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zlatanera

[FM19] River Plate Take Two - The Hook Episode IV: La Escuela de Fútbol River Plate

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October 19:

Loved my FM18 River Plate save, my first southern hemisphere save ever. However the game went stale due to having not loaded up enough leagues at the start, so I waited for the new game and now here we are!

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Accidentally took a screenshot of myself muting my laptop but this is my setup. Normally I like to have 3 star rating at the start as the game usually slows down, but I really needed all of those leagues - the South American ones for me to sign players from, and European ones to sign players from me. I've disabled 1st window transfer budgets as I just want to get a grip on all the changes without scrambling about to find new players. A more controversial one I imagine, I've disabled attribute masking because as far as I can tell the AI isn't hamstrung by it so why should I be? I'm only after realism as long as it doesn't impinge on my ability to have fun.

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There's no need for any youth knowledge, so its set to a minimum, and some slight tweaks to the Youth Development pre-set, reducing the goalkeeper rating as GK coaches I have always found are the easiest to sign. 

I'm not really going to enforce any hard and fast rules on myself, but the board demands attacking football and youth development, both of which I'm happy with. As well as developing youth though, I intend to repatriate academy graduates from Europe when they are made available, and if I can sell to Europe rather than China, and avoid selling to PSG and Man City, I will. 

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So I've been starting up really slowly, going through all the tutorials so I don't miss any new features (set myself as a novice at the start of the game). Selected the "vertical tiki taka" preset and a 442 diamond, then turned it strikerless and made a couple of instruction tweaks. Interestingly, Enganche is a Support duty only now, so I move the Mezzala to Attack to maintain balance. The preset uses a Regista but most of our DMs are BWM so I've changed that too, so Quintero will be our only playmaker. 

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I would say our squad has a good mix of youth and experience, particularly once I promoted a couple of reserves, but is quite top-heavy. Frustratingly we start out with 4 guys injured for at least 3 months, one of whom (Jonathan Maidana), received his injury in a simulated Copa Libertadores group game. 

Our board presented me with their expectations...

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so no pressure then!

October 20: 

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One of many fun things about managing in Argentina is I got about 10 pitch sizes combinations to choose from. On FM18 I chose the largest (120m x 85m I believe) but now they've added a little explanation I'm experimenting a bit more - we only have width from our full backs and already use "exploit the middle", and severely lack height outside of our centre backs and Lucas Pratto, so why not make teams try to pass their way through us? 

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We're going to struggle to win anything when we have no players...I'll update the result in a later post but you'll notice if you look closely that the Colo-Colo game, our first competitive one, took out 4 central midfielders. Ridiculous luck.

August 2018

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We blew away Colo-Colo at the beginning and end of the month, but other than that it's been a story of woeful finishing (we're regularly getting over 10 shots off target from inside the box) and catastrophic injuries. Some inspiration from @Jimbokav1971 had me setting goalkeeper Franco Armani as my Direct and Deep free kick taker - so far he's scored a 30 yard screamer and got an assist. 

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This doesn't even tell the full story, but it gives you an impression. In the first leg against Colo-Colo before half time we lost our DM, BBM and both the guys I substituted on for them to injury - two "innocuous" and two from tackles. Finished the game with 10 men as we got another knock in the 55th minute. In the 2-0 loss to Atletico Tucuman after being blown away early by a header bouncing off the bar then in off Armani, and a screamer from distance, one of the u20s I had to promote to have an available midfielder also got injured early. By the time we got to the end of the month I had 6 players who'd failed fitness tests and my backup GK on the bench. 

So yeah, not looking too great. I'm hoping if I can stave off the injuries and get some team cohesion we might finally be able to put together some sort of winning run though.

October 21:

September / October2018

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(Inserts gif from previous post as nothing has changed)

Literally nothing has changed except I now have a bunch of unhappy players - most of whom are reserve players wanting to be loaned out. We're atrocious at finishing and atrocious at keeping our best players on the pitch. 

Our injury struggles have continued, and it seems to either be players I'm trying to build back up to match fitness getting tackled, or fully fit players pulling muscles two minutes after being subbed on for the former. Gonzalo Martinez (key player) has appeared 3 times for me, once as a sub, and twice subbed off after 20 minutes injured from a tackle. Juan Fernando Quintero (key player) meanwhile got injured in August and since coming back has missed a penalty and...that's about it. Lucas Pratto hasn't played since the first leg against Flamengo either. I don't think its a coincidence that our lack of fit attackers has meant we just don't score. Although only scoring 1/3 penalties hasn't helped.

I'm in a weird place right now where I don't know how many of my faults are tactical and how many are due to the sheer number of injuries - I've been leaving training to my coaches generally, surely their default setups shouldn't lead to higher number of injuries when I'm only starting people over 93%? I do think I got a bit caught up with all the fancy style presets though, so might keep the formation and set pieces (although we suck at defending them right now because I can't get the right players in the right places and I'm not going to change all 24 for each game) and just alter the roles and instructions to resemble my FM17 tactics. That way I know where I'm going wrong.

Youth Intake time!

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A potential "golden generation" in my first youth intake, I've grown to believe these are reasonably common since their introduction. Still seems weird to me a youth intake coming in October - obviously its the South American equivalent of April, but due to the Argentine Superliga running on the European calendar this is a youth intake only 1/4 of the way through the season. 

No particularly outstanding players among them as of yet, but I'm pleased with this guy:

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I never seem to get decent prospects who can take a free kick, so having this guy having 4 star potential and 13 Free Kick taking aged 16 is promising - I'm going to start training him on it the second he signs and see how high I can get it. 

October 22:

November / December 2018

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A mini-revival of sorts, I was up to "secure" after beating Independiente 4 days before they won the Copa Libertadores, but that last loss put me back to "insecure". At the start of November I got fed up of results not matching performances and changed to the closest approximation I could make of my FM18 Strikerless tactic:

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Had to substitute AM-At in for EG now its been changed to a support duty. As CBs seem to split more readily in the build-up play now, I dropped the wide defenders from the WB position to be FB too.

