Spain are fortunate to have two of the European heavyweights in their division in the form of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Atletico Madrid’s La Liga win in 2014 was one of football’s finest triumphs showing that hard-work and discipline can overcome the showbiz talent of the other Spanish clubs.
Atleti have fallen behind their top rivals in Spain ever since that success, finishing third in the three seasons since. Two Champions League final appearances show they are still amongst Europe’s finest, but there is a sense that the clock is ticking, and they could quickly fall back into the rest of the pack. Can you stabilise the club and hunt for trophies once more with Atletico on FIFA 18’s Career Mode?
Atletico have a 4.5 star rating on FIFA 18, due to their 83 overall. This is comprised of their 82 attack, 83 midfield and 83 defence.
Diego Simeone has rarely strayed from a 4-4-2 system during his tenure at Atletico, and you should stick with this disciplined formation for your Career Mode. Your other option is to go for a 4-3-3 formation if you want more width and more men in midfield.
Jan Oblak is the reliable presence in goal, and he has the resolute Juanfran, Jose Maria Gimenez, Diego Godin and Filipe Luis in the defence.
Koke partners the versatile Saul Niguez in central midfield, with the pacey Yannick Carrasco (89 sprint speed) and Nicolas Gaitan supplying the width. Up top, star man Antoine Griezmann will play alongside French compatriot Kevin Gameiro.
On the bench go for Miguel Angel Moya (OVR 81), Stefan Savic (82), Sime Vrsaljko (80), Gabi (81), Augusto Fernandez (80), Angel Correa (80) and Fernando Torres (81).
Atletico Madrid have a reputation of being a counter-attacking team, and with the agile Griezmann (90 agility) and Gameiro (88 acceleration) looking to race clear and put the ball in the back of the net.
Speaking of Griezmann, you should look to get the 88-rated talent on the ball as much as possible. The former Sociedad man should score plenty for you (91 attacking positioning, 88 finishing) so look to find him with cutting passes or balls over the top from the likes of Koke (89 vision, 86 short passing).
Training offers the opportunity to enhance the ability of players in your squad, especially those not getting regular minutes on the pitch. Look to use high growth players to get the most out of your sessions, which include the likes of Angel Correa, Luciano Vietto, Yannick Carrasco, Saul Niguez and Jan Oblak.
The transfer market
Starting transfer budget: £53 million
Starting wage budget: £163,000 a week
Who should go
It’s a well-balanced squad at Atletico Madrid, and there are very few players that jump out who you should sell. With no transfer ban to contend with on FIFA 18, you can sell some players to make room for new signings, and the most notable name that can be sent packing is Atletico legend Fernando Torres.
The former Spanish international is still good enough to make the bench, but with fellow strikers Angel Correa (POT 87) and Luciano Vietto (POT 85) showing plenty of talent, Torres is only standing in their way. Try to sell the former Chelsea and Liverpool man for around £9 million, making a healthy £60,000 a week saving in wages.
Elsewhere fringe players Sergio Gonzalez and Olabe are not of the Atletico standard, so look to collect around £650,000 for the pair, which will free up your weekly wages by £12,000.
A number of the players outside of the first team picture need minutes, but they are not quite at the level to be playing regular games for the club. Keidi Bare, Mohammed Zakaria Boulahia, Caio Henrique, Nicolas Schiappacasse, Juan Moreno, Tachi, Obama and Toni Moya are all candidates for loan, but you will want to keep a few of them in case of an injury crisis.
As for third choice goalkeeper Axel Werner, send the 21-year-old on a short loan so he can swiftly be recalled in case of an injury to your senior pair Oblak and Moya.
Who to sign
Transfer budget after suggested sales £62.6 million
Wage budget after suggested sales: £234,000 a week
With no Diego Costa arriving in January, you will need to dive into the transfer market to bring in a new striker, with Kevin Gameiro the weakest link in the side. Look to bring in a taller player, so Antoine Griezmann can play off the big man.
From your budget, your top target should be Edin Dzeko. The Roma man can do a bit of everything with his 84 overall aided by 89 positioning, 87 finishing and 86 shot power. The Bosnia star will set you back £41.9 million and £101,000 a week wages, which is just about worth it for the 31-year-old.
- Mario Mandzukic – Juventus, Age 31, OVR 83, POT 83, Cost: £34.1 million, Wage: £119,000
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Man United, Age 36, OVR 88, POT 88, Cost: £44 million, Wage: £211,000
- Radamel Falcao – Monaco, Age 31, OVR 84, POT 84, Cost: £46.8 million, Wage: £60,000
- Bas Dost – Sporting, Age 28, OVR 83, POT 83, Cost: £47.5 million, Wage: £24,000
- Timo Werner – RB Leipzig, Age 21, OVR 83, POT 87, Cost: £53.9 million, Wage: £60,000
A lot of contracts are running out at the Wanda Metropolitano, with 11 players having deals expiring at the end of the season. The only man who you are likely to give a fresh deal to is backup goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya, to leave you in safe hands if Jan Oblak suffers an injury.
