The Frustrating Inevitabilities of Football Manager

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frustrated angry football fans in stadium silhouette people watching

In football and life, sometimes you can predict exactly what will happen before it happens. It’s like having a crystal ball but without having any otherworldly powers.

Those rules apply to FM, too, as there are certainties in the game that always seem to happen. Here are just some of them:

Your former player always scores against you

I am afraid this is an inevitability. If you come up against one of your old players, they always score. There are three certainties in life: tax, death, and your old player scoring against you in FM.

Also, the player is usually a player who struggled to score for you. I once had a striker who failed to score in 18 games for me, but then, when I sold him in the January transfer window, he scored a hat-trick the first time we faced him. It must have been my poor man-management that led to his uselessness!

VAR will check nearly every goal

Some people will say that this happens in real life. However, I would say it happens far more often in FM than in real life. In fact, I have played games where three goals have been disallowed because of VAR checks.

var check

In FM25, I hope the frequency of goals disallowed due to VAR is less, as it can drive you insane. The worst ones are when you think your team has scored a last-minute equaliser or winner, and VAR rules it out. Once again, I know it happens in real life, but it is just so frustrating.

A player ending a long goalless streak against you

Maybe this is just me, but this is another frustrating aspect of FM. You are playing against a team, and when they score, it says it is the player’s first goal of the season.

Often, the player is your opponent’s 17-year-old tenth-choice left-back, who never features again and retires from football without achieving much.

As previously mentioned, this phenomenon is often combined with the old law of the ex, with your former player ending his 300-game goal draught.

Clubs wanting unrealistic fees for their players

This one is the bane of many people’s FM saves. You spot a player, and you will put in a bid. His value seems reasonable, but then the AI club demands £100m for a player worth £25m.

I know this is probably because the club doesn’t want to sell their player, so they put a premium on their head. I suppose it’s like the real-life situation with Manchester United trying to sign Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite.

Reportedly, the Toffees wanted around £70m for the England starlet, as they didn’t want to sell one of their best players. United were not prepared to meet that fee, so Everton held on to Branthwaite, and United signed a different player, French youngster Leny Yoro.

However, that seems to be taken to the next level in FM. Sorry, I am starting to sound like Manchester United shareholder Sir Ratcliffe. I don’t want to throw my toys out of my pram.

You can’t sell your players

This is tied into the above. Sometimes, selling your players seems impossible, even if they are good players. If you can sell them, the AI gives you peanuts rather than anything close to their value.

Clubs will offer you small fees, and then if your player is on a high wage, they even want you to contribute to their wages, too. It has me tearing what’s left of my hair out at times.

The most common scenario is that I have to loan the player out with either an option to buy or a mandatory fee, whilst often, the other team doesn’t even cover the player’s wages. If he is on big wages, then the buying club wants to cut the fee down due to any wages they are paying the player during the loan spell.

Players won’t square the ball

This is one of my pet hates about FM. No matter how good the player is, they seem to shoot from impossible angles when there is usually a player better placed in a far better position.

I am sure other people have come across this problem in the past. It can’t just be me with a dodgy glitch version of the game.

Will these things change in FM25?

fm25

With a new UI and system being introduced for FM25, some of these issues will undoubtedly change.  However, some of these issues are less the creator’s fault and more things that seem to frustrate and annoy me as a player.

Some of the things discussed are what make the game realistic, so it would be wrong for Sports Interactive to remove them from the game, even if they do send me insane at times.

What is the biggest FM inevitability that frustrates you?

Who are the best players FM24 players based on CA?

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kevin de bruyne takes corner for man city in champions league game

Football Manager is as real as you can get when it comes to football games. One of the key factors of the game is the player’s current ability (CA).

The better the player’s individual stats, the better the player will be, and the higher their overall rating (CA) will be. However, who are the players with the highest CA on FM24?

(Please note that the player’s stats and ranking will be affected by the database you are using)

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City, CA of 191)

kevin de bruyne best fm24 players based on ca

The Manchester City star is considered one of the best midfielders ever to grace a Premier League pitch. His stats reflect his real-life ability.

The Belgian star is the ultimate versatile midfielder, being able to play anywhere across the middle of the park, as well as playing in all of the attacking midfield positions.

The fact that De Bruyne has 16 stats over 16 illustrates why he has the best CA overall of any player on FM24. Unsurprisingly, his highest stat is 20 for vision, while his next best is his crossing, which is 19.

Erling Haaland (Manchester City, CA of 188)

erling haaland best fm24 players based on ca

The Norwegian forward is quite simply a goal machine, which is part of why he has the second-highest CA on FM24.

Haaland’s pace and power are displayed by 19 pace and 17 strength attributes, with also 15 attributes above 15. His highest stat on FM24 is 20 for determination.

The former Dortmund superstar is a five-star player in most of the forward roles, but he is arguably at his most effective as an advanced forward.

Kylian Mbappe (Real Madrid, CA of 188)

kylian mbappe best fm24 players based on ca

Mbappe is undoubtedly one of the top footballers in the world. The new Real Madrid star doesn’t seem to have many weaknesses and has become a lethal and prolific goalscorer.

His highest stats on FM24 are his pace and acceleration, which are both 20. The French international’s other high attributes include 18 in his dribbling and first touch.

Although he is versatile, being able to play on either wing, Mbappe’s best position on FM24 is arguably as an advanced forward. With the right tactic, he can be devastating.

