FIFA 21 came out a few days ago and for a change, EA Sports have made quite a few decent additions and tweaks to the Manager Career Mode that makes the once dull and often overlooked Career Mode much more enjoyable. It’s not great by any means, but you got to start somewhere.

As an F.C Barcelona fan myself, seeing the club absolutely lose it’s identity in the last few years has shattered me. So I took it upon myself to fix the club and make Barcelona a heavyweight in Europe again. You can too, make sure you do the five things mentioned below first.

Sell all the dead-weights

The first thing you should do when you sign the contract for new Barcelona manager is to get rid of all the old and underperforming players in the club. Sure, they’ve been a loyal servant to the club for decades but now it’s their time to go. Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto and Sergio Busquets are the ones you should be putting on the transfer list ASAP! I managed to get some sweet deals for these players so you should sell them while their value is still high in the game.

Sell them while the’yre still in demand and you can get some good money for them.

Renew Messi’s contract

After an eventful summer transfer window when it seemed like Lionel Messi would depart the club, he decided to stay for at least another year. Since he will have a year remaining on his contract at the start of your career mode, make sure you renew his contract ASAP. Make no mistake, Lionel Messi at age 33 is still a beast. You want to keep him in Barcelona for as long as you can. Meet all his demands and try to give him a two year contract. His agent however insisted on a 1 year extension in my career mode so I only got to keep him for an extra year till 2022. People on Reddit have said he plays till 38 too, so keep trying for the contract renewal if his stats are still decent after 35 years of age in your save.

Switch Player Positions

FIFA 21 has brought in a new development plan system where you can finally change player’s positions to suit your playstyle. One of the most important player position changes you should be making is switching Frenkie De Jong from a CM to CDM. It took me about one and a half-months of the season to convert Frenkie to a CDM owing to his good form and regular play time. Make similar changes according to your playstyle and formations. For e.g. converting Messi into a CAM or Ansu Fati into a False 9 CF. It’s personal preference really but make good use of this.

Keep it Realistic

It’s no fun buying players like Kylian Mbappe and Virgil Van Dijk outright and winning trophies with all these star players. The feeling of building your team from the ground-up and leading them to glory is something else. Thus, keep your transfers realistic and go for young players or real life Barca targets. For example instead of signing Virgil Van Dijk, negotiate a deal with Manchester City for Barca target Eric Garcia. Instead of Kylian Mbappe, attempt to buy Barca target Memphis Depay from Lyon. Don’t attempt to buy rival players or players who you know will never sign for Barca in real life. Try to keep it as real as possible and if you want, reward yourself with a “Galacticos” signing once every two seasons. Don’t bring back Neymar, though.

Make use of Youth Scouts

The scouting system remains your best friend for finding new and exciting players to add to your team. The La Masia (although not officially in the game) is the identity of Barcelona and has produced jewels like Messi, Xavi and Iniesta in the past. Your youth academy will already be filled with a few players when you take over the reins of the club, so make good use of those prospects and see whether they could fit in your plans. Send your youth scouts to countries like France, Germany, Brazil, England etc. places where you know there are going to be promising players and AI regens. You can apply the development plans that I previously mentioned on these youth players as well, so that they develop themselves according to the position or traits you ask of them. Keep them in the academy for as long as possible if you can’t promise them regular game time, or promote them and send them off to loan. Although I haven’t tried it yet, I think you can also improve the Skill Move Rating and Weak Foot with the development plans this year. So don’t worry if you scout a player with the potential of 92–94 but a 2* Weak Foot and 3* Skill Move. Sign them up and put the new developmental plan into action and watch them become the next best thing to come out of La Masia.

That covers it all! Your job as the manager of FC Barcelona must be to restore the European Crown and as Messi famously said, bring “The Champions League [will come] back to Camp Nou”. With Messi running out of prime years, it’s your job to make Barcelona the team to fear once again. Visca el Barça!

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Abhik Deb

Abhik Deb

Student journalist specializing in the sphere of sport, entertainment and Japanese culture.