Throughout the years of FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), there have been a select group of special footballers who, in spite of their real-world avatars, have gone on to achieve greatness in the realm of online video games. Their stats may fade with each passing year, but in the eyes of true FIFA fans they will always have the memories, be it as they are unveiled to giddy reification from a new pack or lurking terrifying in an opponent's line-up with full chem, here we salute the overpowered players who have made FUT what it is today.
FIFA 10 - Gabriel Agbonlahor
Perhaps not the first name that springs to mind when you think of overpowered players, but just look at that pace! These halcyon days for Gabby Agbonlahor saw him heralded as on one of England’s next great hopes, and his frightening speed put him in esteemed company as only Lionel Messi had outright better pace stats in FIFA 10 (his was 97, in case you were wondering).
Unfortunately for Agbonlahor and his fans, this is as good as it would ever get as although his pace remained in the 90s until as recently as FIFA 17, his other stats began to dwindle, making him a little too unreliable.
FIFA 11 - Seydou Doumbia
Where do you even start?
The original overpowered FUT player and undoubtedly the yardstick by which all other overpowered FUT cards must be judged. Trying to single out a particular year for Seydou in this process was pretty tricky, but ultimately it felt right to have him in the year it all began as he burst into every Ultimate Team across the land and became a FIFA legend.
Waxing lyrical about Doumbia is one thing, but when you look at his raw stats combined with his price and the fact that he never truly struck it with a big-time European club (thus keeping his price low), you can see the true Goldilocks of the FUT world. Everything just right.
Unfortunately for those of us who would have loved to see his avatar on the big stage, the Gfinity Elite Series came just too late for Doumbia, as his best (and paciest) years are most likely behind him. But you can’t put a price on all those memories.
FIFA 12 - Hulk
Anyone lucky enough to have the Brazilian tyro Hulk in their team had one game plan in mind - SMASH!
With essential item attributes all in the 90s, not to mention strength to back it up, Hulk was a seriously dangerous player capable of causing havoc with his ability to cut inside from the right and barrage the goal with long-range efforts.
Hulk prospered on FUT again partly thanks to his career path which saw him move from Porto to Zenit St Petersburg before heading to Shanghai SIPG back in 2016, all of which has kept his card relatively cheap. Anyone looking for a bit of FUT nostalgia in FIFA 19 might be interested to know that Hulk (now positioned as CAM) still has an 84 rating.
FIFA 13 - Stephan El Shaarawy
An instantly recognisable figure owing to his mohawk, Stephan El Shaarawy burst onto the Serie A scene in 2013 with 19 goals in the season, and his FUT stats reflected this alarming rise to prominence.
Blessed with great acceleration, four-star skills and a five-star weak foot, El Shaarawy was the perfect nimble forward for any FUT player who appreciated skill over raw power. With 90 long shots, he was also difficult to stop outside the area as standing off would allow him to fire in from virtually anywhere.
Such was El Shaarawy’s impact in 2014, he appeared on the Italian cover of FIFA 14 alongside Lionel Messi, but since this, he has often failed to shine so brightly.
FIFA 14 - David Luiz
David Luiz was once described by Gary Neville as playing like he was being controlled by someone on a PlayStation, but there’s no way that the pundit could have been talking about one of our Elite Series stars, as in their hands, FIFA 14 Luiz would have been one of the most deadly players around.
The scourge of FUT players around the world for scoring headers from just about anywhere in the box, Luiz appeared fairly innocuous when looking at his item attributes.
Despite this appearance, Luiz’s stats formed the perfect cocktail to create a defender who was reliable at the back and always good for a goal from a corner.
FIFA 15 - Fredy Guarín
Yet another player who appeared harmless for the most part, Guarín was further proof that appearances can be deceiving. A fixture in many players’ Ultimate Team, it was Guarín’s versatility and excellent all-round game that saw him become such a crucial card for so many players.
Part of Guarín’s appeal was the chemistry he offered with other Columbian superstars of the time (including Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado), and this partnered with his solid passing and shooting made him a great addition to any side.
Guarín has found himself out of FUT for a few years owing to his transfer to transfer to Shanghai Shenhua, but those who appreciated all he had to offer in past versions of FIFA will be pleased to know he is back in FIFA 19 and available for around 15,000 coins.
FIFA 16 - Marco Sau
Cagliari frontman Marco Sau may seem an unlikely choice for FIFA 16, and strikers nicknamed “The Duckling” won’t generally strike fear into the heart of opponents. However, the more canny observers (and possibly the Seydou Doumbia stans) will have noticed his blistering pace and amazingly low price.
With little else on offer other than his great pace, Sau demanded a particular type of play, but for those who knew how to use him, he could prove devastating.
Now a Silver card with a 73 rating, Sau’s glory days as a FUT icon may be long gone. We’ll always have all those endless lobbed through balls, though.
FIFA 17 - Jack Butland
Goalkeepers have a tendency to get overlooked in real life, and the Elite Series to date has undoubtedly shown that unless you’ve got David De Gea between the sticks, there are never any guarantees.
Players have often found that cards stats are mostly irrelevant for goalkeepers, as the physical attributes that underpin these stats with have a big say. Furthermore, great stats can be undermined by a lack of traits, with many ‘keepers lacking the crucial Come For Crosses trait.
All this combined made Jack Butland one of the most sought-after cards in the game and a mainstay in many successful FUT teams.
FIFA 18 - Jordan Lukaku
Sibling rivalry can be a terrible thing, and you never want to find yourself labelled as the “other one”. Just ask Phil Neville.
This could have been a tag applied to Lazio’s Jordan Lukaku, but thanks to a great 2016-2017 season, he found himself propelled into FUT stardom as his pace and dribbling made him the perfect addition at left back in pretty much any team.
Lukaku was a winner of the FUT 18 FUTTIES, leading to his 88-rated card being released over the summer, allowing him a few weeks of play in FIFA 18 while everyone waited for FIFA 19 to come out. Still, better late than never!
FIFA 19 - Moussa Marega
This year’s overpowered player was hard to choose, as they often make themselves known throughout the season as you see them cropping up time and time again in opponent’s starting XI.
Moussa Marega is more of a punt for this reason, but his potential is clear for anyone to see. With 89 pace, you’ll need to have tactics set up to take advantage of his attributes, but it is Marega’s strength and stamina which set him apart from the other cards.
Marega is one of the few cards in the game has greater than 80 shooting allied with a better than 85 rating for pace, strength, stamina and aggression. All this combined could make him one to watch in FIFA 19.