Lionel Messi (Inter Miami, CA of 185)

lionel messi best fm24 players based on ca

Despite being in the twilight of his football career, Messi’s powers have yet to wane. His stats are highly impressive, and his CA of 185 is impressive.

The Argentinian still has a ranking of 20 for dribbling, technique, determination, flair and vision. Even at 36 years of age, he is a fantastic signing for any team.

Not only is he one of the best number tens in the history of the beautiful game, but he is also a true football legend.

Harry Kane (Bayern Munich, CA of 183)

harry kane best fm24 players based on ca

The former Tottenham captain enjoyed a prolific maiden season in the Bundesliga with Bayern, scoring 36 goals in 32 matches in the German top flight.

His stats in FM24 are simply outstanding. Like the players above him on our list, Kane has very few weaknesses. The fact that 15 of his stats are above 15 shows his all-around ability as a footballer.

Although Kane’s primary position is as a forward, he can also play deeper. His stats are so strong that the England international could probably be retrained as a central midfielder. Whatever position he plays in, Kane could do an excellent job.

Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona, CA of 182)

robert lewandowski best fm24 players based on ca

The Polish international has been one of the most prolific strikers in the world game in the last decade. His ability is reflected excellently by his FM24 stats.

The Barcelona forward’s attacking stats are brilliant, with 18 in finishing and first touch, while his composure and heading are also 17. His other impressive stats include penalty taking at 19, balance, determination, natural fitness and off the ball all ranked at 18.

Lewandowski can play any forward role perfectly, as he has four-and-half stats for most attacking positions. Arguably, his best two attacking roles are as a deep lying forward and advanced forward.

Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid, CA of 181)

thibaut courtois best fm24 players based on ca

Belgium’s number one is among the best goalkeepers in the world, which his stats justify on FM24. The former Chelsea star has few weak spots in his game as a goalkeeper.

His main attributes are 20 in aerial reach, 19 in reflexes, and also 18 in one on ones and jumping reach.

Courtois is equally adept at playing as a sweeper keeper as he is playing just as a normal goalkeeper.

Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid, CA of 181)

vinicius junior best fm24 players based on ca

The Brazilian international has emerged as one of the next generation of potential superstars. Some of his best attributes in Vinicius Junior’s armoury are his pace at 19 and acceleration at 18.

However, his highest stat is his determination, which is ranked at 20. One of the facets of the game he is known for best is his dribbling ability, which is ranked at 19.

The Brazilian star’s best position is as an inside forward or a winger, playing on either flank. He can also play as a central striker, using his pace and agility to outfox defenders.

Ederson (Manchester City, CA of 181)

ederson best fm24 players based on ca

The Brazilian stopper has the same overall CA as contemporary Courtois, as the joint-best goalkeeper on FM24.

Ederson is renowned as a goalkeeper who is good with the ball at his feet. His top stats are kicking and composure at 20. Meanwhile, the ‘keeper has 18 for passing and bravery and 17 for throwing, vision, anticipation and technique. All the stats go together to form a highly impressive goalkeeper.

When it comes to his position, Ederson is a better sweeper keeper than just a normal goalkeeper.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, CA of 180)

mo salah best fm24 players based on ca

‘The Egyptian King’, as he is known by fans of the Merseyside club, is prolific in front of goal. However, Salah’s overall stats and game are fantastic in FM24.

The forward’s biggest attributes are 18 in determination and acceleration. Unsurprisingly, Salah’s next best stats are first touch, penalty taking, technique, vision, balance, off the ball, natural fitness and pace, which are all 17.

Not only is Salah quality, but he is highly versatile, capable of playing on both wings and as a central striker.

Which of the players on our list are your favourites to sign on FM24?

Who is the fastest player in FM24?

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Many attributes can make a player stand out from the crowd and give them an advantage on a football pitch. Those attributes sometimes play a key role in FM24, as players who have certain attributes can make or break your FM tactic.

One of the most significant attributes I look for in a player is pace. I am not opposed to the odd clogging centre-back, but for me, my full-backs, wingers and forwards have to have pace and good acceleration.

Having pace in your team is especially important if you are using defensive or counter-attacking tactics, as pacey players can quickly get you up the pitch.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the fastest players (who are easily accessible) on FM24. Enjoy!

Kylian Mbappe (Real Madrid, Pace 20 and acceleration 20)

kylian mbappe fm24 fastest players

It will come as no surprise to anybody who has watched Mbappe play, but the French World Cup winner is the fastest player on FM24. His attributes are maxed out in the two areas we are using for criteria.

He has the ability to outpace the majority of defenders on this planet and probably defenders from other planets if there are any out there.

Combined with incredible attributes in other areas of his game, Mbappe is one of the best players in the game.

Alphonse Davies (Bayern Munich, Pace 19 and acceleration 19)

alphonso davies fm24 fastest players

The Bayern Munich star is currently displaying his skills at the Copa America for the Canadian national team. One of his most noticeable attributes on a football pitch is his pace and recovery speed.

If his team gets caught up field, and there is little defensive cover, Davies has the ability to bail his team out. As well as strong pace and acceleration, Davies also has high ratings in dribbling, determination, flair and work rate. When all combined you have an excellent asset to any squad.

