Now is the time for FIFA 14 players to start planning their Ultimate Team selections.
EA Sports’ game is set for release on Sept. 23 in North America and Sept. 27 in Europe, but the Ultimate Team Web App is available to access right now.
Xbox 360 players will have exclusive access to an array of footballing legends throughout the season, as reported by Richard Beech of the Mirror, allowing ambitious gamers to reunite the talents of Dennis Bergkamp with Thierry Henry, among others.
Of course, there are hundreds of classic players who could have appeared in Ultimate Team. These names no longer represent a club, meaning EA Sports must agree a deal with the individual to use their rights. Who should be added to the lineup as a matter of haste?
Let’s take a look at five standout candidates.
Diego Maradona, Napoli
Long before the "Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo" argument overruled football's modern era, Diego Maradona and Pele experienced the same comparison. Who’s better? Who cares? The real problem is that EA only managed to license Brazil's legend for this year’s game.
Just think about Maradona’s potential Ultimate Team inclusion. He would link perfectly with Gonzalo Higuain at Napoli and could even grace a Serie A side alongside fellow bad boy Mario Balotelli. Most excitingly, he could finally enter the same pitch as Messi.
Eric Cantona, Manchester United
King Eric is a perfect candidate for Ultimate Team, especially as he appeared in the Classic XI selections of previous games.
The former Manchester United forward acted as a catalyst for success under Sir Alex Ferguson and could form a deadly partnership with the equally-as-argumentative Wayne Rooney.
Hell, throw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer into the game as well, especially as Teddy Sheringham has been confirmed for this year's title.
Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern Munich
It’s surprising Beckenbauer hasn’t been included in this year’s game. Like Cantona, the German legend appeared in previous games and looked utterly unstoppable in the Classic XI.
Der Kaiser’s impressive history—most notably, winning the World Cup as both a player and manager—would make him an excellent addition to Bundesliga squads. With Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil now at Arsenal, perhaps he could even join the Gunners.
Think about Beckenbauer playing alongside Mertesacker for one second.
When the laughing subsides, how about EA introduce the legendary centre-back as Ultimate Team’s first ever player/manager card? Once received, it would be great to use him in either role.
The thought of Eusebio playing alongside included legend Pauleta is truly terrifying. Oh wait, why not add Cristiano Ronaldo and Rui Costa to the mix?
Portugal have a fantastic showing across the spectrum in FIFA 14. Players could build some stunning teams, but one or two key names are missing. While Luis Figo’s addition would be greatly received, Eusebio’s appearance would stop Portuguese teams having to utilise Helder Postiga up front.
Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid
Real Madrid already possess enough talent to ensure many FIFA 14 players will use them in online matches. Although it’s costly to build a Madrid team with Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and friends in Ultimate Team, Zinedine Zidane’s potential addition would make the cost skyrocket further.
The French hero remains active as Carlo Ancelloti’s assistant coach and would be a stunning addition to the game. His overall statistics would undoubtedly come in higher than most midfielders currently included and would most likely head toward the 90 mark.
Zidane’s control, passing and finishing could take centre stage in many Ultimate Team selections. Imagine placing him behind Cantona and in front of Marcel Desailly, who is included in FIFA 14. How would you stop Zizou pulling the strings?
Perhaps Marco Materazzi should also be included.
Which legends do you want to see in the FIFA series? Be sure to check out the current crop here and hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts: