The full release of FIFA 21 is just days away, with some already getting their hands on the newest edition, and excitement is high.
As part of their build up to the release, EA Sports drip-fed fans with various ratings and attribute reveals. There were no real surprises at the top of the ratings list with Lionel Messi coming out on top ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski in third.
At the same time, EA have released the top 10 players in each position, breaking them down to full-backs, centre-backs, goalkeepers, central midfielders, wingers and strikers. But another topic of conversation among FIFA players is the strength stats of certain stars.
Many players like the speedsters, but there’s nothing better than being able to bully an opponent off the ball with pure brute strength. Over the years it has made the likes of Adebayo Akinfenwa cult heroes on FIFA. But has the Wycombe man held onto his crown for FIFA 21? We’ve taken a look at top 20 strongest stars.
16=. Mateo Pavlovic
Club: Angers SCO
The first of many centre-backs on this list, 30-year-old Mateo Pavlovic has kept his strength of 93 from FIFA 20 despite the increase in his overall rating to 75. Often the problem with strong players, as you’ll see as the list progresses, is a lack of pace. In Pavlovic’s case, that’s a pace attribute of 31, one of the slowest in the game.
16=. Abdoulaye Seck
Oh look, another centre-back. This time in the form of Antwerp defender Aboulaye Seck, who has a pretty decent balance of stats for his 69 overall. But, the reason he’s on this list is his 93 strength, which has helped him at the back for Antwerp.
16=. Willy Boly
Club: Wolverhampton Wanderers
In a surprise to no one, it’s another strong centre-back, but this one may be more well-known than others on the list. Willy Boly is an absolute rock at the back for Wolves and the strongest Premier League player on FIFA 21.
16=. Niklas Sule
Club: Bayern Munich
Another familiar strong defender many will know, and may look to use in FIFA 21, is Bayern Munich’s Niklas Sule. The 6ft5 German centre-back perhaps goes under the radar slightly when it comes to stars in his team (and even muscles, compared to Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski), but Sule is the European champions’ strong man.
16=. Issa Marega
Club: LB Chateauroux
Completing the quintet of centre-backs with 93 strength is LB Chateauroux’s Issa Marega. The 22-year-old is just a bronze in terms of card ratings, but that’s what may make him even better for those looking to build a niche team in Ligue 2, particularly at the start of Ultimate Team.
6=. Geoffrey Kondogbia
At last, an entry who isn’t a centre-back! Over the years, Geoffrey Kondogbia has made a name for himself due to his strength and presence in midfield, at one point earning links to some of Europe’s biggest clubs. His performances may have dropped ever so slightly, but he is still among the FIFA elite when it comes to strength.
6=. Kalidou Koulibaly
Back to the centre-backs, Kalidou Koulibaly is such a talented defender, able to read the game expertly and help build play from the back. Over the last three Serie A seasons, no defender has completed more passes per 90 minutes than him (70.3) and at an accuracy 90%. But on FIFA 21 his standout attributes are related to physicality. His strength rating of 94 is something only four players in the game can beat. At 88-rated with that pace, he’s a must-have.
6=. Pape Abou Cisse
Arsenal fans will remember Pape Abou Cisse as the man who scored against them in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie with Olympiacos, helping to knock the Gunners out. The 25-year-old centre-back was excellent that night at the Emirates to restrict Arsenal to one goal.
6=. Ariel Nahuelpan
A strong striker can always be useful if you prefer a bullying attack, or at least someone capable of holding the ball up. And that’s what Tijuana have in Ariel Nahuelpan, or had. The Argentinian, 32, has in fact recently left Tijuana but looks to still be included on their roster for FIFA 21. Although he may end up being a very rare Ultimate Team card.
6=. Sebastian Coates
Club: Sporting CP
Some Liverpool fans may be surprised at this, but Sebastian Coates has found form in Portugal with Sporting CP and one reason for that is his strength. Rated on FIFA 21 at 94, there aren’t too many stronger than Coates, and his defending isn’t too bad either. Although his use will be hampered by his league.
6=. Florian Ballas
Club: Erzgebirge Aue
Sticking with the centre-back trend, next is 27-year-old Florian Ballas, a new arrival at Erzgebirge Aue in the 2. Bundesliga having joined from Dynamo Dresden. A two-rating drop from FIFA 20 to 68 has not affected his strength, thankfully.
6=. Felipe Carvalho
Club: Valerenga Fotball
Felipe Carvalho was missing from FIFA 20 but is back now and returns with strength of 94. Having spent last season on loan at Nacional, Carvalho will be part of Valerenga’s defence for the new season, with a overall of 68. Did we mention he’s a centre-back?
6=. Stefan Maierhofer
Club: Admira Wacker
Another new arrival for FIFA 21, Stefan Maierhofer is back in the game after joining Austrian Bundesliga side Admira Wacker. The 38-year-old striker is a tank with his 94 strength but is massively let down by that horrific pace.
6=. Tomas Petrasek
Club: Rakow Czestochowa
As is often the case with FIFA’s top (insert attribute) players, whether it’s fastest, strongest, tallest etc. there are one or two obscure names. For FIFA 21 the most obscure among their strongest offering is Rakow Czestochowa’s striker Tomas Petrasek, using his 94 strength in Poland’s Ekstraklasa.
6=. Obbi Oulare
Club: Standard Liege
Rounding off the players with 94 strength in FIFA 21 is Belgian striker Obbi Oulare.
Oulare will be an interesting player in FIFA 21, boasting decent stats for his silver-rated card. But like so many others, the league he is in will see him barely used on Ultimate Team.
3=. Armando Mendez
Club: Nacional de Montevideo
Moving into third place, we have another defender, but a right-back this time in the form of Armando Mendez. The Uruguayan full-back keeps Nacional’s right flank secure with his 91 physical and 95 strength, but don’t expect him to be marauding down the wing with 68 pace.
3=. Romelu Lukaku
Club: Inter Milan
He wasn’t happy with his pace, but at least Romelu Lukaku’s strength is accurate. There are so many good things about the Belgian’s style of play, and he re-discovered form in Serie A with Inter Milan, but one of the standout attributes is his pure strength, something he leverages to create trademark goalscoring manoeuvres.
Try to beat him in a duel if you can.
3=. Aleksander Vukotic
Centre-back City’s final, and strongest, representative is Aleksander Vukotic of Waasland-Beveren. The 25-year-old has actually enjoyed an increase in his strength on FIFA 21, rising from 93 last time out. But again, his pace of 31 is shocking.
2. Daryl Dike
Club: Orlando City
Coming in at second place is an MLS striker in the form of Daryl Dike. The Orlando City man, 61-rated overall, has fairly respectable stats for a card of his level, but of course the strength is his biggest draw. Just don’t expect the 20-year-old to defend, with just a 19 in that category.
1. Adebayo Akinfenwa
Club: Wycombe Wanderers
Undefeated. Unrivalled. Of course no one was going to be stronger than Akinfenwa. The now-Championship forward has maintained his strength of 97 from FIFA 20, although he has dropped again in pace. But Akinfenwa doesn’t need pace. He’s Akinfenwa. He’s so strong that he’s even considering a career in WWE once his time is football in over.
And it appears to be more than just a dream, with the forward recently telling talkSPORT: “I’ve had a couple of calls recently in regards to that.
“I’ll be following up on that soon – so it could go up or down depending on the outcome of that.
“I can’t tell you a direct percentage in terms of that [coming to fruition], but it’s something I’m really passionate about, so watch this space, people.”