Words by Neil Boardman

We seemed to go on one of those nostalgia trips the other day. Reminiscing about the days where our lives seemed to revolve around how many coins the latest ‘Brasilver’ god was going for on the market. Getting back from, what we thought was, a hard day at school and jumping on the Xbox, our biggest decision of the day tended to be whether it was going to be COD or FIFA tonight.

I guess there is little point in lying, for the most part, I was a Call Of Duty man. My K/D ratio meant far more to me than anything else in the world, looking back I was pretty sad. The reason I tended to be more of a COD player is because FIFA bothered me, it got me angry – I think it’s had us all fuming at points. I could whack one of the Modern Warfare games in and as much as the flawed spawn system made me want to cry, it would not have riled me in the same manner that a last minute equaliser on head2head seasons did.

However, there was times on FUT where i felt no angst whatsoever. The game was beautiful. I may have just conceded a ‘sweaty goal’ but I didn’t care, I was well aware that I could go straight back up the pitch and nick one back – literally, the exact same goal. Times like these were created by an elite club of players. As much as I would read the nerds on the FUThead forums calling their stats ‘overpowered’, I didn’t care.

There is a small selection of players that, because of their reputations on FIFA Ultimate Team, have played a big part in some of our lives. Here, we will look back at a few of these players:

Alexander Esswein

In Ultimate team, particularly in the earlier versions, chemistry was of the upmost importance. Building a team round a nation or a league was key to stringing any sort of performances together. For many, a Bundesliga team was reliable. Not only that, but building a squad of pretty average Bundesliga players was cheap. If you were to come up against a Bundesliga squad in FIFA’s questionable matchmaking system, chances are it was led, up top, by this lad.

Alexander Esswein was ridiculous. He had it all. He was pacey. He could shoot. He was cheap. He was German, played in the Bundesliga and was probably very sound. When Esswein broke through, against you, it was clearly time to stop playing – put the controller down for a second whilst you reanalyse what to do, Alexander has banged his fourth in.

Now, on the books at Hertha BSC, but on loan at Stuttgart, Esswein has unfortunately never quite been the player he was in FIFA 13. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he will always have a special place in the hearts of many, for years to come.

Felipe Santana

Felipe Santana. There isn’t actually an awful lot to say about this bloke. He is 6 foot 4. And in FIFA 13 he had an 81 pace stat and an 84 heading stat. And he was a centre back. Whether you like it or not, that is unreal.

The Brazilian, at the age of 33, is now a free agent. However, there is no doubt that the man, due to his time spent at Borussia Dortmund in a video game, will be remembered as an unbreakable force of nature.

Luis Muriel

Moving away from the Bundelsiga, for a moment, we remember just how bloody good Luis Muriel was in FIFA 13. As we all know a pacey striker was the key to any kind of success on FIFA, back in the day; and there weren’t many doing it better than Muriel.

At this stage of his career, he was applying his trade at Udinese, which made him the perfect candidate for a goal scoring machine at the top of a Serie A side. Often stating Ronaldo as an influence on his style, if his playing career was solely based off his FIFA 13 stats, it wouldn’t be hard to see why. Unfortunately, it is not. However, Muriel is by no means a bad player and with 22 caps and counting for his national side, Columbia, maybe having a good card on Ultimate Team isn’t entirely useless.

Aiden McGeady

AIDEN, AIDEN MCGEADY, GOES DOWN THE WING FOR ME (SINGS HEARTBEAT TUNE, REPETITIVELY).

In FIFA Ultimate Team, the Irish ace used to go down the wing for all of us. As part of a freshly built Russian League team, Aiden was a man you could count on to come up with something out of absolutely nowhere. His five star skill set was the thing that so many players could only ever dream of being gifted. And that is ignoring the fact that the game also featured McGeady’s aptly named signature – the McGeady spin.

McGeady has a bit more of that ‘household name’ feel surrounding him than many other of the Ultimate Team greats. Maybe that is why the developers at EA clearly took a disliking to him and attacked McGeady in later editions by removing his ability to pull off his own skill move. I will never forgive EA for that, never. And if they want my money in the future they better give this lad his ability back, that allows him to take the piss from League One.

Some little belters here, isn’t there? And as we were talking about this, a lot more were springing to mind – thought we might as well make a little series about it. Check out part two in the next couple of weeks!

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