Karim Adeyemi (Dortmund, Pace 19 and acceleration 19)

karmin adeyemi fm24 fastest players

The once FM wonderkid has not quite hit the heights that were predicted of him in earlier editions of FM since his switch to Dortmund from Austrian outfit Salzburg in 2022.

However, one of his main attributes since he burst onto the scene has always been his pace, something which is evident if you have used the German international in FM24.

There are other high-ranking stats for the forward, though, as his stats for aggression, determination, and agility are all above 15. Who knows, he may well start fulfilling his FM potential in the future, after all he is still only 22 years of age.

Achraf Hakimi (PSG, Pace 19 and acceleration 18)

arcraf hakimi fm24 fastest players

Mbappe’s former PSG teammate, Hakimi, is renowned for his pace, which is rated at 19. This is reflected in his attributes. His acceleration is also 18, which is impressive.

The Moroccan international is regarded as one of the top attacking full-backs in the beautiful game. Hakimi also scores high for off the ball and natural fitness in FM24.

Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid, Pace 18 and Acceleration 19)

vinicius junior fm24 fastest players

The diminutive Brazilian winger has blossomed into one of the top stars in the world game in recent years. He was highly influential in Real Madrid’s recent stellar campaign, during which they won the double of the Champions League and La Liga titles.

One key aspect of Vinicius Junior’s game is his pace, which allows him to run at opponents and often create goalscoring opportunities.

Considering his star status at Real Madrid and his ability, Vini Junior’s high stats in dribbling, finishing, determination (his highest stat at 20), decisions, and flair, amongst other things, are highly unsurprising.

Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen, Pace 18 and acceleration 18)

jeremie frimpong fm24 fastest players

The Netherlands international enjoyed a stellar campaign with Bayer Leverkusen, as Die Werkself won their maiden Bundesliga title.

The right wing-back’s attacking contribution played a crucial role in Xabi Alonso’s team’s success in season 2023/24. Along with pace and acceleration, Frimpong’s stats for dribbling, flair, off the ball, agility, and natural fitness are all high.

Frimpong has attracted the inevitable vultures from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Galeno (Porto, Pace 18 and acceleration 18)

galeno fm24 fastest players

The Portuguese winger seems to combine his pace and acceleration with several other attributes that make him a very good player. For instance, Galeno’s dribbling, flair, agility, stamina and natural fitness stats are all high.

The versatile wide man showed his worth to Porto in season 2023/24, as he scored 16 goals and also produced ten assists in 44 appearances in all competitions.

Sheraldo Becker (Real Sociedad, Pace 18 and acceleration 18)

sheraldo becker fm24 fastest players

Unlike most of the players on this list, Becker’s stats are not great on FM24. He is a capable player, but his standout attributes are his high pace and acceleration, both rated at 18.

The Dutch forward scored just six goals in 35 appearances in all competitions for Union Berlin and then Spanish outfit Real Sociedad in season 2023/24.

Rabbi Matondo (Rangers, Pace 18 and acceleration 18)

rabbi matondo fm24 fastest players

In previous editions of Football Manager, the Welsh international was regarded as a hot prospect. However, he hasn’t entirely lived up to his potential yet at 23, although there is still time for Matondo to thrive.

The stats that stand out for the winger are his pace and acceleration, which are both 18. Unfortunately, his other stats are mediocre, and he never seems to really seems to become a top player in FM24.

Which of the players on our list do you sign on FM24?

The Strategic Edge: How Playing Football Manager Can Enhance Your Football Betting Skills

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football ready for corner close up
https://pixabay.com/photos/football-ball-sport-grass-field-1419954/

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to use your extensive knowledge gained by playing Football Manager? One way to do that is to try placing bets on football matches.

Playing Football Manager (FM) already gifted you with all the knowledge you’ll need. Let’s see what that means and how you can use your understanding of the game to make better bets.

Tactical Awareness and Analysis

In Football Manager, devising effective tactics and counter-strategies is crucial for success. Players must understand different tactical approaches, such as pressing, counter-attacking, or possession-based football, and how to implement them effectively. This tactical awareness is directly transferable to football betting. Bettors who play FM develop a keen eye for spotting tactical nuances in real matches, allowing them to make more informed bets.

For example, if a bettor knows that a particular team struggles against high-pressing opponents, they might visit betting sites and bet against that team when facing such a challenge.

Understanding Team Dynamics

One of the key aspects of Football Manager is understanding team dynamics. The game requires players to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of their squad, make strategic decisions about formations and tactics, and manage player morale and fitness levels. This deep dive into team management can give bettors a better understanding of how real-life managers make decisions.

By recognizing the importance of form, fitness, and morale in FM, bettors can better predict how these factors might influence the outcome of real matches. For instance, knowing that a key player is returning from injury or that a team has a congested fixture schedule can influence betting decisions.

In-depth knowledge of Players and Teams

Football Manager provides extensive databases of players, including their attributes, potential, and performance statistics. This information helps players make informed decisions about transfers and team selection within the game. For bettors, this translates into a richer understanding of player capabilities and team strengths.

By regularly playing FM, bettors can stay updated on emerging talents, underrated players, and potential game-changers. This knowledge can be particularly useful when placing bets on player-specific markets, such as goal scorers or assists, as well as when assessing team performance.

Predicting Match Outcomes

The simulation aspect of Football Manager allows players to experiment with different scenarios and observe the outcomes. This predictive element can be a valuable tool for bettors.

