassolé! But he drags the shot wide. Not the most eventful game so far and Man Utd have the first chance.

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17th Minute: Shaw plays the ball down the left for Pogba, and he holds the ball up under pressure from Hoxha. Pogba opts for a pass back to Cortizo on the half way line. Cortizo edges forwards and then turns to pass wide to Shaw, who passes first time down the wing for an unmarked Pogba. Pogba plays a low pass into Martial, Martial turns and slips Dybala into the box. Dybala holds it up and shoots! But it's high and wide. Man Utd looking dangerous again, and Schalke just can't seem to impose themselves on this game.

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27th Minute: Dele flicks on González's throw-in towards Bernardo Silva but Frasca manages to get a head to it, but only as far as Dele. Dele finds Pogba to his left. Pogba turns and tries to play it forward to Dybala, but Ellison intercept and looks to relieve some pressure here, but Shaw intercepts his pass to Hoxha! Now Shaw can bring it forward and he plays it to Dybala. Dybala turns and plays a low ball behind for Martial to chase. Bassolé looks to close him down and Martial strikes it low! GOAAALLLLLLL!! MAN UTD TAKE FIRST BLOOD! A lovely finish from the Frenchman! Schalke just couldn't clear their lines and they've paid the price. It's Schalke 0 - Manchester United 1!

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30th Minute: Garbe puts in a good tackle on Dybala and plays the ball across to Ellison. Ellison lays the ball forward to Frasca, who receives it under pressure from Pogba. And Orsato blows for a Schalke free kick. Oh and Pogba could be in trouble here, he's already on a yellow card. What does Daniele Orsato deem the punishment for that foul is? AND THAT'S HIS SECOND YELLOW CARD!! POGBA HAS BEEN SENT OFF!!! Man Utd are reduced to ten men, could this give Schalke an avenue back into this game?

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35th Minute: Man Utd are enjoying some possession in midfield here with some nice passing, Schalke just can't get near them! Bazoer now plays an incisive pass to Dybala, who drags Ellison out of position and he turns, passing to Martial. Martial lets loose with a shot! But it goes over the bar. Despite being a man down, it's still all Man Utd, Schalke aren't in this game whatsoever so far.

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40th Minute: Benegas with a potentially dangerous throw in here. He throws it short to Yeboah. Yeboah turns and gives it to Asensio on the edge of the box. Asensio brings it forward and ASENSIO! Oooh, he fires wide from range! Schalke's first chance of the game and they've been slowly growing into it since the red card, but Man Utd are still firmly the best team.

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42nd Minute: Martial plays the ball back to Bazoer in the centre of the pitch. Bazoer shrugs past the challenge of Frasca and brings the ball forward. Bazoer plays a low pass into Dele. Dele turns and sprays a lovely pass out wide to Martial. Martial beats Manjarrés to the ball and cuts inside. He skips past Ellison and shoots! But Martial hits it high and wide. Man Utd still looking dangerous and in control here in Cardiff.

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44th Minute: Man Utd just casually passing along the back four here, WEner tries to apply some pressure to Bailly but he easily passes to Cortizo. And Schalke are playing very deep here and Cortizo has all sorts of time to bring the ball forward, and he finds Bernardo Silva, who is playing centrally since the red card, with a long pass forward. Silva is in miles of space and can dribble forward freely, and he switches it wide to Martial as Manjarrés applies pressure to Silva. Martial free down the wing now and has an opportunity to cross for DYBALA!!!! And Dybala doubles United's lead with a calm, unchallenged finish across Bassolé, getting on the end of Martial's lovely, low cross. A sucker-punch for Schalke just before half time, but it's thoroughly deserved by Man Utd, Schalke just haven't been at the races. Schalke 0 - Manchester United 2!

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45th Minute:  Asensio with a chance to put this free kick in now from deep for Schalke. It's aimed towards Werner, but it's just a bit too long for him, but Werner manages to get the ball under control and is forced out wide by the Utd defence. But Werner manages to turn and play the ball to Frasca on the six-yard box. FRASCA! Just over! De Gea was nowhere near it and that was a great opportunity for Schalke to get back into this game.

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Half Time:  And the first half is brought to a close, and Man Utd are deserved leaders so far. They've created the chances and have kept Schalke out with ease, they just look a cut above Schalke at the moment. Sam Smith will look to fire up his team, but it could be too little too late now.

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Second Half: Man Utd get us back underway and look to bring it forward straight away. Bailly passes wide to González, but González has no options available so he gives a short pass to Bazoer. Bazoer turns and lays it forward to Dele. Dele passes to Dybala on the right wing and he's brought down by Benegas and it's a Man Utd free kick.

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47th Minute: Bernardo stands over this free kick and he lofts it towards Bailly at the back post. AND IT'S A PENALTY! Asensio is deemed to have pushed Bailly! Schalke are furious with Orsato, and it did seem a harsh decision as Asensio only seemed to nudge Bailly. Orsato is hearing none of it however and it's Martial who will step up to take this. Martial runs up and hits it! 3-0!!! Martial sends Bassolé the wrong way as he caresses the ball into the bottom right corner. Not the start Schalke wanted and they are sinking without a trace now. Man Utd are in total control as Martial gets his 30th for the season, this could get embarrassing for the Germans. Schalke 0 - Manchester United 3.

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64th Minute: Silva with a chance to deliver this free kick in from deep. He floats it to the back post and Rabiot meets it. It's headed across for MARTIAL! Martial volleys straight at Bassolé who parries it away and Ellison beats Shaw to the ball to scramble away, a lucky escape for Schalke there.

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72nd Minute: De Gea hits the ball forward to Galea on the right wing, but Benegas gets there first and passes forward to Werner. But Rabiot's there to put in a tackle that falls to Yeboah. YEBOAH!!!!!!! MY WORD, WHAT A GOAL! Yeboah picks up the loose ball, goes past Gonzalez and then fires the ball into the top right corner from the edge of the box, Schalke have been given a lifeline through one of the goals of the tournament! Schalke 1 - Manchester United 3!

