I’VE thought about trying it a handful of times but I always stopped at putting the idea ‘on paper’ when I decided it just couldn’t be done. Football Manager has come a long way but it’s not possible to recreate the majesty and magic of the best aspects of the best football sides to ever exist. Or is it?
I was at work today and my colleague @samhoulison6 – also a big fan of the game – posed the question: “How good is Barcelona’s attack?” I recalled my fantasy of reproducing such a deadly and exciting front three in FM and now I’m going to go ahead and give it a go.
The last time I attempted to recreate a style it produced exciting results. I wanted to see my virtual players attack like Luis Suarez’s Liverpool with Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge in tow. I’m not sure I created a perfect copy but I was able to implement key aspects of the way the three attacked (and defended without the ball) together. I still use the basis of that tactic now. It’s just evolved. Well, like Suarez was at Liverpool, I’m keen to move on to something even better.
I could just take over Barcelona. That’d be the logical approach. I like to make things more of a challenge though so I’m going to find three different attackers to mould in to Suarez’s, Neymar’s and Messi’s role.
My colleague who suggested trying this also suggested I should attempt it with under-21s. I think the challenge is big enough without this restraint, however, to produce three special players like Barca’s front three, I might have to start with a few raw, young talents. If I do, it could take me at least five seasons to achieve my aim, which is fine because I love to see things develop steadily.
So how do I measure how close I’ve come to re-creating the current best attack in the world?
The ultimate dream I guess is that all three of my attackers perform at the highest level in Europe, like Neymar, Messi and Suarez are this season.
They will have to be judged as three of the best attackers in the world. To have one named the best in the world would be perfect.
All three must contribute assists as well as goals.
The overall style of play of my team must be attractive to me. This should include plenty of dribbling in attack, running at speed at and past defenders. For this, each attacker must have high attributes in dribbling. Two must be pacey. And technical attributes are key. An ambitious attitude and consistency are also important.
I’ll search for a ‘new Messi’, ‘new Neymar’ and a ‘new Suarez’ to re-create the most accurate representation I can. So the new Messi will probably be left-footed, short, have good vision and acceleration, etc, whereas Neymar will be slightly more individual, and possibly have slightly more pace. The new Suarez will probably be the physically strongest of the three but also the slowest. He’ll probably be more determined than Neymar and more hardworking than the Brazilian. These characteristics will also simply depend on the players in the database and who I’m able to sign.
Ultimately, I will decide if I’m satisfied with how I’ve managed to re-create this tantalising trio. I’m excited to get going!
In part two of this series, I will show you the players I have found and talk more about the tactic I’ll be using.