By simulating upcoming fixtures in FM, players can gain insights into possible results based on current form, tactics, and player availability. While FM is not a crystal ball, the trends and patterns observed in the game can offer a reasonable basis for predicting real-world outcomes. Bettors can use this to their advantage, especially when considering less obvious bets, such as correct score or half-time/full-time results.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Football Manager players often rely heavily on data analysis to guide their decisions. The game offers a wealth of statistics, from player performance metrics to team form and head-to-head records. This data-driven approach is equally valuable in football betting. Bettors who adopt a similar analytical mindset can improve their chances of making profitable bets.

By analysing relevant statistics and trends, bettors can identify value bets that others might overlook. The habit of scrutinizing data in FM fosters a disciplined and methodical approach to betting, reducing the influence of emotional or impulsive decisions.

Financial Management and Risk Assessment

In Football Manager, players must manage the club’s finances, balancing the books while striving for success on the pitch. This involves budgeting for transfers, wages, and other expenses, and making strategic financial decisions. This financial acumen can be beneficial for bettors in managing their betting bankroll.

Understanding the principles of risk assessment and financial management in FM can help bettors set budgets, avoid reckless bets, and make calculated decisions. Just as in the game, successful betting requires a long-term strategy and careful management of resources.

Emotional Resilience and Patience

Football Manager is a game of highs and lows, requiring players to deal with setbacks, unexpected losses, and long-term projects. This experience can build emotional resilience and patience, qualities that are essential for successful betting.

Bettors who play FM are likely to be more accustomed to handling losing streaks and less prone to chasing losses impulsively. The game teaches the value of patience and long-term thinking, encouraging bettors to stick to their strategies and avoid rash decisions.

My FM favourites who could be on the move in the summer of 2024

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arthur theate

The European transfer window opened on 1st July, which, as is usually the case, led to a flurry of transfer activity. It seems that some FM favourites could well be on the move this summer. Here are some of those players that could be moving this summer:

Arthur Theate

arthur theate fm24 favourites

The defender played in three of Belgium’s four Euro2024 games before the Red Devils lost 1-0 to France in the competition’s last 16.

The 24-year-old is highly rated, but transfer expert Fabrizio Romano suggests he could be on the verge of a surprise €18m move from Nice to Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad.

Theate has been a favourite player of mine in recent FMs due to his quality and versatility. He can play centre-back or left-back and never lets the team down. The fact that he never quite reaches world-class status on FM24 maybe lets him down.

Ironically, Theate’s switch to Al Ittihad may make him available for a cheaper fee in FM25. However, his wages are likely to be an issue unless you manage one of European football’s elite clubs, and he may not be good enough for those particular clubs.

Tiago Almada

thiago almada fm24 favourites

The mercurial Argentinian star has been a favourite of many FM players in recent editions of the game.

Almada, who is now 23, is set to move from MLS outfit Atlanta to Brazilian club Botafogo in a deal that could be worth around $30m with add-ons.

He is a player who used to be a bargain buy on FM. He was usually bought in for a small fee and performed brilliantly before being sold on at a significant profit.

Almada brought creativity, guile, and a genuine attacking threat to any team he played for. His goal and assist output were usually high.

The playmaker has a decent goalscoring record for Atlanta, scoring 24 goals in 81 games in all competitions. His goals and general performances led the Argentinian to win the MLS Young Player of the Year in 2023.

Almada’s transfer fee may or may not be changed for FM25. However, signing him in the new edition of the game may well be slightly easier, but not in the first season, as he won’t want to move due to the recency of his last transfer.

Khephren Thuram

khephren thuram fm24 favourites

The promising French midfielder is set to join Italian giants Juventus from Nice for a reported fee of around €20m plus add-ons. The Bianconeri have reportedly beaten the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United to Thuram’s signature.

The deal looks to be a bargain for the Turin team. The main reason for the relatively small fee is that Thuram’s contract expires in the summer of 2025.

Thuram is one of my favourite FM players of recent years. He is one of the first players I would look to sign when the team qualifies for Europe, and he is the French star.

Thuram’s move to Italy will make signing the midfielder on FM25 harder. The fee that Juventus will demand is likely to be more than Nice’s.

Jose Fontan

jose fontan fm24 favourites

The Spanish defender has been a highly useful signing for me in FM24. He is a decent-quality, versatile player who would be great to bring into a mid-lower Premier League club.

The 24-year-old has completed a move to Portuguese club Arouca as a free agent. He could well prove to be a bargain for his new club and may well still prove to be a bargain in FM25.

Max Aarons

max aarons fm24 favourites

In previous editions of FM, the full-back, like Thuram, has been one of the first players I would look to sign at the beginning of every save, as he usually became a very good player.

However, when I used to sign him, it was before he joined Bournemouth from Norwich in the summer of 2023 for a fee of around £7m.

A BBC report claims Premier League new boys Southampton had a £6m bid turned down for the 24-year-old. However, the Saints could well return with an improved bid.

Joshua Zirkzee

joshua zirkzee fm24 favourites

The Dutch forward has been an FM wonderkid in the past. However, his career didn’t quite go as he expected after he came through the youth ranks at German giants Bayern Munich.

Zirkzee was prolific with Anderlecht in the Belgian top flight for two seasons. However, it was not until season 2023/24 that he really started to shine at Italian club Bologna, who he helped to qualify for the Champions League.

