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Darren – Ultimate European Challenge, At Madrid pre-season 15/16

Hi guys and welcome back (finally) to my Ultimate European Challenge and a sunny pre-season in Spain. That’s right, I am still with Atletico Madrid. They have a great squad and there were no managerial positions of interest after the Copa America. I may well leave come the seasons end, but for now my focus is in Spain. Retaining the La Liga crown will be tough, but my board have already offered a helping hand.

£51 million has been freed up for transfers. This war chest will be more than enough. I have also received £87K extra for wages. I plan to sell some players in order to up this budget and we’ll see who is available in the transfer market. Atletico Madrid may have won La Liga last season, but I was shocked to be named favourite for the title. Real and Barcelona will obviously be in and around the title race, but teams like Villarreal and Valencia could turn up a shock too.

A fair few players left during pre-season. In Spain, you can’t register more than three non EU players. Now this rule is bent based on the amount of years a player has been in Europe or from what age. I don’t fully understand how it works, but some foreign players were OK to register without crossing over this rule. Either way, I decided to lose Urretaviscaya because of his nationality. All the others just didn’t fit in to my squad or had to leave because of value for wages. I managed to raise £11 million from these sales, very welcome considering my transfer targets. :)

Most of the above names may not mean anything to you. But for the keen eyed readers you’ll know three for definite. The first is obvious to all, Bojan, the former Barcelona striker. Now for the not so obvious ones, Millemaggi and Gonzalez. They are both stars from my Argentina squad, these regens are brilliant, but we’ll see more in a bit. I spent £47.5 million in total, the majority came in midfield, but I also treated myself to Bojan after seeing him transfer listed.

Bojan – £5 million from Barcelona

After making just 13 appearances per season, Bojan decided it was time to leave Barcelona. During the Copa America group stages I saw the 24 year old was transfer listed. Barcelona made me pay £500K above their initial value but I wasn’t too bothered. Bojan is extremely talented and his attributes don’t do him justice. I think some first team football will get the striker scoring again soon.

Nahuel Millemaggi – £24.5 million from Inter Milan

One of my favourites within the Argentina squad. Millemaggi is such a great player in every area. He can pass, shoot, tackle, dribble and even has good physical and mental stats too. £24.5m is a lot of money, but this midfielder is simply brilliant.

Claudio Gonzalez – £8.5 million from Valencia

Gonzalez is another regular from my Argentina side. This regen can play in central midfield on from the left wing. I plan on using Gonzalez in a rotation system with both Sanchez and Dzagoev. After searching my national side I noticed his minimum fee release clause and had to snap him up.

Mirko Barocelli – £9.25 million from West Ham

Barocelli was sort of a panic buy. After examining my squad, a lack on the wings became apparent. I couldn’t afford my main targets and anyone under £8 million wouldn’t have been worth buying. I decided to take a risk on the Italian. His physical attributes highlighted caught my eye.

The squad of 2015/16

You’ll notice 5 Argentines within my main squad. All of which tend to feature within my starting XI. I am well covered in almost every area, but injuries can always change that. The transfer window was extremely successful in my opinion and I think the squad is far stronger than last years. My first competitive match of the season is against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup. This is held over two legs and would offer me a great chance to see the new boys on action.

Spanish Super Cup 1st leg – Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

A fantastic first leg saw my boys walk all over Barcelona. We used a 4-5-1, with counter strategy. In truth Barcelona paid for a flurry of misses during the first 13 minutes. After an incisive break away and great finish from Cicinho, the match belonged to At Madrid. This is probably the first time I have controlled a match against the Spanish giants. The tie wasn’t over though, Barcelona were bound to throw everything into the second leg. Lets see the highlights.

Spanish Super Cup 2nd leg – Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona

This tie would have made a great watch. Full of drama and the scenario kept changing with every goal. Lukaku caused me some stress from the off, as my defence just fell apart. Barcelona kept pushing after their goal but a silly foul gave Vella the opportunity to equalize from a good free kick. Vella then showed even more determination to get on the end of a cross for his second. I had no time to relax though, Iraola scored twice in the space of two minutes and just one minute after Vella’s goal. I had a finger biting wait, but my side hung on for the victory. :)

Start of season fixtures

My next post will take us through August to the end of November. I have a light fixture list to look forward to in terms of difficulty. Just a few of those clubs could cause real problems. Hopefully this will give me the ideal opportunity to bridge a gap at the top. We’ll have to wait and see who I’m drawn against in the Champions League.

Well friends, that is it for today’s update. I hope you’ll be back for the next one and thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments as always.

If you want to join us all in the Ultimate European Challenge, please follow the link and read the rules. Its very simple and should get us all into different cultures and styles of Football.

