Barcelona. A club that just oozes class. The Catalans are always there or thereabouts when it comes to domestic and European success, making them a safe bet for you FIFA 19 Career Mode. There is also another big factor, the GOAT that is Lionel Messi. With the magician in your squad no opposition defence is safe as you plot to take Barca back to the top of European football.
RealSport is on hand as you set up with the Spanish champions, beginning your FIFA 19 Career Mode.
As you would expect it is a five star rating for Barcelona on FIFA 19, containing an 87 attack, 85 midfield and 84 defence.
You should stick with the 4-3-3 holding formation used under Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde, although he did use a 4-4-2 for large parts of last season. A 4-3-3 defensive or a 4-3-2-1 are all valid options with the Spanish champions.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (90 GK reflexes) is more than reliable in goal, with Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, World Cup winner Samuel Umtiti and Jordi Alba in the defensive line.
The solid Sergio Busquets (90 marking) protects the back four, with Arturo Vidal and complete midfielder Ivan Rakitic (90 long passing) linking up in midfield.
The iconic Lionel Messi (96 composure) and tricky Philippe Coutinho (93 balance) flank the lethal Luis Suarez (93 finishing) in attack.
On the bench opt for Jasper Cillessen, Clement Lenglet, Nelson Semedo, Arthur, Rafinha, Ousmane Dembele and Munir.
Tactics and instructions
The one tricky thing about being Barcelona is that 90% of the teams you play against will sit very deep against you. As a result, you will need to be patient with the ball as you wait for an opening.
Fortunately, you have midfielders who can control the game with their little finger in Ivan Rakitic (87 ball control) and Sergio Busquets (93 composure), so keeping the ball is no issue. Then look for the runs of Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, with the latter two bound to find the back of the net sooner rather than later.
If the defence is still too stubborn, you have a number of players who can shoot from range. Rakitic, Coutinho, Messi, Suarez and Arturo Vidal all have long shot stats of 85 or higher so don’t be afraid to pull the trigger when within 30 yards.
Against the bigger opposition, you may have to defend more but expect to find more clean breaks through on goal, suiting your deadly forwards. You also have the raw pace of Ousmane Dembele (93 acceleration) from the bench if you are looking for a change.
For your instructions, not too much needs to be altered from the default, but you may wish to have Sergio Busquets to ‘stay back while attacking’ just to make sure you have cover on the counter-attack.
Lionel Messi's default support runs are ‘come short’, but you should switch this to ‘balanced support’ so that he can occasionally use his agility and spring in behind the defence.
In your training sessions you should use high growth players, which are shown by the green icon. With Barca, this includes Ousmane Dembele, Malcom, Arthur, Rafinha, Denis Suarez and Munir.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £165 million
Starting wage budget: £424,000 a week
Who should go
Barcelona have a fantastic first team squad, but it is those who are in danger of falling out of that who need to be sold on. Thomas Vermaelen is now the fifth-choice centre back so you should look to free up his £97,000 a week wages and sell him for £3.5 million.
Central midfielder Sergi Samper should fetch you more at £3.8 million, with the youngster unlikely to make the grade with the Catalans.
Third-choice goalkeeper Inaki Peka and fellow youngster Jorge Cuenca should also be sold, and they should get you a combined £950,000, making a £13,000 a week saving on wages.
There are a few promising youngsters at Barcelona, who should be loaned out to get more game time. Right back Moussa Wague should be sent out on a short-term loan, with the situation being reassessed in January.
Guillem Jamie and Oriol Busquets are still some way off getting first team minutes, so loan them out for the season.
Who to sign
New transfer budget: £174 million
New wage budget: £595,000 a week
Reserve left back
Jordi Alba is the only first team left back you have, and that needs to be addressed in case he picks up an injury. Thomas Vermaelen can fill in there, and you do also have youngster Miranda, but you need more quality as cover.
Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson is emerging into one of the best left backs on the planet, and you can pick up the Scotland captain for around £35 million and wages of £87,000 a week. His 82 overall can grow to a potential of 87, with the 24-year-old’s best stats his 91 stamina, 87 crossing and 86 sprint speed.
|Benjamin Mendy||23||Man City||France||81||86||£26m||£92k|
|Luke Shaw||22||Man United||England||80||85||£22m||£84k|
Future star striker
After loaning out Paco Alcacer to Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona now look short in the striking department, especially with Alcacer’s deal now becoming permanent. Munir and the 18-year-old Abel Ruiz are your only two options to play up front outside of the starting lineup.
Manchester City man Gabriel Jesus could be the answer, with the Brazilian destined to become a world-class player. You can snap up the 21-year-old for around £55 million with his wages setting you back £114,000 a week. His stats of 92 agility, 91 balance, and 88 positioning take his overall rating to 83, which can rise to an incredible potential of 92.
|Marcus Rashford||20||Man United||England||82||90||£40m||£106k|
|Anthony Martial||22||Man United||France||84||90||£55m||£145k|
|Timo Werner||22||RB Leipzig||Germany||83||87||£42m||£62k|
|Inaki Williams||24||Athletic Bilbao||Spain||81||87||£34m||£27k|
Just three players have contracts expiring at the end of the season for Barcelona, and you should only look to extend one of those deals. Due to your lack of striking options, you will want to keep Munir on board, but you can afford to let the aging Thomas Vermaelen go. As for Jorge Cuenca, his potential is not good enough to keep him at the club.
It’s Barcelona, and a lot is expected. It won’t come as a surprise that domestically you will be expected win both La Liga and the Copa del Rey. Things don’t get any easier in Europe, with a Champions League trophy wanted by the board.
Your brand exposure objective is critical, with £176 million wanted in shirt sales, and a further £317 million expected in prize money over the next three seasons. With names like Messi, Suarez and Coutinho at the club, neither of these should be too difficult.
Barcelona’s academy, La Masia, has a great reputation with Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas all coming through the ranks in Catalonia. You must therefore sign four midfielders to your youth academy.
Conquer Madrid in the league and Europe
Barcelona may have a grasp on La Liga at this moment in time, but they have had to watch on as Real Madrid have claimed the Champions League three times in a row. Barcelona were the last team other than Los Blancos to win the European Cup, but that will be four years ago by the time the next final rolls around.
Winning it all in your first year is a tough ask, so perhaps target the domestic competitions first. The beauty of La Liga is that you can rest your star players against anyone in the bottom half of the table, which means your big guns should be fresh for when the other competitions roll around. If not this year, then next season the Champions League must be lifted by Barcelona.
Full Barcelona player ratings
|Marc-Andre ter Stegen||26||GK||Germany||89||92||£51m||£211k|
|Sergi Roberto||26||RB RM||Spain||83||86||£23m||£150k|
|Jeison Murillo||26||CB||Colombia||80||84||On Loan||£33k|
|Thomas Vermaelen||32||CB LB||Belgium||77||77||£4m||£97k|
|Sergio Busquets||29||CDM CM||Spain||89||89||£45m||£277k|
|Arturo Vidal||31||CDM CM||Chile||85||85||£23m||£180k|
|Denis Suarez||24||CM LW RW||Spain||79||84||£15m||£106k|
|Sergi Samper||23||CDM CM||Spain||73||80||£4m||£61k|
|Alena||20||CM RW CAM||Spain||72||85||£5m||£51k|
|Oriol Busquets||19||CDM CM||Spain||67||82||£1m||£12k|
|Lionel Messi||31||CF RW ST||Argentina||94||94||£97m||£497k|
|Philippe Coutinho||26||LW RW CM||Brazil||88||89||£61m||£299k|
|Ousmane Dembele||21||RW LW||France||83||92||£35m||£136k|
|Abel Ruiz||18||ST LW||Spain||67||83||£1m||£18k|
|Guillem Jaime||19||RW RB||Spain||64||80||£1m||£12k|