El Emperador; The Man Of A 1000 Goals

As with most great relationships between player and manager, my partnership with El Emperador Maissel Sabgh resulted from pure coincidence. As I started my career with Junior Popular de Barranquilla FC, or just Junior FC for short, we lacked a proper strike force. As it happens, a young forward has just been released by his club. He looked decent enough, and he was a product of Juniors youth academy, so he was quickly snapped up and re-joined his boyhood club. It was the start of a journey that lasted two decades in-game, an epic adventure that frustrated many a defender and goalkeeper and brought much joy and jubilation to the Junior faithful in the pixelated stands.

Defensive Football; Applying The Principles

The following article regarding the application of defensive principles has the potential to become cluttered because a number of different ideas fit together pretty nicely in theory, but I am not quite sure if they translate well. In my head, everything makes a lot of sense, but if my mental gymnastics turn out to be incomprehensible, I would appreciate it if you would ask for clarification. Enjoy!

Defensive Football; The Principles

I am not someone who is willing to walk blindly into the unknown. I make an effort to read up on the possibilities as well as the potential problems, I make every attempt to plan, and I strive to figure out a strategy for the long term in ahead of time. How then do I go about playing this game? Which fundamental princples will be the core of my setup, which is so unlike traditional strikerless?

Defensive Football; the intro

Attacking complete football is rooted in Dutch culture and national spirit, according to the British author David Winner, who wrote the book ‘Brilliant Orange’ several years ago. By analogy, defensive football is not a part of the Dutch national identity.

The statement contains a grain of truth; the Dutch despise the often business-like hardness with which teams from Southern Europe, as well as Germany, are able to win a game. Shutting up shop at the back (or at times, even parking the bus), playing to keep a clean sheet first and foremost, and delivering an unexpected knockout to the opponent with a few rapid counterattacks; this is something that happens quite often to Dutch teams rather than adopting a similar plan themselves.

It goes without saying that Football Manager is no exception to the rule in this sense. Generally speaking, a Dutch manager will opt for a somewhat offensive style of play in the vast majority of circumstances. As a result, scoring goals is more important than preventing goals from being scored against you.

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International Football; A Bit Of A Rant

Winning international silverware is regarded as a great achievement. In fact, some would argue that it is the apex of one’s professional accomplishments. It is possible to elevate one’s career to legendary status by leading a team to a World Cup, European Championship, or Copa América victory. Just ask people like Maradona, Van Basten, or Zidane, all of whom were outstanding players who will be remembered for their international achievements for the rest of their lives.

So, why is it that the international management aspect of Football Manager appears to be so dysfunctional, as it appears to be? It should be the pinnacle of a manager’s career to win a World Cup or any other international trophy. But in FM, managing a national team is a tedious chore instead of an exciting challenge. It’s often not enjoyable because the game’s approach to international football has some obvious flaws and shortcomings, which make it difficult to enjoy this particular avenue of management fully.

Given this, I may appear to you like a bit of a grouch, a grumpy old man who moans and complains about everything that is wrong with the world these days. While I may no longer be able to identify myself to be a young man, I have had quite a wealth of experience with the international game during my time with FM21.

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Replacing The Irreplaceable; Zlatan 2.0

If you have been following me on Twitter somewhat, you will have noticed my ongoing digital love-affair with Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the course of my FM21 save with AC Milan. Ever since returning to Milan from his MLS exploits, the Swedish frontman has rolled back the years, playing like a man 15 years younger.

I always knew that Zlatan wouldn’t last forever and that the time of his impending retirement drew nearer every time I hit continue. Like any manager worth his salt, I saw what needed to be done. Who could replace Zlatan?