FIFA 20 Career Mode guide: Team selection
With a huge number of teams to choose from, picking the right club can seem daunting, but it plays a vital role in how much you enjoy your career. Luckily, that's exactly what this FIFA 20 career mode guide is here for. I've scoured FIFA 20 for the best teams to manage, whether you want to build a dynasty or work your magic in the toughest of conditions. And I've got some great suggestions if you'd rather try a themed challenge to mix things up a bit too.
Small fish, big pond: Paderborn
While it seems like getting bullied week in, week out would be no fun, it actually makes for a great challenge in FIFA 20. And if that sounds like it's up your street, Paderborn is the team to go for.
The club starts in the German Bundesliga. You may have heard of it, it contains clubs like Bayern Munich (budget £125 million), Borussia Dortmund (£65 million) and RB Leipzig (£58 million). Most teams have a budget of more than £10 million, with many swelling into the tens of millions.
Then there's Paderborn, sitting on less than £5 million. They've been promoted twice in two years to reach the Bundesliga, and there's no other team in FIFA 20 that looks so out of its depth. If you can hang on and survive, you'll be the hero the club so desperately needs.
Youth-only challenge: UCD AFC
While it's tempting to go all-out and purchase the best players in the world, scouting for new talent is often a much better idea. Not only is it far more affordable, but you get to put your own stamp on your team with a squad full of new faces, rather than one bursting with the wonderkids every other career mode player buys.
If you want a great career mode challenge, you can go one step further and restrict yourself to only acquiring new talent through scouting. And if you're going to go down that route, UCD AFC from the Republic of Ireland is the best team to choose.
That's because they're tailor-made to make this both challenging and rewarding. Youth development is a critical objective for your board, the highest level of importance available. Not only will you be set tough youth objectives, but you'll have to do it with the lowest budget in the entire game; just £452,269. If you can generate a team of wonderkids with that little cash, you really are a FIFA wizard.
Military discipline: Sangju Sangmu
Some clubs have self-imposed restrictions in real life. Athletic Bilbao only sign Basque players, while Newcastle United's board does all it can to frustrate and alienate the club's fans. None are as tough as South Korea's Sangju Sangmu, however. Here, discipline is so strong it's almost like the team is run by the military.
Actually, that's exactly what's happening. It's the official club for the South Korean military, and is made up entirely of players serving their two-year compulsory military service. Every year up to 15 players join on loan and stay for two seasons before returning to their original clubs. Due to being a military club, no foreign players can be signed.
That makes for a fascinating challenge in FIFA 20. Manage this team and you must restrict yourself to only signing South Korean players on loan, and can only loan each player for a maximum of two seasons. With a constant flux of players, you'll be hard-pressed to win silverware, but it'll encourage you to really get to know the domestic players and their strengths and weaknesses. Oh, and signing a North Korean player is an automatic P45, obviously.
Demanding board: SL Benfica
One thing that often gets neglected when picking a FIFA 20 career mode team is what your board expects of you. But as Mauricio Pochettino will readily tell you, the board isn't always on your side, which can make managing a team a real challenge.
If you think you have what it takes, try taking the helm at SL Benfica in Portugal because the board is the most demanding in the entire game. The club's domestic success, brand exposure, and youth development goals are all critically important; miss your targets on just one of these and you could be heading for an early bath. Elsewhere, achieving continental success is highly important, so you'll be expected to wipe the floor with Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich in the Champions League. No problem, right?
There's some respite in that your financial objectives are only of medium importance, but that brief relief is quickly dispelled when you realise that still means you'll be expected to somehow make a profit at the end of the season while still challenging for every trophy in sight. Think you're a career mode master? Just try pleasing this board.
Road to glory: Macclesfield Town
Everyone loves a good story, and FIFA's career mode has always been great at creating those. And there's no better tale than taking a team from the very bottom all the way to the top in a “road to glory” career.
The best team for this challenge has to be Macclesfield in England's League Two. It's been floating around the fourth and fifth tiers of English football for the past 20 years, so is primed and ready for someone to take charge and finally bring success to the club. But it won't be easy – you'll have the lowest budget in the division, while having to deal with critical financial and youth development objectives.
Even then, it'll take three promotions before you even make it to the Premier League, and then you have to deal with some of the richest and most powerful clubs in the world. If you can transform Macclesfield into a powerhouse of English football, you'll have completed one of the toughest challenges in the game.