If you’re still playing FIFA 17 (opens in new tab) Ultimate Team eight months after release, then you’re almost certainly a.) flush with in-game currency, and b.) tired of playing against (and probably with) Premier League teams. Butland, Smalling, Kante, Vardy, wash, rinse, repeat. And while GamesRadar+ can’t hand-pick opponents for you, I can at least recommend competitive teams to play as that don’t utilise a single Prem player.
I’ve been using variations on all of these since the turn of the year, and come to love players such as Alexandre Lacazette, Josef Martinez and Josuha Guilavogui almost as much as those from my real-life team. Buy-now prices are correct on PS4 as of Monday 1 May, and where necessary I’ve suggested upgrades just in case you’ve a few extra pennies in the kitty. You really, really should do the Ligue 1 Squad Building Challenge that earns a special Lacazette, for instance…
German Shepherds (Bundesliga, 3-4-3 formation)
- GK Ralf Fahrmann (84, Schalke) – 3000 coins
- CB Mats Hummels (87, Bayern) – 17750
- CB Javi Martinez (85, Bayern) – 4600
- CB Kevin Vogt (82, Hoffenheim, in-form) – 21000
- RM Breel Embolo (81, Schalke, ones to watch) – 24000
- CM Thiago (85, Bayern) – 5500
- *CM Josuha Guilavogui (80, Wolfsburg) – 1300
- LM Filip Kostic (80, Hamburg) – 1200
- **RW Karim Bellarabi (83, Leverkusen) – 2100
- ST Andre Hahn (80, Monchengladbach) – 12000
- ***LW Douglas Costa (84, Bayern) – 5500
- *position change card (CDM to CM) required for Guilavogui
- **position change card (RM to RW) required for Bellarabi
- ***position change card (LM to LW) required for Costa
With so many FIFA players fixated on the Premier League, Bundesliga stars are great for building a cheap, effective side. Take Andre Hahn for instance; on paper his ratings are dwarfed by those of Robert Lewandowski, but I rotate both in my German team and the drop-off isn’t huge. Yet you’re talking two cards with a 75,000 coin differential.
Similarly, if you can afford Arjen Robben at RW, then treat yourself at some point; but be assured that Bellarabi is a constant threat down the right flank, and will likely still get game time even after you acquire the deadly Dutchman. And ignore that apparently lowly 80 Overall on Guilavogui – I’ve found him to be one of the most well-rounded midfielders in FIFA 17, delivering key interceptions at the back and vital goals up top.
As for that defensive threesome: what it lacks for pace if makes up for in height and strength. Be sure to keep Vogt on the left of the trio, to match his stronger left peg. Balanced and disciplined, you won’t concede often.
Stars 'n Schtripes (MLS, 4-1-2-1-2 formation)
- GK Tim Howard (81, Colorado Rapids) – 700
- RB Alvas Powell (70, Portland) – 300
- CB Laurent Ciman (78, Montreal Impact) – 700
- CB Jelle Van Damme (77, LA Galaxy) – 700
- LB Ashley Cole (86, LA Galaxy, FUT birthday) – 24,000
- CDM* Bastian Schweinsteiger (82, Chicago Fire) – 2,200
- CM Andrea Pirlo (82, NYCFC) – 1,700
- CM Steven Gerrard (81, LA Galaxy) – 7,000
- CAM Kaka (82, Orlando City) – 1,400
- ST Josef Martinez (81, Atlanta United, in-form) – 16,750
- ST Giovinco (85, Toronto FC, in-form) – 44,000
- *position change card (CM to CDM) required for Schweinsteiger
A real all-star team, littered with Premier League experience – and you can add further depth to it by buying Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard to use from the subs bench. The midfield lacks speed, but two athletic full-backs make up for that; Cole’s 85 Pace and 85 Passing make him perform more like a winger. Use him liberally on the overlap.
Martinez isn’t a household name outside of the States, but I’ve found him more effective than superstars such as Drogba, Robbie Keane and Giovani Dos Santos. Not surprisingly, really, when he’s rated 93 for Pace and 81 for Physicality. Giovinco’s absurd Pace (91) and Dribbling (89) make him the perfect complement.
If you’re feeling flush to the tune of more than 100K, be sure to complete the MLS Squad Building Challenge, which scores you an even better Giovinco (as seen in the above image) – 86-rated Overall, with 91 for both Pace and Dribbling.
French Class (Ligue 1, 4-2-2-2 formation)
- GK Danijel Subasic (84, AS Monaco) – 3200
- RB Serge Aurier (83, PSG) – 4200
- CB Dante (84, OGC Nice) – 29500
- CB Kamil Glik (84, AS Monaco) – 3600
- LB Layvin Kurzawa (81, PSG) – 2900
- *CDM Marco Verratti (85, PSG) – 5700
- CDM Grzegorz Krychowiak (82, PSG) – 2400
- CAM Henri Saivet (82, Saint-Etienne) – 15000
- CAM Julian Draxler (84, PSG) – 4000
- ST Alexandre Lacazette (85, Olympique Lyon) – 27000
- ST Mario Balotelli (81, OGC Nice) – 2500
86 Pace, 84 Shooting, 84 Dribbling, 76 Physicality: Lacazette is an absolute dream to handle, and as with Giovinco you can unlock an even better version, rated 87 overall, by completing the relevant Squad Building Challenges. I can’t recommend that enough: ‘blue’ Laca is my favourite player in FIFA 17.
He’s surrounded by quality here, too. Balotelli is a deadly finisher both on the ground and in the air, and Laca and Draxler’s creativity should provide him with plenty of chances. And Saivet’s brilliance will surprise you. On paper he shouldn’t be a match for 84-rated Hatem Ben Arfa, but I’ve found his power and composure to be even more of an asset than the former Newcastle man’s.
Not in the first eleven, but highly recommended as an alternate defender, is Toulouse CB Christopher Jullien. His 81-rated in-form will cost you 19K, and I’ve found it to be worth every cent: at 6’5” and with an 83 Physicality stat, he’s dominant in both penalty areas. If you can’t afford Dante, nab him instead.
Edin For Glory (Calcio A, 3-4-1-2 formation)
- GK Joe Hart (84, Torino) – 3400
- CB Gonzalo Rodriguez (83, Fiorentina) – 2400
- CB Kalidou Koulibaly (85, Napoli, IMOTM) – 41750
- CB Kostas Manolas (84, Roma) – 4000
- *RM Domenico Berardi (82, Sassuolo) – 1400
- CM Sami Khedira (83, Juventus) – 5600
- CM Giacomo Bonaventura (83, Milan) – 2400
- *LM Dries Mertens (85, Napoli) – 7800
- CAM Ever Banega (84, Inter) – 2900
- ST Edin Dzeko (86, Roma, TOTGS) – 24000
- ST Carlos Bacca (84, Milan) – 3700
- *position change card (RW to RM) required for Berardi
- **position change card (LW to LM) required for Mertens
More than any other league in the game, central defensive options abound when piecing together a Calcio A side. If you’ve even more cash to spend consider names such as Chiellini, Bonucci or Barzagli, but be assured that Koulibaly can hold his own against any contemporary (or indeed striker) in the game.
Further up the pitch, my big bucks have been lavished upon former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. I actually use his 87-rated card, which costs around 7,000 coins more, but even the 86 will bring goals thanks to high attributes in Shooting (86) and Physicality (81). Cut inside onto Berardi’s stronger left foot and aim for the big Bosnian with crosses as often as possible.
CAM has been a bit of a problem position in this team, and Banega is tidy but not as effective in front of goal as I’d like. As a result, I’ve converted Alejandro Gomez’s 84-rated card from CF to CAM; but it’s a budget breaker at 33,000 coins. Your best alternative within budget, and without using a position change card, is Borja Valero – 83-rated, at a cost of 1,900.
Pique Blinders (La Liga, 4-3-1-2 formation)
- GK Diego Lopez (82, Espanyol) – 1200
- RB Juanfran (83, Atletico Madrid) – 2200
- CB Gerard Pique (87, Barcelona) – 20250
- CB Ezequiel Garay (84, Valencia) – 2800
- LB Gaya (80, Valencia) – 1700
- CM Koke (84, Atletico Madrid) – 3400
- *CM Casemiro (83, Real Madrid) – 3100
- **CM Iborra (84, Sevilla, in-form) – 23500
- CAM Isco (84, Real Madrid) – 5400
- ST Morata (84, Real Madrid, in-form) – 30000
- ST Aduriz (84, Athletic Bilboa) – 2700
- *position change card (CDM to CM) required for Casemiro
- **position change card (CDM to CM) required for Iborra
Naturally you’ll pay a premium for players from Barcelona and Real Madrid, but the happy news is that it’s still possible to build a dominant La Liga squad for 100K even without mega stars. That does include four players from the above sides, most notably the imperious Pique at the back, and twinkle-toed Isco behind your strike partnership.
The big bucks go on Morata, who isn’t quite on par with names such as Griezmann, Suarez or Ronaldo, but comes at a fraction of their cost. With 85 Pace and 78 Physical, he should be the focal point of attacks. Use him to feed Aduriz and Isco and watch the goals fly in.
Monstrous central midfielder Iborra is the key to this team. At 6ft 4in, and 86 Defending and 86 Physical, he’ll swallow up attacks, then spark ones of your own thanks to a 78 Passing stat. Look for Gaya overlapping down the left flank as a key attacking outlet; his 88 Pace should be used relentlessly to force opponent wide players onto the back foot.
FIFA 17 (opens in new tab) is out now on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. Already looking ahead to next year? Then check out the 11 key changes fans most want to see in FIFA 18 (opens in new tab).