His 11 goals and four goals for the Rossoblu caught the attention of several European clubs. Premier League Manchester United have been linked with a £50m move for the former Bayern forward.

When managing Everton on FM24, Dominic Calvert-Lewin would usually leave in the summer of 2024. The England forward’s replacement was usually Zirkzee, who then shone and helped maintain the team’s momentum.

Are any of your favourite FM players on the move in the summer of 2025?

Planning Your Trip To The Champions League 2024? What To Consider

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champions league trophy

What’s the pinnacle of European club football? The UEFA Champions League – a prestigious tournament that captures the hearts and minds of fans worldwide. As the excitement builds for the 2024 edition, countless supporters are already making plans to witness the action unfold live.

It does not matter if you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the beautiful game; attending the Champions League promises an unforgettable experience. However, planning a successful trip requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure a seamless and memorable journey.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

The Champions League is a truly global event, with matches taking place across the continent’s most iconic stadiums. As you begin to plan your trip, think about your destination. Think about factors such as travel logistics, accommodation availability, and potential cultural experiences. All of these could influence your final

If you’re a neutral fan, you may opt for a city with a rich footballing heritage, such as London (where Real Madrid recently secured a decisive win over Borussia Dortmund), Madrid, or Barcelona, where you can immerse yourself in the local fan culture and explore the cities’ iconic sights. Alternatively, if you’re supporting a specific team, prioritise locations that host their matches, allowing you to fully embrace the atmosphere and camaraderie of the home crowd.

Book Accommodations Early

As the Champions League draws near, it is unsurprising that the demand for accommodation in host cities has skyrocketed. This, as you can imagine, leads to limited availability and soaring prices. Of course, since you still want to go, one of the best ways to secure the best rates and ensure a comfortable stay is to book your accommodations well in advance.

As you look at accommodation, don’t forget to look at the proximity of your accommodation to the stadium, as well as its accessibility to public transportation and local attractions. The last thing you want is to book accommodation that has poor connections and is far from the stadium, as this can make the process of travelling to and from the match a challenge.  Another factor worth considering is to look for reputable hotels, serviced apartments, or even vacation rentals that cater to football fans, offering match day packages or tailored experiences.

Secure Match Tickets In Advance

Now, the main event: trying to get tickets. Obtaining tickets for Champions League matches, like any major tournament, can be a daunting task, especially when high demand often outstrips supply. One way to increase your chances of success is to plan ahead and explore various ticketing options to increase your chances of securing those coveted seats. You can start by checking with your preferred team’s official website or supporters’ clubs for any pre-sale opportunities or ticket packages.

You can also look at reputable ticketing platforms to secure your spot for the new season with UEFA Champions League tickets. Champions League ticket prices can be high, but you can find great deals at Ticket Compare. They’ll help you to find the best price from reputable, trusted sources.

Plan For Travel And Transportation

Attending Champions League matches often involves navigating unfamiliar cities and transportation systems. The best way to travel around with a bit more confidence is to research your travel options in advance, whether you plan to fly, take a train, or drive to your destination.

Once at your chosen location, familiarise yourself with the local public transportation network, including buses, trains, or metro systems. If public transportation is limited or inconvenient, consider purchasing travel passes or investing in a rental car. Ensuring that you know exactly how you intend to get to places will help you feel more comfortable when you arrive.

Embrace The Local Culture

While the Champions League matches are the main attraction, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions of your chosen destination. Each city has its own unique flair and so much to see and do.

As such, ensure you plan time to explore the city’s iconic landmarks, indulge in the local cuisine, and attend cultural events or festivals that coincide with your visit. Exploring your surroundings can enhance your overall experience and provide a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of cultures that make the Champions League such a truly global event.

Pack Appropriately

As the time for the big trip slowly creeps up, getting packed is the next thing to tick off your list. As you know, attending football matches is a casual affair, but it’s essential to pack appropriately for the conditions you may encounter in the city you are travelling to. Before you start packing, research the weather patterns and climate of your chosen destination, and pack accordingly.

Comfortable walking shoes, rain jackets, and layers of clothing are recommended to ensure you stay comfortable and dry, regardless of the weather conditions. The temperatures have been crazy lately, so be sensible. Consider packing essential items such as sunscreen, hats, and water bottles to keep hydrated during your outdoor adventures.

Planning a successful trip to the Champions League 2024 requires careful consideration of various factors, and by following these guidelines and staying organised, you can ensure a memorable and hassle-free experience as you witness the best of European football in action.

How football may help with academic destressing

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kids football training
Photo by Adrià Crehuet Cano on Unsplash

Football is one of the most famous sports in the world today, with over 5.6 billion fans mainly drawn from Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The FIFA World Cup, for instance, is the biggest single sporting event worldwide, attracting over 5 billion viewers.

Football is a physical game with numerous benefits including improved cardiovascular health, strength, and agility. Moreover, recent studies have shown that it can also have significant mental health benefits, particularly when it comes to academic destressing.

In this short article, we discuss some of its main advantages and how they can impact your overall health:

Physical activity

Football is one of the most demanding sports in the world. It can get as brutal as boxing, as long as half a marathon, and as mentally demanding as chess. Even though the sport has evolved significantly over the years, its physical demands have remained unchanged. Most energy-intensive sports last less than 30 minutes. However, a football match can last over 120 minutes.

