Less than a week away from FIFA ‘14 hitting shelves, we fans are starting to gear up for the long-awaited moment of when we finally get our hands on the game. Apologies must be given out in advance to friends and family who will seemingly lose all contact with us for the first few weeks as we get into and start up our Career Modes and Ultimate Teams.
Food and drinks must also be bought in advance so that you don’t starve when you eventually lose track of time and play for a few more hours than you had wanted to at first.
The EA Sports series has become perhaps the most polarizing sports game on the planet, with FIFA ‘13 becoming the biggest sports videogame launch of all-time according to EA. As of May of this year, the game had sold 14.5 million copies, sale totals that stand alone in the gaming world, only rivaled by the powerhouse war videogame series of Call of Duty.
With all that popularity comes a lot of responsibility on EA’s part to get things right, and one thing fans love to argue with them about are the game’s player ratings. With FIFA ‘14 releasing the player overalls a month early, here are 10 ratings that might just create a stir with soccer fans who follow the beautiful game worldwide.
-Nemanja Vidic: Manchester United CB, 87 – Overall My Proper Rating: 85
The 31-year-old Serbian center back had an injury plagued season for the Red Devils last year, appearing in just 28 games. Sure he has been a consistent and strong defender in the Premier League for a long while, but EA’s rating of 87 makes him tied with PSG’s Thiago Silva for best center back in the world. Rating Vidic higher then Vincent Kompany and Sergio Ramos is sure to not go over well with knowledgeable fans.
-Xavi: Barcelona CM, 89 – Overall My Proper Rating: 87
The Spanish playmaker has shown he is on a slow and steady decline, with last season definitely being weaker than normal. He is still a master passer, but an overall of 89 is high for a 34-year-old who has started to slide in other areas of his game. With players like Gareth Bale and Mesut Ozil, stars in their prime, being ranked less then Xavi, you have to guess that Fifa might be rating the Spaniard on his past exploits and not the present.
-David Silva: Manchester City CM, 88 Overall My Proper Rating: 86
The FIFA series has long made Spanish players the pinnacle of high ratings, so overrating a player on their national team is nothing new. Silva being ranked 88, tied for ninth best in the world, seems to be pretty much based off of his incredible first two seasons in the EPL. Last year’s four goal output, where he was at long lengths of the season ineffective, should have made Fifa rethink their high rating of him. Having Silva ranked higher than Bale, Ozil, or even fellow compatriot Juan Mata is a big no-no.
-Nani: Manchester United RW, 83 Overall My Proper Rating: 79
This is a perfect example of where one would be in their rights to guess that FIFA might just recycle rankings from year to year in some cases. Nani, who has played in one game this season and just seven all of last year, is ranked rather highly at 83, a ranking that is almost the same as when he tore up the league three years ago with his wing play, a season where he was rated 85.
-Samir Nasri and Luka Modric: Manchester City and Real Madrid, 84 and 85 Overall
My Proper Rating: 79 and 83
These two players are paired together because they both fall into the category of leaving clubs where they played well at to sitting the bench at a new club. Ranking these two players the same as or even close to Eden Hazard, Santi Cazorla, Mario Gotze, or Marco Reus should never happen. Past achievements are once again the reason for these two high ratings.
-Arsenal: The entire team aside from Mesut Ozil
Yes, aside from the 87 overall rating of Ozil (about right), FIFA 14 really brutalizes Arsenal in their new ratings. Santi Cazorla is the one player to join Ozil in the top 50 and even he is rated low at an 85 overall. Perhaps most upsetting is the exclusion of Theo Walcott from the top 200, with the speedy winger having the same average rating as last year with an 81, the same rating as struggling players like Michael Essien, Raul Meireles, and Andres Guardado.
The England midfielder’s breakout year of 8 goals and 14 assists in the EPL should have seen his ratings soar. Olivier Giroud’s horribly low rating of 80 and Aaron Ramsey’s 79 highlight the injustice shown to the Gunners, as well as an average of 78 overall on defense.
-Chelsea: Most players on the team, especially the legend that is Frank Lampard.
In what world would the record-breaking season of Frank Lampard’s be on par with the two goal season of Michael Essien, nine appearances of Giuseppe Rossi, or for that matter anyone else’s season last year who is ranked 81 overall?
It is easy to see that EA is declining the 34 year olds ratings due to age but shouldn’t that also account for Xavi as well, who is the same age? Ratings such as Hazard’s 85 (who scored 13 goals in 2013 yet has dropped 2 overalls), David Luiz’s 82, Ramires’s 80, and Victor Moses’s 75 are all other ratings that make you scratch your head when you look at Chelsea’s team.
-Superstars Gareth Bale and Neymar: Real Madrid and Barcelona, 87 and 84 Overall
My Proper Ratings: 89 and 87 Overall
EA Sports, usually great at throwing big ratings at star players, missed two blatant stars in this year’s game. Bale, who just received the highest transfer fee in history (86 million Euros), is bizarrely ranked 17th in the world. After a
season that saw the Welshman score 26 times for Tottenham, being ranked so low (three overalls less than Falcao and Franck Ribery) is a bit of a surprise. While Bale is at least one of the better players in the game, Brazilian superstar Neymar isn’t even in the top 50.
After an outstanding season where the flamboyant attacker scored 41 times in all competitions for club and country, FIFA 14 decided to reduce his overall by one. The Barcelona player, considered by many to be one of the best in the world, is perhaps the most underrated player in the EA Sports franchises history at this point.
-Liverpool Trio (Gerrard, Sturridge, and Suarez), 83, 80, 86 My Proper Ratings: 85, 84, 88
Steven Gerrard, like Lampard, is another horribly underrated English legend whose overall is a head scratcher when compared to aging Spanish players like Xavi and Andres Ineista. The Liverpool captain should still be given the respect he deserves with a rating at least two overalls higher.
A 69 overall sprint speed rating for someone who runs around the pitch like Gerrard is crazy, really FIFA? Daniel Sturridge’s overall is at least reasonable considering he is just now becoming a star in the EPL, but EA should get on that and raise his rating at least by four or five, considering the striker has scored 15 goals in 17 games for Liverpool. Suarez perhaps is Liverpool’s most underrated player.
The striker, who scored 30 times in all competitions for the Anfield club, somehow finds himself rated two overalls lower than Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who scored 17 times last year. Suarez should have been bumped up a good amount in the ratings this year.
-Germans: Yes, almost the entire nationality is underrated.
Deutschland fans beware; FIFA 14 apparently doesn’t think many of your players are élite. The Germans seem to be undervalued, with perhaps nationalities such as Spain and Argentina being unfairly valued a bit more. For starters, Champions League winner Manuel Neuer is hands down the top keeper in the world and should be a lot higher than the 86 overall he is given, an overall that ties him with Spain’s Iker Casillas and somehow Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon.
After that, you have to slide down to the bottom of the top 50 to find Thomas Muller, Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, and Mats Hummels all sitting at 85 overall. An 85 overall rating makes those players the same as Pedro, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and Luka Modric; players which are definitely a step below the young and talented Germans.
Hummels being ranked so far below Vidic and as the 6th best center back in the world is perhaps the biggest question mark of the group, with Muller’s average rating a close second.
Those ten cases aren’t the only ones that FIFA 14 can be questioned on. Here are just a few quick notes on other injustices. Feel free to comment if you disagree on any or want to add some more.
-Christian Benteke: Aston Villa ST, 79 Overall My Proper Rating: 85
The big Belgian, often compared to Didier Drogba, knocked in 23 goals for Villa last season and is off to a fast start this year. A 79 really makes it look like EA isn’t taking note of players outside the top clubs.
-Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid RW, 92 Overall My Proper Rating: 94
This might seem like nitpicking but shouldn’t Ronaldo be ranked a little higher? Messi and he are head and heals above any other player in the world, so being ranked just two overalls higher than Ribery and Falcao doesn’t seem right. Making two of the sports all time greats, perhaps the very best, in the high 90’s wouldn’t be a bad idea to reflect the gap in class they have made over the years from the rest of the players.
-Pepe: Real Madrid CB, 83 Overall My Proper Rating: 85
The physical defender was wanted by Manchester City this summer and is one of the most feared players in the world. Ranking him outside the top 10 best center backs in the world is a mistake, especially if one of those players is Rio Ferdinand (which he is).
-Marek Hamsik: Napoli CAM, 84 Overall My Proper Rating: 86
What does a career year in one of Europe’s top leagues get you in FIFA 14? Obviously a demotion of one point from your overall rating. Hamsik, one of the top prospects in the world, has been in scintillating form this year and FIFA’s decision to make him worse in the game will be sure to create a reaction from Serie A fans.
-Stephen El Shaarawy: AC Milan LW, 81 My Proper Rating: 85
El Shaarawy has thrown his name into the hat of a potential top player in the world. He has everything; pace, flair, and a good scoring touch. His exclusion from the top 250 players in the game is mind-boggling.
-Top 20 Free Kick Overalls:
The list of the top 20 free kick taker of FIFA 14 has come out and is obviously something EA has researched, as many of the names are probably unfamiliar to a lot of people. They are free kick specialists from smaller leagues who score more from dead ball situations then they do from the field.
However good these players are though, the names of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are blaringly missing from the list. Is there any other player (aside from Ronaldinho) who you would rather have taken a kick for your team?
The names of Andrea Pirlo, Didier Drogba, Xavi, and of course ‘Dinho’ do make the list though so at least EA didn’t get that wrong.