Messi, Neymar, Ramos, Hazard: FIFA 23 downgrades predicted

  • Kobe Tong
PSG's Neymar and Messi.

FIFA 23 will hit shelves worldwide on September 30, 2022.

The annual release of EA Sports’ tentpole video game is always met with a great deal of anticipation, and that can be said of both avid gamers themselves as well as general football fans.

That’s because the FIFA series holds a unique standing in the pantheon of video games by way of passing commentary on the real world of football as opposed to just the digital copy displayed within its product.

FIFA player ratings

The highly popular Ultimate Team game mode means that the real-world professional players within each edition have to be awarded a rating out of 100 based on how good they’re deemed to be.

That, in turn, leads to a situation where FIFA’s player ratings essentially stand as one of the biggest objective rankings of footballers to be produced each year.

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The phenomena has amassed so much interest over the last decade that seldom does a game release go by without videos of the players themselves reacting to their new ratings going viral.

Those fiddly little numbers out of 100 might be viewed as arbitrary to some, but they have taken on a wider cultural significance that means the comparisons you can make from them really carry weight in the footballing world.

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Who will get a downgrade in FIFA 23?

So, as everyone here at GIVEMESPORT hotly anticipates the release of FIFA 23, we couldn’t help putting our tinfoil hats on and imagining what player rating changes could be in store for the new game.

We’ve already predicted the top-rated players in competitions such as the Premier League and La Liga, but now we’re forecasting which stars could be in for an unfortunate surprise when they boot up their copy of the game this year.

That’s because we’ve compiled 21 players who we think will see a decline in their base player rating compared to the number that they were first awarded when FIFA 22 hit stores a year ago.

Please note that the decisions are based on absolutely nothing more than the opinion of your humble writer – no leaks here, folks – so be sure to let us know your own thoughts, too, across our various social channels.

But without further ado, here are just some of the players that we think can expect a downgrade in FIFA 23:

1. Neymar: 91 to 89

Talent and ability in abundance, but Neymar has been on the slide at Paris Saint-Germain for some time now, seeing his goalscoring tally decline each and every season in France until a new nadir of just 14 strikes last time out.

Neymar in PSG's pre-season.
Soccer Football – Pre Season Friendly – Urawa Red Diamonds v Paris Saint-Germain – Saitama Stadium, Saitama, Japan – July 23, 2022 Paris St Germain’s Neymar in action REUTERS/Issei Kato

2. Harry Maguire: 84 to 82

Let’s get this one over with quickly because Maguire himself, as well as everyone in football, is well aware that he was poor during the 2021/22 season.

3. Romelu Lukaku: 88 to 87

Look, Lukaku is still one of the best strikers in the world, so we don’t want to castigate him for one lukewarm season in which he still finished as Chelsea‘s top scorer, but a marginal downgrade is still in order.

Lukaku struggled at Chelsea.
Soccer Football – Club World Cup – Semi Final – Al Hilal v Chelsea – Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – February 9, 2022 Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

4. Nicolas Pepe: 81 to 79

It gets more and more confounding with each year as to why Arsenal broke their transfer record for Pepe’s services. He reached a new low of just three goals and 23 appearances for the Gunners last season.

5. Kasper Schmeichel: 85 to 84

Leicester City’s number one did pull things back near the end of last season, but the cracks did start to show with a few sloppy errors leading us to think that a minimal downgrade is the best course of action.

6. Lionel Messi: 93 to 92

‘Blasphemy!’ we hear you cry. Yes, yes, yes, we know Messi wasn’t as bad as advertised during his first season at PSG, but the time is nevertheless nigh for a new king of the hill in FIFA on the back of his measly 11-goal return.

PSG's Messi warming up.
Soccer Football – Pre Season Friendly – Urawa Red Diamonds v Paris Saint-Germain – Saitama Stadium, Saitama, Japan – July 23, 2022 Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi warms up during the second half REUTERS/Issei Kato

7. Marcel Sabitzer: 84 to 83

It’s hard to look at Sabitzer’s first year at Bayern Munich as anything but an unmitigated disaster, failing to nail down a steady role in the team as he amassed just two goal contributions.

8. N’Golo Kante: 90 to 89

Kante was always going to struggle to match the Ballon d’Or-contending form that he displayed in 2020/21, but his inconsistent performances last season were disappointing nevertheless.

9. Marcus Rashford: 85 to 83

Just five goals from 32 outings last season having surpassed the 20-strike mark in the past two campaigns means that Rashford, regretfully, was one of the first names on our downgrade list.

