Gaming

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

By Harry Edwards

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

Published: 14:00, 14 February 2024

Everybody loves a wonderkid, and in EA Sports FC24 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 you just had to buy in previous games that you might be surprised to see are still around in the EAFC era, with very average ratings.

We’ve taken a look at nine of the biggest wonderkids from FIFAs past 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!

Ahmed Musa (FIFA 14)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Ahmed Musa was a wonderful pace merchant in FIFA 14 but cannot grow past his overall of 67 in EAFC 24

Ahmed Musa was a wonderful pace merchant in FIFA 14 but cannot grow past his overall of 67 in EAFC 24

FIFA 14 rating: 76
FIFA 14 potential: 85
EAFC 24 rating: 67
EAFC 24 potential: 67

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 31, is plying his trade in Turkey with Sivasspor. In EAFC 24 his overall rating has now flipped to 67 with no room for improvement. Sad. He does have 83 Pace at least.

Lucas Piazon (FIFA 14)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: 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
EAFC 24 rating: 73
EAFC 24 potential: 73

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 fell victim to Chelsea’s loan system and went to reinvent himself at Braga. Piazon wasn’t in FIFA 23, having spent a year on loan with Botafogo — and EA Sports didn’t have the licenses for Brazil. But he is now back on the books at Braga and makes his return in EAFC 24 with an overall of 73, mimicking his rating from FIFA 14. Unfortunately, there is a bit of difference in the potential…


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Viktor Fischer (FIFA 14)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Viktor Fischer went from FIFA 14 wonderkid to Middlesbrough struggler and has now retired, aged just 29

Viktor Fischer went from FIFA 14 wonderkid to Middlesbrough struggler and has now retired, aged just 29.

FIFA 14 rating: 74
FIFA 14 potential: 86
EAFC 24 rating: N/A
EAFC 24 potential: N/A

One of FIFA 14’s must-buys, Viktor 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. After struggling with injury, Fischer retired aged 29, having spent last season at AIK on loan from Royal Antwerp.

Zakaria Bakkali (FIFA 14)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: 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
EAFC 24 rating: 65
EAFC 24 potential: 65

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 Anderlecht (with a loan spell at Beerschot), aged 27. A summer move to RKC Waalwijk saw Bakkali return to FIFA 23 with an overall of 67 but that has now dropped to 65 in EAFC 24. A heartbreaker.

Richairo Zivkovic (FIFA 15)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Richairo Zivkovic had a potential overall of 86 on FIFA 15 is not currently in EAFC 24.

Richairo Zivkovic had a potential overall of 86 on FIFA 15 is not currently in EAFC 24

FIFA 15 rating: 69
FIFA 15 potential: 86
EAFC 24 rating: N/A
EAFC 24 potential: N/A

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 27, Zivkovic has been in and out of the game franchise over the past few editions, and is currently out, plying his trade with Singapore’s Lion City Sailors.

Max Meyer (FIFA 15)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Max Meyer failed to live up to the high expectations of FIFA 15 and struggled for game time at Crystal Palace

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

FIFA 15 rating: 75
FIFA 15 potential: 87
EAFC 24 rating: 74
EAFC 24 potential: 74

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 only regressed further. In EAFC 24, Meyer (still only 28) is rated at 74, with no potential to grow, with Swiss club FC Luzern.

Lazar Markovic (FIFA 15)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Lazar Markovic has been in and out of the game since leaving Liverpool, but now has an overall of 73

Lazar Markovic has been in and out of the game since leaving Liverpool, but now has an overall of 72

FIFA 15 rating: 78
FIFA 15 potential: 87
EAFC 24 rating: 72
EAFC 24 potential: 72

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. After a few years out of FIFA while playing with boyhood club Partizan Belgrade, Markovic is currently 72-rated on EAFC 24, plying his trade with Gaziantep in Turkey.

Hachim Mastour (FIFA 16)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Hachim Mastour attributed his failure to live up to expectations on intermediaries and is nowhere to be found on EAFC 24

Hachim Mastour attributed his failure to live up to expectations on intermediaries and is nowhere to be found on EAFC 24

FIFA 16 rating: 67
FIFA 16 potential: 86
EAFC 24 rating: N/A
EAFC 24 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 activities], as demonstrated by the fact that I have always trained and acted with seriousness, both at Malaga and at Zwolle.”

Mastour is currently playing with Moroccan side Union Touarga Sportif and not in EAFC 24.

Riechedly Bazoer (FIFA 16)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Riechedly Bazoer’s potential rating went from 88 in FIFA 16 to just 76 in EAFC 24 - one lower than his initial FIFA 16 rating

Riechedly Bazoer’s potential rating went from 88 in FIFA 16 to just 76 in EAFC 24 – one lower than his initial FIFA 16 rating

FIFA 16 rating: 77
FIFA 16 potential: 88
EAFC 24 rating: 75
EAFC 24 potential: 76

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. Moving to AZ last summer, Bazoer’s overall has dropped to a 75 with a potential to grow to only 76, and he’s now a centre-back.

Alen Halilovic (FIFA 16)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: FIFA 16 saw Alen Halilovic potentially break into the 90s but his career has stuttered since

FIFA 16 saw Alen Halilovic potentially break into the 90s but his career has stuttered since

FIFA 16 rating: 73
FIFA 16 potential: 90
EAFC 24 rating: 70
EAFC 24 potential: 70

In FIFA 16, Alen Halilovic was enjoying his second season with Barcelona, though the first year of Career Mode will have been spent on loan at Sporting Gijon – which meant you had to wait a little to snap him up. But when you did, he could go on to become one of the best players in the world, with the potential to rise to 90 overall. He was a must sign.

Despite counting AC Milan among his later clubs, Halilovic’s career just didn’t go the way FIFA predicted as he struggled to make an impact at various sides. In EAFC 24, Halilovic has an initial overall of 70 with no potential to grow, signing for Fortuna Sittard last the summer.

Jann-Fiete Arp (FIFA 18)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Jann-Fiete Arp was a FIFA and FM wonderkid that just didn't work out

Jann-Fiete Arp was a FIFA and FM wonderkid that just didn’t work out

FIFA 18 rating: 63
FIFA 18 potential: 89
EAFC 24 rating: 66
EAFC 24 potential: 73

A wonderkid on both FIFA and Football Manager, Jann-Fiete Arp was first on most managers’ transfer lists when starting a new game. Playing for Hamburg at the time, the talented tyro had the potential to rise to 89 from his initial rating and could become one of the fiercest strikers on the game.

His potential in real life was seen by Bayern Munich but Arp got lost in the pack at the Allianz Arena, spending most of his time with the reserves before being sent on loan to Holstein Kiel, whom he joined permanently. Arp is still only 23 and remains at Holstein Kiel, but he can only rise to 73 on EAFC 24.

Pietro Pellegri (FIFA 19)

EAFC 24 wonderkids: Pietro Pellegri's potential overall has fallen by 12 in just a few years.

Pietro Pellegri’s potential overall has fallen by 12 in just a few years.

FIFA 19 rating: 67
FIFA 19 potential: 87
EAFC 24 rating: 68
EAFC 24 potential: 75

Another player who was backed to take over the world at a young age, Pietro Pellegri joined Monaco in 2018 for a €25m fee aged just 16, already piling a lot of pressure on his young head. By the next FIFA, Pellegri had been given a potential rating of 87, so was a good option for a lot of teams looking for a cheap striker to start off with.

In EAFC 24, Pellegri’s overall has risen from 67 to 68, but his potential has dropped massively to just 75, currently playing in Italy with Torino.

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