Gaming

Former FIFA wonderkids who haven’t lived up to their in-game potential

By Harry Edwards

Published: 20:25, 31 October 2020

Everybody loves a wonderkid, and in FIFA 21 it is no different.

Before the game is even released, certain stats are announced to provide some ideas as to who will be the best players to sign in career mode. There are the obvious choices but then some hidden gems with the potential to be the best players in the game.

But travelling over years of FIFAs past, not every wonderkid has managed to live up to their in-game potential.

Sometimes they are hit by a crucial injury or personal problems hampering their progress. And others have just hit their peak too early, showing up those who set the FIFA ratings.

But where are those players now? The ones who just had to buy in previous games that you might be surprised to see are still around on FIFA 21, with very average ratings.

We’ve taken a look at 10 of the biggest wonderkids from FIFA who failed to reach the heights both in real life and on the game.

Wonderkids are players aged 21 and under with high potential and growth in Career Mode.

Anyone we missed out? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

1. Ahmed Musa (FIFA 14)

Ahmed Musa was a wonderful pace merchant in FIFA 14 but cannot grow past his overall of 73 in FIFA 21

Ahmed Musa was a wonderful pace merchant in FIFA 14 but cannot grow past his overall of 73 in FIFA 21

FIFA 14 rating: 76
FIFA 14 potential: 85
FIFA 21 rating: 73
FIFA 21 potential: 73

In 2013/14 CSKA were one of the most frustrating teams to play against because they boasted Seydou Doumbia and, more importantly for us, Ahmed Musa. The 20-year-old was an absolute destroyer when it came to pace but also had four-star skill moves and good finishing. In Career Mode there was the potential for him to rise to 85. A solid player.

But his real-life career just hasn’t had the same trajectory and Musa, now 28, is without a club recently leaving Al Nassr eyeing a return to Europe. He is, however still in FIFA 21 with an overall rating of 73.

2. Lucas Piazon (FIFA 14)

Lucas Piazon is one of a number of players to suffer from Chelsea’s loan system, failing to live up to his FIFA 14 potential

Lucas Piazon is one of a number of players to suffer from Chelsea’s loan system, failing to live up to his FIFA 14 potential

FIFA 14 rating: 73
FIFA 14 potential: 85
FIFA 21 rating: 71
FIFA 21 potential: 72

Another FIFA 14 star, Lucas Piazon was tipped for greatness in his early Chelsea years, being compared to Brazilian legend Kaka. This was mirrored somewhat by his FIFA 14 potential of 85, making him a nice addition to any Career Mode side on the wings.

However, the Brazilian has fallen victim to Chelsea’s loan system and now sits 71 rated with the potential only to grow to 72, a real wasted FIFA 14 talent.

3. Richairo Zivkovic (FIFA 15)

Richairo Zivkovic had a potential overall of 86 on FIFA 15 but has been handed a rating of 67 with Guangzhou R&F

Richairo Zivkovic had a potential overall of 86 on FIFA 15 but has been handed a rating of 67 with Guangzhou R&F

FIFA 15 rating: 69
FIFA 15 potential: 86
FIFA 21 rating: 67
FIFA 21 potential: 72

Perhaps a slightly more obscure wonderkid. For those who knew, Richairo Zivkovic was a must have on FIFA 15. The 18-year-old striker started the game with an initial rating of 69 but boasted decent attacking stats. But the biggest drawing point was his potential of 86, which reflected in real-life expectations.

Things just haven’t worked out for the Dutchman, however, as he struggled to make an impact with Ajax. Now 24, Zivkovic has an initial rating of 67 playing for Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League.

4. Hachim Mastour (FIFA 16)

Hachim Mastour attributed his failure to live up to expectations on intermediaries and is nowhere to be found on FIFA 21

Hachim Mastour attributed his failure to live up to expectations on intermediaries and is nowhere to be found on FIFA 21

FIFA 16 rating: 67
FIFA 16 potential: 86
FIFA 21 rating: N/A
FIFA 21 potential: N/A

Joining AC Milan at a young age, Hachim Mastour was tipped to be a star and this was echoed in his FIFA 16 stats. The teenager had a potential rating of 86, growing 67 from his initial overall and possessed good dribbling stats.

But, much like Zivkovic, Mastour was unable to live up to the hype, something he attributed to outside interest, telling TuttoMercatoWeb: “I noticed the media hype with which I arrived at Milan, which consequently pushed companies and intermediaries to see in me more a chance to make money, than a sporting profile to grow and wait.

“This penalised my sporting growth, also because I wanted to play exclusively, after all I didn’t care much about it [commercial activies], as demonstrated by the fact that I have always trained and acted with seriousness, both at Malaga and at Zwolle.”

Mastour cannot be found in FIFA 21 as he plies his trade with Reggina 1914 – with Serie B not included in the game.

5. Viktor Fischer (FIFA 14)

Viktor Fischer went from FIFA 14 wonderkid to Middlesbrough struggler and has a potential rating of just 75 in FIFA 21

Viktor Fischer went from FIFA 14 wonderkid to Middlesbrough struggler and has a potential rating of just 75 in FIFA 21

FIFA 14 rating: 74
FIFA 14 potential: 86
FIFA 21 rating: 74
FIFA 21 potential: 75

One of FIFA 14’s must-buys, Vikor Fischer had the potential to be a demon on the wings. The 19-year-old already had the pace and dribbling abilities to cause problems despite his initial rating of 74. And then there was the small bonus of his potential to rise 86, meaning it was important you signed him early.