Rashford in Man Utd training.
Soccer Football – Pre-Season Friendly – Manchester United Training – Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand – July 11, 2022 Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford during training REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

10. Luis Suarez: 88 to 85

Are the days of Suarez causing carnage at the highest level of European football numbered? After a quiet second season with Atletico, there’s perhaps reason to think so as he searches around for a new club.

11. Dele Alli: 80 to 78

Alli’s decline over the last few seasons has been tough to watch. It’s hard not to think that a year in which his Tottenham Hotspur career came to an end and was followed up by an underwhelming Everton move marked a new low.

12. Allan: 83 to 81

They say a rising tide lifts all boats, so perhaps it’s equally true that a falling tide sinks them. That’s the feeling we got when we saw Allan’s performances wane and wilt amidst Everton’s fight against relegation.

Everton's Allan chats to Pickford.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Brentford v Everton – Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain – November 28, 2021 Everton’s Jordan Pickford with Allan REUTERS/Ian Walton EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

13. Georginio Wijnaldum: 84 to 83

Embarrassingly named as “Ligue 1 Flop Signing of the Year”, Wijnaldum’s move to PSG has been so disastrous that he looks set to leave the club just one year on from signing.

14. Sergio Ramos: 88 to 85

On a similar note, Ramos seriously underwhelmed upon his arrival at the Parc des Princes with an onslaught of injuries, limiting him to just 13 outings, suggesting that father time might finally be catching up with him.

15. Gonzalo Higuain: 81 to 77

It’s hard to see anything but the degradation of Higuain’s FIFA rating extending this year as his record of 17 goals from 56 games at Inter Miami continues to frustrate and confound.

Higuain in action for Inter Miami.
Oct 20, 2021; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA; Inter Miami CF forward Gonzalo Higuain (9) plays the ball in front of Toronto FC defender Eriq Zavaleta (3) during the second half at DRV PNK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

16. Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 83 to 81

Again, you know the drill: United endured a miserable 2021/22 season in which many of their players experienced a steep dip in form. Wan-Bissaka was most certainly one of them as his Old Trafford future remains up in the air.

17. Giorgio Chiellini: 86 to 83

Everyone got a little bit carried away with Chiellini’s stock on the back of an impressive Euro 2020, but an indifferent final season at Juventus should now see that premature hype level out again.

18. Jan Oblak: 91 to 88

Fans were scratching their heads last season as Oblak plummeted from his status as the world’s best goalkeeper to an unexpected liability for Atletico, conceding 6.1 goals in La Liga that statistics think he should have saved.

Atletico's Oblak catches the ball.
fSoccer Football – LaLiga – Atletico Madrid v Levante – Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain – February 16, 2022 Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Juan Medina

19. Eden Hazard: 85 to 82

As more and more time passes with the perpetually-injured Hazard failing to make an impact at Real Madrid, the more we have to reluctantly chisel away at his FIFA rating.

20. Luke Shaw: 84 to 83

Like Maguire, Shaw came crashing back down to reality on the back of impressive displays at Euro 2020 and across the 2021/22 campaign, but there’s still a chance for him to turn things around under Erik ten Hag.

21. Arthur: 83 to 80

The days of Arthur being touted as the ‘New Xavi’ feel distant now as his Juventus career hangs in the balance having gotten lost in Massimiliano Allegri’s midfield shuffle just two seasons on from leaving Barcelona.

Arthur on the ball for Juventus.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Group H – Chelsea v Juventus – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – November 23, 2021 Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech in action with Juventus’ Arthur REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Still time to turn things around

Dropping the axe on player ratings each year is an unenviable task to the say the very least and it gives us no pleasure to say that all those talented individuals might be disappointed with their FUT cards this time around.

Football, just like any other job, is full of ups and downs, so don’t be surprised to see many of these stars sticking two fingers up to us by proving everybody wrong with a stunning season that gets them back on track.

And sadly, too, by the same token, don’t be surprised if there are a few players who experience a lull and plateau of their own after an impressive season.

Man Utd's Maguire running.
Soccer Football – Pre-Season Friendly – Manchester United Training – Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand – July 11, 2022 Manchester United’s Harry Maguire during training REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

However, whatever the 2022/23 season has in store, we can’t wait to witness every minute of it through both the real-life drama of the competitions we love and the digital entertainment of yet another FIFA release.

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