FIFA 2011…just in time for FIFA 2013

While the reason for publishing my embarrassingly late and incomplete FIFA 201o review is obvious, this article, the reason for publishing this article is less obvious. I don’t own 2012 and may never do so (I did play it with my brother at Christmas).

There are three reasons

  1. I may some day own another FIFA title and it will be an interesting data point in the progression of modeling life.
  2. It gives me some sense of some of the players that will be at Euro 2012. It’s more accessible, quicker and more fun than watching hours of old game footage.
  3. It gives me an opportunity to write about player development and team management in the real world.

I played with the following teams: Barcelona, Bristol Rovers, Celtic, Chicago Fire, DC United, Malmö FF, Manchester United and St. Pauli. Primarily, I played with Malmö FF and Celtic and it is those two I want to discuss, along with Barcelona, briefly.

First, I only played one season as Barcelona. I did it only to test this budget glitch. My thought was that I could just sim and I could do the transfer markets, which is really what I love (and hate!). However, Real Madrid was too good even for my unlimited budget and I had to play. In retrospect, it might have been more useful to play with St. Pauli. I could have convinced people to come to the Bundesliga (unlike SPL or Allsvenskan) and the extra budget would have actually been useful. I mean, it was useful at Barcelona, but I didn’t want to go through another 15 seasons. Well, actually, I do want to go through another 15 seasons, but I don’t have time to do that. It’s still quite a fun game, so I might do it in the future if I want to save money by not buying a new FIFA (until after law school, at which point I will have money again). It is so time-consuming to play the young players. It’s too bad you can’t tell the assistant coach which players you would like him to play more often. The separate sim mode in FIFA 2011 is an improvement over 2010, but it’s not enough for me.

Malmö FF

I played this on Semi-Pro. After the first season I somehow got my Be A Pro kicked off the team. I probably just clicked a manager contract instead of player-manager, because at the time I didn’t know there was a difference. I decided to forge ahead. I ended up winning 10 UCL titles. My best season was a 48-game season with 2 losses and 4 draws in 2017/18. I scored the most goals in my 2018/19 season (170) and gave up the fewest in both the 2019/20 and 2022/23 seasons (20).

Some of my notable highest transfers were:

2015/16 – Szczesny (80)

2016/17 – Ninis (reincarnation ended a 74)

2017/18 – Mario Fernandes (80)

2019/20 – Fabio (83)

2020/21 – Lee Chung-Yong (80, though had been higher)

2021/22 – Nani (reincarnation ended at 78)


Despite the big names, due to retirements, I was never able to get up to 5 stars.


There were a few blocks of players worth noting:

Block 1 – Swedes:

Daniel Larsson (74)

Guidetti (75 – I think he had been higher)

Durmaz (MFF)

Hamad (MFF)

Molins (MFF)


Block 2 – Koreans:

The young players guide I was using listed many Koreans very highly. I don’t know if the list was just wrong or if I didn’t give them enough PT, but they didn’t pan out.

Yoon Bit Ga Ram

Lee Seuel Young (I think I wrote this name down wrong!)

Ji Dong Won

Lee Chung-Yong


Block 3 – United players:




Vidic’s reincarnation (84)


Block 4 – Arsenal players:

Frimpong (72)


Traore (ended at 84, but had been higher)

Wellington Silva (74)

Arshavin’s reincarnation (85)

Henry’s reincarnation (85, also mentioned below with MLS)


Block 5 – River Plate players:


Lanzini (71)


Block 6 – MLS players:



Omar Gonzales

Henry’s reincarnation (85)


Other notable players:

Alex Smithies (70)

Toprak (79 – I think he had been higher)

Borini (73)

Igiebor (73)

Wickham (70)



Roberto Carlos







With Celtic, I was able to get up to 5 stars, but due to retirements I dropped back down to 4.5 stars. I didn’t write down team stats. Originally, I was just going to do a big write-up about just Malmö, but I got so irritated about my league not being prestigious enough after winning UCL championship and after UCL championship that I wondered what sort of treatment Scotland would get. It gets similar treatment, though not as harshly as Sweden. I played this one on Professional, so I couldn’t win every game by the end. I also simmed A LOT more, so I put myself in tougher situations in the UCL. I don’t know how much more money would have made a difference though since people did not want to leave their clubs. The UCL money was the same with Sweden as with Scotland and the money for winning the league was more in Scotland (although not additively, since additional money after each round of UCL).

