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FIFA 21 Career Mode guide: pick the right club, scout the best players and improve your youth team

FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best teams to manage

FIFA 21 career mode

(Image credit: EA)

Picking the right team for your FIFA 21 career is important, but with so many to choose from, where do you start? If you are not sure, fear not, as we are here to guide you with some top picks of the best teams to manage in the game. Whether you want to work your way up from the bottom or take charge of a team with a rich history and philosophy, we have scoured FIFA 21 for the best clubs you can lead to glory.

The road to glory: Morecambe

FIFA 21 career mode

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Road-to-glory careers involve starting on the very lowest rung and working your way up to becoming champions of the very top tier. In FIFA 21, one team is perfectly positioned for this: Morecambe, competing in League Two in England.

Why? Well, for one thing 2020 marks the club’s centenary, and what better occasion to lead it to silverware than on its one hundredth anniversary? That is not all Morecambe has going for it, though. The club is one of only two in the top four English divisions to have never been relegated since it was founded. It is an historic legacy held by the perfect club to bring some much-needed titles to.

It will not be easy, though. Aside from the monumental challenge of rising up the ladder and achieving glory on the European stage, you start with one of the lowest budgets in League Two, alongside a squad that needs a radical overhaul if you are to realise your goals. With all that to consider, Morecambe is a truly challenging team to manage.

The small fish in a big pong: Elche CF

FIFA 21 career mode

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Spanish clubs have a global following. People the world over support giants like Barcelona and Real Madrid, and they have the enormous spending power required to cement their status. For Barcelona, that means £162 million in spending money, while Real Madrid’s budget tops out at £169 million.

European heavyweights struggle to compete with that kind of cashflow, so how must it feel for lowly Elche CF? The club shares the same division as these world-famous clubs, yet only has a pittance to spend on players in comparison: just £1.5 million. Take the helm here and you will have a task of epic proportions just to stay up.

It is not just Barcelona and Real Madrid who overshadow you. Atlético de Madrid (£61 million), Valencia CF (£54 million), and Sevilla FC (£31 million) can likely buy your whole team several times over. If you want to prove yourself against footballing royalty, Elche CF is the club to manage.

The most demanding board: Ajax

FIFA 21 career mode

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Every manager must deal with their club’s board, wrangling with its members to loosen the purse strings and free up cash for increased transfer budgets and better facilities. Some boards are lenient and willing to listen. Others are tough and stand firm. And then there’s Ajax’s board, who may be damn-near sadistic.

You see, the Dutch club has easily the toughest objectives of any team in FIFA 21. Domestic success? Critical. Brand exposure? Critical. Youth development? You bet it’s critical.

At least you get some respite with the continental success and financial objectives, which are [checks notes] highly important. Great. So, you are expected to secure immediate domestic and continental glory while promoting a bevy of talented youngsters and keeping a tight leash on the finances, otherwise you will likely get fired. No pressure then.

The youth development challenge: Hamilton

FIFA 21 career mode

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One of the most satisfying parts of FIFA 21 is setting up a scouting network and searching the world for hidden gems ready to be developed into the next batch of superstars. Seeing a player go from nothing to a global force under your watch is one of the most immersive and rewarding elements of the game. If that sounds like your kind of career, try managing Hamilton in Scotland.

It is the only existing professional club in British football to have been founded from a school team – Hamilton Academy in 1874 – giving you the perfect backstory to focus purely on finding talented youngsters. If that was not enough, the team also has critical youth development and financial goals, while all other objectives have very low importance. That means you have no choice but to focus on scouting – by spending less on buying ready-made players, you make progress towards both critical objectives. As well as that, your board won't care if doing so means you do not achieve much domestic success or increase your brand’s reach. Show the Celtic and Rangers big boys that you can in fact win with a team full of kids.

The smallest budget: Academica

FIFA 21 career mode

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These days, football is awash with money. You cannot escape it, and wherever you look you find a club taken over by a billionaire investor with cash coming out of their ears. In FIFA 21, taking the helm at one of these extravagantly wealthy clubs and buying whoever you want may seem like fun, but it can quickly lose its attraction. If you want a real challenge, you need to go to the opposite end of the spectrum.

No club is further from the likes of PSG and Manchester City than lowly Academica in Romania. With transfer funds of just £456,570, it has the lowest budget of any team in the game. Not only that, but its financial objectives are of critical importance, meaning spending what little money you have is going to be next to impossible.

It is not like you will be playing in a league of equally impoverished teams, all of whom are struggling financially. No, taking over Academica sees you manage the poorest club in the division by some distance. The next closest club has almost double your budget, while teams like FCSB and CFR 1907 Cluj boast many millions at their disposal. Manage to drag Academica out of the mire and you will have achieved something truly great.

Alex Blake
I love FIFA career mode, so much so that I run a site devoted to it at FIFAscoutingtips.com. I'm sad like that.