The Ultimate FM XI

After looking over a number of incredible regens in my conversations with other FM users on Twitter, I decided I quite enjoyed it. Perusing through pages of imaginary footballers who don’t even exist in my own cyberspace seems a weird way to spend my afternoons, yet there’s something oddly addictive about the whole thing.

And so I decided to create this article/plea. I’m looking for your best ever players on any edition of FM; be it CM01/02, FM14 or anything else. Submit your three best and favourite players of all-time. They can be regens or real players. If we have enough submissions, I’ll create a best XI and potentially a substitute bench. Extra points for detail on the player themselves, such as playing history, awards, etc. It’s your chance to brag, and someone will actually care!

note: we’re likely to get a load of striker submissions, so keep that in mind if you want to get a player in the XI.

note 2: you’re welcome to add in a few other players who you don’t want me to consider for the XI. Anyone who has an interesting story or looks a good player would be welcomed, however, please do make it clear which players you want to be considered.

My first applicant is Joe Hargreaves (FM11, Arsenal).

Yes, yes, it’s a striker. I know. But I simply had to include Joe Hargreaves simply because of the fact he was my first great regen on any FM. FM2011 with Arsenal was the first time I’d got into a long-term save on any version of the game and Hargreaves came into the side relatively early on, and quickly became one of the keys to European and domestic success. However, the main reason I’ve included him is for his ridiculous 2025/26 season, where his league stats were; 38 games, 49 goals, 12 assists, 12 MoM, 8.23 average rating — the best seasons I’ve ever got out of a striker. It seems odd that he scored so many goals given his low composure but he created so many chances for himself through his combination of dribbling and finishing, which allowed him to be wasteful. The trigger for years of obsessive FM playing.

The next man in is Nicolas Dalmolin (FM13, Wolves).

Those who are regular followers of the blog will know exactly why I’m suggesting Dalmolin — the inspiration behind a 4-2-3-1 tactic I used for the best part of a decade (see: https://fmcoffeehouse.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/exploiting-space-the-inverse-wing-back/ and https://fmcoffeehouse.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/tactical-analysis-crooked-4-2-3-1/ for more info). Dalmolin, like Hargreaves, came into the team relatively early and was with the team through it’s step into stardom. He finally retired after 16 long years at the club, and despite long periods of frustration through injuries, finished with 570 appearances in the gold of Wolves.

And finally, Miguel Cuevas (FM13, Wolves).

Having selected the first two for largely emotional reasons, I’ll go for Cuevas because of his machine-like efficiency, either at CB or DM. With four seasons out of his six at Wolves, Cuevas achieved an average rating of over 8 — three of these occurred consecutively. If you’ve read my 4-2-3-1 tactical analysis, then you’ll know it was essential the DM was defensively able, given the attacking nature of the LB in the tactic. Cuevas did this incredibly, and also mopped up play in central midfield. He was the key to the best defensive unit I’ve ever had on any FM, when we went a season conceding only 14 goals in 2024/25. The season after, we conceded only one goal at home. Despite being ousted from my Wolves Best XI, I consider Cuevas my best ever player.

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4 comments

  1. Philip

    Funnily enough, my best players all come from the same save in FM2009. By far my most successful save, I took Forest from newly-promoted Championship side to become the dominant force in world football. I’m also going to upload four players because they were really inseparable. So, in no particular order, let me introduce:

    Kalin Antonov: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v119/marshdweller/Football%20Manager%20Screenshots/KalinAntonov.png

    My left-back who was equally comfortable at centre-back, and generally an all-round star for my team. If the real-life Forest has Stuart Pearce, then my Forest has Antonov.

    Boris: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v119/marshdweller/Football%20Manager%20Screenshots/Boris.png

    Signed on a free as a teenager, and then sold five seasons later when I couldn’t refuse an offer of £39m from Napoli. So good though that a few seasons after that, I paid £31m to bring him back. So, an awesome centre-back who earned me £8m.

    Justin Pugh: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v119/marshdweller/Football%20Manager%20Screenshots/JustinPugh.png

    My captain, and the keystone of my midfield. The only downside is that at the point when I stopped really playing this save he was making vague noises about wanting a new challenge. If I resume the game one day, and he does leave, I will be hard-pressed to find an adequate replacement.

    Probably my favourite now, Lazar Idrizi: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v119/marshdweller/Football%20Manager%20Screenshots/LazarIdrizi.png

    I have a soft spot for this guy because I signed him in the first pre-season after my promotion to the Premier League. 12 seasons later, he’s still there, not as first choice any more but back-up to both of my central midfielders. He’s like an FM son to me, having been there since the beginning and I aim to keep him until he retires (should I ever resume playing this save).

    I would have added screenshots of my players’ achievements, but (and forgive me if this sounds cocky but it’s rare that I get the chance to say this about FM!) I’ve won so much with this team that each player’s list of achievements filled the space devoted to it three times over, so you’d have had about a dozen screenshots filling your blog.

    I hope you like my nominees and I’d love it if one of them made it into your team.

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