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77th Minute: Galea has the ball on the half way line, and he skips past Benegas to take it down the right wing now. Galea gets in an opportunity to cross but Bassolé gets across easily to tip it out for a corner. Galea almost got lucky there but Bassolé was ready. And now Griezmann comes across to take the corner. Griezmann puts an inswinging ball into to the six-yard box but Bassolé claims it with ease. This game seems to be fizzling out as Man Utd are content to hold their lead whilst Schalke just can't create anything.

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Full Time: One last roll of the dice here for Schalke as Hoxha aims this free kick towards Garbe. Garbe's shot is blocked by González but it falls to Werner who tries to bring it out of his feet, Rabiot though gets a foot in and punts the ball away. Zapata chases the ball down but there's the final whistle! Manchester United are European Champions!!!! The final score is Schalke 1 - Manchester United 3!!!

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Posted (edited)

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Not the most exciting final, but Manchester United come away as deserved winners! Martial opened the scoring for the Red Devils. The lead looked in jeopardy when Pogba got himself sent off for a second yellow card, but Dybala struck just before half time to ease any concerns for United. The second half started as badly as the first ended for Schalke when Asensio was adjudged to have fouled Bailly in the box, with Martial netting the resultant penalty. It wasn't all bad for Schalke as with 20 minutes to go, Yeboah scored a sensational goal to provide a way back into the game, but it wasn't to be. Man Utd become England's most successful European side with seven European Cup winds and Schalke fall at the final hurdle in their first ever Champions League Final. 

 

So that's the end of our coverage as Mourinho's men lift that trophy for the Fourth time under his tenure, we hope to see you soon!

Edited by VillaSmith

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john1   

Gutted to see you lost in the final :( But brilliant achievement to get there :thup: 

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June 2025 / Season Review | Schalke 04

 

Competitions

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A great showing on all fronts, winning a domestic "treble" and reaching the Champions League final. The league was tighter than the final table suggests, but we are slowly pulling away from the other teams in Germany, although that may be partly to the overall quality of German teams being slightly lower, despite the competition being number two in the coefficients. Bayern will almost definitely be a bigger challenge next year as Klopp has had time to settle, so it's still not a given that I'll win it, but I'm confident. I'll be looking to make it three in a row and aim to get to the Champions League final again, and now I have my DFB Pokal I'll probably focus less on that next season. The Champions League will be the major challenge next year, and despite pulling away from the pack in Germany, there are still a good 7-8 teams that I'd want to avoid in Europe and I wouldn't be massively confident of getting past, so I'm hoping I can get a similar run of games as I did this season.

 

Awards and Squad

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Team of the Year

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Player's Team of the Year

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Not much in the way of awards again this season, but a good showing in the Teams of the Year with 5 in both and Yeboah just missed out on the Best Player in Europe award, with my old England striker Thompson picking up the gong after an amazing looking season. Overall as a team, we were at a level above this season in performances, with my front three playing sensationally. A big positive for me was Benegas, as I was fearing he wouldn't kcik on at his age, but he replaced the aging Hector brilliantly. As with last season, we stayed mostly injury free so there was little playing time for those fringe players, which meant players like Werlemen and Kolar couldn't make the impact I wanted this season. Rey made a massive impact on my team, pushing Zapata out of my Best XI. Next season I want to transition to my younger players, so Asensio and Werner may have more limited playing time and I won't be looking for much transfer wise either.

 

Notable Players

5. Marco Garbe - It's funny to think that when I joined Schalke, I couldn't see a place for him in my side at LB and was going to sell him. Then my brother suggested trying him at CB and he's been one of my most important players since. He's come back from his leg break really well and has been a rock at the back for me. He's made a great partnership at the back with Ellison, and it's always great to have "one of our own" in the team, and with his versatility across the entire defence, he's filled the Howedes shaped hole in the squad perfectly.

4. Klevis Hoxha - Well worth the £73m in the end, Hoxha was superb this season. He was lethal from the right wing, scoring and assisting like it was nobodies business. 25 goals and 22 assists from the wing is amazing and was a big part of my success this season, and most importantly they were goals and assists that Bayern didn't get! He's a top player and hopefully will have many similar seasons.

3. Juan Carlos Rey - I really should try and get Rey more permanently, this is the second time he's been on loan at Schalke, and the second time he's been one of the most important players. Only here for half a season after the Laenen sale, he was fantastic in his few appearances he made and his performances were vital in the league as I rotated to perform on all three fronts. Real want to try him in the first team again so I can't keep hold of him, but he was a great option for me in the league.

2. Richard Yeboah - Yeboah had a bit of an injury hit season, but was still a huge player for me, and my second best player. Not as prolific as previous seasons, but he was still a huge threat from the left wing and at 23 he still has plenty left in him. He could easily become one of the best players in the world, if he isn't already, and he now seems happy at Schalke too, I'm hoping he'll be a one club man.

1. Timo Werner - Werner was in absolutely outstanding form and on top of his 35 goals this season, he's added assists to his game notching 26. He was huge for me this season, and whilst I wanted to give Svard more game time, Werner just didn't give me an opportunity to do so, playing too well in all competitions. He has really paid back that £34m I shelled out on him.

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On 30/08/2017 at 22:35, john1 said:

Gutted to see you lost in the final :( But brilliant achievement to get there :thup: 

 

On 01/09/2017 at 22:23, Nobby_McDonald said:

It didn't happen.

It's disappointing, but when you come up against someone like Mourinho and the quality team he has at United, what do you expect. The team's young and filled with potential, so winning it isn't too far away hopefully. Also, I never dreamed of getting this far, so it's not too gutting :) 

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July - September 2025 / Pre Season | Schalke 04

 

Transfers

Out

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My outgoings this season were mainly youth players going out on loan, or moving on the youth players that I felt wouldn't make it. The only major outgoing was Hector, returning to Koln after 6 seasons at the club. With Chalmers improving whilst on loan in Scotland, and Benegas having such a fantastic season last year, Hector was going into the season as third choice LB, plus, considering his wages and declining quality I thought it was best to move him on.