We promptly went out and dominated the first game of the month 0-0, but then key striker Lucas Pratto returned for the derby against Boca and incredibly we won! It could have been more comfortable, as he missed a penalty as well. I've only scored about 1/4 of penalties come to think of it. Another goal from my goalkeeper in the next game, and a comeback against the continental champions-to-be had things looking up, even if I have about 15 unhappy players (although 9 of them are reserves wanting to go out on loan - I don't think its right I can't mentor them but they can count against the first team dynamics). Then we went to Estudiantes. An early goal where Mariano Pavone out-paced Martinez Quarta at the back like a striker who had 17 acceleration / pace, not 7, and a header off a free kick doing the damage, in the first 20 minutes, before we spent 70 dominating in every possible way except the one that matters (and Quintero got injured yet again, I've really been unable to enjoy him before he goes back to Porto). Somehow, that was the last game until 27th January! Transfer window opens in a day or two and I'll hopefully be able to make some moves to refresh the squad, or at least get rid of some troublemakers. 

The structure of the league is really weird, by the way, we've only got something like 8 matches left in the season, then play this new thing called the "Copa Superleague" or something, which is actually what its like in real life - they've got a weird league structure as they try to get down to 20 teams, 38 games, but that meant there weren't enough games so they invented a new tournament that may or may not be a one-off, effectively so everyone can still get paid as if players rely on appearance bonuses and there are only 25 games...they're in trouble. I might try to get more of a handle on what exactly it is in-game and make a post about it, even if nobody's reading this it'll be useful to go back to if I see anyone asking about it.

 @ my one follower - you can unfollow, will not be continuing the save. 

The bug with "no first transfer window" means that I can't even request the board attempt to permanently sign Quintero, or get rid of the 10 youth players who want to be loaned, which has the knock-on effect of permanently lowering squad harmony for the rest of the season at least (assuming it worked right come the summer window). Also means I can't offload players to sort out our wage bill (also contributing to board unhappiness with me). I'll either start a quicker save or perhaps go back to my FM18 save or..."shudder"...not play FM for a couple of weeks.

Edited by zlatanera

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River Plate Take Two - The Hook

So after the (well publicised, given it's a beta) problems with my beta save, I've decided to give Club Atlético River Plate another go. The original posts can be found in the spoiler tag in the OP - for some reason I can't edit it to put text above the spoiler and it would look odd below, so here we are. Probably my only problem with the forums actually, spoiler tags being so finicky. 

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I'm reusing my old screenshot as the only change in the setup of my new game is that I haven't disabled first window transfer budgets - the reasoning being I want to try and make sure I have enough money to try and sign Quintero come December as I intend to build my side around him. Also for some reason my performance is rated 3 star this time.

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My manager is much the same - minimal goalkeeper rating as of my many failings as a footballer in real life, being completely feckless with my hands may be the biggest (terrible throw-in taker, not just in goal), and no knowledge as I've disabled attribute masking. Somehow ended up with a slightly higher amount of points to allocate than in the beta, despite again using the exact same qualifications - I wonder if perhaps choosing one of the style focus' removes points? 

In terms of philosophies the board's default expectations of "Play attacking football" and "Develop players using the club's youth system" fit nicely into how I usually play, although I will try to remove the former just so I don't get the inane 'why didn't you play attacking today' question when I change tack to grind out a 1-0 in an important game. I'm aiming to build around the new support duty Enganche, hence the title "The Hook". Most likely starting with a 4312 given the abundance of strikers at the club and the likelihood Napoli will activate star winger Martinez's £13.5m release clause. 

The romantic / traditionalist in me will attempt to sell to older clubs rather than China or oil-rich PSG where possible but ultimately the highest bid will win. I'll also attempt to repatriate academy graduates from Europe where possible to strengthen us when there isn't a youngster at the club ready to fill the gap.

In terms of injuries at the start (due to the structure of the Argentina leagues and the CONMEBOL competitions, Copa Libertadores groups and early Copa Argentina games are simulated at the start of the game), Ignacio Scocco (2nd best striker) misses 3 months, Camilo Mayada (2nd choice right back) misses 3 months, Gonzalo Montiel (hot prospect centre back) misses 2 months. The worst though is our 1st choice goalkeeper Franco Armani, who misses 5 months with cruciate ligament damage, which has prompted him to retire.

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I'm not 100% on what's going on however, as listed as retiring on 13/6/2018 and the current date in-game is 2/7/2018. So we'll see, but for now it leaves me relying on a couple of 36 year old backups to fill in as we have very little in the way of money.

Edited by zlatanera

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Interesting tactical :cool: I am not surprised they expecting you to win almost everything :D 

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Well, 24 hours into the game things are going well!

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The insurance pales in comparison to the amount we'd need to adequately replace him, sadly.

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Edited by zlatanera

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Our first sale, and already I'm simultaneously glad I loaded active European leagues after my FM18 travails (one big sale in 5 seasons due to lack of interest, almost 200 players on the books), and frustrated with third-party ownership. When I first got a bid my instinct was to negotiate for his release clause - he'd be unhappy if I rejected, and I don't really want to use wingers. This deal - £8m plus £5.25m over three years plus 50% next sale is £250k below his release clause but should pay out in the long run as on FM18 he often ended up at Barcelona and he seems at least as good this time round. I thought I'd be able to sign my new goalkeeper with the money.

However, I'm stuck on 40% of transfer revenue and a third party has 25% of his transfer fee so we only get a measly £1.8m, well below the £5.5-8m needed to sign Nahuel Guzman from Tigres. 

Update:

A move for Dario Conca, an academy product who barely got a kick before making his name in Brazil, fell through due to Corinthians offering twice as much money, so my first incoming player is a true marquee signing - a 32 year old goalkeeper from the Spanish second tier! [/sarcasm]

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In all seriousness though, he's an upgrade on my existing options and given the dire state of Argentina goalkeepers outside of Sergio Romero I reckon I have an outside shot of getting him an international call up before he hits 35. That the guy demoted to backup due to his signing, Germán Lux, is a Model Citizen, is useful too.

 

Edited by zlatanera

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As the title states, I'm going for an Enganche. I don't know much about River Plate to be perfectly honest, but I remember reading a piece on strikerless where a fan stated 4312 is part of their identity - this combined with an abundance of strikers led me to this formation. 

