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[FM20] Champagne Football II: Calcio Offensivo


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Pre-season 2030-2031: Starting to behave like a superclub as we splash the cash
 

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We're now one of the world's biggest sides, and splashed some serious money this pre-season, breaking our transfer record up from a previous 46M€ last season on Santiago Welch, to 67M€ on new man Joan Alonso.

Out went forward Eric van Mosselveld for 44.5M€ - this was a bit of a desperate move to try to save transfer budget money to sign Alonso, that I'd later slightly regret (indeed I ended up spending even more money on another forward to fill in van Mosselveld's boots as backup ST) - and veteran midfielder Afonso Sousa for 30M€, who last season was out on loan to Leicester anyway. But the real big deal was the sale of Cristiano Henrique to Flamengo to 60M€, a deal I'm delighted with as the Brazilian attacking midfielder never really convinced in the 4 years he's been at the club, it is also a massive profit. But it'll only be completed in January, up until there he's languishing in our squad making big money from wages.


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Our first signing came for absolutely nothing as Man Utd let his contract expire. This kid is going places but has a lot to grow, in the mean time there's a bit of a queue for the DLP holding midfielder position with Büser and Cibilica as the 2 main options so there may be space here for maybe selling Cibilica, or even sending Culshaw on loan later this season, to get more regular playing time.
 

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The new record signing, I've been unhappy with the performances of our forward line the last couple seasons (albeit we did win almost everything last year anyway), Ouakrim in particular underperformed as ST so for the new year I'm looking to shift Ouakrim out wide to AML - relegating the aging Pellegri to the bench - which in turn frees up space for this monster forward in the center. I have huge hopes for Alonso, he scored 22 league goals last year for a very average Espanyol side, and led Spain's frontline in the World Cup final at the age of 22.
 

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And what about 2 megaforwards instead of one? Tbh this was unnecessary and he's not really at the level of Alonso, I could've just kept van Mosselveld instead as Alonso's backup. But at the time of Alonso's signing, I had to free up funds to seal the deal, so Mosselveld had to go, and only later did I get a huge money influx as I sold Afonso Sousa and Cristiano Henrique for a combined 90M€. As for Mesquita, anyway he's still a pretty good forward and has been scoring buckets for Wolves for years now, so I trust him to destroy Serie A whilst I rest Alonso for the big CL matches.
 

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Our 4th and final signing is yet another forward, but one for the future. Brazilian wonderkid Zito's long term future is quite possibly on the left as inside forward, Ouakrim's backup, but for now I kept him home in Brazil for another season, with a loan back to Corinthians who I hired him from. Cost me 16.5M€, if he keeps on developing that will have been very cheap.


Current squad and starting 11:

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The squad is now overblown and wouldn't fit a single screenshot, I relegated backup goalkeeper Zdravko Zivadinovic to the reserves to show everyone else. There is 2 attackers too many with Cristiano Henrique still occupying a slot until January when he completes the move to Flamengo, and homegrown man Simone Rabbi who I've kept on the squad for almost sentimental reasons for many years now, but probably should be moved on (but he's homegrown....). The other extra player is at DM/MC, with Buser, Cibilica and Culshaw now all competing for just 1 position, I need to eventually make decisions there.

Either way, the signing of Alonso in particular promises to make us even better; whilst our strenght at the moment is probably defence and base of midfield - I believe this will be defensive midfielder Peter Büser's major breakout season, after he arrived 6 months ago to replace Bragança, a period in which he has been gently eased into the first team whilst Cibilica got more playing time.
 

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Pre-season has already given us a new trophy! In the UEFA Super Cup at Villa Park (?!) we beat Europa League winners AC Milan with a slightly underwhelming 1-0 scoreline, a Joan Alonso penalty kick on his debut for the club. After that we began the Serie A season with 2 big wins, Mesquita already scoring his first goal for the club as well.
 

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The Champions League group is surprisingly a little tricky, having to face English, French and German opposition, but as reigning European champions we should be favourites. My big, big goal for this season is to try to retain the Champions League, win it for 2 years straight, which is something I believe I've not achieved since as far back as FM11! It's been a bit of a mini-obsession of mine to try to achieve that for a few editions of FM, and a big reason why I'm not just leaving Bologna for a new challenge just yet. I want to build a proper powerhouse superclub and enjoy it for a few seasons first (unless I get bored!).

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23 minutes ago, noikeee said:

having to face English, French and German opposition

Note to self: Salzburg isn't in Germany. :rolleyes:

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September 2030: We win football matches
 

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Anyone surprised? It's been a 100% win record so far, albeit Lazio really did push us there, as we found ourselves losing 3-0 after 15 minutes!! Remarkably, by half-time we were already in front.

Nice to see Alonso bag a hattrick against Inter, that's been rare to see any of our strikers ever doing that, and also nice to get a 5-0 win in the CL albeit against the weakest opposition in the group.
 

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Edited by noikeee
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October 2030: First defeat, but the forwards enjoy themselves


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One of my remaining goals with Bologna is to get an unbeaten season in Serie A. That's not gonna happen this year because we went missing against Torino, 1-0 defeat.

Other than that, it's been great with some very heavy wins lately, and most of our forwards have been in quite astonishing form. Agostinho Mesquita has been a goalmachine in the league, Pellegri is combining well with him, and Ouakrim is also adapting really nicely to grabbing his goals from left wing - the only forward not to have a stellar month was Joan Alonso who "only" got a penalty goal.

In the CL Chelsea could not avenge their defeat in the CL final last year, and we seem well placed to go through in the group, in the league we were joint top with Cremonese at the end of October, but sorry about the screenshot there, I let the game continue until November so a few teams have played already.
 

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Edited by noikeee
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I mean, surely? Roma might win, but they finished 15th last year, whilst we're on the back of 4 Italian titles and leading Serie A again... Funny bloke, my assman. :lol:

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November 2030: 6 clean sheets


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An almost perfect month, only missing the win at Stamford Bridge, although we were very fortunate there to come back home with a point, they missed a penalty kick near the end. Anyway we made it to the end of the month without conceding, are through in the CL, and top in the league (although Inter and Cremonese have both been freakily consistent so far and are giving us a real challenge).


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Also, I know this is no longer really all that interesting or much of an achievement as I've got a mammoth team, but this is so satisfying... all of our forwards are actually scoring lots!!! Haven't had that any season before.

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December 2030: Opening up a gap in the league


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Another 100% win record month as we continue to assert our dominance in the league. It's not been the sexiest month, as other than the Fiorentina match we've been pretty low scoring, but still beat 2 strong teams in Milan and Juve and then got a more crucial win over Cremonese who were vaguely threatening to chase us.

In the CL we also scrapped a win over Lyon to top the group, but our reward for that wasn't that great as we'll have to face Bayern in the last 16. I mean you know how the CL is, no easy matches from here onwards, so it's business as usual.


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First time we get players on this. One of my remaining goals with Bologna is to get Ballon d'Or level players, this tells me we're getting closer. Of course we have plenty of superstars but they don't seem to have the last little bits of reputation to challenge for that award. This years Ballon d'Or saw a 24 year old English midfielder from Chelsea, William Barrett, claim the award, ahead of Haaland and Mbappé.

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One indication that we're not at Chelsea level or have players like this, is guys like Barrett are getting paid 2.4M€/month, our highest paid player is Ouakrim at 780K€/month. Another of my goals is to develop Bologna's finances to that level although we're getting much closer now.

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January 2031: Losing a trophy
 

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This was a transfer window for selling, I took the chance to let go 2 aging players, leftback Owen Wijndal who had been here for 5.5 years and was now 31 years old, and winger/forward Simone Rabbi, a club homegrown player(!) that had never played for any other club other than a loan many years ago, but it's been a few years now that he wasn't up to the standards of the team anymore, at the age of 29 I'm very happy to get 21.5M€ for him. The big transfer of Cristiano Henrique to Flamengo for 60M€ was also finally completed.

In came only one player, to replace Wijndal, which means our squad is perhaps a little short now:
 

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I get a short-term downgrade as he's not quite to the level Wijndal was yet, but if he continues developing he's a future world class player in the making here, truly excellent attributes for a 17 year old.


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On the pitch in January we only conceded a single goal, but managed to **** away a trophy, as against Inter in the Supercoppa we were uninspired, couldn't score, and they won on penalties. That could've been our 5th consecutive year winning this trophy but nope, that run ends at 4.

In the league it's all good though, we did lose points against Atalanta, but Inter and Cremonese are now slipping back and we now have a 7 points lead. Speaking of Cremonese, we face them in the cup semi-final ahead of the CL tie against Bayern.

 

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February 2031: Cup shambles in Cremona


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In the cup semi-finals, it was a disaster. We again failed to make the final after in the 1st leg we struggled more than usual against Cremonese and gave them the away goal advantage into the 2nd leg. In Cremona it all went wrong - big 4-0 beating although it's somewhat my fault for using the rotated, 2nd XI - but we had a big match against Inter next and I'm prioritizing league and CL first so it had to be done.

In the league we've been okay although not inspiring, we drew away to Inter ensuring they wouldn't close the gap to us, and won narrowly all other matches.

And in the CL, the big match in February in Munich, we did pretty well to bring the away goal advantage back to Italy, although we should've won that match as we let the equalizer go in, in the 93rd minute, after largely outplaying Bayern.
 