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Sears
10 years ago

Hey :-)

superb signings, Bojan is a bargain for just £5 million. Millemaggi is just astonishing and Gonzalez’s technical attributes are stunning!

ps I’m thinking of starting this challenge again :-p

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sears

Cheers mate, Millemaggi and Gonzalez were irresistable…I’ve drooled over them while managing Argentina and when the budget came out I just knew I had to get them. Bojan will take time to settle I think. He’s spent 3 years on the bench and needs to get used to playing 25 games a season as thats what I have planned for him.

ps Its an interesting challenge to do, more of a marathon than I imagined but very rewarding.

Wazz
Wazz
10 years ago

Great signings Darren! Your squad looks great. You could win all cups with that squad. Good luck Darren!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Wazz

Cheers Wazz, pre-season was very successful. Look will play its part but I’m going for the treble this year :)

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
10 years ago

Good signings Darren, the two Argentinian regens are brilliant, they will be fantastic for you I’m sure, and Bojan should bag a fair few goals if you play him regulalry. Barocelli looks like a decent player as well. You should be able to defend your title, and hopefully you can go far in the Champions League too. Good luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Laxeyman

Thanks Laxeyman, the two Argentines are great and have proven so with the Argentina national side. Bojan could be hit or miss but worth the price tag. Barocelli was more of a panic buy but good for weaker opposition and to rest my best players.

albyedw
albyedw
10 years ago

hey Darren,
great piece of business to get Bojan and Millemaggi Gonzalez should settle in very well with you managing them at international level. One question, when are you going to post on your Newcastle story, as you have been doing brilliantly in both saves! keep it up and good luck1

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  albyedw

Thanks Albyedw, I was extremely happy with my transfer action. I want to finish my Ultimate European Challenge before returning to Newcastle. I find doing two games at once can be a little tough if writing at the same time. I’m eager to play with the toon again, but worried I won’t come back to this game if I do. :)

CsAtlantis
CsAtlantis
10 years ago

Hi Darren, those are some really good signings, though i suspect Valencia would be unhappy with you abusing your position as argentina manager :P

By the way, i noticed that there seems to be a lack of depth for the right back position in your team, apart from that it looks awesome

How old are Reyes and De Jong now? :D

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  CsAtlantis

Cheers CsAtlantis, the Valencia coach is probably waiting for me at home :) lol

You certainly have an eagle eye mate. Mercado is a good player but a class below the rest of my squad and Pintos is s**t. :) However, they don’t seem to play too badly, only every one game in ten I’d say. Probably because their team mates don’t pass to em’ lol :)

Reyes is now 32 years old and lost all his stats within like three months. He was excellent last season but crap now. De Jong is 31 and still hanging on to his fitness. :)

pickard77
pickard77
10 years ago

Great start to the season…I always feel a sense of accomplishment beating like likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid on FM. You squad look immense…even better with your summer signings. Whats the average age of your squad my I ask?

All the best for the opening round of fixtures…i’m sure you’ll boss la liga again!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  pickard77

Thanks mate, beating Barcelona is really tough and takes luck no matter how good your squad are. I feel like the team is taking shape now and I’m also happy with the average age of 24. Not too high but just right I think. Lets hope for a successful season. :)

Sayam Khan
Sayam Khan
10 years ago

hey darren

your not afraid to splash the money are you! Good to know you signed players you already know well. Well done on beating Barcelona. Good Luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sayam Khan

lol, I honestly can’t help myself Sayam. Its like a fat kid in a chocolate factory, I see so many I want and to just pick one or two is torchure. :)

Lye Kuek Hin
10 years ago

Hi Darren,

As the manager of Argentina, you have all the time to know about the talents of your players. That’s very good buy in my opinion. Can’t believe Bojan is available for 5 million. It’s going to be another clean sweep for you, i foresee. I believe you still have some money to spend. But the existing squad is enough to win everything. Good luck.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Lye Kuek Hin

Cheers Lye, the Argentines will add a little more technical ability to my midfield. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Bojan got transfer listed, but Barcelona have far too many strikers and I can see how he got pushed out. :) Lets hope the squad is good enough, but luck could be apart as always.

junior
junior
10 years ago

hey darren great squad,and great pre-season im mean cups boost team morale right??!
but i would suggest u get a back up keeper just in case!!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  junior

Its always good to get the morale up through competitions Junior. Just don’t want them getting over confident though. I do have a backup keeper but tend to leave him in the reserves, very bad habit I know.

kevin
kevin
10 years ago

Hi Darren
You’ve made some real quality signings to strengthen what already is a very good squad. Looking forward to you bringing us another exciting season from La Liga!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  kevin

Lets hope for an exciting season Kevin, the pieces are in position, I just need to get the tactics right really.