That's my current best XI, although this will be forced to change in January as Quintero sadly has no intention of joining us permanently and I doubt I'll be able to get such a good deal on the loan again. Every AMC I can find seems to have "Runs With Ball Often" too which isn't ideal and makes me wish I'd offered Conca more wages. 

Most of the roles justify themselves pretty easily, but CM-De over any other role for three reasons: 1) I don't want a playmaker distracting from the Enganche 2) My more defensive-minded CM options aren't playmakers, they're BWM 3) I don't want BWM as the lack of pace from Ponzio will just lead to him being caught out and getting sent off. Carrilero was chosen as from the in-game description this is exactly what they're for. I'll update results monthly, but as you'll see below in my first game the CAR role was all I hoped for and more. 

The style is quite similar to the Vertical Tiki-Taka preset, but I have no out of possession instructions as Positive mentality sets a reasonable defensive line and level of pressing, any more would unduly tax my older attackers. We also don't Counter-Press for the same reason. 

 

 

Edited by zlatanera

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August 2018

My very first competitive game in charge came in the Copa Libertadores against reigning champions Gremio! So, no pressure then...

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It was an absolute cracker. As soon as I saw they were lining up with the dreaded 3 strikers I assumed we were doomed, and a 30 second goal did nothing to dispel that notion. However, we soon asserted control over the game (by the end of the first half we'd had 75% possession) and completely dominated them. I had a couple of guys on yellows but I'd set them to ease off tackles at half time and hoped that would be enough - 1 minute into the second half Milton Casco had other ideas and got himself sent off. Now normally I would sacrifice a striker to replace him, however I didn't have any right-footed players with pace on the bench to play at RB, so I decided to rely on the right Carrilero, Exequiel Palacios to cover an entire flank by himself. He did so magnificently, making me finally appreciate this role that I barely used correctly in FM18, as we were able to score and concede 1 in the second half for the win. 

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In every single one of the games in August bar the Copa Argentina I would say we were the better team, in particular that last game against Gremio was even more one-sided than the first leg, just three strikers = lethal counter-attacks. A few costly mistakes from Jonatan Maidana and Javier Pinola, as well as one where the GK smashed a defensive free kick off Maidana's heel when he wasn't looking (for some reason) allowing a striker to get a goal has me considering the future of my VC, but I'll see how things go in the next month or so.

Interestingly, according to the game's definition of CCC we're being ridiculously lucky - we apparently only create one every 200 minutes - so we'll see whether its a relevant statistic or if we get stronger. 

One last note - there aren't the same restrictions on pitch size you find in Europe, so I had about 10 options (how this works when I'm based at the Argentine national stadium, I don't know) and opted for the largest possible - a simply extravagant 120m x 90m pitch. In the long run, how this will work with our narrow formation I don't know, but at the moment what it means is my Enganche always has space, my wing backs are gassed at the end of each game (which forces rotation, good for youth development and keeping players happy) and we seem to defend crosses / throws / corners simply through some players not being strong enough to play the ball into a dangerous area. 

Edited by zlatanera

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Youth Intake

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Not much quality in this year's intake, my HoYD is really good so I'll just chalk this one down to luck rather than sacking him. Only one guy who might make the first team in the future:

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Other than having 15 heading yet 5 jumping reach nothing really stands out about him, so I'm training him as RPM for now to round him out. 

Edited by zlatanera

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September-December 2018: Are We Good?

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That is a legitimate question in the title of this post, as I simply don't know for certain. A 20-game unbeaten run (ended by Velez), unlocking the "On A Roll" achievement, including winning the Copa Libertadores would suggest yes? However, that so many of those 20 games were draws against lower table sides (and Velez were 19th having lost 6 in a row when they beat us) which we contrived not to win despite dominating possession, shots, everything really suggests not? 

The story of all those 12 league games is pretty much the same - we dominate possession, have a lot of highlights, but are never more than one loose touch away from conceding on the counter. We're okay going forward, as shown by only failing to score in two matches domestically, both of which had strikers getting below 6 ratings (Lucas Pratto has missed more penalties than he scored, and Rodrigo Mora appears to be broken), but we really struggle for clean sheets against the little guys. In November I switched to a 5212 Vertical Tiki Taka preset but changed a couple of roles so we could include an Enganche, won all three and got Manager of the Month, but still we didn't convince.

Still, we've only lost one game in the Superliga and with the weird structure of this season (25 game league season then a cup tournament so that everyone can still make enough money from this whole 'football' enterprise) means that with only 10 games to go in the second half of the season we're in with a shout of the title:

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Having so many teams so close together may actually be harming squad harmony - a few guys are said to be beginning to worry the club is underachieving despite only being three points behind Boca. 

Returning to the results screenshot, you'll notice we appear to be big-game players. Having previously dumped out holders Gremio in spite of the dreaded three strikers, we then dispatched Independiente far more comfortably than a 2-0 scoreline would suggest, similarly should have had a more comfortable scoreline than 3-2 in beating Palmeiras, to set up a final with Flamengo.

The first leg was the first game since we exited the Copa Argentina that I actually felt we were indisputably inferior, but Lucas Pratto snatched one at the death, giving us an important away goal...oh wait, for some reason they use them in every round but the final. South America!

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Following our defeat of rivals Boca in the league I sent out the exact same starting XI and we played Flamengo off the park to gain an unexpected Copa Libertadores triumph! A former player branded me a 'bona fide legend' [/hyperbole] but I did manage to make it onto the club's Favoured Personnel list after only 6 months on the job - above David Trezeguet of all people. 

As reward for our continental triumph we were entered into the Club World Cup: something of an afterthought in Europe, to my knowledge South American teams do care about this, and our league breaking for summer a full week before the opening game supports this theory.

In FM18 I played Guangzhou Evergrande in the semi-final 4 seasons in a row so you can imagine my delight at drawing Chivas, the All-Mexican team from Guadalajara. This then set up a mouth-watering final clash against the new post-Ronaldo Real Madrid. This game turned out to be really frustrating - they lined up with 3 strikers and straight from the kickoff they played it back to Ramos who hoofed it forward to the three runners causing chaos in my defensive line. Mariano "fouled" by Luis Olivera and Gareth Bale scored a free kick on 37 seconds. We then got ourselves in the game but couldn't break through that expensive defence, before another "foul" allowed Isco to score a penalty. In the second half we pulled one back through a screamer from academy product Exequiel Palacios but it wasn't to be. 