The running, tackling, intercepting, and positional changes consume so much energy that a few players have fainted or died on the field. Despite the strains, the physical demands have several advantages. Extreme physical activities trigger the body to release endorphins – hormones that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, leaving students more relaxed and stress-free.

Teamwork and camaraderie

Team sports thrive on the chemistry between members. However, football takes it to a whole new level. While individual brilliance can win you tournaments, championships demand the highest level of collaboration. The defence must be in sync to keep the opposition at bay and the midfield must be in perfect harmony to break down the opponents.

Great coaches leverage team dynamics to have a competitive edge over other teams, fostering strong bonds among teammates. This team-based approach to management can be explored in-depth by a professional dissertation writing service for sports education. However, the main takeaway is that teams can be invaluable for students who are struggling academically or feeling isolated during stressful times.

Time management skills

Time management is an integral part of sports, especially football. Managers and coaches expect their players to be disciplined and committed to training, medical checkups, and other team activities. However, once in a while, we hear stories about players who’ve been banned or suspended by their teams for lateness.

For example, in 2022, Mikel Arteta, then a new manager for Arsenal FC, suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the club’s captain, for repeated lateness. He went further to strip him of the club’s captaincy and sidelined him from training sessions. Aubameyang eventually left without ever kicking a ball for the club again.

However, a more publicized case involved Jadon Sancho of Manchester United and his manager, Erik ten Hag. The player didn’t take being called out for laziness and lateness in a press conference lightly. Consequently, he refused to apologize and was sidelined for over four months despite earning over GBP 350,000 per week.

The stakes are always high, especially when playing for more established clubs or their academies. However, most players eventually become great time managers, which is vital for their academic and personal success.

Cognitive benefits

Football isn’t just about 22 men chasing a round inflated skin. The sport requires the highest level of tactical awareness. While some players are naturally talented, it’s still vital that they fit in specific systems, which require rigorous training. Years of training, strategic thinking, and decision-making can be highly beneficial.

Moreover, the cognitive demands of being on the pitch and executing moves, making quick decisions, and solving tactical challenges can help improve brain function and cognitive abilities, which can be beneficial for academic success, including admission essay writing services 2024 and other demands.

Social interaction

The social aspect of football is equally important. You must understand that footballers are humans with basic needs including companionship. However, forging social relationships isn’t easy for top players, especially those playing for big teams. Fame often attracts the wrong people.

Nonetheless, players often have each other to lean on. As a team, it’s easier to foster social connections and a sense of community with each other, which can alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness that can contribute to academic stress for those in school.

Stress relief

stressed relaxed choose wisely sign

Football can be stressful for young players. Juggling classwork, training sessions, family, and other social life demands can be unbearable for youngsters. Cases of student outbursts after years of shelving frustrations have been recorded globally. This risk faces all youngsters without proper outlets.

However, football’s competitive nature and the sense of accomplishment from winning matches can provide a healthy way to relieve stress and unwind from academic pressures. It’s the safest outlet to channel frustrations and pent-up energy. Notably, some professional footballers have admitted to being too physical with opponents, i.e. kicking, pushing, and elbowing them, as a way of venting their frustrations.

Improved sleep

Irregular sleep or insomnia can be derailing. As a student, you need adequate sleep to read and understand your course materials. Unfortunately, distractions such as partying, clubbing, and other social activities can steal your sleep time, leaving you weak and spent in a zombie mode.

The physicality of football can help reset your sleep circles, allowing you to have quality rest, which is essential for your academic success.

Our favourite FM24 formations

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As any self-respecting FM player knows, your formation or tactics can shape your enjoyment of a game. The wrong tactic or formation can lead to frustration and a player’s ability to enjoy the beloved series.

The latest edition of the game is no different. During my FM24 journey, I have tried and tested many formations for THTP and my personal game.

Here are the formations that I found to be my favourites on FM24:

4-2-3-1

Example of tactic 4231 Cheat Tactic META by MrBishnakov

tactics 4231 Cheat Tactic META

This formation is almost a cheat code at this point. It is one of the most popular FM formations and has been, for some time, taking its lead from football in real life.

If anybody reads my tactic-testing articles, then they will be sick of me banging on about balance. However, that is what the 4-2-3-1 brings in terms of your team.

The most balanced approach is to use two defensive midfielders in front of the backline on either defend or support duties, which gives your three attacking midfielders the licence to get forward to support the lone frontman.

It also often allows full-backs or wing-backs the freedom to participate in attacks, knowing that they have the defensive midfielders who will cover them with the right duties anyway.

I have found that if you use a 4-2-3-1 with two central midfielders further forward, the team has less balance. The team is more defensively open, which could allow the opposition more opportunities to attack your backline.

Their roles and duties are vital if you play with two central midfielders rather than two defensive midfielders. For me, using the two defensive midfielders just gives you a safety net.

This can prove to be an issue if you have really good central midfielders who don’t really fit into either the defensive or attacking midfield categories. You then have to convert them to match the formation, which is never ideal and can be time-consuming.

Obviously, a big factor in your team’s success can be your mentality. However, with this formation, you can use most mentalities and be successful as long as you have the right players.

I favour positive and attacking mentalities. At the end of the day, we play FM for entertainment, so cautious or defensive mentalities do nothing for me. Occasionally, I find a good tactic using a balanced mentality, but those seem rarer than rocking horse faeces.

