I have to confess something, I'm a FIFA addict. More specifically, the Ultimate Team mode. I've played every single one since the addition of this trading card-inspired mode and now having spent some time on the EA Sports FC 24 early access release (on my PS5) of the game, I'm not missing it at all.
EA's latest iteration of the game is the first to feature both female and male players on Ultimate Team, and this is something that has revolutionised it for me. Obviously, it's great to play with some of the stars of the recent World Cup (Man City's Lauren Hemp has a very impressive 86 rating) but even in a cold emotionless way, it's pretty much doubled the pool of players on the game.
That's a whole host of squad-building options and new favourite players to emerge. Already I've had a lot of joy using one of the USA's best players, Rose Lavelle, who is 87 rated and a lot of fun. Mixing and matching male and female players is the kind of thing that makes Ultimate Team the true fantasy for football fans.
As for anyone moaning, if Pele and Maradonna can play with Mbappe and Messi, why can't the best female players in the world too? Of course, I love using the biggest names in the men's game, but it is so easy to get boxed into using the same players each year. That's not the case with EA Sports FC 24.
Those worried about ruining their team chemistry by adding female players from different leagues need not worry, they get chemistry from sharing both nationalities and clubs with their teammates male or female. Curiously however, if you have a WSL player for example Leah Williamson and a Premier League player like Mo Salah who play for different clubs and don't share a nationality, they won't receive the league bonus even though they both play in England.
The pool of viable players is even larger with the new Evolution feature that allows you to permanently boost the ratings (in some cases dramatically) of players by using them in matches. Football is for everyone and now more people are invited than ever.