 

Edited by zlatanera

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January 2019

A huge summer break in the middle of the season meant we didn't play between the Club World Cup Final on 22nd December and a Superliga game at Rosario Central on 27th January, which I will leave to the next update. Did make a couple of transfers though, necessitating a tactical shift - not one I necessarily wanted to make given our recent successes. 

Camilo Mayada, a right winger who although capable at right back would never have got a look in with me even if he hadn't been constantly injured (made three appearances under me) left for £1.5m which given he had only 6 months on his contract, and was 60% owned by his agent is not a bad deal.

Bruno Zuculini, who had been a rotational option across my central midfield positions, threw his toys out of the pram because he wanted to go to MLS for £1m when he was valued at £5.5m. I transfer listed him but couldn't get any offers until Atalanta came in wanting me to pay all his wages - I declined, he got upset, I offered him out again with wages excluded, they bid, I accepted, he waited two weeks then rejected them. Eventually I got him to agree a £5m deal to go to Sampdoria...in July. So he's sat here bringing down morale and because I couldn't get him sold I couldn't bring in a good calibre replacement. Therefore, I decided to shift to a 4231 and looked for another attacker...

6 months after declining us for Corinthians for financial reasons, he's taken a wage cut and joined his boyhood club. Welcome back Dario Conca!!!

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His availability for a measly £300k allows me to adequately replace Quintero as an Enganche and move one of the guys who might have filled in there out to his natural position on the left flank. 

A shortage of (happy) central midfield options and our top heavy squad means our new tactical approach looks like this:

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If not square pegs, there are certainly some off-circular pegs in round holes here. Pratto, for example, has only 10 pace which is not ideal for playing out wide, and Ponzio is catastrophically slow for part of a double pivot in such a top-heavy formation, but I'm going to see if he fits in.

Instructions are very similar to the 4312 which has been so successful - I removed overlaps and exploit the middle due to the new shape but otherwise its exactly the same. The back five are exactly the same roles, then the idea is the ball would go to the DLP, who would then feed the EG further up the field, who will have runners ahead of him in the form of two IF-At and and AF. CM-Su put in midfield purely on gut instinct, may be completely the wrong role but Ponzio and Pérez should be able to perform it adequately.

One last thing - although we only have 10 league games left this season, we will be competing in 5 tournaments - Superliga, Copa Argentina (which runs calendar year, similar to CONMEBOL competitions, for some reason), Copa Libertadores, Recopa (Libertadores vs Sudamericana champs) and the Superleague Cup - a new post-season tournament created by the AFA to satisfy clubs complaining that 25 games were too few. So, lots of chances for glory / to disappoint the board and get myself sacked. 

I'll be interested to see if the Superleague Cup is a one-season thing or not. SI have just had to do their best guess at what Argentine football will look like as they struggle to get down to a 38 game league. In FM18 this meant 27 games in 17/18, 25 games in 18/19 (they got it right!), 46!!! in 19/20, 42 in 20/21 and 38 from 21/22 onwards. I'd imagine to see something similar structurally, so will they force the Superleague Cup to fit in even in the 46-game season, or have it as a one-hit wonder is the question. 

Edited by zlatanera

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February 2019

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I used my new 4231 formation in the Superliga and Libertadores and the results were...not great. We don't seem to create much from open play judging by the lack of highlights (with the exception of the Rosario Central game - probably the best team we played, they gave us more space and we could've had 10 if Rodrigo Mora wasn't doing his best impression of Chelsea's Fernando Torres), I'm going to stick with it but change a few instructions through March - we're not overhauling Boca's 9 point lead in 5 games, and hopefully success in cup competitions will keep the board onside.

For the Recopa I turned to my tried-and-trusted-yet-still-not-convinced 4312 narrow. Leonardo Ponzio got a straight red after 18 minutes at Morumbi but despite this I'd say we just about edged it. The return leg at Monumental, however...

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5 of our 6 goals were from set pieces but we were all over them from start to finish. 8 months into my reign and 2 trophies secured!!

Edited by zlatanera

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1380211048_Screenshot2018-11-08at20_04_05.thumb.png.3504ee8e20f0bf948969609a0d74e1cd.png

So May looks like it'll be fun! AFA lunacy means I probably will actually have to play games on consecutive days as well...

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March 2019

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A weird one this. Argentinos game was far closer than appears, Lanus we dominated - they scored with half of their shots - before the Colo-Colo and Independiente games back to back where we were terrible persuaded me to just return to the tried and true 4312 for the final game of the month. 'twas a cracker:

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From the site of a 5'10" 37-year old with 6 Heading and 9 Jumping Reach scoring a looping header through pure rage and glee in the space of about thirty seconds as Defensa y Justicia start lumping it into the box, getting a goal in the process before allowing us to scythe through them, with captain sliced finish Rodrigo Mora scoring a goal reminiscent of Ronaldo's last night before Scocco finished them off. 

Also, I'd completely forgot about this but at the start of the season the club's finances were bad, but I saw our sponsors expiring on 31st December and assumed with my Copa Libertadores win we'd be able to get improved ones. When I was able to improve youth recruitment, junior coaching and get us started on youth facilities upgrades I assumed this had been the case. However:

1143023629_nosponsors.thumb.png.895ebff504cf48564340f86daaf3eba2.png

We actually have zero sponsors and the club's financial outlook is terrible. I'm going to assume this is an error and we'll receive new sponsors at the end of our domestic season, and if we do I'll report it as a bug then. If we don't, this save could get interesting for different reasons - especially if the likes of Boca and any Libertadores rivals act in the transfer market like they have got sponsorship income.

Edited by zlatanera

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Gotta love the weird formations you encounter on the regular in South America!

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Also Carlos Carmona transferred in 2017 from Atalanta to Atlanta United. I like to think they made a spelling mistake on his contract and were forced to give him up :lol:

Edited by zlatanera

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April 2019

1195366938_Screenshot2018-11-09at00_55_03.thumb.png.6795ebbe9edf4240df4b4c1651003c81.png

I started training a 5212 formation as backup at the start of the month, but persisted with the 4312 through the final league game against Talleres. We conceded two in two minutes (67th and 68th) to throw away our lead, and were completely impotent when it came to trying to fight back. The new tactic got us two easy wins as we ensured qualification for the knockout stages against Defensor before putting ourselves above Colo-Colo with one game remaining. Its still a case of dominating in all the stats yet only seeming to threaten from set pieces until teams sense we're there for the taking and come out of their shells though. 

