With a strike force of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Barcelona will be among the most popular of sides in FIFA 17’s Career Mode, and rightly so. Luis Enrique has continued the success that was started by Pep Guardiola back in 2008, winning two La Liga and a Champions League title. But with a disappointing performance in Europe last season, a change could be in order. With you at the helm, can they ward off the threat of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the league, and hurt the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester City in Europe? With a substantial transfer and wage budget, the world is pretty much your oyster at the Camp Nou.
How you should line up
The Barca line-up pretty much picks itself, but with a lot of kind league fixtures, be sure to give your younger players plenty of opportunities. Marc-Andre ter Stegen is in between the sticks instead of Jasper Cillessen, who is a more than capable back-up. Sergi Roberto is the only weak link in the side at right-back but he does have an 85 potential. The reliable Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano create a formidable centre-half partnership, the attacking Jordi Alba making up the rest of the back four.
The midfield trio of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta is well-balanced, with the option of bringing on the likes of Arda Turan and Andre Gomes. Up top, you needn’t look anywhere further than Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
A reliable bench of Jasper Cillessen, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes, Arda Turan, Denis Suarez and Paco Alcacer should be able to come to your rescue, should you find yourself in need of reinforcements.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £78 million
Starting wage budget: £534,000
Who should go
With Barca, it’s more about trimming the fat than making wholesale changes in the squad. You need to recognise which players are not good enough to make the grade at the Spanish champions and replace them with players who can one day come into the starting lineup.
It was a strange buy when Barcelona brought in Aleix Vidal from Sevilla back in 2015, and the right back or right midfielder has been limited to just 16 appearances since. The 26-year-old has a rating of 77 and a potential of 78 which isn’t good enough to play for Barcelona and should be sold for around £10 million.
Jeremy Mathieu is in a bit of a grey area, and with the signing of Samuel Umtiti in the summer, games will be hard to come by for the Frenchman. At the age of 32, he doesn’t have a long-term future at the club and could be sold now to receive a higher transfer fee. If you do wish to sell the centre or left back, you should receive £8 million for him.
Then come the real fringe players, Jordi Masip, Wilfrid Kaptoum, Gerard, Rafa Mujica, Alex Carbonell and Marc Cardona are just shy of making the Barcelona standard, and should all be sold for a combined sum of about £5 million.
What the team needs
After all those sales, you have received around £22 million, taking your transfer budget up to £100 million. A pre-season tournament victory could take you beyond £110 million, giving you pretty much free range to sign a player or two in the summer transfer window.
A top class right back is in urgent need, and you have two real choices. Paris Saint-Germain’s Serge Aurier or Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm. Aurier is all about potential, with a starting rating of 83, and a potential of 88. He offers 93 jumping, 87 stamina and 85 sprint speed. With three years remaining on his contract, the 23-year-old Ivorian can be bought for around £35 million. His starting wages of £65,000 make him quite a coup. If you are after instant success, Phillip Lahm could be your man, especially given Sergi Roberto’s potential, if you want an instant impact, with an overall rating of 88. Lahm can play right back and defensive or central midfielder, and with stats of 95 sliding tackles, 94 composure and 83 balance, he would be an experienced head to bring into the team. What could dissuade you would be his lack of pace, with 68 acceleration and 67 sprint speed, but his price of £25 million makes it worth it. As you would expect, the 32-year-old has maxed out his potential, with relatively high wages of £101,000 a week.
– Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea, Age 26, OVR 84, POT 84, Cost: £32 million, Wage: £86,000.
– Stephan Lichtsteiner – Juventus, Age, OVR 83, POT 83, Cost: £8 million, Wage: £65,000.
Other than that, the starting eleven is pretty much faultless, with reliable replacements. So you should perhaps look to the future. A young winger could be in order to come on for Neymar or Messi, so make sure they have plenty of potential so that they can be part of a smooth transition into the starting lineup. Manchester United winger Anthony Martial has had a tricky start to the season at Old Trafford, but there is no doubting his potential. The left midfielder or striker has a starting overall of 82 but has a sky-high potential of 90. The 20-year-old has 92-rated acceleration, 91 sprint speed and 89 dribbling. The Frenchman can be yours for around the £50 million mark, but with starting wages of £50,000 per week, he is an affordable long-term investment for a side like Barcelona.
– Gerard Deulofeu – Everton, Age 22 OVR 81, POT 88, Cost: £35 million, Wage: £36,000.
– Raheem Sterling – Manchester City, Age 21, OVR 82, POT 88, Cost: £45 million, Wage: £58,000.
– Memphis Depay – Manchester United, Age 22, OVR 80, POT 87, Cost: £32 million, Wage: £43,000.
– Domenico Berardi – Sassuolo, Age 21, OVR 82, POT 86, Cost: £32 million, Wage: £29,000.
– Inaki Williams – Athletic Bilbao, Age 22, OVR 80, POT 86, Cost: £38 million, Wage: £43,000.
– Samu Castillejo – Villarreal, Age 21, OVR 80, POT 87, Cost: £33 million, Wage: £36,000.
There are only a few players who fall into the gap of being good enough to stay at the club, but not of the standard to be in first team contention. 18-year-old central midfielder Alena has a starting rating of 64, but a potential of 79 so he is just about good enough to be in your plans. The same can be said of 20-year-old right or left back Sergi Palencia, who has a potential of 78, and 22-year-old right back or right midfielder Nili Perdomo, also with a 78 potential. These three should be loaned out for a couple of seasons to see if they can reach a more competitive level.
Perdomo and Alena both have contracts running out at the end of the season, but you may wish to see how they cope on loan before renewing their deals. It’s a similar situation with 20-year-old goalkeeper Jose Suarez, who will most likely be your third choice emergency keeper. It’s totally up to you whether to give him a new deal or look to signing a teenage goalkeeper with barrels of potential.
As you can imagine, domestic and continental success is paramount for Barcelona, and you will be expected to lift both the La Liga and Copa de Espana trophies in your first season and win the ‘Champions Cup’ within two seasons. Brand exposure is just as key, and you will be expected to sell a certain number of shirts throughout the season. This can be achieved by bringing in big name signings, strong performances on the pitch and lifting trophies. Youth development is important for Barcelona, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas coming through the academy. For your youth development objectives, you will need to sign young players, as well as bring though some talent from the youth squad, and give them plenty of game time. Despite recent transfer troubles, you will have no financial limitations as the Barca boss.
Time to take over again…
Under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona were perhaps the best side the world has ever seen. The defence was solid, the midfielder ran the show, and Lionel Messi repeatedly found the net. With Messi now sharing the goals with Luis Suarez and Neymar, Barca can reach the top of European football again, as very few teams will be able to shut out that strike force. Especially after spending the best part of £80 million or more, Barca will be virtually unstoppable and winning all three trophies is a realistic possibility. Long term success is perhaps more important, with Javier Mascherano and Andres Iniesta on the wrong side of 30, and six of the starting players already maxing out their potential. Getting those young players through the youth squad and into the youth team will be vital, so make sure you address it early on in the season, to give them plenty of time to grow.
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