 

In

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I signed five youth prospects this summer, again going through the German Youth Intakes to nab some prospects, spending about £3.6m. On top of my signings, my HoYD also brought in Albustin for £2.6m as well. It's hard to say who is the best of this crop as there's no standout player like last season, but I'd probably pick out Baekgaard as the top player.

 

Kawayne Grant - Free Transfer from Arsenal. Grant was decent for me when I loaned him a couple of seasons ago, and with his contract up in the summer, I felt he'd add decent depth to the squad at fairly minimal risk.

Nils Lennard Salger - £5.5m from Bayern. Bayern signed this guy just a season and a half ago for £27m from Leverkusen, and was listed for transfer this summer so I snapped him up as I needed a backup RB and he is quite versatile in defence, making him a good option off the bench, as well as a good Homegrown player for registration.

Daley Blind - £1.4m from Barcelona. Signed as a backup CB/versatility defender as well as a tutor for my younger players. A decent option to rely on when rotating and should help my younger players along in their development.

 

 

Squad

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As I stated in the season review for last season, this year I'm going to rely on my youth prospects a little more heavily so no major transfers in, just promoting from the U19s and Schalke II. As a whole, I'm quite happy with the squad, it has a good mix of experienced, first team talents and some good potential youngsters to provide the backup roles. Mostly going to keep the same first XI as last season, except for Svard and Kolar coming in for Werner and Asensio. Another season with a settled and mostly happy squad, so I'm very happy with the look of the squad.

 

DFL-Supercup

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Another year, another Supercup win. This time I didn't have to beat Bayern, but it was just as easy this season. Another great spectacle for the curtain raiser, although it was only 2-1 at half time. A full strength side managed to easily brush past Dortmund, with me once again showcasing my attacking prowess, but I still can't quite keep the goals out.

 

DFB-Pokal

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A shaky start to my DFB Pokal defence, as I fielded a youthful side for my game against Bielefield. It was actually a late Bielefield equaliser that force the game to half time, as bringing on Frasca, Yeboah and Svard managed to turn the tide in the second half after being 1-0 down very early on. We went behind again in extra time but managed to get back into the game and my superior quality ended up seeing me through in the end. Nozaki was particularly impressive, notching two goals on his début and had an all round magnificent performance for a 17-year-old. Duisburg are my opponent in the second round, and I'll probably be fielding another youthful side for that game.

 

Champions League

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A tough group, but considering the strength of the second seeds, it could have only really been better if I got someone else instead of Inter. Despite the tough group, I reckon I can get through to the knockout stages.

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A good start to the group with a convincing win at home to Inter, but the scoreline away at Kobenhavn was slightly flattering despite the stats making it look like I dominated the game. We eventually broke down Kobenhavn's spirited defence, but we were poor in terms of finishing all game. Two tough games against Chelsea next, which could see me need wins against both Kobenhavn and Inter to get through. But I'm confident I can get at least one good result to leave me in a good position.

 

Bundesliga

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A good start to the season, although the loss to Leverkusen was slightly worrying, we were cut open too easily by their attack, and it has given me some cause for concern for facing the other big teams later on. We've been playing well so far, and we responded to the Leverkusen loss well, and have been scoring for fun. Svard and Kolar have stepped up to the first team well and we have managed to deal with rotating the team well, which is a relief as I was slightly concerned the younger players might not do well. Bayern and Dortmund have both had shaky starts, which has allowed me to take forge a slight gap.

Edited by VillaSmith

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Et tu, Leon?

 

Yeboah has been tracked by Atlético for a while now, and he finally asked to leave :( He could have been a legend at Schalke, and we're not far off from them, but they're offering £200k+ which I can't match and probably only United are a better team than them. I'll make them trigger his release clause of £100m though, which will make him the most expensive transfer ever. I had wondered how Atlético could become quite so much of a heavyweight and it turns out that the start of their dominance coincides with them being taken over by a Qatari tycoon, so no wonder they began dominating Spain. Looks like Yeboah will be leaving in January then :(

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October - December 2025 | Schalke 04

 

Bundesliga

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A much tighter title race this year as I dropped silly points to teams I should have beaten easily, but I managed to go into the Winter break top of the table by just one point. We've been stuttering quite a lot over the last few months, putting in inconsistent performances and not putting teams to the sword like I should have. I've been disrupted by injuries to Kolar, Manjarrés and Zapata, poor overall fitness levels and Yeboah being unhappy due to Atléti's interest too. All that combined with my rotating youth players into the squad, I've rarely fielded the same team two games in a row, and it's obvious with my stilted play. Still, we've had some good games such as Bayern at Home and I feel I just need have a little more consistency with my starting XI to hold off Bayern and Stuttgart.

 

DFB Pokal

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I continued with playing youthful sides in the cup and I managed to squeeze through both rounds to get to the Quarter Finals. Both games were close and I'm quite pleased with how my youth players managed to see the games through and get the wins. In the quarter I'll face Hoffenheim who knocked me out in the 2023/24 season, but I reckon I should have enough to continue my cup defence.

 

Champions League

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A tough game in London gave me my only defeat of the campaign so far, with Chelsea showing their quality to brush me aside, but I got my revenge in the return fixture although I did let a 3-1 lead slip and had to rely on a late penalty to get the win. After the tough games against Chelsea it was a fairly simple couple games to end the group as I battered Inter and Kobenhavn. Kobenhavn were easy at home but a very tough away trip as they managed to earn a point against Chelsea which allowed me to take the top spot in the group.

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Last season I was fortunate to get the "easy" draws, no such luck this year. With it not possible for me to draw Chelsea, Milan was probably the toughest draw I could get. However, Italian football is very poor currently and they're in danger of slipping behind France in the coefficients, and Inter are probably the best team in Italy currently and I have fared very well against them over the last two seasons. Still, it's a tough challenge and I'll need to be at my best to get to the Quarter Final.

 

Awards

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World Team of the Year

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I don't normally do awards for this update, but this is the first time my players have been up for these awards :D Yeboah is unlucky that Thompson is the same age as him, as he could've won those awards if Thompson wasn't so good. Yeboah also has had a slightly injury hit year so he has played considerably less than the other two, so he's unlucky there that he didn't have the chance to showcase his talents as much as the others. He and Hoxha firmly deserve to be in the team of the year too, they're fantastic. And Adam Svard's brilliant start to the season is already reaping rewards with a thoroughly deserved European Golden Boy.

