This Is The Dumbest Thing The FIFA Games Do Every Year And It Needs To Stop

For about 10 years now, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been, by far, the two best men’s footballers on the planet. I would argue they’re the two most talented players in the history of the game given how they’ve dominated in the world’s toughest leagues for such a prolonged period of time.

And yet, EA Sports’ FIFA ratings don’t reflect just how legendary these two players are. And we’re pretty sure we know why.

Whether you’re Team Messi, Team Ronaldo or Team They’re Both Friggin’ Awesome, there’s no denying how great these players are. While their talents vary — Ronaldo has insane raw power to go with his technical skills while Messi is more serene and can create magic with the ball — there are only a handful of players in the history of the game who can match their abilities. It’s Ronaldo, Messi, Maradona and Pelé, end of story. We don’t need to go over all of their accolades because we’ve all watched them excel for the last 15 years. 

So why then, if FIFA rates players on a 99-point scale, are Messi and Ronaldo not ranked 98 or 99 every year?

Looking back at the last 12 years of EA Sports’ video game behemoth (from FIFA 10 to the upcoming FIFA 21), neither Messi nor Ronaldo has ever been rated above 94. In FIFA 21, Messi is a 93 and Ronaldo a 92. In EA Sports’ view, the two best players in the history of the game are not worthy of the highest rating in the game.


If we’re going to rank players on a 1-99 scale, the best players of all time should at the very least be 97-98, if not 99 every single year. 

I understand Messi and Ronaldo are not perfect players. Their defensive stats are never going to be very high and if you put either in goal, they’d be awful. But EA Sports already factors in positions for overall rating. If you put a forward at winger, he’ll still be rated highly — play him at defense and his overall rating will plummet. 

So why does FIFA continue to rate Messi and Ronaldo below the maximum score?

FIFA Ultimate Team.

Over the last 10 years, FIFA’s annual releases have become more and more focused on maximizing profits for the microtransaction gambling of FUT, where players buy packs for a tiny chance to get a great player. With FUT, EA Sports releases various player cards throughout a season that have stats higher than their base rating. So even if you’re lucky enough to get a Cristiano Ronaldo card, you might only get his basic 92-rated card. You’ll have to put another thousand dollars in the slot machine to hope you get a Team of the Week/Month/Season or other specialty card with the maximum stats. 

Both Messi and Ronaldo have had 99-rated cards released on FUT in recent years, with EA taking advantage of various events to release new cards that players will have to spend more time and/or money to obtain. But EA has also given other players 99 ratings on these specialty cards, including Luka Modric, who set the record for highest-rated card ever in FIFA 19 last year.

Modric is a stellar player and he had an amazing 2018, but he’s not an all-time great like Messi and Ronaldo. It’s frustrating, silly and pointless for EA Sports to continue to ignore just how good these two guys are.

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Then again, FIFA’s ratings of women’s players aren’t much better. 

The highest-rated player last year was Megan Rapinoe (93), despite coming off a season in which she led the USWNT to the Women’s World Cup and was voted the best player in the world (though admittedly she isn’t an all-time great). Based on the way EA Sports treats Messi and Ronaldo, we shudder to think how Marta, Mia Hamm, Sun Wen and Michelle Akers would be rated if FIFA had included women in the series during their primes.

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