Top five European football clubs with FIFA eSports teams: “The next Messi in the world of eSports”

By Harry Edwards

Published: 15:42, 19 March 2021 | Updated: 10:46, 3 October 2022

The FIFA series is undeniably one of the biggest sports games in history and it continues to grow with the introduction of eSports.

Each year, players look to prove themselves as the best on FIFA in a series of tournaments and, although the prize money isn’t quite at the level of the likes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends, or even Fortnite, it’s getting bigger.

As with in other eSports, FIFA players often represent a team of players split between Xbox and Playstation, usually eSports-based such as Fnatic, FaZe Clan or Astralis. But real football clubs have been involved for a while now, too, building their own eSports branches to further their global conquest. So who are the best football clubs with links in the FIFA eSports game?

Having sifted through the FIFAe rankings the top five major European football clubs with FIFA eSports teams, this article picks out the top five, looking into who they are and and how they play, with help from a competitive player Josh Buchanan.

Josh Buchanan – who you can find on Twitch here – is a FIFA Ultimate Team Verified Player on Xbox who has twice achieved a top 200 finish on FIFA 21 Weekend League, regularly hitting Elite by recording 23 wins or more.

5. RB Leipzig

Overall rank: 22nd (651.3 points)
Players: Der_Gaucho10 (Xbox), Umut (PlayStation), Fehrminator (PlayStation and Xbox), Lena (PlayStation), Verjgang (PlayStation)

RB Leipzig are the newer kids on the block in the Bundesliga but haven’t taken long to place themselves as contenders for the league title, and it’s a similar case in eSports. RBLZ Gaming finished top of the Virtual Bundesliga’s Süd-Ost league, losing just one of their 24 overall ties (though that comes up as as 10 single-leg losses in 72).

An all-German team, RBLZ Gaming’s main duo are Richard “Der_Gaucho10” Hormes, the team captain who is currently ranked 35th in Europe on Xbox and reached the Top Four of the Virtual Bundesliga Grand Final in both FIFA 19 and 20, and Umut “RBL_Umut” Gültekin who ranks 17th in Europe on PlayStation. They also boast Daniel “Fehrminator” Fehr as a coach and Lena “Lena5601” Güldenpfenning, who recently made history in becoming the first woman to play in the Virtual Bundesliga. And recently, they added Anders “Verjgang” Verjgang who made headlines in going 536 games on Weekend League without defeat, falling just five short of 18 perfect weekends.

“Anders, the 15-year-old Danish wonderkid who holds the longest win streak on Weekend League of 536–0, is tipped to be the next Messi in the world of eSports,” Josh says.

“He has stuck with the 4-4-2 throughout FIFA, which was previously known to be the go-to formation. This year’s skill meta has been stepovers, which Anders has mastered. The boosted stepover is his skill move of choice as it is a very simple but effective movement if timed correctly. He’s still not old enough to play at FIFA official events (you have to be 16) but there is no doubt this teenager is set to dominate in the years to come.”

At the recent FIFAe Club World Cup, the RBLZ Gaming duo of Der_Gaucho10 and RBL_Umut reached the quarter-final stage, knocked out by AC Monza.

4. Man City

Overall rank: 16th (751 points)
Players: Shellzz (PlayStation), Ryan (Xbox)

The Premier League champions-elect, Man City are also the best English club when it comes to eSports, ranking higher than any other (their closest Premier League rivals are Wolves down in 51st).

Their main team is a small two-man fixture consisting of Shaun “Shellzz” Springette and Ryan “MCFC Ryan” Pessoa. Ryan, formerly known as Stackzz, was first brought in by Man City as a temporary sub in the 2019 FIFA eClub World Cup, where he joined Shellzz and led them to a quarter-final finish. After a spell with Chelsea in the ePremier League, he returned to Man City in November 2019 and has remained since. Shellzz, 62nd in Europe on PlayStation, is the heart of Man City’s eSports team, having joined in 2018, and has been their representative across three Club World Cups and one ePremier League so far.

Josh: “Ryan Pessoa and Shellzz are both top UK pro players who have been on scene for a while. They both represented Manchester City in the eClub World Cup this season and last and will also be playing in the ePremier League finals in a few weeks’ time.

