In this Football Manager 2020 series the aim is to provide some inspiration for you to decide which club you will manage. I plan to review a large selection of teams from some of the more popular regions and countries in the game.
I will be focusing on clubs with an interesting challenge and therefore may not use a team from every country. The series will be split into several posts, each with a focus on a particular region. In this post, I will look at clubs to manage in Southern Europe.
Who to Manage on FM20 | Southern Europe
Boavista | Portuguese Primeira Liga
The Portuguese top flight is dominated by three clubs, known as ‘Os Três Grandes’ or ‘The Big Three’. Porto, Benfica and Sporting have won the Championship a combined 83 times. Boavista sit alongside Belenenses as one of only two teams outside of the big three who have won the top division in Portugal, winning their title in 2000/01.
The club present an interesting challenge for lovers of a long-term save. Becoming the most successful team in Portugal might be a bit too long-term, but taking the club back to European football is certainly a target worth chasing. The club last appeared in Europe in 2002/03 where they reached the Semi-Final of the UEFA Cup. Can you take them further?
USL Dunkerque | French Championnat National
Dunkerque are 110 years old this year and have one single honour to their name in that entire time. You could be the person to change this. The club have never been higher than the second tier of French football and currently sit in the third tier.
Your job is to bring success to the fans of Dunkerque, taking them to Ligue 1 and perhaps even into Europe. How long will it take you to win the top-flight championship?
Venezia | Italian Serie B
Over the past two decades, Venezia have been declared bankrupt on three occasions, most recently in 2015. The club have won 1 Coppa Italia in their history and their highest league position is third in Serie A. They boast former players including Alvaro Recoba and Christian Vieri and a former manager in Filippo Inzaghi.
Will you be the next legend associated with this club? The club were almost relegated down to Serie C last season but were saved after Palermo were punished for administrative irregularities. It might well be a tough first season!
Deportivo de La Coruña | Spanish Segunda Division
Deportivo certainly deserve a mention in this post as an interesting club to manage. They currently play in the second tier of Spanish football, however they began the millennium as one of the most successful teams in Spain, winning the 1999/2000 title and finishing in the top three for the next four seasons.
Your job is to bring back continental football to the club, break the dominance of Barcelona and Real Madrid and become giants of Spanish football once more.
Paris Saint-Germain | French Ligue 1
An easy choice right? PSG are dominant at the top of Ligue 1, winning 6 of their eight titles since 2012. But they have not yet conquered Europe, specifically the Champions League. Your first target whilst managing PSG will be to win the Champions League.
You could well achieve that in the first season, so for a more long-term save, you could decide to build more of a homegrown squad over time. Eventually, your aim could be to win the Champions League with an entirely homegrown squad of French footballers.
Sporting CP | Portuguese Primeira Liga
Sporting are considered one of ‘Os Três Grandes’ in Portuguese football but their league form hasn’t done much to cement their status in this group. Porto and especially Benfica have dominated league football since 2000, with Sporting winning their last title in 2001/02.
It is up to you to change around their fortunes and end the Benfica/Porto hold on the domestic league. How long will it take you?
FC Andorra | Spanish Segunda B
Andorra are a club who play in the third tier of Spanish football, despite being based in the country of Andorra. In 2018 the club were bought by Kosmos Holding Company, a company founded by Gerard Pique. In July 2019, Andorra paid a fee of around €450,000 to replace CF Reus Deportiu, who were relegated due to financial reasons, in the Segunda B.
The greatest triumph in the clubs history was winning the Copa Catalunya in 1994. They beat Barcelona in the Semi before beating Espanyol in the Final. This season will be their first back in the third tier since 1998 but it will be a big challenge after their promotion from a league two tiers below. Can you keep them up?
Juventus | Serie A
Juventus provide a different sort of challenge to the others in this post. The Italian giants are expected to win trophies and therefore the demands on the manager will be very high. The squad could do with an overhaul with a large portion of the squad in their late 20’s to early/mid 30’s, including the star players in Cristiano Ronaldo (34) and Giorgio Chiellini (35).
Your job could be to reduce the average age of the squad whilst maintaining the competitiveness that has seen Juventus dominate the Italian league since 2011, winning eight straight titles. You will also need to challenge for continental titles of which the last win for Juventus came against Ajax in the 1995/96 Champions League Final.
Sevilla | Spanish La Liga
The UEFA Cup / Europa League has not been won more by any other team. Sevilla have won the competition five times since 2006 and therefore it might be a surprise to some that they have not made any impact domestically. Of course with Barcelona and Real Madrid dominating it won’t be too shocking, but the club have only finished 4th or higher once in the past decade in which they have won three Europa Leagues.
Bring domestic silverware to Sevilla and create a team worthy of winning Europe’s top continental competition. They have won only one domestic top-flight title back in 1945/46 – can you end their wait for a championship?
San Marino | European Championships
The first country to feature in this series! San Marino has often provided serious FM’ers with one of the trickiest challenges in the game – making San Marino a competitive national side. This could prove to be the save for you to run alongside a club save perhaps?
The nation have only avoided defeat in five international matches, with their only victory coming against Liechtenstein in 2004. As of October 2019, they have gone 16 games in a row without scoring a goal… Good luck!
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Thanks for reading!