I feel kind of bad. I'm trying to get through various big story games like Red Dead Redemption 2, The Witcher 3, and a Skyrim replay, but you know what? I just keep playing FIFA. I'm addicted to this series. I play every single installment with a sort of mad, fevered passion, neglecting bigger games just to spend more time taking my team from glory to glory. That's not to say that the games are flawless. Every single year there are one or two things that just hit me the wrong way. This year, it was getting used to the timed shot system and the AI's various improvements, and, the universal constant, player ratings. For the most part, I really think FIFA 19 has nailed player ratings, but some of them are just baffling. I've talked about this before, but I didn't have the space to get rid of the goat that FIFA gave me.
In this article, I'm going to try and be less grumpy. I'm going to praise 10 player ratings that I think the game got spot on, as well as kvetching about 15 others that it really, really didn't. Playing this game more, and finally getting my team into the Champions League, has shown me that it's not only English players that FIFA occasionally throws under the bus (or indeed, award a first class ticket, complete with complementary toadying from the driver). Let's get started: here are 15 of the stupidest FIFA 19 player ratings and 10 of the best.
25 Ridiculous: Son Heung-min – 84
Son Heung-min is fantastic. As a neutral fan, whenever I see him play for Spurs (or indeed, South Korea), he leaves me spellbound. He’s fast, skillful, and capable of cracking in goals and making it look easy. Look at his record for Tottenham: in 107 appearances, he's scored 50 goals, and created countless more. Why then, is he only rated at 84? As anyone who saw him play at the World Cup would agree, he deserves to be up around 88.
24 Ridiculous: Antoine Griezmann — 89
If I were Antoine Griezmann, I'd be wondering what I had to do to appease the FIFA gods. They're happy to give Neymar, who comes unstuck anytime he plays someone who isn't a French farmer, a massive rating, but Griezmann is stuck on 89. He pulled Atletico Madrid into a commanding position in La Liga, and played beautifully in the World Cup for France. For heaven's sake, the man was Man of the Match in the hard-fought World Cup final! He needs to be 90-92.
23 Love: Gianluigi Donnarumma — 82
As the FIFA commentary reminded me the other day, Donnarumma is a goalkeeper with reach as long as his name. He’s an incredible goalkeeper, and easily lining up to take Buffon’s spot as the Gigi and goalie of choice. Want even more? He's not very expensive at all, costing somewhere around £30 million. Grab him in career mode, and you're set for years to come. Rated at 82 and just 19 years old, he’s a player you can easily get up to 90+ through training, letting him stop basically everything but the very best shots.
22 Ridiculous: Stephan El Shaarawy – 82
This Roma player might not ever be regarded as world-class (mainly because everyone forgets the poor lad exists), but god knows he’s better than this. A fantastic player with excellent technical skill, he used to be very highly regarded, but has basically escaped non-Italian fans' memories. Easily one of the top players in Serie A at the moment. Since he moved to Roma, he's helped the club escape the morass it's found itself in since Francesco Totti retired. He is definitely deserving of a rating around 85.
21 Ridiculous: Paulo Dybala – 89
People go mental about Paulo Dybala, and I've never quite understood the hype. Yes, the Argentine is a good player, but people compare him to Eden Hazard. That's barmy. Yes, he's "better" than Hazard in terms of goals scored, but only if you don't factor in that Serie A is a less competitive league than the Premier League, which is probably the most competitive one on Earth. Knock him down to 86-87 and you'd have Dybala more accurately reflecting his skill level.
20 Love: Malcom — 81
Malcom is one of the most promising young players going. He's just 21 years old, and starting for Barcelona. Before that, he played for Bordeaux, where he put in a good enough performance to get signed by the Spanish club, who are, let's face it, probably the best club in the world. I have no doubt that as he matures, he'll be a starter for Brazil and a regular at Barca. Until then though, he's dirt cheap and a fantastic player. Grab him while he's still young and train him into a world-class performer.
19 Ridiculous: Virgil Van — 85
Few would have seen Van Dijk for the defender he is. However, since arriving at Liverpool, he has reinforced their defense, helping strong-arm it into a commanding position as one of the league’s best. If there's a player who this guy can't stop, it's fairly likely that nobody could. He deserves a better rating, and I can't help feeling that his nation's substandard performance of late is what's holding it down. He should be rated somewhere around 88.