As for the likes of Juanfran, Gabi and Fernando Torres, their time may be up in Madrid, and you may let the players leave for free at the end of the season and hand things over to the younger generation.
Mohammed Zakaria Boulahia, Juan Moreno, Ked I Bare Tachi face an important season to earn a new contract, and if you don’t see any substantial growth this year you should allow them to leave the club.
Sergio Gonzalez and Olabe should be sold straight away so don't worry about fresh contracts for the pair.
There are some realistic objectives for Atletico Madrid this season, but you will still be tested to achieve them. Your ‘critical’ domestic success goal is to finish in a Champions Cup place and to reach the semifinals of the Copa de Espana. Third place should be your minimum target in the league anyway, and the Spanish Cup is your best chance of silverware, so there should be no worries here.
The difficulty comes in the Champions Cup, where the board want you to reach the final of the competition. With a group featuring Premier League champions Chelsea, this will be a tough ask, but Atletico’s ability on the counterattack could help them go far in the competition.
Your brand exposure objective is also critical, and here you will need to bring in £176 million through shirt sales. Signing big players and scoring plenty with your star men (Griezmann) should take care of this over the season.
Your medium priority youth development objective is a tough one. You will need to sign two players under the age of 20, who have a higher potential than the average rating of players in the same position in your squad. Not only that, you will need to sign four players to your youth academy - one goalkeeper, one defender, one midfielder and one attacker. These goals may affect your transfer targets, but if you get them sorted early you can line up the funds in January.
Your financial goal has a low importance, and you will need to reduce your player wages by £66,000. If you release a few players at the end of the season you should be all set.
Write history once again
Atletico have stuttered since that famous La Liga triumph in 2014, but you can't deny that still have the ingredients to be a top team. Maybe a change in manager is all that is needed, and if you bring in a star striker to partner Griezmann up front, Atletico can be a force once more.
If you delay your Career Mode until 2018, you will have a Diego Costa ready to go, and silverware can be yours once again. Be sure to rotate your squad against the lesser La Liga sides, saving your star players for the heavyweight clashes in Europe and against league rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid. It’s been done once before, but now it’s time to get to the top again and stay there.
Atletico Madrid squad ratings
|Jan Oblak||24||GK||Slovenia||88/ 93||£106.6m||£72k|
|Miguel Angel Moya||33||GK||Spain||81/ 81||£16.2m||£41k|
|Axel Werner||21||GK||Argentina||69/ 81||£3m||£12k|
|Diego Godin||31||CB||Uruguay||88/ 88||£72.2m||£110k|
|Filipe Luis||31||LB||Brazil||85/ 85||£45.1m||£71k|
|Jose Maria Gimenez||22||CB||Uruguay||83/ 87||£53.3m||£46k|
|Stefan Savic||26||CB||Montenegro||82/ 86||£44.9m||£54k|
|Sime Vrsaljko||25||RB||Croatia||80/ 84||£29.9m||£48k|
|Lucas Hernandez||22||CB LB||France||77/ 88||£26.7m||£32k|
|Sergio González||22||LB||Spain||82/ 69||£300k||£6k|
|Yannick Carrasco||23||LM RM||Belgium||85/ 90||£96.3m||£68k|
|Koke||25||CM RM LM||Spain||85/ 88||£88.8m||£74k|
|Nicolas Gaitan||29||LM||Argentina||83/ 83||£46m||£62k|
|Saul Niguez||22||CM RM LM||Spain||82/ 90||£63.4m||£52k|
|Augusto Fernandez||31||CM||Argentina||80/ 80||£22.6m||£55k|
|Thomas Partey||24||CDM CM RM||Ghana||78/ 84||£23.8m||£36k|
|Caio Henrique||19||CAM||Brazil||67/ 81||£3.8m||£13k|
|Keidi Bare||19||CAM CDM CM||Albania||64/ 77||£750k||£6k|
|Juan Moreno||20||RM||Spain||62/ 76||£450k||£6k|
|Olabe||21||LM CM||Spain||62/ 74||£400k||£6k|
|Toni Moya||19||CM CAM||Spain||60/ 76||£350k||£3k|
|Antoine Griezmann||26||ST RW LW||France||88/ 91||£140.3m||£132k|
|Kevin Gameiro||30||ST||France||82/ 82||£38.8m||£65k|
|Fernando Torres||31||ST||Spain||81/ 81||£9m||£60k|
|Angel Correa||22||ST RM CAM||Argentina||80/ 87||£41.6m||£52k|
|Luciano Vietto||23||ST||Argentina||79/ 85||£34.7m||£52k|
|Nicolas Schiappacasse||18||LW ST RW||Uruguay||63/ 81||£1.8m||£5k|
|Mohammed Zakaria Boulahia||20||ST||Algeria||62/ 75||£500k||£6k|
|Obama||17||ST LM||Spain||60/ 77||£400k||£4k|
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