“When attacking on FIFA, do not hold the sprint button unless there is massive space to run into. Being patient allows you to find gaps in your opponent’s defence as they can bring a player out of position creating space in behind or around the box.

“Ryan Pessoa is a confident and patient player who enjoys a skill move or two, which has been shown in the recent eNation and ePremier League competitions. He is currently rocking the 5-3-2 meta formation or the ‘Five-Back’, as people are calling it for short.

“Shellz is known as one of the best Pro Clubs players to ever do it. He is a very aggressive player with a high press. He scores plenty of goals and is not afraid to attack. He sometimes uses the 4-3-1-2 with his full-backs attacking and overlapping, which always makes for an entertaining match.”

Unfortunately Shellzz and Ryan couldn’t reach the knockout stages at the 2021 FIFAe Club World Cup, finishing sixth in Zone 4, Group 2 with only the top four qualifying.

3. AC Monza

Overall rank: 12th (867 points)
Players: Er_Caccia98 (PlayStation), Nzorello (PlayStation)

AC Monza’s actual football team are currently second in Serie B and looking to reach Italy’s top flight for the first time ever, boasting the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mario Balotelli among their roster. But their eSports team is even better.

Like Man City, AZ Monza Team Esports operates with a two-man team consisting on two Italian players both in the top 50 for Europe on PlayStation. The first is Raffaele “Er_Caccia98” Cacciapuoti, who is ranked 12th and has been at the club since they first formed their eSports team in 2017, and he is joined by Renzo “Nzorello” Parave, who ranks 44th in Europe.

After beating RB Leipzig in the quarter-finals of the 2021 FIFAe Club World Cup for Zone 4, Er_Caccia98 and Nzorello were knocked out of the semi-finals by Astralis.

2. Schalke

Overall rank: 11th (898 points)
Players: Tim Latka (PlayStation), Juli (Xbox), JH7 (PlayStation)

Schalke are on their way out of the Bundesliga and struggled in the Virtual Bundesliga, finishing a disappointing 11th (out of 13) in Nord-West league, but they still rank very highly on FIFA 21.

The Royal Blues are represented by three players on FIFA 21: Tim “Tim Latka” Schwartmann, who has been playing for the club since 2016 and recently switched from Xbox to PlayStation, Julius “Juli” Kühle, ranked 72nd in Europe on Xbox and Joe “JH7” Hellmann, 74th in Europe on PlayStation.

Juli and JH7 were also losing semi-finalists in the 2021 FIFAe Club World Cup, beaten in Zone 4 to eventual winners MKers, after three penalty-shootout defeats.

1. FC Basel

Overall rank: 7th (1,026.3 points)
Players: SpiderKong (Xbox), Lubo (PlayStation), Dufty (PlayStation), Nicolas99FC (PlayStation)

One of Switzerland’s most well-known clubs, FC Basel have won the Swiss Super League 20 times, most recently as 2016/17, and competed in both the Champions League and Europa League. But they have tasted success more recently in eSports, having won the Swiss national league for FIFA, and are the top ranked European football club in FIFA 21.

Simply named FC Basel 1893 eSports, the Swiss-based FIFA team has put together a four-man team full of talent from around the globe. There’s Miguel “SpiderKong” De Assis Bilhar, a Brazilian FIFA Champion who ranked ninth in the world for FIFA 20, Luca “Lubo” Boller, a three-time Swiss champion, Leandro “Dufty” Curty, another Swiss FIFA star and Argentinian Gonzalo Nicolas “Nicolas99FC” Villalba.

“Nicholas99FC has been around since FIFA 17, an Argentina player who has been one of the best and most consistent PlayStation players in the last few seasons,” Josh says.

“A former eClub World Cup winner back in 2019 after pairing up with Tekkz, he is currently sitting in third place in the Global Series Ranking leader board in South America. He is known as ‘The Iceman’ as he doesn’t show much emotion with a very cool and composed style of play to suit.”

Unlike the rest of the teams in the top five, Basel competed in the recent FIFAe Club World Cup outside of their continental, with SpiderKong and Nicolas99FC taking them to the semi-finals of the South American Zone 5, losing to FUTWIZ Brazil.