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Career Mode is one of the most popular parts of FIFA 21, but choosing which team to manage is sometimes a difficult proposition.
Do you start with a ‘super club’ and aim for immediate success and long-term domination?
Do you start in a lower division or outside one of Europe’s big five leagues to create a new world order?
Which team should you take over in Career Mode and guide to the top? Goal takes a look at the best options.
- Transfer budget: £33.3m
- Key players: Sandro Tonali, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gianluigi Donnarumma
One team has dominated Serie A for the past decade, but in FIFA 21, Juventus are not even known by their proper name. Playing as Cristiano Ronaldo in FIFA is great fun, but nobody wants to lift trophies as ‘Piemonte Calcio’.
Ending their domestic dominance in FIFA 21 sounds like an appealing challenge and there are many teams in Serie A who are capable of winning the league.
AC Milan are one of the best options in Italy, especially as recent signing Sandro Tonali is one of the best young midfielders in FIFA 21.
They have an initial transfer budget of over £30 million, meaning you should be able to add to your squad in the first transfer window and maybe look at signing a wonderkid striker to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
- Transfer budget: £26.5m
- Key players: Ryan Gravenberch, Dusan Tadic, Andre Onana
Ajax have been the best team in the Netherlands for many years but have not had European success since the 1990s.
Winning the Eredivisie should be easy with their squad, but winning the Champions League is the real challenge.
The board also expect you to develop youth players, which has long been a tradition of the club.
Their starting squad is already filled with youth talent, including Ryan Gravenberch and Lassina Traore, while goalkeeper Andre Onana and winger Antony both have potential ratings of 88.
- Transfer budget: £162.4m
- Key players: Lionel Messi, Ansu Fati, Frenkie de Jong
Success is expected at Barcelona, both in La Liga and the Champions League. As a result, managing the ‘super club’ can be a tough challenge in FIFA 21.
Lionel Messi is the best player in the game, but is approaching the end of his career and sometimes even retires at the end of the first season.
Luckily, there are a few young players waiting to make the step up, including forward duo Ansu Fati and Trincao, while Pedri has a potential rating of 88, despite starting with an overall score of 72.
Balancing playing time between old and young players will be tricky in the beginning, but the club’s huge budget should help ease the transition from the old guard to the new.
- Transfer budget: £22.8m
- Key players: Grimaldo, Everton, Tomas Tavares
Like Ajax, Benfica’s requirement for Youth Development is ‘Critical.’
At the start of the game, they have two of the best young defenders in FIFA 21 Career Mode in Nuno Tavares and Tomas Tavares.
Neither player is rated that highly initially, but both have the potential to become superstars.
Most of their squad is relatively young, meaning that you can bring in some experienced names to improve the team but retain the same core players year after year.
- Transfer budget: £54m
- Key players: Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, Mats Hummels
Borussia Dortmund have the best young midfielder in FIFA 21 with Jadon Sancho and one of the best young forwards with Erling Haaland.
Additionally, Jude Bellingham and Giovanni Reyna are also two of the best wonderkids in FIFA 21 giving them one of the youngest teams in Europe.
With a transfer budget of £54m, they also will be able to bring in more young talent to help end Bayern Munich’s long spell at the top of the Bundesliga table.
- Transfer budget: £133.8m
- Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Marquinhos
Unlike many other clubs across Europe, Paris Saint-Germain do not care about youth development in Career Mode.
Instead, spending money is their route to success and they have a huge transfer budget at the beginning of the game to help sign more top talent.
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are both in the top 10 highest rated players in FIFA 21, but they have talent in every position.
Winning Ligue 1 should not be a challenge, but PSG have never won the Champions League in real life, so you can make history with them in FIFA 21.
- Transfer budget: £169.6m
- Key players: Eden Hazard, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo
Four of Real Madrid’s players have the potential to reach over 90 overall, keeping Los Blancos as one of Europe’s elite for the foreseeable future.
This may mean that Career Mode is not as challenging as taking over a smaller team with low-rated players, but some people just want to win and choosing Real Madrid is the perfect team for that.
They already have excellent players in Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos, while Martin Odegaard, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo are the next generation of stars at Santiago Bernabeu.
Red Bull Salzburg
- Transfer budget: £18.6m
- Key players: Dominik Szoboszlai, Patson Daka, Karim Adeyemi
Red Bull Salzburg have been a conveyor belt of talent for the past few years, with the likes of Sadio Mane and Erling Haaland coming off their production line.
They have no players rated over 76 at the start of the game, but have plenty of players capable of reaching the highest level.
An £18m transfer budget also gives some scope to sign more young players, while success is not usually measured on accomplishments in Europe, meaning you can take a few years to build your empire in Austria.
- Transfer budget: £1,4m
- Key players: Di’Shon Bernard, Brandon Thomas-Asante, Bruno Andrade
Managing in the top flight or taking charge of a ‘super club’ is not for everyone.
For longer careers, many people take control at a lower league club and gradually work their way to the top.
Salford City are a perfect choice if you want to start in League Two as they have a squad good enough to compete and get promoted, while most of their board expectations are set to ‘Very Low’, allowing you to do things your own way without any board interference.
- Transfer budget: £40.5m
- Key players: Fabio Silva, Ruben Neves, Adama Traore
Breaking into the top four in the Premier League is a tough task, although some teams are in a good position to do that in year one.
Wolves have a decent squad as well as a £40m transfer budget when you start Career Mode, while their board expectations are either ‘Medium’ or ‘Low.’
This means that initial success is not expected, giving you some scope at improving your team and bringing young stars like Fabio Silva through the ranks.