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A visual history of FIFA’s top ratings over the past 16 years

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No surprise Messi has dominated the game for a decade

For the 10th time in 11 years, Lionel Messi is the top rated player in EA Sports’ FIFA series. Moreover, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are 1-2, a position they’ve held for the past 10 years.

That’s the key takeaway from this video/graphic showing the top 30 players for the franchise going back 16 years. Nos. 3 through 30 seem to oscillate wildly through the years of with the likes of Kaká, Drogba, Rooney, Iniesta, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic rotating in and out. Ronaldo and Messi have been the series’ death-and-taxes sure thing for a decade.

I had figured this would probably closely follow the world cover choice for the game, an honor Messi held from FIFA 13 through 16, with Ronaldo taking over in 18 and 19. Not so, Ronaldo’s only time as the No. 1-rated player was for FIFA 17 and Messi held on to the top spot during Ronaldo’s two turns on the packshot.

In fact, until this year, Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar had gone 1-2-3 since FIFA 16. What’s all this mean? Just something interesting for football fans to peruse on a Sunday. In terms of how you play the game, the ratings that matter more would probably be the ones in Ultimate Team — but then, several versions of top players can be found in that environment.

FIFA 20 has been available for EA Access subscribers since Thursday (we’ll have our review coming soon). eFootball PES 2020 has been out since Sept. 10. It’s a slightly lower key affair, more focused on deep and challenging gameplay than flashy modes, but we like it a lot. And, yes, Messi and Ronaldo share the top rating (on the disc) there, too, with 94 for both.