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January 2026 / Transfer Update | Schalke 04

 

Out

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It was coming, but it still hurt :( Yeboah's one of the best players in the world, if not the best, so losing him leaves a massive gap in my team, and £100m just seems way too cheap, but there was nothing I could do. Werner also wanted to leave, but no-one offered for him and a loan to Stuttgart was the best option. Hendrix has hardly featured so far this season, so I thought I'd cash in as he was attracting interest. A few others were chased, like Trainor, Svard and Werlemen, but I held on to them as teams didn't want to offer very much for them.

 

In

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Marc Yannick Lassoff - £46.5m from Hannover

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Yoann Bernard - £37m from West Ham

Only two first team players, mainly as replacements for Yeboah and Werner. I've been chasing Lassoff for a while now, and I may have overpaid slightly, but Hannover wouldn't budge for anything below his release clause. Whilst not as good as Yeboah, he has decent potential and has been very good for Hannover for the past two and a half years, so I'm hopeful he can do well for me. Yoann Bernard was listed by request at West Ham, and looked a great replacement for Werner. Perhaps not as good technically, but he's more well rounded than Werner and has a little potential to eek out too. Both will be eligible for the Champions League which is a bonus too. I tried to nab another winger from Bayern, but he accepted a new contract.

 

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Roman Altenburger - £2m (£4.9m) from Gladbach

Signed by my HoYD, looks decent with good potential. I don't know if he'll be ahead of the other youth prospects in his position, but it's good to have options coming through.

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January - March 2026 | Schalke 04

 

Bundesliga

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Losing Yeboah hit me hard, and combined with Svard throwing a hissy fit over a contract, it resulted in a poor restart after the winter break with the team playing nowhere near as well as they can. We managed to regain some form in February, but it went away almost as quickly as it came. My away form continues to unstick me, winning only the one so far this year, and with that loss in Munich, it allowed Bayern to pull away from me, giving me a proper title challenge for once :p Werlemen has filled in for Yeboah fairly well, but it's been in fits and starts. As you can see he got two back to back hat tricks (The Gladbach hat trick consisting solely of free kicks), but he's also gone missing in games he hasn't scored in, which has limited my attacking options. I do have a somewhat favourable run in now so I'm confident I can reclaim top spot, but Bayern have been in rampaging form which will make it tough.

 

DFB Pokal

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3-0 down after just 22 minutes, we were awful in this game, the final score flattered us. We just couldn't create chances and we let Hoffenheim past us with ease, and I can't even blame my youth players, apart from missing Manjarrés through injury, it was pretty much a full strength side. I'm not too fussed about not winning the DFB Pokal, but I was expected to win it by my board and it would've been nice to retain it.

 

Champions League

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A decent first leg that got me my away goals and was quite even,  but the second leg we were poor. It was fairly even, but we failed to create chances and in the end, Milan punished us, taking the lead in the 80th minute and then sealing the game in the 92nd. We were just toothless and Milan took their chances. A disappointing end to the Champions League campaign, I was hoping to get to at least the Semi's this year.

 

A mixed couple of months, but despite still being in the hunt for the league, I'm actually concerned I could be sacked this season. There were elections last summer, and the new chairman told me that my previous performances wouldn't be considered under his tenure, and I got set the targets of winning both the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal whilst reaching the Champions League Semi Finals, so if I fail on all three fronts, I'm worried I could be out the door. Hopefully not, but I'll have to try and make sure I win the Bundesliga to ensure I'm safe.

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April - June 2026 / Season Review | Schalke 04

 

Bundesliga

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I managed to snap out of my funk for the last few games and managed to put myself top of the table, only to let Bayern back in with my draw at Hertha. It left all down to the last day, and despite battering Karlruher, it was a nervy finish. It's an odd type of nerves, knowing that you're holding up your part of the bargain and just hoping that someone else slips up. Bayern were at home to Hannover, and despite taking the lead they were losing 2-1 at half time, giving me hope. When Bayern got the equaliser in the second half, it meant a tense end to my game, but luckily for me, Hannover held on, and I won my third Bundesliga in a row! It was the tightest title so far, and I was convinced Bayern would pip me, but I held on in the end. We missed Yeboah in the second half of the season, but being eliminated from the Champions League and DFB Pokal was a blessing in disguise, allowing me to play a fully fit side in pretty much every one of my remaining games. Hopefully, I can hold on to my better players, but it's going to be hard, most of my best players are getting interest from around the continent and this season saw the fourth season in a row that I had one of my best players poached from me. After Meyer, Gudde, Laenen and Yeboah, I'm no longer massively confident in holding on to my players, especially since most demand release clauses to even discuss a contract. It's a **** situation when trying to build a team to win the Champions League, but I have some good young players coming through, so I should at least continue to challenge for the Bundesliga. To be honest though, my desire at Schalke seems to be waning, if any good job's come available in Europe, I may look to move on, and as it's a World Cup year, some decent National jobs are sure to become available.

 

Awards and Squad

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Team of the Year

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Players' Team of the Year

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No awards this year other than the 4/5 players in the teams of the year. As a whole, we weren't as impressive this season but were still very good mostly. This season was affected more heavily by injuries this season, and Yeboah was clearly my best player this season until he left, so the season was hampered quite heavily. Werlemen and Lassoff managed to somewhat fill the gap of Yeboah, whilst Hoxha and Svard managed to pick up the mantle of my star players. Nathan Raphael managed to step up this season and whilst he didn't get the goals and assists that Asensio got in previous seasons, but he was consistently good and fit into the team very well. My biggest problem was perhaps that I had no real consistent presence in my side, with various players have time out or on the bench for various reasons.

 

Notable Players

5. Lionel Christopher Werlemen - Played second fiddle to Yeboah in the first half of the season, then was a good replacement for him in the second half. He was very good but went missing at times, so despite having a good season, I'm not utterly convinced he replace Yeboah, but he's certainly a good option for the team. Maybe if he has a full season as a starter he can step up. Kind of weird that he has such a high Average Rating and was one of my better players and yet I'm not able to wax lyrical about him, but I think that's an indication of my season, all round good performances, disappointing at times but with not a lot of stand out performances.

4. Daniele Frasca - Frasca was going to be relegated to a backup position this season, but with Kolar's injury problems, he ended up starting more often than not and played very well. Playing as both AP and DLP, he did very well and I often relied on him when the chips were down, and he even chipped in with a few goals and assists. Frasca is a great option as he's equally adept in both attacking and deeper roles, and he was great to rely on this season when we looked a bit shaky.

3. Marco Garbe - A great season for the homegrown defender, mainly playing CB again and he was a rock at the back. A great partnership with Ellison, when I could field it, and his ability to play across the back four helped in my injury hit periods. I really like Garbe, I think he could be a Schalke legend, and his physical attributes make him immensely valuable at the back IMO.

2. Adam Svard - With the exception of January/February when he threw his hissy fit over his contract, Svard replaced Werner magnificently. Svard was superb and is really starting to fulfil his potential, scoring at will (which was part of his problem) and linking up with the other attacking players very well. He could be one of the best strikers in the world, and I'm so glad he seems to be getting to that stage with Schalke.

1. Klevis Hoxha - Hoxha continued his fantastic form from last season, and was my standout player this season, taking the mantle of talisman from Yeboah quite well. Not quite as prolific as last season, but close, and considering some of the disruptions this season it's a very good return. Hopefully, he can continue this form into next season as I'll need it if I want to challenge for the Champions League again.

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Five Year Review

 

England

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2021/2022 | 1st - Man Utd, 2nd - Liverpool, 3rd - Arsenal

2022/2023 | 1st - Man Utd, 2nd - Man City, 3rd - Arsenal

2023/2024 | 1st - Man Utd, 2nd - Liverpool, 3rd - Man City

2024/2025 | 1st - Man Utd, 2nd - Tottenham, 3rd - Chelsea

2025/2026 | 1st - Man City, 2nd - Man Utd, 3rd - Liverpool

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Chelsea, Runner's Up  - Swansea

2022/2023 | Winners - Man City, Runner's Up  - Man Utd

2023/2024 | Winners - Chelsea, Runner's Up  - Watford

2024/2025 | Winners - Liverpool, Runner's Up  - Arsenal

2025/2026 | Winners - Newcastle, Runner's Up  - Swansea

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Leicester, Runner's Up  - Arsenal

2022/2023 | Winners - Chelsea, Runner's Up  - Tottenham

2023/2024 | Winners - Crystal Palace, Runner's Up  - Man Utd

2024/2025 | Winners - Arsenal, Runner's Up  - Man City

2025/2026 | Winners - Tottenham, Runner's Up  - Chelsea

 

Germany

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2021/2022 | 1st - Leverkusen, 2nd - Bayern, 3rd - Gladbach

2022/2023 | 1st - Bayern, 2nd - Schalke, 3rd - Leverkusen

2023/2024 | 1st - Schalke, 2nd - Bayern, 3rd - Dortmund

2024/2025 | 1st - Schalke, 2nd - Dortmund, 3rd - Bayern

2025/2026 | 1st - Schalke, 2nd - Bayern, 3rd - Leverkusen

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Leipzig, Runner's Up  - Hertha Berlin

2022/2023 | Winners - Bayern, Runner's Up  - Hannover

2023/2024 | Winners - Bayern, Runner's Up  - Hoffenheim

2024/2025 | Winners - Schalke, Runner's Up  - Leipzig

2025/2026 | Winners - Hoffenheim, Runner's Up  - Leverkusen

 

Spain

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2021/2022 | 1st - Atlético Madrid, 2nd - Real Madrid, 3rd - Barcelona

2022/2023 | 1st - Atlético Madrid, 2nd - Real Madrid, 3rd - Barcelona

2023/2024 | 1st - Real Madrid, 2nd - Atlético Madrid, 3rd - Málaga

2024/2025 | 1st - Atlético Madrid, 2nd - Real Madrid, 3rd -  Barcelona

2025/2026 | 1st - Atlético Madrid, 2nd - Barcelona, 3rd - Real Madrid

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Real Madrid, Runner's Up  - Villarreal

2022/2023 | Winners - Real Madrid, Runner's Up  - Sevilla

2023/2024 | Winners - Real Madrid, Runner's Up  - Atlético Madrid

2024/2025 | Winners - Atlético Madrid, Runner's Up  - Real Madrid

2025/2026 | Winners - Real Madrid, Runner's Up  - Athletic


 

Italy

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2021/2022 | 1st - Roma, 2nd - Fiorentina, 3rd - Milan

2022/2023 | 1st - Fiorentina, 2nd - Inter, 3rd - Juventus

2023/2024 | 1st - Milan, 2nd - Fiorentina, 3rd - Inter

2024/2025 | 1st - Fiorentina, 2nd - Milan, 3rd - Inter

2025/2026 | 1st - Fiorentina, 2nd - Milan, 3rd - Roma

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Inter, Runner's Up  - Fiorentina

2022/2023 | Winners - Milan, Runner's Up  - Fiorentina

2023/2024 | Winners - Milan, Runner's Up  - Juventus

2024/2025 | Winners - Napoli, Runner's Up  - Milan

2025/2026 | Winners - Roma, Runner's Up  - Juventus

 

France

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2021/2022 | 1st - PSG, 2nd - Monaco, 3rd - Marseille

2022/2023 | 1st - PSG, 2nd - Saint-Étienne, 3rd - Monaco

2023/2024 | 1st - PSG, 2nd - Monaco, 3rd -  Marseille

2024/2025 | 1st - PSG, 2nd - Monaco, 3rd - Montpellier

2025/2026 | 1st - PSG, 2nd - Lyon, 3rd - Monaco

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Monaco, Runner's Up  - Nantes

2022/2023 | Winners - Stade Rennais, Runner's Up  - Dijon

2023/2024 | Winners - EA Guingamp, Runner's Up  - Nantes

2024/2025 | Winners - Monaco, Runner's Up  - Auxerre

2025/2026 | Winners - PSG, Runner's Up  - Lyon

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Nancy, Runner's Up  - Monaco

