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EA FC 24 gave out way too many Messi cards — and players are furious

You get a Messi, you get a Messi, you get a Messi!

A screenshot of Lionel Messi in EA FC 24 Image: EA Sports/Electronic Arts
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Each year, EA Sports recognizes fan-favorite soccer players with its Team of the Year promotion — and that’s continued from the naming transition from FIFA to EA Sports FC 24. It’s of particular importance to people who play EA FC 24’s Ultimate Team mode, where you build teams out with collectible player cards. The Team of the Year promotion means players get increased stats, making their cards very valuable on the in-game marketplace and in players’ teams.

One of the best — and most valuable — cards this year is, unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi’s. It’s reached nearly 10 million coins on the EA FC 24 auction house. You can earn coins by winning matches in the Ultimate Team mode (often earning roughly 500 to 700 of them per match), or by trading on the marketplace. (You can also buy coins third-party, but that’s against the rules. EA FC 24’s real money option is FC Points, which you can use to buy loot box-like packs.) It takes a long time to earn enough coins for a Messi card, is what I’m trying to say. But things went sideways for EA Sports when it accidentally gave out too many Lionel Messi cards during one of the Team of the Year challenges.

During the event, EA Sports held a Squad Building Challenge that asked players to create a squad with several parameters that were pretty easy to meet. The reward was a Team of the Year card with a minimum rating of 86, and somehow, tons of players were awarded the valuable Messi card. Unfortunately for players, it was not like Christmas morning: EA FC 24 players are upset after the developer took the challenge offline, meaning some players had more of a chance at getting the card when Messi’s odds were higher. With the challenge offline now, everyone else feels like they’ve lost. And some players have spent a ton of time grinding the game to amass the coins and packs to hopefully snag the card, and feel like others have just gotten it for “free” with the glitch.

“We have identified an issue with the 86+ TOTY Leagues SBC, as a result we have disabled the SBC,” EA Esports tweeted on Tuesday. EA FC 24 players are now hoping that the company will resolve this issue in a way that’s equitable to everyone. Free Messis for everyone, perhaps? EA Sports has not responded to Polygon’s request for comment on how it will resolve the issue, instead pointing to the post on X.

The glitch means that more players will now be heading into Ultimate Team matches using Messi cards to up the stats of their teams. Messi has the highest overall rating in EA FC 24 with a 97, a rating that just a few other cards, including Kylian Mbappe and Caroline Graham Hansen, have. You want a player card like this on your team — and you don’t want to play against an opponent stacked with cards like this. The odds, now, are that you will.

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