The arrival of FIFA 19 will bring good news to most, whether it be those sitting at home playing the game or the professional footballers seeing their overall ratings rise for the new game. Not all players will be so fortunate, however. Those who have had a tricky past 12 months will see their Ultimate Team ratings decrease, but who is in line for a fall? RealSport predicts the ten most significant falls for FIFA 19.
Gianluigi Buffon (OVR 89 – 86)
Gianluigi Buffon is still a world class goalkeeper, but at the age of 40, he can no longer be in the conversation as the best in the world. The World Cup winner was a fantastic servant for Juventus, playing for the Italian giants for 17 seasons, winning nine Serie A titles.
Now at French champions Paris Saint-Germain, Buffon is not even a guaranteed starter, with young ‘keeper Alphonse Areola (FIFA 18 OVR 79) impressing last season. Seeing Buffon any higher than 86 on FIFA 19 would therefore be a surprise.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (OVR 88 – 85)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has taken to the MLS like a duck to water, netting 16 times in 20 games for LA Galaxy. Soon to be 37, this could be Ibrahimovic’s last season in professional football, but having won trophies in every country he has played in, he will not rest until he's conquered the States.
Despite his superb start to life across the pond, the league is less demanding, and he has come back from a nasty knee injury that cut his time at Manchester United short. An 85 overall would still make him comfortably the best player in the MLS, but open the window for someone to overtake him this year.
Pepe (OVR 86 – 83)
Pepe doesn’t have a great amount of fans around the globe, giving his rash and sometimes violent nature, but you cannot deny the Portuguese’s quality given what he's won in his career. That said, he is not of the same quality since leaving Real Madrid, where he lost his place in the side to Raphael Varane (FIFA 18 OVR 85).
With a season for Besiktas under his belt, Pepe is no longer playing against top quality opposition and his overall should come down to 83 as he steps out of the world class bracket.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (OVR 86 – 83)
It’s a similar tale for new Arsenal signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The Greek centre back was a regular fixture at the back for Borussia Dortmund over five seasons, winning a German Cup and two Super Cups, but last season his quality dropped dramatically. The Dortmund defence shipped 47 goals in a topsy-turvy campaign, conceding less than Augsburg in 12th place and just one more than 16th placed Wolfsburg.
That iffy season coupled with a tricky start at the Emirates for Sokratis should see his 86 overall drop to 83 for FIFA 19. With Laurent Koscielny (FIFA 18 OVR 84) waiting to come back from injury, Sokratis could find himself out of the starting lineup if he's not careful.
Petr Cech (OVR 86 – 83)
Sticking with Arsenal, Petr Cech has been sliding for close to a season now. The Premier League legend is now 36 and is under pressure from new Gunners signing Bernd Leno (FIFA 18 OVR 85). Goalkeeper Cech has also had a difficult start to the season, and he looks on course to lose his place in the side.
His 86 overall looks too high now, and it should drop to a more reasonable 83. Can the Premier League’s record clean sheet holder prove us wrong and show class is permanent in the coming months?
David Luiz (OVR 86 – 83)
On to Cech’s former Chelsea teammate David Luiz, it was a very difficult season for the Brazilian last season. Questioning his manager’s tactics coupled with injury woes meant Luiz was limited to just ten Premier League appearances, a third less than the previous title-winning season.
That lack of game time should see Luiz’s level drop, but he has regained his place under new manager Maurizio Sarri. How he starts the new campaign will dictate how far his rating will fall from 86.
Andrea Barzagli (OVR 85 – 82)
Andrea Barzagli has been a highly undervalued centre back for some time now, with the Italian winning seven Serie A titles with Juventus. Leonardo Bonucci’s (FIFA 18 OVR 88) return to Turin will spell bad news for Barzagli, who will find his time limited aged 37.
With other centre backs Medhi Benatia (FIFA 18 OVR 85) and Daniele Rugani (FIFA 18 OVR 80) at the club, you can’t see Barzagli making many appearances this season, so his overall must drop to at least 82.
Gary Cahill (OVR 84 – 81)
Back to Chelsea and Gary Cahill looks to be another man who will struggle to make the bench let alone starting line-up, despite being club captain. Cahill is behind Luiz, Antonio Rudiger (FIFA 18 OVR 82) and Andreas Christensen (FIFA 18 OVR 82) in the pecking order, meaning he has been linked with a move away from the club.
Cahill’s overall looks destined to drop to around 81, marking the end of a very successful chapter of his career, winning two Premier Leagues, an FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League and a fourth-placed finish at the World Cup.
Ashley Williams (OVR 82 – 77)
Staying with centre backs, Ashley Williams’ fall has been so bad he has even dropped down a division. The Everton defender has gone on loan to the relegated Stoke in the EFL Championship, with the Potters losing two of their first four matches.
The Wales international is running out of time to salvage his career as his days of the Premier League look behind him aged 34. His 82 FIFA 18 overall will drop to around 77, and if he doesn’t rectify his form, it could decline even further.
Joe Hart (OVR 82 – 79)
Joe Hart has struggled ever since being sent out on loan from Manchester City, and a hit-and-miss spell at Torino was backed up by a woeful season with West Ham. The England international was dropped and recalled numerous times as the Hammers struggled to find a number one, but an injury crisis at Burnley has saved his Premier League career.
As things stand, Hart’s rating will drop to 79, but he has played in all of Burnley’s Premier League games this season, but whether he can shake off the competition of Tom Heaton (FIFA 18 OVR 80) and Nick Pope (FIFA 18 OVR 75) when they return to fitness remains to be seen.