This is the third article in what is now becoming a series of FIFA 12 player ratings review articles. First, I reviewed Tottenham's ratings, then Real Madrid's ratings, and now I'm reviewing FC Barcelona's ratings by request.
In FIFA 11, Barcelona were arguably the most popular team in the game. They were definitely the strongest overall team with the best players, and so most FIFA 11 users would frequently go straight to Barcelona, game after game.
In fact, one of the biggest criticisms of FIFA 11 was that numerous matchups consisted of FC Barcelona vs FC Barcelona, or FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid.
Occasionally a few brave souls would attempt to use Manchester United or Chelsea against the Catalans, but usually such attempts would end in defeat if the gulf in skill between the FIFA 12 users wasn't too great.
But could the best team in the game be even stronger now?
Certainly, with their Champions League and La Liga title double last season, improving the ratings of most of FC Barcelona's players would make sense.
But is that what happened, and if so to what extent?
Let's find out.
Note: Players rated below 70 have been excluded.
GK Victor Valdes, 85
GK Jose Manuel Pinto, 72
I disagree with the ratings for both goalkeepers, here.
Victor Valdes had an 86 in the demo, which I thought was fair, but this then unfairly dropped to 85 when the game was released. I personally can't understand why this change was made; I thought his 86 was very well deserved after another good season of goalkeeping for Barcelona.
Jose Manuel Pinto is also very much underrated here. He has proven himself to be a very capable backup to Valdes over the years, and definitely deserves a 76-77 in my book.
RB Dani Alves, 86
RB Martin Montoya, 72
LB Eric Abidal, 81
LB Maxwell, 77
CB Gerard Pique, 88
CB Carlos Puyol, 86
CB Andreu Fontas, 73
CB Marc Bartra, 70
Again, here we have a case of unneeded changes from the demo.
Eric Abidal was 82 in the demo, but was dropped to 81 in the game, which is a rating that doesn't well represent the Frenchman's skill in my opinion. Dani Alves dropped from 87 to 86, however, which is a change that I do agree with.
Not much else to be said here. Pique and Puyol's ratings are fairly spot on, and Fontas, Bartra and Montoya haven't seen enough first-team action yet to deserve higher ratings.
CDM J. Mascherano, 86
CDM Sergio Busquets, 83
CDM Seydou Keita, 80
CM Xavi Hernandez, 92
CM Cesc Fabregas, 88
CM Jonathan Dos Santos, 73
CAM Thiago, 79
LM Adriano, 78
Sometimes, there are a few ratings that make me seriously question whether the programmers for the FIFA games actually spend any time following the previous season of soccer, or whether they just get their information off the internet.
The ratings for Sergio Busquets and Mascherano are two such ratings.
In 2010/11, Sergio Busquets proved himself to be, without a doubt, one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, while Javier Mascherano had to make due with being Barcelona's emergency center back while Puyol recovered from his injuries.
Anyone who watched Barcelona in 2010/11 would know that Busquets deserves to have a rating in the 85-87 range, while Mascherano deserves to be between 82 and 84.
In all honesty, I believe they just mixed up the names here, because Mascherano and Busquets' respective ratings should definitely be switched. It's the only theory I can come up with that makes any sense.
Aside from that, I don't agree with the disparity between Cesc Fabregas and Xavi's ratings. Xavi is obviously better, but not by four whole points. I think an 89 for Fabregas, which he had in the demo, and a 91 for Xavi would've be a very fair reflection of each player's skill.
RW Andres Iniesta, 91
RW Alexis Sanchez, 86
LW David Villa, 88
LW Pedro, 85
LW Ibrahim Afellay, 82
ST Lionel Messi, 94
ST Jonathan Soriano, 74
Let's start here with the big stars, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.
As I discuss in my Real Madrid article, I think that FIFA did not align the rating of the four best players in the world (Iniesta, Xavi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi) as well as they should've.
If Cristiano Ronaldo is rated at 92, then Xavi should be one point below that at 91, Iniesta at 90, and Lionel Messi one point above them all at 93.
Without getting into the Messi vs. Ronaldo debate, I think the gulf in quality between the two players is definitely not two whole points, especially since Ronaldo does have at least a couple of skills that Messi lacks, or at least aren't as well developed for Messi as they are for Ronaldo.
Moving on, I think Sanchez was boosted too high from his demo rating. In the demo, he was 84, which was fine by me.
An 86 after one decent season at Udinese is a direct result of the over-hyping to which he has been subjected this summer, and isn't right, especially since it places him above Pedro, who has actually proven himself as a quality winger in Barca's system for a couple of seasons now.
Overall, I'm fairly satisfied with the ratings for FC Barcelona in FIFA 12.
Aside from the Javier Mascherano-Sergio Busquets screw up, I don't think there are too many major issues with Barca's ratings in FIFA 12. Even the ratings for Iniesta, Xavi and Messi, while a tad inflated, aren't too ridiculous, since they're only a point off from where I'd like them to be.
The scary thing, of course, as I talked about in my article about Real Madrid's FIFA 12 ratings, is that this Barcelona team are much stronger than the one in FIFA 11.
With Lionel Messi now at 94, I expect him to be a much more dominant force, as opposed to the Messi in FIFA 11 who very frequently tended to fade out of games and become a non-factor.
Hopefully, Real Madrid will be able to put up a decent fight, as I know I do not intend to switch over to Barcelona, no matter how strong they become.
What do you guys think of the FC Barcelona's ratings on FIFA 12? Too high? Too low? Which player ratings do you specifically agree or disagree with? Make your opinion known in the comments section below.
Also, make sure to check out my other FIFA 12 player ratings articles: