Trent Alexander Arnold and Son Heung Min in FIFA 23
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Top 10 Players We Expect To Get Major Downgrades in EA Sports FC Ultimate Team

Not everyone had a flattering 22-23 season.

The 2022-23 season is in the books and means football fans are looking forwards to the 2023-24 season. Here are the top 10 players we expect to receive major downgrades when EA Sports FC Ultimate Team rolls around.

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The release of player ratings is a big moment in the build-up to any FIFA game. This year is a little different though, with EA Sports’ infamous football simulation franchise being rebranded as EA Sports FC. This is as a result of the company’s exclusivity deal with the FIFA governing body wrapping up, which looks set to continue the FIFA video game series on its own.

We’ve already taken a look at the top 10 players set for major upgrades in EAFC but, here, we’re considering the other end of the spectrum. That’s to say players who had poor seasons or just didn’t live up to their FIFA 23 ratings. It’s naturally subjective and in no particular order.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo 90 > 84

Cristiano Ronaldo FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

To some the greatest of all time, to others a dislikable figure, Cristiano Ronaldo’s legacy in European football is not up for debate. The former Man Utd, Real Madrid and Juventus star now finds himself competing at a much lower level, reflecting the drop off his talents have taken in the past few seasons.

It seems certain that he’s set for a huge downgrade in EAFC, with his acrimonious departure from Man Utd emblematic of his struggles on the pitch. We’re specifically envisaging a big pace downgrade, with the Portuguese superstar undoubtedly closing in on the end of his playing career.

2. Kalidou Koulibaly 87 > 82

Kalidou Koulibaly FIFA 23 Card next to EA Sports FC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

Another player who accepted a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia off the back of a tumultuous Premier League campaign, Kalidou Koulibaly arrived at Chelsea in summer 2022 with much fanfare and anticipation. He leaves 12 months later with a lower reputation (and rating, presumably), having been exposed regularly in a Chelsea back line that struggled all season.

We’re pinpointing Pace, Defending and Physical as stats that’ll nosedive in EAFC, with those being crucial to a defender.

3. Edouard Mendy 86 > 83

Edouard Mendy FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

We could more or less copy and paste the first line of Koulibaly’s paragraph here. A poor season at Chelsea, seeing a series of mistakes lose him the number 1 jersey, has pushed Edouard Mendy to move to Saudi Arabia. From a Champions League winner to Al Ahli in the space of a couple of seasons, it seems inevitable he’ll be in for a big rating decrease.

His Positioning especially looks set to fall, with his suspect reading of the game at the root of a number of Chelsea concessions. He’ll be hoping to re-find the form he had in his early months at Stamford Bridge, when he looked a top tier goalkeeper.

4. Hugo Lloris 87 > 84

Hugo Lloris FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

Hugo Lloris looks set to leave Tottenham after a mighty stint at the north London club, but his future destination isn’t clear right now. What is clear is that the French World Cup winner has been struggling for some time and his rating will fall as a result.

It’s certainly true that Tottenham have struggled defensively in recent seasons, with Lloris regularly exposed against some of the best forwards in the world. However, his own performances have hardly been reliable, letting in a lot of goals and struggling with fitness as well. We envisage an especially big drop to his reflexes, with him just not being as fast and responsive as he once was.

5. Fabinho 87 > 83

Fabinho FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

Liverpool’s early season struggles have since been pinned to an underperforming midfield and defence, with Fabinho’s own form a definite factor in their ultimate Europa League finish. The Brazilian has long been an incredible anchor at the base of Jurgen Klopp’s midfield but, in the 22-23 season, struggled to find anything in the way of defensive consistency.

It says a lot that Liverpool are investing big in their midfield already, with Alexis MacAllister and Dominik Szoboszlai already through the door. They’ll help Fabinho next season, but they probably won’t help him avoid a decrease in rating to the lower end of the 80s.

6. Jamie Vardy 85 > 79

Jamie Vardy FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

Few saw Leicester’s relegation coming at the beginning of the 22-23 season, but Jamie Vardy’s own struggles in front of goal certainly contributed. Paired with a decline in availability, pace and general fitness, it seems inevitable this once lethal poacher is set for a huge drop from his 85 OVR card in last year’s game.

We’d be very surprised if his pace stays over 80 and we’re also estimating that his overall will drop below that threshold as well. It’s not necessarily his fault: at 36 years of age, it was inevitable he’d slow down one day.

7. Trent Alexander-Arnold 87 > 84

Trent Alexander-Arnold FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

Trent Alexander-Arnold certainly improved towards the back end of the season, moving into midfield and showcasing his exceptional passing range. However, his poor defending and position led to a host of problems for Liverpool across the season and we just can’t see his 87 OVR rating staying the same.

We’re thinking of major drops to his Defending in particular, but he could bounce back in future EAFC titles if his CM performances are as strong as they first appear. He probably hasn’t played there enough to make his default position a CM, so we expect it to be a secondary position (as was the system introduced in FIFA 23).

8. Sadio Mane 89 > 85

Sadio Mane FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

Sadio Mane experienced a turbulent first season in Germany, struggling with fitness, form and his own teammates. A move away from the Bundesliga Champions has been touted, with Saudi Arabia listed as a potential destination.

Whether it happens remains to be seen, but a big decrease to reflect his poor season seems likely. With the Senegal legend pushing 32 years old, we expect Pace, Shooting and Physical to all take hefty knocks. He could certainly prove us wrong next season.

9. Lionel Messi 91 > 87

Lionel Messi FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

Like Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s clear that the generational talent of Lionel Messi is fading as he approaches the end of his career. A struggle to make a concerted impact in Paris has been paired with an obvious physical drop off.

We’re not pushing him as low as Ronaldo with his guile and craft still evident, but we expect him to drop down into the 80s at the very least. There’s just not the speed of trickery there once was, and we think it’s fair to say that the likes of Haaland, Mbappe and Vinicius signal the new guard of generational talents. Give him a free kick at your peril, though.

10. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 85 > 81

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang FIFA 23 Card next to EAFC Concept Card
Image Credit: EA Sports / Twinfinite

A third Chelsea flop on this list, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move is probably most emblematic of Chelsea’s bizarre scattergun approach in the market in summer 2022. Anyone could see the former Dortmund, Arsenal and Barcelona star’s powers were waning (other than Todd Boehly, presumably).

Another whose decreasing pace is at the root of his struggles, we’re thinking he’ll fall by 4 OVR at least. Who knows where he’ll be playing either, with links to a host of MLS, European and Saudi League sides all leaving his future unclear.

That rounds off our picks for the top 10 players set for huge downgrades in EA Sports FC Ultimate Team. Who did we miss? Were we too harsh on anyone? Let us know in the comments and, for all the latest on the successor FIFA series, stay with us right here at Twinfinite.

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Joe Craven
Joe is a writer and publisher based in England. He loves history, video games and football. As you read this, he's probably reading about an obscure war, playing a video game or moaning about Leeds United.