Welcome to my 13th and latest FIFA 12 player ratings review. Today, I'll look at Napoli's player ratings.
So far, I've reviewed the "Big Six" of the EPL (Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal), the two La Liga giants (Real Madrid and FC Barcelona), three of Italy's biggest teams (AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus) and Bayern Munich.
Last year, Napoli had their best season since their refoundation in 2004.
Despite exiting both the Europa League and Coppa Italia at early stages, the team made up for both disappointments by finishing third in Serie A, claiming a spot in this year's Champions League group stage.
Edinson Cavani's amazing 33-goal haul led the way for Napoli's success, but Cavani couldn't have done it without the support of Marek Hamsik's 13 goals and nine assists, or Ezequiel Lavezzi's nine goals and 16 assists.
These three players helped push Napoli higher than it had ever gone in over two decades, and they are continuing their solid play in the 2011-12 season.
With the team's newfound success—helped by major upgrades over the summer in the transfer market—how were Napoli's individual player ratings affected?
Let's find out.
Note: Players rated below 70 have been excluded.
GK Morgan De Sanctis, 83
Morgan De Sanctis' performances over the course of the last two seasons have been very impressive and have seen him recalled to the Italian national squad as Gianluigi Buffon's backup.
In my recent ranking of the best goalkeepers in the world, I put De Sanctis at 22, and in hindsight, even that may have been too low for the impressive Italian international.
Bottomline: He deserves his rating of 83.
It's strange that his backup, Antonio Rosati, is rated at 69, considering he was an impressive regular who played all 38 matches for Lecce in the Serie A in 2010-11. I would've given him at least a 75 for having made that many appearances.
Similarly, Robert Colombo, Napoli's third-choice keeper, deserves a rating of 70 for being a first-choice goalkeeper in Serie B last year, and making 33 league appearances for his team.
Both of these ratings are either the result of oversight by EA Sports, or the raters for Napoli were simply too strict. I'm inclined to believe that the former is more accurate.
CB Hugo Campagnero, 79
CB Paolo Cannavaro, 78
CB Miguel Britos, 77
CB Salvatore Aronica, 75
CB Gianluca Grava, 74
CB Leandro Rinaudo, 72
CB Federico Fernandez, 70
Surprisingly, Napoli have no full-backs in FIFA 12. Andrea Dossena, a left wingback, is listed as a left midfielder in the game, and Christian Maggio, a right wingback, is listed as a right midfielder.
Napoli's starting center-backs, Campagnero and Cannavaro, are rated way too low for me. I would give them a minimum boost of two points each—a three-four point boost would not be unrealistic either.
FIFA has always underrated Campagnero and Cannavaro, but after this successful 2010-11 season, such low ratings are simply inaccurate and unfair.
I don't really have much else to say about Napoli's center-backs. Aronica and Grava are both veterans, and are thus given veteran ratings; no complaints there. Britos was a regular at Bologna prior to his move, but I've never seen him play and thus can't say that he deserves a rating higher than 77.
Rinaudo is another veteran of sorts at Napoli who doesn't seem likely to feature much this season. Fernandez surprisingly has already made four appearances for the Argentinian national team and was a regular at Estudiantes; a rating of 75-77 would probably have been a fairer reflection of his abilities.
Ignacio Fideleff is another Argentinian center back purchased this summer by Napoli, but isn't featured on the list of Napoli center-backs because he has a rating of 65 on FIFA 12. Again, given that he was a regular at Newell's Old Boys prior to his move, a rating of 72-74 probably would've been fairer than his rating of 65.
CDM Marco Donadel, 75
CM Gokhan Inler, 80
CM Walter Gargano, 78
CM Blerim Džemaili, 75
CAM Mario Santana, 77
LM Andrea Dossena, 77
RM Christian Maggio, 80
RM Juan Zuniga, 77
It seems like EA Sports paid close attention to detail in rating AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, but dropped the ball with the rest of the league. The majority of the ratings do not seem fair at all.
First, the minor changes: I would give Donadel and Dzemaili a boost of at least one rating point each, and would also raise Dossena to 78. Donadel is a veteran and was a regular starter for Fiorentina last season, while Dzemaili regularly appeared for Parma.
Though I'm not a fan of Dossena, he, too, regularly played for Napoli last season.
We then have Gokhan Inler and Walter Gargano; as with Napoli's center-backs, I'd give these two starting midfielders a boost of at least +2, but once again +3 would very fair in my opinion as well.
They are both very accomplished and internationally-respected players, whose true abilities far exceed the ratings given to them in FIFA 12.
RF Marek Hamsik, 84*
LF Ezequiel Lavezzi, 85
ST Edinson Cavani, 86
ST Cristian Lucarelli, 75
CF Guiseppe Mascara, 77
CF Goran Pandev, 78
Marek Hamsik is a forward in Napoli's default starting lineup in FIFA 12, but is a midfielder in reality—hence the asterisk by his name here.
Hamsik's rating of 84 is too low for a midfielder who has proven himself for multiple seasons to be one of the most dangerous attacking midfielders in the world. 86 would've been a more accurate rating.
Similarly, Cavani proved himself last season to be one of the most prolific strikers in the world, and is definitely one of the top 10 strikers in the world, in my book. A rating of 87 would've been fairer for the Uruguayan, especially since Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba kept ratings of 86 in this edition of FIFA.
Ezequiel Lavezzi and Cristian Lucarelli are both tad overrated in my opinion, but in the case of Lavezzi that just may be because I've never been a big fan of the Argentine's playing style.
Lucarelli is definitely overrated, though; he has made a very limited number of appearances for Napoli since joining in 2010, and is sixth on the depth chart at the club.
It is a real shame that Napoli have been so criminally underrated on FIFA 12. Out of the 13 teams I've reviewed on Bleacher Report, I can't think of one more underrated than Napoli.
Napoli's starting center-backs and starting central midfield partnership are all underrated by roughly two-three points, and even Napoli's biggest stars, Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani, are a tad underrated.
Some of the team's lesser known recruits from Argentina, like Federico Fernandez and Ignacio Fideleff, are grossly misrated, and Napoli's backup goalkeepers are also poorly rated.
Napoli should still be able to compete decently well with the lower-end four-and-a-half-star teams on FIFA 12 and all of the four-star teams, but they will likely not be able to compete with the better teams in European football, despite having the personnel and team to do so in reality.
What do you think of Napoli'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:
I plan on writing articles to cover the player ratings for Borussia Dortmund and possibly teams in Ligue 1 later on, so make sure to check back on my profile for when those articles are released. My older FIFA 12 Player Ratings articles can be found there as well.