Long-term Ultimate Team play is all about FIFA 21 Icons. With perfect chemistry links and souped-up ratings they're the foundation of any FIFA 21 endgame squad, and this year 12 'new' faces take the number of in-game legends to 101. 11 materialised at launch, with former England captain David Beckham a surprise addition in November 2020. Who else is new? Find out in our FIFA 21 Icons guide, where we profile each of the dozen fresh faces.
David Beckham (RM/CM, England)
The long-time England skipper entered the FIFA 21 fray in November, and is unique to this list in that he has four cards available rather than three. The fourth isn't actually an Icon card but instead represents his debut for Real Madrid in 2003/04, and is being given free to all FIFA 21 players so long as it's claimed before 15 January 2021. For more information drop into our FIFA 21 David Beckham story.
Eric Cantona (CF, France)
One of the most famous French footballers ever won just 45 caps for his country – his mercurial personality considered too much of a risk by a succession of managers. Ultimate Team bosses needn't worry about such concerns, and can instead focus on high attributes for awareness, shooting and composure. Everyone remembers Cantona’s four league titles with Manchester United, but it was steering Leeds to the same honour in 1991-92 which set him on the path to becoming Le King of Old Trafford.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (LM/CM, Germany)
The ballet-toed, big-named German is one of only two players on this list to feature in FIFA 20. Schweinsteiger was still with MLS club Chicago Fire when the game was released, and so his common gold card could still be found throughout the summer – for a wallet-busting 38,000 coins. That item positions him at CB, but he’s back in midfield for FIFA 21, where he won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, and eight Bundesliga titles while at Bayern Munich.
Samuel Eto’o (ST, Cameroon)
FIFA 18 was the last time we saw Cameroon’s talismanic frontman, as he brought the curtain down on a 22-year career at Turkish club Konyaspor. Actually, he played for one team after that – bagging six goals for Qatar SC – but they aren’t in FIFA. Eto’o’s icon cards represent spectacular spells with Barcelona (108 goals in 144 appearances) and Inter Milan (33 in 67), though it’s easy to forget that he also had brief stints with Premier League teams Chelsea and Everton.
Ashley Cole (LB, England)
Last seen in FIFA 19, the long-time England left-back went out with a whimper on the virtual turf – his final card was a silver-rated 71, with a pace rating of 64. He’s be back to his best in FIFA 21, with cards based on his days rampaging up the flank for Arsenal and Chelsea. All are rated at least 90 for pace. Cole earned 107 caps for his country, and is now back at Stamford Bridge as Frank Lampard’s academy coach.
Petr Cech (GK, Czech Republic)
Cech’s return doubles the number of legendary goalkeepers sporting unique headgear in FIFA 21 – Russian super keeper Lev Yashin is accurately represented with his thoroughly old-school flat cap. Cech wore a scrum cap for the rest of his career after a collision with Reading’s Steven Hunt, but it had no adverse effect on his ability. The stopper picked up four Premier League titles with Chelsea, where like Cole he’s now part of the management team.
Philipp Lahm (RB/LB/CDM, Germany)
Right-back, left-back, defensive midfielder? Lahm was successfully deployed in all three roles across his exceptional career, and sure enough he gets one FIFA 21 Icon card in each position. Incredibly, Lahm is still only 36 and younger than two active outfield players in the Premier League: Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United) and Glenn Murray (Brighton, on loan to Watford). He won eight Bundesliga titles with Bayern, and was another member of Germany’s 2014 World Cup winning squad.
Xavi (CM, Spain)
The first of two Spanish new additions had a bonkers career between 1997 and 2016. He won the World Cup in 2010, the European Championships in 2008 and 2012, was named in UEFA’s Team Of The Year five times, and won four Champions Leagues and eight La Liga championships with Barcelona. These days the Terrassa-born legend plies his trade as manager of Qatar Stars League club Al Sadd.
Fernando Torres (ST, Spain)
Beloved on the red half of Merseyside alongside the red-and-white half of Madrid (less so at Chelsea), Torres retired in 2019 with 200 goals in 578 senior club appearances to his name – adding 38 for the Spanish national side. His key team honours came while at Stamford Bridge: one FA Cup win, plus victories in the Champions League (2011-12) and Europa League (2012-13). Like Xavi, he was an integral part of the team that won Euros 2008 and 2012, and the 2010 World Cup.
Ferenc Puskas (CF/ST, Hungary)
At school in the ‘80s four names were widely circulated as the greatest footballers of all time: Maradona, Pele, Cruyff, and Puskas. (Which in retrospect was a bit harsh on Eusebio.) As of FIFA 21 all of those names will be playable in virtual form, as the Hungarian master expands your super-expensive attacking options. Puskas scored 514 goals in 530 games with Budapest Honved and Real Madrid, and was just as great for his country, notching 84 goals in 85 games. Anyone know the Hungarian for ‘staggering’?
Nemanja Vidic (CB, Serbia)
Three league cups, five Premier League wins, victory in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League and 2008 FIFA Club World Cup: Vidic’s robust, unflappable defending made him a Manchester United legend, and confirms him as one of the modern era’s greatest centre-backs. So successful were his Old Trafford days, it’s easy to forget they were bookended with spells at Spartak Moscow and Inter Milan. Quite rightly, it’s the United years that inspire his FIFA 21 Icon cards.
Davor Suker (ST, Croatia)
Croatia's all-time top scorer with 45 goals earned a Serie A/Champions League double with Real Madrid in 1997-98, and later that summer fired his country to the World Cup semi-finals. His six goals in seven games at that tournament earned him the Golden Boot. Later in his career Suker also featured for two English clubs: Arsenal and West Ham United.
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