Football Manager heroes who flopped in the Premier League in real life
So, your team has been linked with or even signed a player who is a star on PC game Football Manager. Time to get excited? Maybe not just yet. The Sports Interactive hit is renowned for predicting the hottest unearthed talent in world football but the truth is, not all of them come to fruition.
Like the vast majority of football fans, you most likely spent a large portion of your teenage years playing Football Manager, and will be more than aware of the young talent who become icons in the game. Arguably, the best buzz was finding an unheard of prospect and seeing him flourish and become the star of your team.
More often than not, those players do go on to hit the big time in real life and some have made it in football’s elite. However, some have signed for Premier League sides and been nothing short of a disaster. Let’s take a look through some of the biggest disappointments from the hugely popular game, but before we do, check out the latest Paddy Power Games offerings right now to win instant cash prizes.
Those of you who remember Manchester City’s spending spree from 2007 will recall Valeri Bojinov, who joined the Sven Goran-Eriksson revolution alongside Vedran Corluka, Martin Petrov and Elano et al. Bojinov arrived at City from Fiorentina with a glowing reputation, but did little to justify why he was so highly rated in real life and on FM05. During three years at the Etihad, he mustered just one Premier League goal in 11 outings.
Even today, Federico Fazio is regarded as a Football Manager legend, and if you signed him on the 2008 version of the game, you were destined for greatness. Unfortunately, Tottenham Hotspur fans would tell you that in reality Fazio was nowhere near the high standards the game predicted. He certainly had chances to impress Mauricio Pochettino but too many costly errors and a failure to adapt to the rigours of Premier League football saw him depart for Roma in 2017.
At the turn of the century, Kim Källström was arguably the game’s biggest bargain and you could snap him up for roughly £500k – an absolute steal even back then. Within a season or two, his value would sky-rocket and a whole host of clubs would be haggling to acquire his services. In real life, Källström did enjoy a largely successful career in France but his time at Arsenal was one to forget. Arsène Wenger signed him on a six-month loan in 2014 despite Källström being injured. He did manage three Premier League appearances and chipped in with an FA Cup goal against Reading.
FM08 had him billed as the next Thierry Henry, and if you signed Henri Saivet on the game you came mightily close to replicating the legendary Arsenal striker. In real life, Saivet came through the youth set-up at Bordeaux and was pretty woeful before Newcastle United took a gamble. Boss Rafa Benitez saw little development from the striker-turned-winger and he is currently on loan at Bursaspor in Turkey.
Championship Manager 01/02 (Before it was re-named Football Manager), is perhaps one of the best versions of the smash-hit game, and there was a plethora of wonderkids you could snap up for peanuts. The best of the bunch was surely Julius Aghahowa, a striker with electric pace and acceleration who would regularly hit 30+ a season. In real life, Aghahowa was relatively successful at Shakhtar Donetsk but he was truly awful when he signed for Premier League side Wigan Athletic in 2007. In 20 appearances, he failed to score a single goal and he retired from the game in 2012.