Career Mode can sometimes feel like the forgotten child when it comes to EA Sports.
A much-beloved game mode that has entertained us all for hundreds of hours, EA rarely make wholesale improvements to Career Mode, instead pouring their time and energy into Ultimate Team and its microtransactions.
EA Sports FC 24 is taking the reins from FIFA this year, albeit it will largely be the same game, and there are going to be changes to Career Mode including a tactical overhaul for players.
With the game releasing on 29 September, it’s about time we look at the 20 of the best teams to manage in Career Mode.
We know there are other clubs in League Two besides Wrexham, but the financial advantages of managing the Welsh outfit make for a fun Career Mode.
The takeover of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney back in 2020 has seen plenty of money pumped into Wrexham and EAFC 24 managers are likely to get their fair share of it on Career Mode too.
The Hollywood owners have been clear about their ambitions to get Wrexham into the Premier League, but can you get them there?
Another Career Mode for those with expensive tastes, Al Nassr will undoubtedly be a popular choice for prospective managers, as will the Saudi Pro League in general.
According to unofficial leaks, Al Nassr are only set to have a £49.58m budget. This is perhaps because they have already spent a fair chunk on players in the summer, but some creative accounting could perhaps boost that budget at the expense of the wage bill.
Plus, it’s almost worth it just to play as a 38-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo against a bunch of middling defences and see how many goals you can rack up.
Of the teams still in the Irish Airtricity League, Drogheda United were the lowest ranked European side in FIFA 23. Assuming that stays the same, it would be an almighty challenge to take the lowly Irish outfit all the way to Champions League glory.
Completing this challenge with any Irish team would be hard enough, but you might as well pick the worst of the bunch. You know, just for fun.
Having suffered relegation after just one season back in the Bundesliga, returning Schalke to their former glory always proves a popular Career Mode choice.
Schalke were relegated to the 2. Bundesliga at the end of the 2021/22 season for the first time since the early 1990s and are now in danger of becoming a yo-yo club in Germany.
Schalke were the best club in Germany during the 1930s and have won seven league titles, but none since the Bundesliga formed in the 1960s. It’s up to you to change that.
It was only seven years ago that Leicester City were lifting the Premier League title against all odds. Now, they find themselves back in the Championship once more.
The Foxes shouldn’t stay there for too long under Enzo Maresca, but it may be some time before they’re competing for European spots and trophies again.
That journey is likely to be significantly shorter if you become their manager in Career Mode though, with a good infrastructure and strong budget making the Championship a cakewalk in your first season.
Getting them to a second Premier League title may be a bigger challenge.
Having only formed in 2001, Almere City have found their way into the Eredivisie for the first time in their history this campaign after 18 straight seasons in the second division.
Your budget will be miniscule and it will be tough to overthrow the established trio of Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord, but that’s the task that faces you in this save.
It’s not a club with great history – notable former players include Nordin Amrabat and Vincent Janssen – meaning you can easily become the most successful manager the club has ever had.
Having won their first Serie A title in 33 years last season, Napoli’s task is now to maintain their success, something often easier said than done.
By choosing to start a save with the Neapolitans you have the opportunity to build a dynasty in Italy, while also having the joy of playing with the likes of Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Bar one season of Rangers dominance in 2020/21, Celtic have been absolutely rampant in the Scottish Premiership, winning 11 of the last 12 league titles.
Not only does picking Rangers give you an opportunity to usurp their local Glasgow rivals, but also the possibility of putting Scotland back on the map in the Champions League.
Now facing a second successive season in Ligue 2 after narrowly missing out on promotion during the 2022/23 campaign, the ten-time Ligue 1 champions need to get back into the top-flight as soon as possible.
A side that was dominant in France during the 1960s and 1970s is in danger of becoming a second tier regular.
Getting Saint-Etienne back to their historic best will be an almighty test of your credentials, especially with the financial muscle of Paris Saint-Germain.
Let’s be honest, we all think we could do a better job at Chelsea than some of their recent managerial appointments.
The unprecedented levels of spending mean you will inherit a squad full to the brim with the best youngsters in world football, plenty of opportunities to move players on for big fees and a healthy existing budget to make your own deals.
All in all, this one should be very enjoyable even if quite straightforward, especially in the transfer windows.
Looking forward to a debut season in the Champions League after last season’s fourth-placed Bundesliga finish, Union Berlin are one of the feel-good stories of modern football.
While their ascent to the upper echelons of German football has been impressive, they still find themselves some way off competing with Bayern Munich for silverware, but that could all change with you in the hot seat.
The appeal of this Career Mode is quite obvious: you get to play with Lionel Messi.
An added bonus is that you get to see if you can do better than Phil Neville did. We probably know the answer already.
The first challenge for Luton Town managers in EAFC 24 is keeping the Hatters in the Premier League. This may be harder than it seems with Luton unlikely to have a large amount of funds to play with.
If you’re good enough to avoid the drop, the next step is slowly working your way towards mid-table, then the European spots and then maybe even the title. Good luck, you’ll need it.
While starting with current Portuguese champions Benfica isn’t much of a test, you could always manage the Lisbon side only using players from the club’s incredible academy.
The likes of Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix are all recent academy graduates, so there is bound to be plenty of talent coming through.
If you go all the way back to before World War II, Union Saint-Gilloise were easily the best team in Belgium, amassing 11 titles between 1904 and 1935.
Despite a difficult recent history, things are starting to look up again for the Belgian outfit, who will play in this year’s Europa League group stage against Liverpool.
Returning them to the summit of Belgian football is the next step.
Having suffered a points deduction last season, Reading now find themselves down in the third tier of English football for the first time since the 1991/92 campaign.
The Royals have already made a poor start to life in League One and there may be concerns among the fanbase that the club will keep sliding down the football pyramid.
You can stop that, however, and instead eye a return to the Premier League.
Former European Cup winners in 1986, Steaua Bucuresti have not been competitive in Europe for a long, long time.
The Romanian outfit haven’t even won their domestic league since 2015 and need a new manager with new ideas to come in and return them to their former glory.
Channel your inner Gheorghe Hagi for this one.
RC Lens finished just one point off Ligue 1 title winners PSG last season, qualifying for the Champions League in the process.
Lens undoubtedly overachieved and have had to sell several key players this summer, but there is no reason why they can’t compete with the best teams in France again this year.
Can you leapfrog PSG and win Lens their first trophy since 2009?
Sampdoria had a torrid time of things last season, winning just three games all year and accumulating a measly 19 points in Serie A.
As a result, the Italian side were relegated to Serie B and now face the unenviable task of returning to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
Sampdoria were incredibly successful in the late 1980s and early 1990s, even winning their one and only scudetto in 1990/91. It’s about time they return to the big time.
Oldham became the first former Premier League team to drop into non-league football last season when they suffered relegation from League Two.
Oldham fans have endured hell over the past couple of decades, seeing their club drop further and further down the pyramid.
Taking Oldham back to the Premier League would be a fairytale story and perhaps one that only EAFC 24 can provide.