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Edited by noikeee
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Youth intake 2031

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I thought this was pretty decent, actually. At the level our senior squad is at, a player will have to be amazing to have 3 stars or more of potential, and we have a couple of blokes here that aren't quite there but start with relatively nice attributes for their age. 

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March 2031: Bayern give us a scare but we progress to the CL quarters


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It was a great match on the Giacomo Bulgarelli Arena on the 18th. We brought home a 1-1 draw from Germany, and briefly looked quite safe as we opened up a 2 goal lead. Only for Bayern to hit back with 2 goals, getting the away goal advantage by minute 63 and now we were in serious trouble. Thankfully it didn't take us much longer to get a 3rd, Lennart den Otter heading in a cross by an inspired deep-lying playmaker Peter Büser, but there was always the danger Bayern could still get the 3rd. A fun Champions League night for the neutrals in which we eventually prevailed - just - and now move on to face Man City in the quarters. We beat them on our path to the European title last year so I feel reasonably confident.

In the league we seem to be hitting a patch of strong form as we smashed Lecce and Sampdoria away, the Samp match was particularly fun, a big 7-1 win. A stubborn Inter side are chasing us, but we retain a 4 points lead plus a match in hand so we look good for a 5th straight championship.


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Edited by noikeee
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April 2031: First leg late match collapse marks CL exit at the hands of City
 

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Wednesday the 9th of April and City come to Bologna for the big CL quarters match. It was going wonderfully well. With our strikers on form we had opened a 3 goal lead, and looked set to finish the match winning 3-0. On the final minutes though, everything changed. Rodrygo reduced for City minute 86, into stoppage time Tim Patrick got another, 3-2, and then ridiculously Rodrygo got another in the 94th, making it 3-3, 3 away goals for City. With our keeper Manuel Gasparini injured, I wonder just how much of that was the responsibility of his stand-in Marco Lorusso who has looked quite vulnerable. Either way, it didn't matter and we had to win in Manchester the 2nd leg, to progress.

We put a good fight, again we went a goal up, Alonso's 3rd goal of the tie, still in the first half. However we could not create more, and this put me in an awkward spot, attack more or try to hold on to the lead - but then get cornered at the back to City. Caught in no man's land between both strategies, they finally broke us down, late again, their RB Hrannar Jónsson scoring in minute 80. Again Lorusso in goal looked slightly dodgy. And any hopes of retaining the CL trophy were over.

The team's form has deflated a little after this, and we drew 2 away matches in Serie A this month, likely also due to a congested calendar. We've only drawn 4 and lost 1 all season long, yet a surprisingly strong Inter still follows us closely - albeit a recent loss to Cremonese saw them socially distance from ourselves slightly, down to a 6 points gap. For all our immense quality, we keep on figuring out ways to drop the ball this season - will we still drop the ball on the chance of a 5th straight title?
 

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Right, that's 6 months of real life time playing this, and the thread, down the bin, then.

I'm pissed because I was quite into this and really looking forward to enjoy the squad I'd carefully built over the years, just a little longer. I know this hasn't been the most interesting of my threads, for a while it's now just been WIN WIN WIN with world class players (although we were dodgy this final season, smashed in the cup, threw away the supercup, lost the CL on away goals), which doesn't make for the most entertaining of stories. I get that, I've also been a bit of a dickhead lately and just enclosed myself on my own thread and not been interacting much with the rest of the forum.

But I think I'll remember this Bologna side really quite fondly. I've played FM13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, all with the goal of building a truly European dominating team, with a style of play I enjoyed, with my own tactics, and although I've come close in a career or 2 (Derby County in '18 comes to mind), I never really quite achieved that - it was either domestic domination or international glory, never quite both at the same time, never quite consistenly performing, always riding on our own luck a bit. And here with Bologna I finally felt like I'd done that. This was my strongest team in the last 8 editionsof FM  and I was really looking forward to make it even stronger. The plan was to do 2 more seasons and then leave Bologna after our presence in the Club World Cup, which would've come at the end of the 2032/2033 season. Not to be.

I may think of a new challenge now, or take a break from FM, undecided just yet. Need to think of something that motivates me. Lately I've been having much less time to play (ironically, since I'm currently wfh), so that's a consideration, too. And why I'm pissed off at losing a career relatively far into the future, gonna take me ages to reach 2031 again now.

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11 hours ago, Northernpilgrim said:

Have you still got the save file? If you do, post on the bug forum and one of the mods might be able to help

Yeah I've got the save and the crash dump file, will try it, but not holding much hopes. 

I don't browse the bug forum often but I think typically what they do is register the bug to fix it for the next patch. So that doesn't solve my save file and by now there's not gonna be any next patch. 

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