Johnny Karp
10 years ago

Great signings Darren, Bojan in particular was a great catch for that kind of money. The Italian winger should do pretty well considering his speed while the two Argentines will surely be massive hits in the Primera Liga. About the foreign players, I think that the rules applies strictly to non-EU players, at least that’s what I know. I had a look at your squad and I noticed that there is only one goalkeeper, am I missing something or are you taking the risk of having a sole goalkeeper to rely on? Anyway, best of luck for the new season, I’m sure it will be a memorable one.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Hey Johnny, that rule always confuses me because non EU players sometimes aren’t classed as non EU players when registering. Either way I managed to register just about the entire team. I think the new signings will be vital this season and you are right, there is no back up Goalkeeper in the screenshot. I couldn’t fit him in the screenshot a while ago and have had him in the reserves ever since. He seems happy there so I didn’t change him back :)

Ana Garcia
Ana Garcia
10 years ago

The EU players is a little confusing but I will try to explain a player born in a former Spanish or Portugese area including most of South America count as non – EU but only need to reside in Spain for three years to qualify for citizenship.

Provided they dont have dual nationality from an EU country for example Aguero at Atletico is from Argentina only so is classed an non EU so must be registered as one of the three you are allowed, however he has played in Spain for over 3 and half years (I cant remember the exact amount of days required!) So he now qualifys for Spanish citizenship which he accepted recently so is now classed as an EU player.

Which free’s up another Non-EU place for another player or signing and he does not need to be registered for a non-EU place. Hence why alot of South American’s in Spain take up Spainish citezenship to help the club free up extra space for other players.

An EU player for example France, Portugal, Germany, Italy, England etc Can play as normal with no problems with EU registration. However they will require 10 years to gain Spanish citizenship for example if you moved to Atletico you could play as an EU with no problem however you would have to wait 10 years to get citizenship if you wanted it. But it wouldnt affect your non-EU registration.

Players born in Africa also do not take up a non-EU place so you can register them as normal. For example you have player called Sebastion Bassong from the Cameroon who will not be classed as non EU, the reason I do not know but he is free to play as any EU player would.

You can buy a player from the Ivory Coast alone with no duel EU nationality and he can play without taking up a non-EU space.

The problem you may have is due to the high amount of South American’s you have who may not have a dual EU nationality so are classed an non-EU, hopefully you can understand that! Am hopeless at explaining anything but thats the basic idea in Spain.

Clubs also use this system to their advantage the one I like to use is Carlos Vela from Arsenal, he is Mexican so he has problems with the rules in England about a work permit (The most confusing place on non-EU players!) so he was loaned to Spain three times on a years loan, he then qualified for Spanish citezenship accepted it so is now on a Spanish passport. Since Spain is part of the EU he now avoids the restictions in England regarding non-EU/work permit and is free to play.

Hopefully you can understand that! If not well I tried! :)

Back on topic! And your squad is very multi-cultural! Probably why you were having some problems with non-EU players, remember that you can loan some of your South American players to clubs in Spain to help complete the amount of days they need to qualify, rather than selling them as once they qualify they are free to play.

Its better than keeping them in the reservers etc and letting their stats drop, good win in the super cup but truth be told its not to well regarded in Spain but a trophy is a trophy!

Can you post the current Barcelona team? Either in your next post or on the forum as am interested too see how they are doing!

Oh and good luck on the season also!!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Ana Garcia

Wow, what a comment…thats gotta be the longest I’ve ever seen :) Thanks for explaining though Ana, it all makes sense now. I thought it would be something like that but wasn’t sure how quickly players could gain citizenship.

I’ll post Barcelona’s team and history in the forum Ana. Maybe later tonight. :)

Johnny Karp
10 years ago
Reply to  Darren Smith

I did some more research on the subject and found this about the non-EU rules in Spain:
“In La Liga, players can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry, he can claim Spanish citizenship after playing in Spain for 5 years.[citation needed] Sometimes, this can lead to a triple-citizenship situation e.g. Leo Franco, who is Argentine-born, of Italian heritage and can claim a Spanish passport, having played in La Liga for over 5 years.[dubious – discuss]

In addition, players from the ACP countries—countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific that are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement—are not counted against non-EU quotas, due to the Kolpak ruling.” source: Wikipedia

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Cheers Johnny, it may be a complicated system, but at least it doesn’t rely on a work permit like in England. I find that very frustrating. You know what they say…you learn something new every day :)

Ana Garcia
Ana Garcia
10 years ago
Reply to  Darren Smith

LoL!!

Sorry! As I was writing it I kept thinking of extra things to add! told you I was hope-less at explaining stuff!!

Glad it makes some sort of sense and at least its not as confusing as England!

:)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Ana Garcia

:) Like I say, at least there is a rule in Spain. Here in England its like accept or reject who you want :)

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