Notable players:

Alverez (86) – I don’t think this was a reincarnation of Higuaín because he got sold to Chelsea in the game, but I did buy him from Real Madrid and he is Argentinian.

David Goodwillie (80 dropped to 79) – highest transfer 4th year

Sturridge (80)

Christian Eriksen (81)

Hazard (88 to 87) <– highest transfer of either year

J. Bruma (81)

van der Weil – 78 (sold! – he’s a RWB and I played a 4-3-3 primarily…he just didn’t fit)

P.  Gulacsi (I don’t know who this is, but he was a free agent and I picked him up for the last season because I had money to blow)

Tosic (80 – reincarnated as 67)

R. Marquez (80, reincarnated as 70 which I developed to 75)

Doumbia (85, reincarnated as 74)

Lukaku (sold because wasn’t growing. I saw he was a 78 later)



Block 1 – Americans:

Altidore (79)

Bradley (79, reincarnated as a 68) – highest transfer year 3


Block 2 – Brazilians:

Lucas (84)

Neymar (86 dropped to 85) -highest transfer 2nd year

Ganso (87, reincarnated as 76)

reincarnation of Ronaldinho (I think – 80 dropped to 79)

Douglas – 85 (Scottish last name for a Brazilian!)


Block 3 – Players I had with Malmo:

Szczesny (85 dropped to 83)

Lamela (when I updated the rosters, he shot up from the 50s to the 70s!)

Mario Fernandes (sold because wasn’t growing, but I saw later in the game he was a 79)

Schelloto (77)

Najar (73)

Ninis (86 reincarnated as 76)

Samao (78, CDM)

Stokes, of course


Block 4 – United players:

Sawyer – reincarnation of Rio Ferdinand?

Phil Jones (81)

Nestor (80)  – reincarnation of Evra?

Johnny Evans (who I sold because he wasn’t growing)

van der Gun – reincarnation


Block 5 – Other Celtic players of note:


Hooper (sold)

Juarez (made it through to age 37 )


Players I had with Malmo that I could not get with Celtic, despite trying:



Lee Chung-Yong




In the last season I simmed everything to see what would happen:

I won the SPL by 15 points.

I won the Scottish Cup.

I lost to Real Madrid in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League.

Just for kicks, to see EA’s prediction for 15 years down the road:

Chelsea won the Europa League.

Manchester City won the Champions League.



I’ll leave the analysis of player development for another day…maybe in time for World Cup 2014.


NOTE: There is another article that spends some time talking about my FIFA experience.

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I played four varsity sports in high school (gridiron, track, football and basketball). I went to states with a relay team in North Carolina and made the state semi-finals in football (soccer). I also coached travel football for TFC ( and worked for Eurosport/ I graduated from the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where I study intellectual property and sports law.

6 Responses

  1. August 21, 2012

    […] my simulation with Malmö FF, this time I played on World Class instead of Semi-Pro. I also kept my “Be A Pro” […]

  2. January 27, 2013

    […] but I’m sticking by my story. The Greece v. Poland game was wild and didn’t see my boy Ninis do […]

  3. January 27, 2013

    […] of the lack of a Continental tournament I’d hit a wall with them and gave up for finishing Malmo, Celtic and then Barcelona (which I never got particularly far in). However, Wendy likes FIFA and I thought […]

  4. February 7, 2013

    […] on the game. I had made the Champions League semi-finals with Malmö in my second year, which was a vast improvement over what happened in FIFA 11. Then I lost a game to Elfsborg (If I remember correctly) and then to Barcelona. I had beaten […]

  5. June 19, 2014

    […] noticed just before the game that Ninis didn’t make the final squad. […]

  6. July 30, 2015

    […] on the game. I had made the Champions League semi-finals with Malmö in my second year, which was a vast improvement over what happened in FIFA 11. Then I lost a game to Elfsborg (If I remember correctly) and then to Barcelona. I had beaten […]

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