EA Sports explain Thomas Muller's 87 rating on FIFA 17

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Football News

It’s around this time of the year that EA Sports’ Twitter mentions will be filled with negative comments.

FIFA 17 will be released in Europe on Thursday and EA Sports know that it is impossible to please everybody with their player ratings.

Dimitri Payet having a better passing rating than Lionel Messi is just one topic of heavy debate.

There are over 700 clubs in the new version of the hugely popular video game, and 18,000 players.

In order to provide ratings for every one of those 18,000 players, EA enlists the help of 9,000 people, from season-ticket holders to professional-level scouts and coaches.

These people are known as data reviewers, and they supply feedback through a secure online database.

Michael Mueller-Moehring is the man responsible for overseeing the ratings process and he explained to ESPN just how difficult it can be to grade a player.

“There's always a player from the second division in Switzerland who gets bought on transfer deadline day," Mueller-Moehring said, "and all you know about this player is his name, date of birth and his position -- and his position may be as precise as, ‘oh, he's a midfielder.’

"And this player has to go into the game."


There’s more to it than simply watching a player and giving him a number. There are several variables that impact just how or low a player’s rating can reach.

"The stats are, in most cases, not taking into account very specific circumstances," Mueller-Moehring added.

"When you look at passing completion, if you play for Bayern Munich or if you play for Manchester City or if you play for Pep Guardiola, if your system is based on possession, you will have more successful passes than other players, but this doesn't necessarily make you a better passer.

"If Messi were playing in the Irish league, his attributes would drop simply because he's not on the highest level anymore.”

How to solve a problem like Muller

But how do EA Sports rate a player who has the intangibles, instead of the physical or technical abilities, to be a star?

Watch Thomas Muller play for Bayern Munich and Germany and he won’t leave you breathless. Yet he’s one of the world’s finest footballers and has the C.V. to boot.

Mueller-Moehring explains: “A case is Thomas Muller, who isn't good at anything, really, apart from his positioning. He always finds the right spot on the pitch, it's amazing.

“But he's not a great dribbler and he can't really strike the ball properly -- his finishing is sometimes really, really off. Shot power is not his strength as well.

"So if you rate Thomas Muller properly, he ends up with a rating that we say doesn't make sense. It's too low."

In order to ensure Muller doesn’t struggle alongside his peers, EA gives his overall rating a boost. So while he won’t outsprint anyone, or score 30-yard screamers, he still won’t have you chucking your controller at the TV screen.

How would you improve FIFA's ratings process? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Robert Lewandowski
Germany Football
Bayern Munich
Thomas Muller

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