Four West Ham United players' Ultimate Team Histories!
Even if you’ve never picked up a controller in your life, if you’re a football fan, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of FIFA Ultimate Team!
The globally popular game mode has been a fixture of EA SPORTS’ football gaming title since the FIFA 09 iteration of the game, where it was initially released an additional mode for which players had to pay extra to access. They did – and it was so popular, the servers crashed.
Since then, Ultimate Team has evolved hugely as a game mode, underpinning the competitive scene of FIFA Esports while being, for many – if not most – players, the first port of call in each new annual title.
With the same appeal of collecting football stickers, coins or Top Trumps, Ultimate Team is all about vying for the rare player cards – the Ronaldos and Messis of the world – who’ll star in players' dream teams and help conquer all opponents that come before them.
At the start of every season, EA assigns each player an overall (“OVR”) rating out of 100, which is a combination – weighted depending on their position – of ratings in six categories: pace, dribbling, shooting, defending, passing, and physical attributes.
With Ultimate Team having such a history, therefore, it’s always intriguing – particularly from a West Ham United perspective – to look back and see how players’ in-game numbers – and not to mention aesthetics! – have changed over the years.
So with that said, let’s have a look at just a handful of Hammers’ Ultimate Team histories below…
West Ham United’s ‘Pole in Goal’ is one of just a handful of Hammers whose Ultimate Team history charts over a decade within the game, first appearing as a 24-year-old between the posts at Arsenal, for whom – at the time – he was a back-up goalkeeper.
The Poland shot-stopper remained consistently rated in the high 70s throughout his time in north London but it was in FIFA 15 – following a fine run of form for his new club Swansea – that he was awarded his first big boost with this ‘in-form’ card.
Having established himself as a consistent performer in the Premier League, Fabianski’s ratings began to reflect his status in the upper echelons of the top-flight’s shot-stoppers.
81-rated as a base in FIFA 21, he was earlier this season rewarded for a last-minute penalty save against Fulham with this spectacular 84-rated ‘in-form’ card.
Cress won’t be thanking us for digging out this old gem from his time at Tranmere Rovers!
A 21-year-old local left-back playing in League One, Cresswell’s ratings have soared in tandem with the wider recognition of his ability; even between his first cards in FIFA 11 and FIFA 12 (when he’d transferred to Championship side Ipswich Town) there is a vast increase.
Indeed, Cresswell is one of those players who has just got better and better, highly-rated within the game as both an athlete and a technically gifted player, as can be seen in his in-form FIFA 15 card – the season he switched to West Ham United.
Two seasons later, Cresswell received his first gold-rated card following a fine couple of campaigns in Claret and Blue – not to mention an England call-up – while his peak rating in the game arrived with an ‘in-form’ card last season (FIFA 20), following a spectacular free-kick against Manchester United at London Stadium.
It never takes long for Said Benrahma to catch the eye, with the Algerian’s first Ultimate Team card – 54-rated for Ligue 1 side Nice in FIFA 15 – jumping ten rating points inside the same year he scored his first senior goal for the side.
Since then, the exciting attacker’s numbers have only gone up and up – along with, as the cards’ face values don't tell you, a recognition of his ‘high’ attacking work rate and four-star-rated skill moves and weak foot ability.
It was in FIFA 19 when Benrahma – then with Brentford – began to get the ratings he deserved, with a first ‘in-form’ card pushing him up to the high OVR 70s.
The winger would go on to add a further two in-form cards in FIFA 20, topping his rating off with a stupendous 89-rated ‘Team of the Season So Far’ card released when the 2019/20 campaign was suspended.
While Benrahma has since returned to a base rating of 77 in FIFA 21, you wouldn’t bet against the 25-year-old reaching such lofty heights again in future FIFA titles.
Antonio first came to FIFA fruition at the start of the decade, with a bronze-rated 64 OVR card from his spell at Reading appearing in FIFA 11. To be fair to Antonio, it’s not a bad rating for a 20-year-old player in the game!
Over the next few years, Antonio’s card remained around the mid-60s, before jumping into the low 70s – and changing side of the pitch! – when he joined Nottingham Forest in 2014.
The Hammers’ No30 was still considered a left midfielder by FIFA when he moved to east London for FIFA 16 but, ever-versatile, was even awarded a special ‘wing-back- card for his performances in 2016/17 (FIFA 17)!
Antonio was first listed as a striker in FIFA 18, where he was 80-rated, and future 84-rated and 82-rated ‘in-form’ cards followed in FIFAs 19 and 20 respectively before a Premier League Player of the Month award in July 2020 gave him his best card yet: an 86-rated goal machine.
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