FIFA 21 Career Mode: Nine teams to start a new project with, from easy to hard

By Harry Edwards

FIFA 21: Best teams to use on Career Mode | Tips, advice, challenge

Published: 18:10, 20 July 2021 | Updated: 10:45, 3 October 2022

It won’t be too long before FIFA 22 is upon us, with EA Sports recently releasing a teaser trailer. But that doesn’t mean FIFA 21 is done.

There is still time for one last FIFA 21 Career Mode push, one final quest for glory before the game is inevitably pushed aside.

But the question remains, who do you manage?

Some go for the teams they support while others have their tried-and-tested clubs from Career Modes past. However, for those who are looking for something new this FIFA, particularly with the new generation of consoles, we’re here to give you a hand.

We’ve picked out nine teams, breaking them down into the level of challenge they’ll bring from the easiest (trying to win as much while managing huge budgets) to the hardest, where it will be a slog to rise up through the divisions but the reward will be sweet.

Please note: some board expectations may vary per save.

FIFA 21 Career Mode easiest teams to use


FIFA 21 Career Mode teams to use: Chelsea

League: Premier League
Rating: 4.5 stars
Transfer budget: £77,221,976
Club worth: £1,980,000,000
Main objective focuses: Brand Exposure (Critical), Domestic Success (High), Continental Success (High)

Chelsea spent big last summer and their FIFA 21 Career Mode squad is one to envy. But the question is, can you replicate Thomas Tuchel and lead them to Champions League glory?

Despite boasting the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz in attack, Chelsea’s defence is their weak point. Thiago Silva is the highest rated, but he won’t be part of your team for too long, while Reece James and Ben Chilwell need to grow. Even Edouard Mendy, who has started life in London well, has an initial overall rating of 80.

The club expectations in the first season are for a top-four finish in the Premier League, an FA Cup win and for you to reach the semi-final of the Champions League. All while improving the brand.


FIFA 21 Career Mode teams to use: Barcelona

League: La Liga
Rating: 5 stars
Transfer budget: £162,446,784
Club worth: £2,898,000,000
Main objective focuses: Domestic Success (Critical), Continental Success (Critical), Brand Exposure (Critical)

Barcelona have the best player in FIFA 21, Lionel Messi, but his time on the pitch is running out. The challenge here is for you to ready Barcelona for this instance.

In the real world, Ansu Fati appears to be taking the challenge personally and was thriving when fit, but he starts FIFA 21 with an overall rating of 76 so is a long way off being Barcelona’s man main. So what do you do? Do you use their transfer funds to add strength to the attack, replacing the likes of 76-rated Martin Braithwaite, or do you go hard on the development to try and increase Fati’s ratings?

Whatever method you pick, you’ll have to do it while winning the Treble in your first season and strengthening Barcelona’s youth development. Yikes.

AC Milan

FIFA 21 Career Mode teams to use: AC Milan

League: Serie A
Rating: 4.5 stars
Transfer budget: £33,543,230
Club worth: £473,400,000
Main objective focuses: Brand Exposure (Critical), Domestic Success (High), Continental Success (High)

At one point of season, AC Milan looked favourites to win Serie A though they eventually faltered and had to fight to secure a top four finish. Can you prevent the Milan drop and take them to Serie A glory?

Despite being one of Italy’s great teams, Milan have won Serie A just twice in the 21st century, with the last coming in 2010/11. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been the man for the Rossoneri but in FIFA terms you’ll likely get one season out of him as he closes in on 40, so it will be key to replace him. Aside from the Swede and Simon Kjaer, Milan have a good young side including Sandro Tonali, so they will experience good growth over the years.

In the first season, Milan’s board want a good cup run and a return to the Champions League. And the latter will be vital to achieve their long-term aim of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals within three seasons, all while improving the brand. Can you restore this fallen European giant?

FIFA 21 Career Mode challenging teams to use

Preston North End

League: Championship
Rating: 3 stars
Transfer budget: £3,210,039
Club worth: £18,000,000
Main objective focuses: Financial (High), Domestic Success (Medium)

In 1960/61 Preston North End, one of England’s oldest clubs, founders of the Football League and the original Invincibles, were relegated from the First Division. 60 years on, they haven’t returned. But can you change that?

Preston have a decent starting squad in Career Mode, all at a fairly good age, with Scott Sinclair the eldest player you’d likely have in your first XI during the opening season. Tom Barkhuizen is the one that stands out most with his 94 pace, one of the fastest players in FIFA 21.

Improving on the squad will be tough with Preston’s small transfer budget, but it is made harder with the board’s expectations to finish the season with a profit margin (the amount can range). Automatic promotion is an aim, but as long as you’re challenging in the first season you may be allowed another go to make this a long-term project.