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A third place finish seal Copa Libertadores action in 2020 (because Argentina is weird), but my position is 'Insecure' and I only have a contract until June...might have been a good shout to ask for a renewal after the Libertadores triumph, hindsight being 20/20 and all that. Notice the further Argentine weirdness - the last-placed team survives due to average points, whilst we lose four teams with only two gaining promotion because the league is trying to shrink to 20 teams. 

 

 

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May 2019

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Yet more disappointment as we bored our way to the top of our Copa Libertadores group, set up a Copa Argentina 6th round Superclasico against Boca Juniors, and crashed out of the Superleague Cup to two set piece goals from Racing Club. Which will ultimately be even more devastating if it turns out to be a one season only event. 

When I say we "bored" our way to the top, I truly mean it. Other than goals there just weren't any highlights, whether using the 4312 or 5212, and most of those goals were from set pieces. The ME seems to just not accommodate passing football at all, given the complaints I've seen from others. Our "best" formation is rated as giving us a clear cut chance every 87 minutes, and conceding one every 102 minutes, which is ridiculous - on previous editions I could have up to one every 30 at either end depending on whether I was really good or abjectly terrible. I know a lot of people don't place much stock in that CCC statistic, but its the best indicator I've got. I would consider perhaps going back to my predecessor Marcelo Gallardo's 442, only I've far too many No. 10s on the books who really wouldn't fit roles in central midfield, attack, or out wide, including another ageing academy product coming in during the summer window (below). 

Speaking of...I have 4 pre-arranged transfers for the summer, and am chasing Ivan Marcone from Cruz Azul as I can't find any quality BBM-types that I can get for our budget. 

Bruno Zuculini as previously mentioned is joining Sampdoria for £5m, and a young high potential winger Agustín Canobbio is coming in for £200k (£240k) plus about £400k to his agent from Penarol, most likely to be loaned out. Our two first team incomings are the following:

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Frank Fabra is a top quality LB for this level, couldn't believe that a) Boca hadn't tied him down and b) he'd be willing to join us, for only £500 per week increase in wages. He'll rotate with Luis Olivera, meaning unless we get bid European interest I'm sorted at LB for the next four years.

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One I arranged back in January, club icon Andrés D'Alessandro will come in to backup Dario Conca as my Enganche for £40k from Internacional - he's completely lacking physically but with this position what I really look for is technicals and ppms, both of which he is very good in. Given how my tactics are going I probably wouldn't have signed him now, but I expect he won't be around for long given his advanced age. 

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Retirement Season

So two players and four members of my backroom staff are going to retire before the start of the new season - we're losing a bunch of professionalism from the playing department and multiple World Cup winners from the backroom staff (as well as just really good coaches). As someone who loves hiring former players, this sucks bad for me.

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Ubaldo FIllol won 7 Superliga as a player and also the 1978 World Cup whilst playing for River Plate. 3.5 star GK coach will be hard to replace. He played 25 seasons at the top level (22 in Argentina, 2 in Brazil, 1 in Spain for Atletico) which is nuts.

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Daniel Onega only won 1 trophy in a 12 year career according to FM, but its nuts that he was born before the end of WWII and also is a 4 star scout.

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Pedro González was a teammate of Fillol for River Plate, winning 5 Superliga. 4 star scout.

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Leopoldo Luque is another teammate of González and FIllol, winning 5 Superliga and the 1978 World Cup. 3.5 star scout.

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Leonardo Ponzio is my captain, and a Model Citizen whose influence on the younger players in the squad will be almost impossible to replace. In this game's reality he'll have had an exactly 20 year professional career (1998/99 - 2018/19), with two spells at River totalling 10 years, he rejoined the club when they were relegated. Despite those poor physicals he also made 40 appearances for me this season. I had a contract offer on the table which I've now had to withdraw, hopefully I can add him to the backroom staff upon retirement. As a side note, he retired after 1 season FM18 too, so perhaps his retirements will be like Aritz Aduriz' rapid decline on every FM I've played - not reflecting reality - and I'll be able to manage him as a 45 year old on FM25. 

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Another Model Citizen, a great personality for a backup GK. Started his career at River Plate, leaving in 2007, before returning in 2017. His coaching stats aren't great but I'm going to offer him a place on the coaching staff and hope his personality and a bunch of coaching badges mean I'll have a good coach in a few years.

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21 minutes ago, john1 said:

Shame you're losing Lux and Ponzio :( Any replacements lined up for them?

No, transfers is a nightmare sadly. Ivan Marcone's agent was demanding he get a £20k wage but I couldn't offer that, so that fell through and now his club won't accept. Can't get rid of Enzo Perez either as the only club that'll bid without having wages paid is Seattle, who can't have another DP, so I can't raise the funds to sign anyone else decent. In fairness not knowing what my tactics are going to look like is part of the issue - if I keep with the narrow formation I could potentially drop Ponzio's position to DM and retrain a CB. But I might go for a formation with wide players and then I don't necessarily need a replacement.

As for GK - unless I can find another Model Pro / Citizen, I might just renew the contract of one of my younger GKs who don't have much development in them and hope they don't kick off.

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Such a shame you don't have the funds to improve the side, any decent youth intakes?

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@john1 just the one who I mentioned on my youth intake post, everyone else isn't great. I've put him in spoilers cause I know the thread is already quite a bit to look through. We do have a lot of existing high potential youth though - River Plate probably produce more players to top divisions globally than Ajax and this is reflected in the youth ranks (although I imagine a lot of them aren't fixed potential). The only problem is that none of the midfield ones are the right combination of well-rounded and developed enough to get into the team. 

1912725892_bestprospect.png.be839b7fc79261784c54f0b8212ac224.thumb.png.cd354f8ffd1c79db61925b1ed1aa033e.png

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June 2019

Very little happening other than an ongoing struggle to ship out Enzo Pérez and bring in Ivan Marcone. One bit of good news was that my assumptions about getting new sponsors at the end of the season after being without sponsors from 1st January proved true, which will help our financial outlook a lot.