2022/2023 | Winners - PSG, Runner's Up  - Lyon

2023/2024 | Winners - Marseille, Runner's Up  - Bordeaux

2024/2025 | Winners - PSG, Runner's Up  - Bordeaux

2025/2026 | Winners - PSG, Runner's Up  - Marseille

 

Europe

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2021/2022 | Winners - Liverpool, Runner's Up  - Bayern

2022/2023 | Winners - Atlético Madrid, Runner's Up  - PSG

2023/2024 | Winners - PSG, Runner's Up  - Man Utd

2024/2025 | Winners - Man Utd, Runner's Up  - Schalke

2025/2026 | Winners - Man Utd, Runner's Up  - Chelsea

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Tottenham, Runner's Up  - Gladbach

2022/2023 | Winners - Milan, Runner's Up  - Marseille

2023/2024 | Winners - Lyon, Runner's Up  - Benfica

2024/2025 | Winners - Gladbach, Runner's Up  - Tottenham

2025/2026 | Winners - Liverpool, Runner's Up  - Leverkusen

 

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2021/2022 | Winners - Man Utd, Runner's Up  - Gladbach

2022/2023 | Winners - Tottenham, Runner's Up  - Liverpool

2023/2024 | Winners - Atlético Madrid, Runner's Up  - Milan

2024/2025 | Winners - PSG, Runner's Up  - Lyon

2025/2026 | Winners - Man Utd, Runner's Up  - Gladbach

 

International

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2022 | Winners - Argentina, Runner's Up - Australia

2026 | Winners - Germany, Runner's Up - Spain

 

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2024 | Winners - England, Runner's Up - France

 

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2023 | Winners - France, Runner's Up - Spain

2025 | Winners - England, Runner's Up - Portugal

 

Leading Transfers

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Yeboah's sale to Atlético became the most expensive signing ever, breaking the £100m mark in the process. Quite a few Schalke players on that list now, unfortunately mostly sales though.

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Former Team Watch

 

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Eastleigh finally succumbed to relegation in 2022 after 5 seasons in the Football League, finishing rock bottom in their final season. They missed out on the playoffs in their first season back in the National League with a 7th place finish and then finished 3rd and 5th in 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively, both times losing out in the Playoff Final. 2025/26 finally looked like the season they would return to the Football League, sitting top of the table for much of the season, but a terrible 2026 saw them slip down the table and out of the Playoff positions, finishing 8th. Between 2021 and late 2022 Eastleigh had three managers, two of which were former Man Utd striker, Alan Smith, and former Stoke midfielder, Glenn Whelan. To replace Glenn Whelan they chose former Newport and Port Vale player, Sam Foley, who has been the manager since. Notably, my signings Jake Pickard and Remi André Svindland still play for Eastleigh, with Pickard becoming the record League Appearance holder with 418 games and record goalscorer with 134, and Svindland holds the second most appearances with 394.

 

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Tranmere seemed to fall away after making the playoffs in their first season back in the Football League finishing 10th and then 18th, but in the 2023/24 season they finished 3rd and got promoted to League 1. Tranmere managed to survive their first season in 20th and then reached the playoff in 2025/26 finishing 6th, but were knocked out of the Semi Final by Rotherham. Tranmere are now on their third manager since 2019, offering a little stability to their management, with now a Northern Irish newgen in charge.

 

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Oxford have failed to really kick on since 2021, mostly finishing mid table with 19th, 13th, 14th, 21st and then 14th. John Arne Riise stuck around for a while until he got sacked in 2024. It's been all rather boring at Oxford with them securing mid table mediocrity, and the only notable events were that Bahaa Gamal, Zebenzui Munoz and Serafino Liguori (all players that I signed just before I left) were all sold by the club for big fees fetching £7m, £4.5m(£5.5m) and £3.4m(£5.25m) respectively.

 

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Burnley struggled after returning to the Championship, looking in danger of succumbing to back to back relegations, and then struggled to get away from that bottom of the table, finishing 17th, 20th, 18th and 17th in their first four seasons back. Then, out of nowhere, they finished 6th in 2025/26 and got promoted through the playoffs. Despite their terrible results, Burnley surprisingly only had three managers in this period. Whilst it would be easy to assume that their struggles were due to poor finances, that isn't so, selling their team in the first season in the Championship for a combined £178m, with Taylor Moore joining Norwich for £13m, Juan Manuel Martínez joining Chelsea for £38.5m and Bruno Santos joining Schalke for £7.5m to add to the others I mentioned in my last Former Team Watch. Burnley continued to make massive profits in the following seasons, so the Burnley coffers certainly weren't empty.

 

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Cesare Prandelli has lost only 5 games and drawn 5 games in his 58 games in charge and has continued to bring through the youth players I had selected to turn England into a real international force, making me look a right tit. With another International League to their name and their first European Championship, whilst only being knocked out by eventual winners Argentina in the 2026 World Cup in Mexico. Prandelli did a fantastic job with them but has resigned after the World Cup, leaving the job open. Kris Thompson has become England's record goalscorer with 58 goals in 70 games, and Dele got extremely close to surpassing Peter Shilton, getting 121 caps before retiring after the 2026 World Cup at just 30, surely he could play one more year and get that record? Despite Dele retiring Shilton's record is still in danger with John Stones, 116, and Eric Dier, 113, not far behind and seemingly not looking like retiring anytime soon.

Edited by VillaSmith

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My cup runneth over!

I wasn't planning on jumping back into international football so soon, but those are two tempting offers! And with no other interesting club options currently available, if I was to consider leaving Schalke, they are definitely two great opportunities. Food for thought at least.

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Sitting here in my darkened office, a last glass of free Veltin's in hand (I say last, I got Jamie to pack up a few crates for moving, I mean, it's free beer, of course I'm going to load up whilst I can) and the TV blaring in the background - The Chairman is on Sky Sports News gloating about how selling Zapata to Arsenal was an amazing deal for us,

Max Feller: He's crap anyway, we've mugged them right off getting £73m for him!

