Miguel Almiron was a key player in Atlanta United’s MLS triumph before moving to Newcastle United in January 2019. The Paraguayan arrived as advertised on FIFA as a player that possessed great speed and dribbling ability to open up defences in the final third. He made an intial burst, but has since cooled off, proving that his attributes are perhaps better served on FIFA 20 rather than the Premier League.
He scored 21 goals in his 62 appearances for Atlanta, boosting his finishing and shooting statistics on FIFA, making him the perfect player. His pace and skill allow users to glide past their opponents with ease, while he has enough potency with his finishing ratings to find the back of the net. Happy days for Newcastle, right? No, it has not been the case as Almiron has failed to score or provide an assist in 18 appearances for the Magpies. It’s a foreshadowing that technical attributes are not all they’re cracked up to be.
Back in MLS, Atlanta have not missed a beat without his services, reaching the playoffs in the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Frank de Boer’s men are strong contenders for the crown for the second year in a row, although New York City FC are the favorites in the MLS picks to win the Conference. Atlanta have not suffered from losing Almiron, while Newcastle have not particularly gained from having his presence on the field. His pace and skill have been a factor at times, but it’s not been felt in the final third.
On FIFA he appears to be the perfect player, starting with an overall rating of 80, and boasting high rates for pace and dribbling. There are few players who will have the attributes to surge at an opposing defense. On Newcastle’s roster on FIFA 20, only Allan Saint-Maximin has a better rating for pace than Almiron’s 89, and the Frenchman also has a better dribbling rating after arriving in the summer from Nice in a higher standard of competition in France’s Ligue 1. There’s still time for Almiron to turn it around, although he faces a massive challenge. Players of FIFA might not have him on the Magpies’ roster for long if he continues to struggle.
Rather than buying Almiron, Newcastle might have been better off targeting his former Atlanta team-mate Josef Martinez. Martinez has been outstanding for United in the MLS once again this term, scoring 27 goals during the regular season. He is also a star on FIFA with an overall rating of 86. He’s the perfect striker, boasting a pace rating of 93, along with finishing and shooting attributes at 85 and 90 respectively. Martinez is good in the air as well with a rating for heading of 89. He appears to have all the attributes needed to be a success on FIFA as well as adapting to the Premier League.
As for Jozy Altidore, he is the warning sign for clubs looking at MLS form and his struggles abroad have been noted on FIFA. His shooting and finishing attributes are ranked in the 70s, while his heading is not much better at 75. Altidore was never a quick player even at the peak of his powers, but it shows how a perception can change when plying trade in a stronger competition abroad. Altidore will still play a part in Toronto FC’s bid to win the MLS Cup for a second time, notching 11 goals over the course of the term, although will attributes like those don’t expect his ratings to improve any time soon.
Although FIFA may grade players well for their performances in the MLS, it’s a warning for teams and players that ratings are not always what they appear.