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Edited by zlatanera

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So it turns out historically River Plate have been pretty bad at transfers...

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Edited by zlatanera

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Transfers Summer 2019

Two first team outgoings other than those previously mentioend: Enzo Perez eventually moved to Venezia for £1.5m, and then no-nonsense CB Alexander Barboza kicked off when I turned down a loan bid from Sao Paolo (I still had him set as a backup option as he'd just come back from a loan to Metz, but he was my joint-best CB with Martinez Quarta), and I decided to offer him out at £10m, double his value, and see if anyone bit...and Lille came straight in with £10m non-negotiable! This led to me having the rare occasion of looking at the board confidence on a transfer and seeing they're happy "due to selling the player for much more than he is worth". 

I intended to move for Velez' Lucas Robertone as I needed a central midfielder who can finish, but he signed a new contract the day before Barboza left, so I decided to settle for make do with José Mauri on a free as my midfield reinforcement, before moving for a new left-sided centre back:

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At £8.25m(£10.5m) he's pricy (in fact, if just one of his clauses is activated he becomes our club record signing) but Lisandro Martinez is basically the only young true BPD in the league (most don't have much in the way of vision) and is the nearest I could get to a younger version of Javier Pinola, my previous left-sided BPD. He's in a mentoring group with Jonatan Maidana to hopefully get his determination up but will go straight into my first team. 

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Mauri meanwhile shows the benefits of waiting for a contract to expire before negotiating - between 29th June and 1st July £10k dropped off his wage demands, and whilst he'll never be the player he was a couple of FMs ago, he's a good rotation option capable of filling all three central midfield roles in my 4312, at a very affordable price.

Andrés D'Alessandro btw, is possibly the worst signing I've ever made on FM in terms of finances. He's my 3rd-highest earner and, well...just look at him:

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At least if Fiorentina had followed through with their interest in half my younger #10s he would have had a role to play...as it is he's not even worth using for mentoring due to the low determination. Still, maybe he'll get a run out in 2020's early Copa Argentina and Libertadores games before joining my backroom staff. 

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Structure

Going into the 2018/19 post-season there were question marks over what format the league would follow. In FM18, in order to get down to a 20-team 38-game European-style league the changes were like so:

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credit

Following the changes introduced irl this year, 2018/19 was similar to in the graphic above - 25 games with four teams relegated and only two promoted - but then followed with the new Superleague Cup in post-season basically so everyone can earn their appearance bonuses and all the non-playing staff keep their livelihoods. The question then was if FM19's 2019/20 Superliga would be the same as FM18, or if the Superleague Cup would remain. 

It does. The Superliga now has 24 teams, and 23 games (playing each other once) from 2nd August to 8th December and 26th January to 5th April, then the Superleague Cup takes place in May. This basically means anyone dropped points whatsoever could be fatal to our title challenge, which I have promised Exequiel Palacios we will have (or else he's off to Porto). Oh, and that 2021/22 season will presumably only have 20 league games, which is terrible for youth development but good for saving money on appearance / substitute bonuses. And that Héctor Scotta's 60-goal haul, 60!!! in 1975-6 is unlikely to be overhauled by a human player unless they find an exploit.

The fixture computer kept it even more interesting by making our 1 game in April really count:

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Promises to be a cracker given we're predicted 1st and 2nd!

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August 2019

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An unbeaten start, including a win on penalties over our rivals Boca, and our reward for beating Universidad Chile is to face Colo-Colo, the weakest side left, in the Libertadores quarter finals, but our inability to keep a clean sheet is doing my head in. Estudiantes scoring in the 93rd minute was particularly galling given it was only their 3rd shot on target in the entire game. 

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4 points off the top with almost 1/5 of the season gone is not great...either for my title hopes, or my hopes of keeping my best midfielder come next summer. 

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512014457_Screenshot2018-11-13at00_11_18.thumb.png.f833fae7d5a57ed132315491ce883095.png

I loaned Batalla to Leganes as right now he's not good enough to start but I didn't want him wasting away on the bench...seems cruel to give him a 6.4 when he's saved 12 shots

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September 2019

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As if the Estudiantes equaliser wasn't enough...Banfield carved us open twice then sat back with their two banks of 4 all game and we couldn't conjure anything. One thing I've noticed is as I do a lot of set piece training my assistant always recommends "play for set pieces" which should be labelled "dawdle on the ball and concede on the counter". We were unlucky to draw against Colo-Colo, which just seems to be the way with my teams so far on FM19. Against Tucuman Lucas Pratto missed a penalty and we rode our luck before Mauri got his first goal for the club. Our very easy Copa Argentina draw was very easy, as we played a complete reserve team and won comfortably, then Newell's was a routine win.

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October 2019

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Before the start of the month I noticed I kept being advised an instruction to add was "Defend Wider". Initially I'd ignored this as I figured we'd be too open in the middle, but then I realised we aren't exactly the tallest team, we've got a very middle-heavy formation and outstanding (for the level) full backs. So starting with the Colo-Colo match I selected it. Given the Velez and Gimnasia La Plata matches were contested by reserve teams, I'd say it went pretty well.

The only blot being the game against Belgrano, where young Joaquín Rikemberg turned into a performance that, if it was in a World Cup, would lead to an instant transfer to Real Madrid. He opened the scoring, collecting off a throw in and cutting in from the right to curl it into the top corner with his left foot. He also equalised for them in the 93rd minute with a rocket from the edge of the box, and to cap it all he scored the winning penalty. I really hope he moves to Europe so I don't have to face him, but given the low rep of Belgrano I doubt it. 

Before the Belgrano game I persuaded the board to boost my wage budget, which meant I could adjust my transfer budget to upwards of £9m. So I blew my budget on another technical midfielder, Pep style:

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Its almost impossible to find a central midfielder that can finish and wants to join my club, so when I saw this guy had a release clause, I pounced. Hopefully he'll give us more of a goal threat from the midfield trident (they get the odd one, but its usually off a goalmouth scramble), and I'll be interested to see how those movement traits lead to him interpreting the Carrilero role. 

