Here are 13 players the virtual FIFA world didn’t see coming, and will surely get a major stat boost in FIFA 17.
On October 25, 2015, Donnarumma became the youngest goalkeeper ever to play in Serie A, helping AC Milan to a 2–1 win over Sassuolo at just 16 years old. Since then, he’s established himself as Milan’s first-choice keeper, drawing praise from his team-mates, coaches and even legendary Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff for his consistent performances.
Like many young ‘keepers, he’s an excellent shot-stopper, but Donnarumma is a commanding presence around his box, standing 1.90m tall and organising his defence with composure far beyond his years.
Dier has impressed since his move to Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, and surely after this season he’s worthy of a higher rating than 74 overall. Not only has he been a solid presence in a Spurs side that has impressed, with the team in contention for a first league title in more than 50 years, he’s also shown that he’s an extremely versatile footballer, featuring in central midfield as well as all across the back four. He’s even forced his way into the England squad, scoring the winner against Germany just weeks ago.
Along with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele, Dier is one of many Spurs players who deserve a stats upgrade next season.
Bellerín has been a bit of a revelation this season for Arsenal in the Premier League – although we knew he was lightning-fast and he clearly had potential, few expected him to settle into the first team so quickly. Indeed, the fact that Arsenal kept hold of experienced French international Mathieu Debuchy speaks volumes as to what they had expected of Bellerín. Even his pace is underrated in FIFA 16, and his passing and physical stats are lower than they ought to be as well. Expect Bellerín to be one of the leading young full-back talents in next year’s game.
Kimmich was a personal request on behalf of Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, apparently, and the young midfielder has started to show his class for the Bundesliga champions. Guardiola has a talent for spotting midfield talent after all, and Kimmich’s calmness on the ball and pinpoint distribution is reminiscent of Barca legend Xavi Hernandez. First-XI opportunities are not easy to come by at Bayern, but Kimmich has looked the part when he’s been on the pitch – showing quality far beyond his 70 overall rating, with his passing especially due an increase.
There’s been a silver lining to Chelsea’s disappointing season in the Premier League, and it comes in the shape of Ruben Loftus-Cheek. With the club’s star players failing to deliver week after week, former manager Jose Mourinho and present (temporary) manager Guus Hiddink turned to academy prospect Loftus-Cheek for some inspiration, and he’s delivered some powerful performances in midfield for The Blues, even scoring a couple of goals in the process.
He’s an imposing presence in the middle of the pitch; big and strong but with deceptively good touch. Only a few stars have shined more brightly in the Premier League this season, and his 63 overall rating is due a considerable boost.
When Alli joined Spurs from MK Dons, a team in England’s second tier, he was viewed as a good bit of business – a relatively affordable transfer fee for a player who could become useful in the future. However, if anyone saw Alli establishing himself as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the country, and a dead cert for an England Euro 2016 squad place, they certainly didn’t shout about it.
Alli’s game is hugely reminiscent of the young Steven Gerrard at Liverpool – he’s strong in the tackle, and seems to be everywhere on the pitch at once, all while spraying passes between his team-mates and popping up to score crucial goals. His 67 overall rating in FIFA 16 is just flat-out wrong, and he’s due a massive upgrade in FIFA 17.
The young German was a hot prospect last year, when 1860 Munich made him the youngest captain in the club’s history. After a few off-field misdemeanours, Weigl found his way to Borussia Dortmund and has been a mainstay of the first team, competing with quality midfielders like İlkay Gündoğan, Nuri Şahin and Sven Bender for a starting spot at one of Europe’s best clubs. Weigl controls play in midfield, showing football intelligence and ability far beyond his 20 years, and his 67 overall rating will get a huge boost in FIFA 17, as will his 79 potential.
Schalke 04 is a hotbed of German talent, and in Leroy Sané they undoubtedly have a player on the cusp of stardom. After breaking into the first team last season, Sané has been at his explosive best in 2015/16, terrorising defences and smashing in goals with his magical left foot. Want proof of his prodigious talent? Check out his Champions League debut against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, where Sané put Los Merengues to the sword, scoring one and setting up another in a 4–3 Schalke victory. In light of that performance alone, his passing, shooting and dribbling will be vastly improved in FIFA 17.
This piece could include at least half of Leicester City’s squad, such has been the meteoric rise of a team who’ve never won the English league title in any era and who were staring at relegation at the end of the 2014–15 season. The likes of Jamie Vardy, Danny Drinkwater, Christian Fuchs, N’Golo Kante and Kaspar Schmeichel are all worthy of a stat increase next season. But undoubtedly, Mahrez has been the star of the Premier League this season, scoring crucial goals in key games for the Foxes, and giving defenders nightmares with his silky dribbling. EA got his pace and dribbling close, but his passing and shooting will get a hefty bump in FIFA 17. Want proof? His original overall rating was 73. His latest in-form Ultimate Team card? 82 overall.
Fiorentina are a storied football club, desperate for a return to the glory days of Roberto Baggio and Gabriel Batistuta, and Federico Bernardeschi might be the man to bring trophies back to Florence. After some injury struggles, Bernardeschi’s game has come on hugely this season for La Viola, and whilst he’s developed his attacking instinct and positioning, he’s still capable of moments of sheer brilliance from range and free kicks. Although his overall may only see a slight increase, we’re fully expecting to see his potential skyrocket into the 80s.
Perhaps the standout surprise of the Premier League season, Marcus Rashford is this year’s good-news story for Manchester United, who’ve endured another season to forget under Louis Van Gaal. Rashford was a late addition to United’s squad against FC Midtjylland, and only ended up playing because of an injury to Anthony Martial, but he grabbed the opportunity, scoring twice in a 5–1 win. He followed that up with two goals against Arsenal just three days later, and then scored the only goal of the game to sink Manchester City in the local derby. Not bad for an 18-year-old who doesn’t even have a FIFA player card.
Kingsley Coman is only 19 years old, but he already boasts a football CV that includes Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich, and it was at the latter where he’s discovered the prodigious talent that attracted those clubs in the first place. Injuries to star forwards Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry opened the door for Coman, and he’s been very impressive since, cementing his place in Pep Guardiola’s first team plans and earning himself a call-up to the France national squad. Although FIFA has him pegged as a future star in terms of potential, his 69 overall rating doesn’t justify his quality this season.
Iwobi had only played a few games as a substitute for Arsenal before he was given his first start – and starts don’t get bigger than a Champions League debut against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, where Iwobi was a bright spark in a 3–1 loss. Since then, he’s established himself as an important part of Arsenal’s attacking options, building a great understanding with Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, and scoring twice in two games since.
It’s another case of a talented youngster making a huge leap before anyone saw it coming, and that 55 overall rating looks pretty silly in hindsight.