Max was always a *****, even more so when justifying his terrible leadership. If only Meikel Bussmann had gotten re-elected, he actually knew how to build a football club for success. A knock on the door pulls me away from the TV just as Max starts laughing directly in Ray Parlour's face, I'm not exactly sure why.

Sam Smith: Come in.

Jamie Oliver: Hiya boss, I got that letter printed off for you to sign.

SS: Cheers Jamie, just set it down there. Tell me, Jamie, why did you ever decide to become my PA?

JO: Well, you got hammered, put a bag over my head and kidnapped me when you were celebrating your last day of Uni. Then you shaved my head so no-one would recognise me. The nation mourned my disappearance. I was declared legally dead. There's even a national holiday to commemorate it. I've grown to love it though, boss.

Haha, good times! Though it is strange that a holiday to remember a TV chef became Britain's most loved holiday, any excuse for a day off I suppose.

MF (shouting from the TV): WHO CARES!? WE'VE GOT LARS NEUHAUS!!!

Seventeen-year-olds aren't going to win going to win you the Champions League like you want though. Ooh, and Max won't have liked that response from Parlour, daring to suggest Arsenal are a bigger club than Schalke. True, but Max is Max.

MF: Oh yeah, pretty boy? Well if Arsenal is a bigger club, how come our manager rejected them in the summer when they threw a £1bn budget at him? Because Sam knows how big we are, and the best manager in the world wants to manage the best club in the world, so he told them to do one.

Ha, and this is why I'm watching the smug ***** embarrass himself on TV. I didn't even apply for the Arsenal job, and they never contacted me, so I've no idea where he got £1bn from. I mean he's kind of right, I did reject a job offer, but that was at Inter, and they could only offer a £1m budget, considerably less than this fantasy offer. Anyway, the news should be breaking soon.

SS: There you go, Jamie, get that sent up to head office, and go ahead with the press release too.

JO: Right away boss.

Now all I have to do is sit back and watch the meltdown.

Sky Sports Presenter, Wayne Rooney: Let me just, er, interrupt you there lads, we're gettin' some breaking new comin' through from Italy. Brazil have annou...

Jim White: South America, Wayne, Brazil is in South America.

WR: Oh yea, right. South America have. No wait, Brazil have announced their new manager.

JW: Errrm.

WR: Oh right, yea, it's ex-England and current Schalke manager, Sam Smith.

MF: WHAT THE ****!?!?

JW: Yes, Smith has been announced on an initial one-year deal that will run through the 2027 Copa América in Uruguay, with a view to a three-year extension until the 2030 World Cup in Italy.

MF: WHO THE **** DOES HE THINK HE IS!?

WR: The number one ranked nation were disappointed following their second round exit to Ghana in Mexico, and are looking to make up for it by retainin' the Cuppa America. 

JW: Close enough. The Brazil bosses were said to be impressed by the young manager's fantastic work in the Bundesliga, and are looking forward to seeing him nurture the next generation of Brazilian greats. Further, a statement released by Sam Smith states that he will be tendering his resignation at Schalke, bringing to an end four and a half magnificent years at the club, so that he can fully concentrate on his new role. More details to follow.

MF: THAT BLOODY *****! I'M GONNA ****ING KILL HIM!

JW: So Max, were you expecting this news?

MF: The little. Huh, wha? Err, yes Jim, we knew that Sam was going to move on, but after the service to the club over the last few years, we decided to allow him to exit in this manner rather than sack him like we were going to, give him a bit of dignity you know. He's really not that good, to be honest with you. The little *****!

That's enough TV for tonight, I saw his explosion, and it was fun while it lasted. I need to go back my bags ready for Rio!

 

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Trying something a little different out, try and inject a bit of narrative into this career thread. It's probably awful, it's my first attempt at anything like that, but hope you guys like it anyway, let me know if you want me to add more stuff like this occasionally :)

Edited by VillaSmith
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Off to sunny Brazil :cool: Although with some of those potential replacements, I'd be tempted to take over some of those club jobs!

Edited by VillaSmith

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1 hour ago, kidthekid said:

It was hilarious actually. :lol:

Glad you liked it :) I was never one to do any writing or anything, but the inspiration took me.

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July - December 2026 | Brazil

 

Career So Far

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Nation Details

Nation - Brazil

League - Copa América / CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers

Stadium - Maracana / Morumbi / Mineirao / Castelao / Arena Gremio

Capacity - 78,838 / 77,011 / 75,783 / 64,846 / 60,170

My expectation - Win Superclásico de las Américas

World Ranking - 1st

 

Key Players

Mauro - One of Brazil's many quality attacking players. Surprisingly, despite being one of Brazil's better players and good goalscoring records, he rarely features for Man Utd with Mourinho preferring Dybala up front. I'll look to Mauro to lead my line and hopefully he can show on the international stage why Mourinho should be playing him. 

Sidnei Carpegiani - The pick of the bunch of Tottenham's somewhat surprising core of quality Brazilians. A great well-rounded playmaker with great physical attributes, he should fit into my team comfortably and provide the sufficient service to the many attacking options Brazil have.

Igor - Top goalscorer in the Bundesliga last season, and a thorn in my side whilst playing for Bayern. I wanted him to join me when he was at Sporting, but he rejected me and it's great to finally get my hands on him. Great out wide and through the middle, Igor will offer valuable versatility if I want to play all of Brazil's talents.

 

Superclásico de las Américas

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A cracker of a game to get my Brazil career off to a great start. Not quite the performance I wanted to begin with, but we did well to contain a dangerous Argentinian side. I took inspiration from Mourinho's usage of Herrera against Chelsea and deployed Thiago Maia to solely mark the Argentinian AMC in an attempt to cut the supply line to that frightening partnership in attack. It did work fairly well, but it sacrificed some offensive balance to the team and Argentina still managed to create some golden chances, but luckily Martínez wasn't wearing his shooting boots and I got away with some dodgy defending. We managed to break through though just before half time, with Tuparendi firing from the edge of the box past Rulli. A tight game for the second half up until Cantero Júnior got down the left wing and floated a ball to the back post for Gabriel Jesus to head in from close range to tie up the game. Preferably I could have dominated the game a bit more, but Argentina are tough so I'm happy with a 2-0 win.