My Copa Libertadores win over Racing Club set up an all-Argentine final (an inevitability, given the semis were also an all-Argentina affair) against Godoy Cruz, who defeated Talleres. They're on paper the weakest of the four of us who contested the semis, however from 2019 edition (i.e. the one I'm playing in) onwards Copa Libertadores no longer has a two-legged final, which means that anything can happen. As someone who was drawn to River Plate by being bored of European saves, it makes it a little bit less special to me.

 

Youth Intake

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A potential 'Golden Generation' according to my Head of Youth Development, with high potential players everywhere except CB and RB, which are the positions our current youth rankings are most stacked in. Not much more I could ask for really (except perhaps for two of the best prospects not to be in wide positions I don't use). These are the two best prospects (that actually fit in my formation):

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Hopefully Blanco rises to the top of the u20 dynamics rather than having his personality dragged down - one thing about the new mentoring system is I am finding that my youth players personalities all seem to get worse rather than better as I can't promote all the prospects to the first team and turn them into perfectionists. I feel like perhaps coaches' personalities need to play more of a role in u18s / u20s to counter-act this.

Edited by zlatanera

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November 2019

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"We've disappointingly converted 280 touches into only 4 goals in the opposition's area" sums it up - boring dominance. But the most important thing is that a Dario Conca free kick was enough for us to retain the Copa Libertadores!

I've actually not lost a game in that competition yet (22 games unbeaten) which is brilliant, and we won the fair play away too. We're 4 points behind Boca in the league, and our conquerors Belgrano won the Copa Argentina.

'One' negative is that I now have 15!!!!!! players demanding to go out on loan, which is definitely a bug, as well as my backup GK demanding to leave. So I have to hope that most of them get decent loan offers or else I'm going to have a bunch of players angry at me for not loaning them out with squad status "backup" a division below their level.

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December 2019

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Dominated two games in the league, Red Bulls game was so boring it went to extra time before there were any goals, then Juventus kicked us off the park and scored two goals from out-jumping my players and one from outmuscling them. They didn't even have Dybala in the squad. 

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Homecomings

Managed to offload Rafael Santos Borré (£7m, his value, to Leeds. No add-ons sadly) and Ignacio Scocco (£700k to Caen, he was declining and not getting game time) which allows me to promote one of my numerous young strikers and give Rollheiser more time. Udinese keep low-balling me for Nicolas De La Cruz but I've got a promise to accept a bid for his value, so looks like he's staying. As he's only contracted to 2021 I'll be looking to offload him in summer when everyone has more funds. Darío Conca's physicals collapsed over the winter break and he's announced his retirement in summer, will be looking to get him onto the coaching staff when that date comes.

Now, to the title: One of my loosely defined "philosophies" is to repatriate academy grads who've made the jump to Europe. Three of sufficient calibre were out of contract in summer. Gabriel Mercado wouldn't negotiate - hardly surprising given he went to LA Galaxy for £95k / week. But two others are joining in summer:

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Lucas Boye never made a league appearance for River, but did win the Copa Libertadores, Sudamericana and Recopa before eventually leaving the club to Torino on a free in 2016. We've got him taking a wage cut to come back, rejecting MLS for us. Although that low Composure might be an issue and I don't have a place for him, those low wages should mean I can make money loaning him out.

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A guy I could never make room for in my FM18 save, Franco Lopez left the club on a free for Argentinos Juniors at the end of the 2017/18 season. He's hardly had a kick but has a great goals-to-games ratio with them, and will come back in for us on nice, low wages where hopefully we can get him an opportunity to develop either with the club or on loan somewhere.

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February 2020

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A couple of disappointing results in the league (Rosario Central being a reserve team in preparation for the Recopa) allowed Boca to keep 1 point ahead of us at the top of the Superliga. With only 3 games left before we face them on the final day, it looks like the last game of the Superliga season may end up being effectively a cup final.

Speaking of cup finals...we retained the Recopa! Another all-Argentine affair, proving just how dominant our league is at the moment (and its legit domination, I've loaded Brazil up, it isn't just a case of the active league having an advantage). 

That win, my fourth trophy of the save so far, put me 9th in the English Hall of Fame, behind Roy Hodgson. I think I can easily make it to 3rd before I get bored of this save, but catching Brian Clough or Bob Paisley may be beyond me.

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Another pre-arranged signing

My backup GK, Maximiliano Velazco, kicked off about playing time and was let go in January. I promoted a youth player to sit on the bench but its a waste of potential, and given the dire state of Argentine goalkeepers (my No. 1 was playing in the Spanish Segunda, yet has now been involved in the national squad) I struggled to find anyone worth paying, with a good enough personality. Eventually I found a Perfectionist, hopefully he'll be happy with his reduced playing time.

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505559804_Screenshot2018-11-16at15_06_49.thumb.png.d25e5225c1443290bf2c34b3db1adab3.png 

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March 2020

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Our Libertadores unbeaten run finally came to an end in our first group game, but we bounced back to beat Colo-Colo convincingly (the 5th time we've played them in a year, amazingly). Three straight wins in the league kept the pressure up on Boca, so our final game of the season against them is truly winner-takes-all (can't imagine them playing for a draw in a derby)

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Edited by zlatanera

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We've done it! We lifted the Superliga in classic FM19 style - a volley from a free kick and a header from a corner. 

The change to "Defend Wider" tightening up our defence was definitely the main responsibility for this: in 2018/189 we scored 36 and conceded 25, in 2019/20 this improved on both ends to 39 for and only 12 against - one of only two teams to concede fewer than 20 goals. 

 

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News of my success must have finally made it to Manchester! Accepting the interview, but will turn them down should I get offered the job as I've not yet won everything I can with River Plate.

EDIT: So after convincing Ed Woodward that should I get the job I'll need an expanded stadium and a new foreign affiliate (I would try to get my former club), I've now managed to wrangle this deal out of my own chairman:

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That's another £1million on the transfer budget, £25k on the wage budget, and more money for the Bank of Zlatanera with the new contract! (I would've asked for a new stadium but I really like the look of the Monumental in real life).

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Edited by zlatanera

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April / May 2020

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As previously mentioned we defeat Boca on the final day to leapfrog them and secure the Superliga title. The rest of April was incredibly straightforward - I played reserve teams in all three games, easily despatching the weakest member of our Libertadores group and progressing to the next round of the Copa Argentina. 

