The launch of the latest instalment of the world’s biggest football video game is upon us, armed with new gameplay features, like ‘dynamic tactics’ and ‘timed finishing’, but what most gamers will be more worried about is assembling their Ultimate Team starter squad.
Where are you going to be able to find players that will be competitive without costing an arm and a leg? We’ve been digging into the stats to find some clues.
First up, we take a look at how gold players are distributed across FIFA 19’s various leagues. Chemistry is key in Ultimate Team, and the easiest way to achieve the maximum rating is to build a squad from the same league – you won’t be able to tack a single MLS star on to your Serie A-filled team and expect him to play like Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Premier League leads the way with 347 gold players, which is almost twice as many as can be found in Ligue 1. These players are well spread around the pitch, too, with at least four players in the 80-83 ratings bracket at each position.
La Liga may be trailing behind England’s top-flight when it comes to the overall number of gold players, but they can boast more than half of the game’s 90+ rated players (8/15). The Spanish league also has more mid range options on both wings and reasonable depth in the full-back positions, so a Premier League hybrid with a Spanish flank could be an option to consider.
If we dare to dream for a moment and imagine the best pack luck anybody has ever had, the top-rated team of standard players that can be assembled with 100 chemistry is a La Liga/Serie A hybrid, featuring long-time rivals Lionel Messi and Ronaldo at the top of the tree.
The 3-1-4-2 formation that they fall into is not usually one of the most popular, but this team doesn’t look like it would be involved in many boring matches! In case you don’t like the look of Toni Kroos or Diego Godin, we have laid out the top-rated player in each major position in each of Europe’s ‘Big 5’ leagues, so you can start dreaming about your own ‘World XI’.
Ratings boosts for Mohamed Salah and David De Gea mean they join fellow Premier League stars N’Golo Kante and Kevin De Bruyne as the top-rated players in their position globally.
The Real Madrid trio of Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric are also considered by EA to be the best in the world at their position, but Ligue 1 (Neymar), Serie A (Ronaldo) and the Bundesliga (Joshua Kimmich) only have one player each who is number one in their area of the pitch.
It is all well and good looking at ratings, but anybody who has played the game will know that, sometimes, an 81-rated centre-back will regularly perform better than an 87-rated one, because they are blessed in more important areas. We’ve had a look underneath the bonnet to find out which attributes last year’s FUTTIES nominees have high ratings for, and then looked for players in this year’s release who are similarly well equipped.
For example, Memphis Depay has been reclassified as a striker, and his high finishing, sprint speed and ball control stats suggest that he could be a good option at a reasonable price. In defence, Eric Bailly was the staple of many a Premier League-based team last year, but it looks like Nathan Aké could provide the same sort of steel this time around – beneath his 79 overall rating, he boasts impressive acceleration, strength and tackling stats.
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