4-3-3

Example of the tactic Ultimate 433 by ZimsMula

tactics ultimate 433

This is another formation that brings balance to our FM universe. In terms of popularity, it is a close second to the 4-2-3-1. It is another default tactic that many players build their early teams on.

Many people use 4-3-3 as their formation as it is relatively simple to set up. The only things that may differ are the duties and roles, which, given a small tweak, can change absolutely everything.

Once again, the critical roles for me in a 4-3-3 are in the centre of the park. These can dictate the whole tone and success of your tactic.

At the base of midfield three, you will generally have a relatively defensive midfield on defend duty to once again add protection to your backline.

The key to the tactic’s success is the roles and duties of the two players in front of the DM. I tend to favour one of the two central midfielders utilising the attack duty, so he joins in with the attack and helps with goals and assists. The other midfielder may be on support duty or defend duty to balance your team.

However, as the above example shows, it can work out well with two central midfielders on support in mezzala roles. Again, it’s all about finding that balance between too attacking and too defensive, no matter what mentality you are using.

4-1-1-3-1

Example of the tactic Undringstaktiken 4-1-1-3-1 by NuFcPRO

tactics undringstaktiken 41131

For me, this is right up there with 4-2-3-1, as it feels like the formation falls between the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3.

This is the tactic you use if you have an outstanding central midfielder who you can’t find a place for in a 4-2-3-1 while using two defensive midfielders.

It seems a pretty simple tweak, but you move one of the defensive midfielders into a more advanced position, playing them as a mezzala or a simple central midfielder.

By doing this, your team still has a good balance but also has an extra player to aid its attacking efforts. That extra player in support of the attack can often be the lynchpin of your team.

I used the example tactic for the longest on FM24, as it seemed perfect for the players I had. To be honest, it performed well with the majority of the teams I have tested it with.

Let us know if you use any of my favourite tactics on Fm24 via our socials.

Looking at my 28-year-long save on FM24

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twenty eight years

Like many FM players, I’ve had my fair share of long-term saves that have spanned years. In fact, my long-term saves tend to stretch into decades, a testament to the depth and immersion of the game and my obsessive personality.

My latest save has just reached the end of its 28th year, which I am not sure is long by the standards of true FM players or not. It’s actually one of the first saves I started on FM24, so it’s crazy that I am still playing it.

Don’t you get bored, though?

I think I have talked about this in the past. When you are winning everything, all the time, because your team is simply that good, you have to find a way to keep things interesting.

One of the key strategies I employ to keep things interesting is selling at least three key players each summer.

This may seem unconventional, but I usually choose my oldest players, typically those who are 27 or 28, and I sell them. This not only keeps the game challenging but also allows me to rejuvenate the team with fresh talent.

Recruitment is the key

That is where good scouting of younger players comes in useful. Each summer, I sign highly-rated younger players, who could be 18 or 19 but who have five-star potential.

I could have 15 or 20 youngsters out on loan at one time who are all potential first-team players for the next season.

I then find suitable clubs to loan these highly talented players to for a year or two. As my team is now the dominant force in English football, I can even loan these players to big clubs in the Premier League.

In my current save, I have highly rated young players out on loan at Manchester United, Newcastle, and Manchester City. One of my starlets also temporarily switched to Catalan giants Barcelona.

Most of the youngsters are so good that they get regular playing time at these clubs. In turn, they start developing their game and fulfilling their potential, ready to return to my first team.

mohammed saeed 28 year long save fm25

It is the strategy that Chelsea has employed in recruitment in recent decades but cranked up x10.

It’s a strategy that definitely works, as some of the youngsters thrive. I look at my older players in their positions and know that the youngsters are good enough to come in and replace them.

They may not be at the same level when they re-join the squad, but they become star players with development.

Changing tactics regularly

This is also important to keep things fresh and exciting. As many of our regular readers will know, I test interesting tactics as part of my job at the THTP.

These are usually tactics that I believe are exciting or unusual. Off-the-wall, crazy formations or tactics don’t usually bring success, even with the best or most dominant teams.

At the moment, there is a tactic based on Johan Cruyff’s style floating around the FM community, which I will test at some point. However, it is these sorts of tactics that usually fall flat on their faces.

That is why the 4231 or 433 formations and tactics based upon them are still the kings on FM. The odd 352 or 343 may be successful, but most of the best tactics don’t wander too far from the 4231 or 433 principles.

tactics 4231 Cheat Tactic META

The reason for that is obviously the balance between defence and attack that they bring. Some tactics are great in defence but offer little in the way of an attacking threat, and vice versa, which is why people stick to the familiar.

If I find a wacky formation that blows teams out of the water, then I will let everybody know with a tactic testing article, which I currently write once per month.

However, if I come across another one that I feel is worthy of review, I will test it on my long-term save, as I know my team is good enough to play well in most formations or use most tactics.

I will then do a tactic testing article with that tactic, not using my long-term save, as I don’t usually document much of what I do on my long-term save, as there is no reason to.

Just how successful has your team been in nearly three decades?

My personal saves are usually on my team, Everton. If I do saves with other teams, I get bored and start another Everton save.

The good thing about starting a save as the Toffees is that there is a challenge at the beginning of the game. The starting team does not have great quality or depth, which means you take more satisfaction in building a successful than you would if you started with Real Madrid or Manchester City.