In May things went wrong though. The away games against Godoy Cruz and Colo-Colo were me trying out a new defensive tactic for next time I make it to the Club World Cup, in the case of the first leg against Godoy I also played a weakened team - the idea being that the weak team would just make sure they weren't outclassed before the first xi demolished them 2 days later. An early penalty soon put paid to that idea, and our wait for a Superleague Cup title goes on.

A slight tweak to the aforementioned defensive tactic led us to close out the month with a win against Fluminense, whose manager was on the verge of becoming a nemesis. In 3 games against him with Belgrano he'd beaten me twice and drew one, before winning again with Fluminense earlier this year. Quite nice to see an AI manager actually doing well other than Allegri (who always seems to end up establishing a dynasty at Real Madrid on my FM18/19 saves).

Going forward to next season, my best Enganche Dario Conca is retiring so I'll be hoping to add him to the backroom staff, and may have to sign someone to take over as my youth options all have significant flaws (one essential attribute that just won't go over 10, i.e. Abel Casquete and Anticipation). Now I've won the Superliga I'm not bothered about retaining it - I want 3 more Copa Libertadores to overhaul Independiente's record and give me more chances at the CWC - so I may experiment with different shapes, or at least a more aggressive 4312 to see if I can blow away teams instead of playing short passes until they scythe down a player in a decent area for a free kick, as well as working on a defensive system for any potential world finals against European giants. 

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June / July 2020

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The Libertadores knock-outs are exactly a month earlier than last season for some bizarre reason, which means that our pre-season and, indeed, that first knock-out game, are technically in the 2019/20 season rather than the 2020/21 season. A narrow win was achieved with a pretty poorly thought out iteration on my tactic thanks to a screamer from Arzura, then I went back to the drawing board. What this post is really about though, is transfers:

Transfers

I lost a chunk of experience this summer - Dario Conca retired and joined the coaching staff, Javier Pinola moved to Espanyol on a free and a rapidly declining Rodrigo Mora was allowed to move to Gil Vicente in Portugal for £1m. On top of this the only other major outgoing so far has been our first choice RB, Jorge Moreira who, at 30 and with three young players pushing for his spot, was deemed expendable when LAFC came in, managed to get £7.75m out of them, which I used to finance yet another academy product coming back from Europe:

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Germán Pezzella, he of the DA13 captain's armbands, comes back to where it all began as the highest paid player in the league! He tore his knee ligaments twice after signing permanently for Fiorentina so only made 23 appearances over 2 seasons, but he's not listed as injury prone which is promising! He adds a bit more physicality to what was otherwise a well-stocked but slightly meek defensive line, and allows me to move LMQ up to the DM slot in my new tactic. 

Lucas Robertone wants a new contract only 6 months after signing for us, and may yet leave if I can get double my money and a 50% sell-on clause, but unless that happens my only other signing not previously mentioned is a young No. 10 from Belgrano:

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In what I would term an "overdog move" or "Juventus transfer" we've taken full advantage over our reputation and financial muscle to go for a philosophy of "if at first you don't succeed, buy the guy who keeps stopping you". Between their manager moving to Brazil and their best player to us, Belgrano should no longer trouble us. We get a talented No. 10 too. Finally...

Albiceleste 

When signing Cristian Álvarez at the start of the save I said this:

"In all seriousness though, he's an upgrade on my existing options and given the dire state of Argentina goalkeepers outside of Sergio Romero I reckon I have an outside shot of getting him an international call up before he hits 35."

Lo and behold, he made his debut this summer, aged 34! Joining him were LB Luis Olivera, CB Martinez Quarta and CMs Robertone and Palacios. Olivera, Robertone, Palacios, Elias Lopez and Benjamin Rollheiser are also in the Olympics squad and thus will miss quite a few games at the start of the season, which isn't ideal, but hopefully we muddle through. 

 

Edited by zlatanera

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I'm currently managing Belgrano and Rikemberg is an unbelievable player. £2.5m is an absolute steal.

Edited by nsd

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32 minutes ago, nsd said:

I'm currently managing Belgrano and Rikemberg is an unbelievable player. £2.5m is an absolute steal.

I know! I was expecting them to be demanding £15m like Velez with Almada, pretty sure he had more than a year left on his contract as well. Have you tried to make him a better set piece taker at all? That's the only thing I think he's lacking in.

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2 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

I know! I was expecting them to be demanding £15m like Velez with Almada, pretty sure he had more than a year left on his contract as well. Have you tried to make him a better set piece taker at all? That's the only thing I think he's lacking in.

I've not focused on his set pieces really, perhaps I should now as he's become so well rounded in most other areas and still has a bit of PA to fill. We're not doing very well at all financially, so if they're in the same state on your save that probably contributed a lot to the outrageously low price. There's no interest in him (yet) but I'd be very reluctant to sell him despite the finances, he was basically the entire reason I picked Belgrano in the first place :lol:

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3 minutes ago, nsd said:

I've not focused on his set pieces really, perhaps I should now as he's become so well rounded in most other areas and still has a bit of PA to fill. We're not doing very well at all financially, so if they're in the same state on your save that probably contributed a lot to the outrageously low price. There's no interest in him (yet) but I'd be very reluctant to sell him despite the finances, he was basically the entire reason I picked Belgrano in the first place :lol:

Don't suppose you were reading fmgrasshopper's recommendations from FM18 by any chance? They're listed as "Okay" finances, and they've been in Copa Sudamericana due to winning the Copa Argentina, but given they've spent £475k over two seasons despite also selling Guidara to Porto, I guess that could be misleading.

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3 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

Don't suppose you were reading fmgrasshopper's recommendations from FM18 by any chance? They're listed as "Okay" finances, and they've been in Copa Sudamericana due to winning the Copa Argentina, but given they've spent £475k over two seasons despite also selling Guidara to Porto, I guess that could be misleading.

Nope, didn't read any recommendations, just really fancied a save outside Europe, had a look through the Argentine league and Belgrano caught my eye. It was a good choice, I'm really enjoying it and it's usually hard for me to get a save to stick. Our finances are currently listed as okay, but we're over £2m in the red with really terrible sponsorships, so I'd say it's definitely misleading. I can't believe the fees/wages you're spending on players, River are on a whole different level!

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