18 Ridiculous: Juan Cuadrado — 84
Another Juve player, to rate Juan Cuadrado at 84 is insane. He’s distinctly average, both for Juventus and for the Colombian national side. He's 30, and he's just kind of boring to watch. Playing basically everywhere on the pitch (which is rarely a good sign), look at his goal record for some proof. In 31 appearances for Juve, he's scored just five goals. While at Chelsea, he didn't score at all. The football equivalent of a B-list celebrity, pull him down to 81, and you'd have Cuadrado down pat.
17 Love: Adama Traore — 75
He may have been playing for second-tier side Middlesbrough last season, but since then Adama’s had a hot transfer to Wolves, who consistently overperform. His outrageous speed has been rewarded, with EA making him one of the paciest players in FIFA, and he’s rated 75 at the still eminently trainable age of 22. If you want to get a fantastic, cheap winger (for whom speed is basically all that matters), then you need to get Adama into your squad, stat!
16 Ridiculous: Mauro Icardi — 87
While Inter may not be in the spotlight right now, Icardi certainly deserves to be. Strikers don't come much more dangerous than this Argentine. In 168 games since joining Inter from Sampdoria back in 2013, he's scored a cracking 107 goals. He's got plenty more ahead of him too. Last season alone, he scored 29 times in 36 games. He absolutely deserves to be somewhere around 89 or 90, rather than languishing in the mid-80s, just three points above the really, really average Cuadrado.
15 Ridiculous: Alisson — 85
Mr. Alisson Becker is a superb goalkeeper. Last season he played a key role in helping knock Barcelona, Barcelona, out of the Champions League with Roma. Since coming to Liverpool, the man's kept house well. While we're yet to see if he'll live up to last season's ridiculous record of 22 clean sheets in 47 matches, he's a very strong player, and should definitely be buffed up to 88 or 89. Again, I refer you to Cuadrado: is he really just one point better? The answer is no.
14 Love: Kieran Tierney — 76
Never heard of Kieran Tierney? I wouldn't blame you, though you definitely will sometime in the next few years. Currently playing for Celtic, Tierney is one of the foremost young left backs in the world, and he's developing a treat in the Scottish Premiership. He's not an all-star just yet, but if you're looking for a strong, capable left back to support your team's defense and wing efforts, Tierney comes highly recommended. He's got a potential of 86, so train him and use him, and you'll be good for a long while.
13 Ridiculous: Danijel Subasic — 83
Did the people behind FIFA even watch the World Cup this year? I can't assume so, and if they did, why did they rate Subasic so poorly? He was one of the best keepers in the tournament, and in the 2016-17 season, played a huge role in helping Monaco win Ligue 1. I know that he's getting a little old at 34, but traditionally, keepers don't age very badly at all, with David Seaman being a top-drawer talent until he retired at the age of 40. Subasic deserves to be rated somewhere around 88.
12 Ridiculous: Peter Crouch — 73
I may be a little bit biased here, I admit. I like Peter Crouch a great deal. His podcast for the BBC is consistently hilarious, and in general, he is an absolute legend. He’s also, despite being 37, a notch or two higher than 73. Stoke often bring him on as a sub these days, and his ridiculous height (as a friend once remarked, he looks like CGI) and undoubted skills are still letting him create chances and score. Put him up to 75 or so, and I think it’d be right.
11 Love: Riyad Mahrez — 85
One of those players whom it would have been easy for FIFA to neglect, I’m glad Riyad Mahrez got the recognition he deserves. He was fantastic while playing for Leicester, but since joining Manchester City he’s been on an absolute tear. I recently saw him play in their Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk, and he tore them to pieces. Not only can he do this against a distinctly average Ukrainian team, but he can do this time after time in the Premier League. A vital part of Man City, he'll be remembered as a truly great player.
10 Ridiculous: Jamie Vardy — 82
He of the famous party, Jamie Vardy might still be playing for Leicester, but by God is he a prolific goalscorer. In three years, he's knocked in 57 goals, and despite being 31 years old, can still be relied upon to score against even the toughest opposition. Superseded by Harry Kane for England, he's a far better player than EA give him credit for. If you ask me, he should be upgraded to about 84 or 85, which would better suit his talent.