This is how many trophies I have won:

competitions28 year long save fm25

It is fair to say that my team has won more than its fair share of trophies (See screenshot)

I haven’t cheated by save scumming or anything like that. The success has just been achieved by using great tactics (thanks to tactics creators). Unfortunately, I no longer have the time to create my own tactics, so these have been invaluable.

Recruitment and unearthing quality young players are my favourite parts of the game. Watching them thrive in a successful team is a big part of the satisfaction of playing FM.

With the release of FM25 still months away, I will likely continue this save until the new edition of the game is released. Even with updated databases, with up-to-date transfers and leagues, it’s hard to start a new save when a season has just ended.

I am unsure if I have ever played a save for as long as this one. I can’t say I play FM every day. However, when I get a couple of hours free from writing and the family (very rare these days), I go back to my old save and am excited by the team I have built and then rebuild over and over again.

Who knows, maybe I can reach 40 or 50 years with save, which would be a crazy feat considering my lack of general free time.

Let us know via your socials what your longest save is on FM25 or any other edition of the game

Potential high-profile transfers of the summer

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thtp transfers

It is, arguably, one of the most anticipated occasions in any hardcore football fan’s calendar: the summer transfer window, which almost always creates plenty of intrigue and fascination – especially in Europe’s top leagues.

Added to the fact that now an increasing number of clubs are owned by billionaires, Financial Fair Play (FFP) notwithstanding, this makes for even more excitement among neutral fans. A summer international football tournament makes it even more interesting, a stage where players can put themselves in the shop window or one that unearths a number of gems.

Furthermore, sports betting enthusiasts go berserk, speculating on potential transfers, with many bookmakers creating numerous markets on where a player’s next club could be.

Factor in also that, with the football season over, fans take to Football Manager to try and create their ideal team, having become excited about the rumours that they read. This makes the summer months a great time to be a football fan. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the most high-profile transfers that might happen this time around, especially with so many interesting questions raised.

Aspirational Arsenal?

Arsenal Emirates Stadium
Fans leaving Emirates Stadium after a match (Credit: allanbeth, bigstock)

Having fallen just short again in the title race, all eyes will be on the Gunners. Edu Gaspar and Mikel Arteta have formed a great relationship when it has come to identifying players, though it is clear that more additions are needed.

Of prime importance is the recruitment of a natural central striker. With Slovenian ace Benjamin Sesko having committed his future to RB Leipzig, attentions have reportedly turned to Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen, though there is a reluctance to pay the nearly £100m release clause for a player who only had one exceptional season. His potential, though, isn’t in question.

Feyenoord’s prolific forward Santiago Gimenez has also been linked with the Gunners. He could be a more logical choice, having consistently delivered, while his reported £40 million price tag would be a steal.

Then there is Joshua Zirkzee (recently called into the Dutch squad), whose value could sky-rocket over the next few weeks, with the Bologna forward on the radar of a number of clubs already. It could be the Gunners get both, especially with Zirkzee drawing comparisons to Dennis Bergkamp. Expect reinforcements in the centre of the park to partner Declan Rice. Martin Zubimendi and Atlanta’s Ederson could well become the subject of Edu’s attention soon.

Defensively, Arsenal seem sorted, though signing cover there and the aforementioned names would represent great business for the Gunners.

Toney To Tottenham?

Ivan Toney is seemingly a conundrum – as is Tottenham’s number nine role. Since returning from suspension, the Brentford striker hasn’t exactly pulled up trees, though his talent isn’t in doubt. He was linked to Spurs in the Spring, though they may have second thoughts based on his current form, while manager Ange Postecoglu certainly appears to be shrewd in the market.

Other suitors could include Manchester United, Chelsea and West Ham United, while Newcastle United would be a curious prospect.

Olise on Blues Radar?

Having failed with a bid in the closing stages of last summer’s transfer window, Chelsea could yet again come back in for Crystal Palace winger Michael Olise, especially following the appointment of Enzo Maresca, with wingers a big part of the Italian’s system that won the Championship with Leicester City.

However, the Frenchman won’t come cheap. Chelsea has easily been the biggest spender of any Premier League club over the last two years, and any successful bid will likely be in the region of £60 million. At the moment the West London side appears to be the only club with geniune interest, despite a mild flirtation from Manchester United. Watch this space.

Who could Slot sign?

Stepping into the shoes of Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to be easy, though ex-Feyenoord boss, Arne Slot appears to be confident he can do well at Liverpool.

Surgery will likely happen at Anfield, with question marks over agening talismen Mohammed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker. Leeds United’s Dutch winger, Crysencio Summerville is reportedly fancied and with the Whites failing to achieve promotion, this season’s Championship Player of the Season could represent great value, even at £35 million.

Suggestions remain about Slot returning for former players and versatile defender Lutsharel Geertruida could fit the bill, as well as being a long-term successor to Van Dijk.

European Intrigue

In Europe, there will be numerous players on radars. Bayer Leverkusen will do well to keep all of their players after a stunning campaign, while Real Madrid, having signed Kylian Mbappe on a free transfer could well make a couple of big-money signings.

Bayern Munich are sure to respond after missing out on a league title for the first time in a decade, while Barcelona are always active. Liverpool’s Luis Diaz is said to be of interest of the Catalan giants.

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