Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have controlled the football world for such past few years, but neither makes EA Sports’ FIFA game franchise’s best XI.
Messi and Ronaldo have reached their peak at 94, which we’re afraid don’t cut it for our Ultimate Team.
We’ve stared at the best XI from each game’s previous editions.
1. GK: Gianluigi Buffon, 97 – FIFA 05
Wasn’t it always going to be him? The only issue was when Buffon cut his hair.
Buffon had just returned from a season in which Juventus finished third in Serie A, with six teams capitulating fewer goals than the Old Lady.
And the goalkeeper had also experienced disappointment at Euro 2004 when Italy was eliminated in the group stage despite being unbeaten.
On the other hand, Buffon was named to the UEFA Team of the Year and won the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper award, despite losing the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year award to Dida.
2. RB: Lilian Thuram, 92 – FIFA 05
Another Juventus player coming off the back of a disappointing season, Thuram was a defensive don on a host of football games in the mid-2000s.
In the summer of 2004, Fabio Capello was appointed Juve manager, and Thuram was mainly used as a center-back, but he was named as a right-back in the 2005 edition of FIFA.
3. CB: Alessandro Nesta, 94 – FIFA 05
Sticking with Serie A, and once more with the 2005 edition of the game, Nesta was deemed to be at his peak after helping Milan win Serie A, conceding a miserly 24 goals in 34 games in the process.
But his teammate Andriy Shevchenko graced the cover alongside Patrick Vieira and Raul.
4. CB: Fernando Hierro, 94 – FIFA 02
The only former Bolton player on this list, Hierro was approaching the end of his Real Madrid career when he was given such a high rating by EA Sports, although he had just won a fourth La Liga title and would go on to end the 2001-02 campaign with a third Champions League.
We still can’t get our heads around that he scored 26 goals in all competitions in 1991-92.
5. LB: Roberto Carlos, 94 – FIFA 05
A god of FIFA games, thanks to that jackhammer of a left foot, Roberto Carlos appeared on the cover of the 2003 edition but was deemed at his best two years later.
6. RM: Luis Figo, 97 – FIFA 02
Slotting into this side on the right-hand side of midfield, Figo was at his pig’s head height of fame and infamy, having just won his first title with Real Madrid following his controversial move from Barcelona.
We can’t help but think it was a mistake not to have him on the cover, although that may have seriously affected sales in Catalonia.
7. CM: Matteo Brighi, 97 – FIFA 03
A genuine curveball, Brighi was the highest-rated player on FIFA 2003, beating cover stars Thierry Henry, Roberto Carlos, and Ryan Giggs.
He had spent the 2001-02 season on loan at Bologna, being named the Serie A Young Footballer of the Year award as a 21-year-old. Sure, he was good, but nobody can figure out why he was so highly rated in the game.
8. CM: Zinedine Zidane, 96 – FIFA 05
Another member of the Galacticos who was going to be on the side somewhere, Zidane had just been named in the Euro 2004 Team of the Tournament, but it’s strange to think he had already won the last trophies of his career by this point.
9. LM: Ronaldinho, 95 – FIFA 06
Technically a CAM on the game, Ronaldinho gets the nod on the left flank as that is often where he played for Barcelona. His rating of 95 beats both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s peaks of 94.
The Brazilian may have only been the best player in the world for a relatively short time, but he was untouchable during that period.
10. ST: Thierry Henry, 97 – FIFA 05
The only player in this XI to be plying their trade in the Premier League at the time of their FIFA peak, Henry was in the midst of five-consecutive seasons of scoring 30+ goals in all competitions and was extremely Va Va Voom.