9 Love: Christian Eriksen — 88
Until 2013, you'd have been forgiven if you'd never heard of Christian Eriksen. Starting out at Ajax, the Danish superstar has moved up in the world to Tottenham Hotspur, and good lord does he deserve the fame he has. In 2017 he broke the record for most goals scored in the Premier League by a Dane, formerly set by Bendtner. He also got into the PFA Team of the Year, which is an impressive feat by anyone's definition. A great rating for a great player, end of.
8 Ridiculous: Danny Ings — 76
Don’t get me wrong: no one’s mind jumps to Danny Ings when they think “Premier League Top Talent.” That being said, he’s a reliable player at Southampton, and is pretty quick too. While at Liverpool he was kind of drowned out by the heaving talent of the side's front end, he's been able to make much more of an impact down on the south coast, and has already scored 4 goals in 10 matches. He should be buffed up to 78, maybe 79 at a push. He's definitely not deserving of the rating you'd give a Championship player.
7 Love: Kepa Arrizabalaga – 83
What is it with all the best young goalkeepers having incredibly long names? Well, Kepa is a keeper with a bright future ahead of him. Easily trained up and capable of producing some incredible saves, he’s well worth including in your squad. He may not be quite as young as Donnarumma, but if you play him regularly, he'll soon get up to top-tier level, and you'll understand why Chelsea spent quite such a huge amount on him in the last transfer window.
6 Ridiculous: Callum Wilson — 78
Another underrated south coast player, Callum Wilson is one of the main reasons Bournemouth are doing so well, despite being a tiny club. He’s got four-star skills, and he’s a god damn goal machine. Recently getting his England debut in the friendly against the USA, I'm honestly surprised that he wasn't called up sooner, because he really does deserve it. The guy deserves to be boosted up to 82 or so, and if you need a striker who's relatively cheap, grab him this instant.
5 Love: Jan Oblak — 90
Outside of Spain, this guy is less well-known than he should be, which makes me very happy indeed that FIFA didn't just ignore his brilliance. Throughout his career, Oblak has shown time and time again that he is truly a world class player. In his 2015-2016 season with Atletico, he conceded an all-time low goal count of just 18. Across the whole season! Just take a look at this three-save streak by him against Leverkusen in the Champions League. It's bonkers. He truly deserves the rating he gets, fantastic.
4 Ridiculous: Ivan Cavaleiro — 75
Watch Ivan Cavaleiro play, and tell me that he doesn't deserve to be in the low 80s. Honestly, go and do it. It's crazy. He played a massive part in getting Wolves promoted last season, and creates a huge amount of chances, and is generally a fantastic squad player. I don't think anyone would ever say he's the best winger in the league, but to rate him as if he was a Championship player is a little bit weird. If it were up to me, I'd probably put him up to 80 or 81.
3 Love: Willian — 84
I think it's fair to say that Willian is a player with a big reputation that isn’t quite backed up by his skill, FIFA nailed Willian with an 84. Like Juan Cuadrado, he's getting on a bit now, aged 30, but he's definitely slightly better than him. I very much doubt that he's going to be playing for Chelsea for a whole lot longer, but while he's here, he's a reliable squad player, if not much else. It would have been easy for FIFA to overrate him, and I'm very glad they didn't.
2 Ridiculous: Nathan Ake — 79
Defenders don't come a whole lot more underrated than Nathan Ake. Another Bournemouth player, the Dutchman is pretty versatile in his defending abilities, able to play at both center back and left back positions. He's a very solid passer too. He can match Ngolo Kante's impressive work rate, and he's about as professional as a footballer can be. Some people have compared him to Ruud Gullit, and while I'm not sure I'd go that far, he definitely deserves to be an 81 or 82 rated player.
1 Love: Marcus Rashford — 81
Speedy, young, and a fantastic goalscorer to boot, FIFA got Rashford's ranking absolutely right. He's just 21 years old, making him a prime choice if you want a good, young player who you can train up into one of the world's best forwards. In real life, he makes up for his young age with pure skill. He made his England debut when he was 19 and scored in his first match! He's an incredible player, but if he were rated much higher, it would be frankly bizarre. Good job, FIFA!