Inter Miami

FIFA 21 Career Mode teams to use: Inter Miami

League: MLS
Rating: 3.5 stars
Transfer budget: £27,027,002
Club worth: £297,000,0000
Main objective focuses: Brand Exposure (Medium), Financial (Medium)

One of the newest franchises in Major League Soccer, everyone is talking about Inter Miami, but it has been a rocky start. Can you bring glory to David Beckham’s new club?

Despite their infancy and start in real life, the club’s backing has made a positive impact on FIFA 21, with a good rating and some handy players to call upon, most notably Blaise Matuidi and Gonzalo Higuain. But you’ll want to move away from them long-term and make Miami the must-be destination in MLS.

To do so, you should be challenging for MLS, against some already established teams, but Inter Miami’s good transfer budget of £27m will certainly help with that.


FIFA 21 Career Mode teams to use: Schalke

League: Bundesliga
Rating: 4 stars
Transfer budget: £21,547,098
Club worth: £630,045,000
Main objective focuses: Financial (Critical), Youth Development (Critical), Brand Exposure (High)

It wasn’t too long ago that Schalke were regulars in the Champions League, challenging the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United. But those days do seem so far away, with Schalke preparing for 2. Bundesliga action in 2021/22.

So the challenge here is to keep them in the Bundesliga, qualify for Europe and, perhaps eventually, winning the Champions League and Bundesliga. Schalke’s squad took a hit over the summer and there aren’t too many names that will catch the eye as world beaters, but some can be developed while their transfer budget isn’t the worst.

Schalke’s in-game aims are to return to the Europa League by the second season, which is attainable if you use the squad right. However, it doesn’t help that they want you to be making a profit and bring through youth players at the same time.

FIFA 21 Career Mode hardest teams to use


FIFA 21 Career Mode teams to use: Kaiserslautern

League: 3. Bundesliga
Rating: 2 star
Transfer budget: £2,852,997
Club worth: £10,962,000
Main objective focuses: Domestic Success (High), Financial (High), Youth Development (High)

We recommended Kaiserslautern last year but we had so much fun using them that we’re going to list them once again.

Only nine teams in German football history have won the league four or more times, including Kaiserslautern. However, since winning the Bundesliga in 1997/98 as a newly-promoted club no less, Kaiserslautern have gone on a downward spiral and sit in the third tier of German football.

Kaiserslautern lost a number of their key players from FIFA 20 including Florian Pick, Christian Kuhlwetter and Lennart Grill, which has made the promotion task harder, but they are still one of the top teams in the division. And their aims are to gain automatic promotion to the 2. Bundesliga, all while bringing through youth and bolstering the squad with an important player, while having no unspent transfer budget at the end of the first season.

If you want a good challenge, restore Kaiserslautern to their former glory.

Bolton Wanderers

FIFA 21 Career Mode teams to use: Bolton Wanderers

League: League Two
Rating: 1.5 stars
Transfer budget: £1,575,000
Club worth: £4,500,000
Main objective focuses: Domestic Success (High), Financial (High), Youth Development (High)

In 2007/08 Bolton Wanderers reached the last-16 of the Uefa Cup, a well-deserved run during an impressive few years for the club. Those days are long gone, but can you bring them back to the University of Bolton Stadium?

After financial problems, Bolton find themselves in League Two for FIFA 21 and their squad looks a far cry from the days of Jay-Jay Okocha and Ivan Campo (with no disrespect to Nathan Delfouneso and co.). Despite their squad rating, Bolton’s board want an immediate return to League One via the title (better than the third-place promotion managed in real life), all while making a profit in the first transfer window and developing youth.

With just over £1m to work with, this will be a long challenge to get Bolton back to the Premier League and eventually Europe, but what better way to occupy yourself until FIFA 22?

Harrogate Town

League: League Two
Rating: 1 star
Transfer budget: £914,722
Club worth: £1,343,000
Main objective focuses: Financial (Medium), Youth Development (Medium)

Another League Two team with a completely different challenge, Harrogate Town are experiencing their first ever campaign in FIFA, and everyone loves a new-boy Career Mode.

So the challenge here is to make Harrogate into an established professional team first, which you may be able to do using loans early on before the funds increase. Then, once Harrogate are comfortable, you can begin your climb up the system with then ultimate aim of becoming the top team in Yorkshire and England.

Understandably, Harrogate’s board don’t expect much in the league, just a top-half finish though even then it’s a very low priority. But they do want you to bring through a youth product and finish the first season with a profit. If Bolton’s challenge is still too quick for you, then try your hand at Harrogate.