 

Copa América

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A decent draw for the Copa América, although Colombia will be a tough game. I should get through to the Quarter Finals and hopefully a lot further. In other games, I have a friendly with Ghana just before the Copa América starts, but that will also be my next game, so just an eight month wait then :rolleyes:

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I clearly made the right decision then :lol: :rolleyes: Maybe Max had a point.

 

It's also worth noting, that loss is Schalke's only non-win all season, and it was only the mid-week game before the winter break, they were very close to a perfect first half of the season.

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Australia was runner up in 2022. Hopefully, that comes true but I highly doubt that will be :(

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16 hours ago, HawkAussie said:

Australia was runner up in 2022. Hopefully, that comes true but I highly doubt that will be :(

The best thing about it is that the Newgen Manager who led them to that Final resigned a few months later, and has now retired into obscurity without taking another job, I'm sure he would have attracted some club interest. Harry Kewell recently took over after another Newgen got sacked following the Asian Cup, and they disappointed at the 2026 WC, failing to get out of a group that contained Canada, Ghana and Switzerland.

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January - June 2027 / Copa América | Brazil

 

The holiday is over. Eight months tanning myself on the Rio beach with Jamie feeding me Feijoada and Brigadeiro every night, but now the job really starts as we approach only the second match since I took charge eleven months ago. The first job is to get the team together for a training camp before we face Ghana in a warm up friendly, a chance to bury the demons from the World Cup before we jet off to Uruguay for the Copa América. It's also a great opportunity to reacquaint myself with the lads.

A slight sour note to start the international period, however, as when I picked up German contingent - Igor, Ítalo and Nathan Raphael - up from the airport after their flight, Nathan Raphael was inexplicably accompanied by Max, carrying a huge, novelty sized thank you card, thanking me for resign so Allegri could take over and break the Bundesliga points record. The most distressing part was the photo Max had include of him "celebrating" with the Bundesliga trophy in his office. I'll be seeing that in my sleep for months...

Despite that initial hitch, the training camp got off to a fantastic start. Too well in fact. I'd assumed taking the Brazil job would include having some fun parties after training, going out on the lash with Ronaldinho every night (that only lasted a week, I couldn't keep up. He may be 47, but he can still party like nobody's business), with lots of dancing in the changing room. But this squad is very professional and driven, which will be good for the Copa América, not so much for my social life.

We're ready for Ghana, and then it's off to Uruguay to defend our title.

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Squad

Goalkeepers

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Three good options for between the sticks, with Ederson the incumbent #1. Sporting's Renan Lopes is pushing him hard for it though and provides an interesting headache for me, go for the old guard or try out the next generation. Milton Preto is another fantastic keeper, but slightly behind Ederson and Lopes, but not by much, he should provide Lopes with a healthy competition over the next 5-10 years.

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Defenders

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Perhaps Brazil's weakest area, but there is still a lot of quality here. Marquinhos and Lyanco are a great partnership in defence and with me moving the full backs into the wingback positions for this tournament, they'll need to be solid to provide a good platform for me. Júlio César and Flores are decent enough back ups, but I don't think they're quite top international quality, but they'll do. Moreira and Oliveira will be my wingbacks, and whilst they're not quite the typical flairy, Brazilian wing back, they're still a good balance of defence and attack with good physical attributes, and I'll be looking for them to provide my width and some attacking impetus as I'm planning on moving my IF's more centrally. Ricardo is a very good back up for Oliveira, and perhaps could even challenge for his place and Chaves is a good option for the right.

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Anchor Men

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With an emphasis on attack in my new structure and the WBs moving to a more forward position, these guys will be integral for me to keep a decent defensive shape. I'll look for them to operate almost as a third CB, one that can bring the ball forward from deep and pick a pass across the pitch or help build up attacks from the back. Maia is an obvious first choice here, a much more well rounded player than Ítalo which makes him perfect for how I want him to play, but Ítalo is still a good option.

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Midfielders

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Carpegiani and Nathan Raphael will likely be my first choice pairing in midfield, with Tuparendi pushing both of them for their positions. In terms of the back ups though, versatility was key for me here, with both Oliveira and Otavio able to play wide, it allows me to switch back to a winger based formation that still has players able to replace the starters from the bench. Alex is perhaps the worst player in my squad, but by no means a bad player, just a tad one-dimensional. Brazil's attacking options are abundantly clear here, with most of these guys not even hitting their prime yet.

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Attackers

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I'll be playing with three up top this summer, as a way to hopefully utilise the magnificent talents of Igor, Mauro and Gabriel Jesus, with Mauro likely to play in the central position, with Igor and Jesus playing off of him. Cantero Júnior is a great young talent coming through right now, and I'll look to rotate him in so he's ready to take over from Jesus over the coming years.

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Friendly

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A good win in my only warm up game before Copa América. Ghana did restrict me in the central areas well, but as I planned, I got a lot of width through Oliveira and Moreira which allowed me to eventually punch, as well as capitalising on Ghana's mistakes. The first goal came from some great counter attacking, with Moreira intercepting the ball and releasing Igor down the right wing, who got to the edge of the box and fired a low cross into the middle for Mauro to turn into the net with ease. Mauro pounced on a Ghanaian mix up in defense as Boakye failed to control a pass from Takyi inside the box, and Mauro hit the ball first time into the corner. Igor was almost the creator again as Mauro turned his cross onto the post just before half time, and then Mauro was the fastest to react as he then tapped the ball into a gaping net for his hat trick. The second half was a bit more pedestrian, with my players happy to just let the game fizzle out, but Ghana were rewarded with a consolation goal for their patience as some precise passing resulted in a lovely goal with Acquah playing a nice one-two with Bernard, Acquah's run into the box was not picked up as he connected with a nice pass and slotted easily past Ederson.

 

A good second game for me, and a good foundation for the tournament. I'm happy with the way we played, especially with the trial of my new tactic, and I'm very confident going into Copa América.

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