But, like everyone else in his list, Fischer struggled to live up to expectations. Now 26, Fischer signed for FC Copenhagen in January 2018 after leaving Ajax via Middlesbrough and Mainz. His initial rating now mirrors that from FIFA 14, but Fischer’s potential of 75 makes for sad reading.

6. Max Meyer (FIFA 15)

Max Meyer failed to live up to the high expectations of FIFA 15 and is struggling for game time at Crystal Palace

Max Meyer failed to live up to the high expectations of FIFA 15 and is struggling for game time at Crystal Palace

FIFA 15 rating: 75
FIFA 15 potential: 87
FIFA 21 rating: 76
FIFA 21 potential: 79

One of many German midfielders tipped for a long and successful career, Max Meyer had bags of potential in FIFA 15. Starting with a rating of 75 the CAM was excellent on the ball with 82 dribbling and 82 acceleration, capable of causing problems through the middle – not to mention his potential to rise to 87 overall.

But Meyer has never really hit the peaks FIFA expected of him with the German’s career stagnating before his move to Crystal Palace, where it has only regressed further. In FIFA 21, Meyer is rated at 76 but will only grow to 79, a far cry from his FIFA 15 self.

7. Lazar Markovic (FIFA 15)

Lazar Markovic’s struggles at Liverpool resulting in him rejoining boyhood club Partizan Belgrade, who are not on FIFA 21

Lazar Markovic’s struggles at Liverpool resulting in him rejoining boyhood club Partizan Belgrade, who are not on FIFA 21

FIFA 15 rating: 78
FIFA 15 potential: 87
FIFA 21 rating: N/A
FIFA 21 potential: N/A

When Liverpool signed Lazar Markovic in 2014, the whole FIFA world became excited. The Reds had just bought one of the best wonderkids, as shown by his potential rating of 87 in FIFA 15. The Serbian was fast and a good dribbler, making him very desirable on the flanks.

But, as everyone knows, things just didn’t work out. He struggled at Liverpool and on his various loan moves before lasting less than six months at Fulham. Now with boyhood club Partizan Belgrade, Markovic is absent in FIFA 21, completing what has been a sad story.

8. Renato Sanches (FIFA 16)

Renato Sanches has endured perhaps the most well-known fall of FIFA 16 wonderkids

Renato Sanches has endured perhaps the most well-known fall of FIFA 16 wonderkids

FIFA 16 rating: 76
FIFA 16 potential: 88
FIFA 21 rating: 78
FIFA 21 potential: 85

In 2015, when FIFA 16 was released, Renato Sanches was one of the must-buy young midfielders. Starting at Benfica with an overall of 76, the Portuguese had the potential to rise to 88 and boasted decent pace and dribbling stats on top of great stamina and aggression.

Fast forward four years and although Sanches isn’t a complete bust, the Portuguese midfielder has had a slump. In real life, he struggled at Bayern Munich and Swansea City and is now in Lille trying to rebuild his reputation at the age of 23. On FIFA 21, his overall has improved by two to 78 with the potential to reach 85. Not a bad number, but his fall from FIFA 16 has been a dramatic one.

9. Riechedly Bazoer (FIFA 16)

Riechedly Bazoer’s potential rating went from 88 in FIFA 16 to just 78 in FIFA 21 - one higher than his initial FIFA 16 rating

Riechedly Bazoer’s potential rating went from 88 in FIFA 16 to just 78 in FIFA 21 – one higher than his initial FIFA 16 rating

FIFA 16 rating: 77
FIFA 16 potential: 88
FIFA 21 rating: 72
FIFA 21 potential: 78

Sticking with FIFA 16, Riechedly Bazoer was an exciting midfielder with bags of potential. He had decent shooting stats for his overall of 77, could control the ball well and wasn’t bad in the tackle. On top of this he had the potential to rise to 88, becoming one of the best all-round midfielders in the game.

Things just haven’t worked out for Bazoer as he left Ajax for Wolfsburg before returning to the Netherlands permanently with Vitesse after loan spells with Porto and Utrecht. In FIFA 21, his rating is 72 and has the potential to reach 78, which is just one higher than his initial overall for FIFA 16.

10. Zakaria Bakkali (FIFA 14)

FIFA 14 wonderkid Zakaria Bakkali has had the biggest fall from grace

FIFA 14 wonderkid Zakaria Bakkali has had the biggest fall from grace

FIFA 14 rating: 73
FIFA 14 potential: 90
FIFA 21 rating: 68
FIFA 21 potential: 71

If you didn’t sign Zakaria Bakkali in FIFA 14 Career Mode, you weren’t doing it right. The 17-year-old was one of the best wonderkids in the game, starting out at 73 and having the potential to rise to 90 if you played well. With excellent speed and dribbling, it was key to get Bakkali early in your Career Mode before he was swept up by a rival.

Unfortunately things haven’t exactly panned that way in real life with Bakkali moving leaving PSV to join Valencia, Deportivo La Coruna and finally Anderlecht, now 24. His FIFA 21 stats are a dagger in the heart of all who loved him, with a lower overall of 68 and the potential to rise to just 71.