Football Manager 2018: AC Milan, PSG & the best teams to manage in the game

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Can you bring a minnow from the bottom of the football pyramid to the top? Goal takes a look at some of the best teams to manage in the simulation

The latest instalment of the Football Manager series is out now and gamers across the planet are, no doubt, already well into the future in the virtual world.

Crazy as it sounds, some of you might even just be starting out on your Football Manager 2018 adventure and perhaps you are pondering which team you should manage over Christmas.

The span of clubs in Football Manager 2018 is comprehensive and each job has its own unique attractions, demands and potential rewards.

So, whether you are keen on a challenge or just fancy splashing the cash, Goal has taken a look at some of the best teams to manage in the game.


AC MILAN


Andre Silva AC Milan

After Real Madrid, AC Milan are the second most successful team in the history of the Champions League, but they have fallen away from the top table in recent times. 

Can you be the person to restore them to their former glory? That's undoubtedly the challenge that awaits should you take the reins of the Rossoneri in Football Manager 2018.

They've splashed the cash under new Chinese ownership to bring in talented young players to the club and a long-term rebuilding job is anticipated, but you might be able to speed up that process.

With players such as Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva and Gianluigi Donnarumma at the club, it is an attractive prospect, but Vincenzo Montella's struggles as well as those of his successor Gennaro Gattuso in 2017-18 show that it is not always as easy as it looks.


PSG


Neymar Kylian Mbappe PSG Celtic UEFA Champions League 22112017

Kylian Mbappe. Thiago Silva. Marco Verratti. Neymar. Paris Saint-Germain boast one of the most talented - and most expensive - squads in the world, but the ultimate prize has thus far eluded them. 

The likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc and Unai Emery have tried and failed to bring the Champions League to the French capital, demonstrating that simply having the most expensive players does not necessarily guarantee success.

Domestically, managing PSG should be somewhat of a stroll, but on the continent is where it gets tricky. You'll have plenty of money to spend, but the pressure to win is intense and you won't last long if you don't deliver immediate success.


WOLVES


Ruben Neves Wolves

Thanks to the influence of 'Super Agent' Jorge Mendes, English Championship side Wolves boast some of the brightest European prospects in their ranks.

Portugal international Ruben Neves abandoned Champions League football with Porto in order to join the club, while the likes of Diogo Jota and Ruben Vinagre signed on loan from Atletico Madrid and Monaco respectively.

The aim, naturally, is to earn promotion to the Premier League, and that may be straightforward, but can you keep the West Midlands side there?


ATHLETIC BILBAO


Iker Muniain Athletic Bilbao

Fancy a crack at breaking the Real Madrid-Barcelona duopoly in La Liga? Why not make it extra interesting by doing it with Athletic Bilbao?

The eight-time Spanish champions are one of the biggest clubs in Spain and regularly produce some of the most talented players to emerge from the country. However, they have not tasted La Liga glory since 1984 when they pipped Real Madrid on goal difference.

Climbing above the likes of Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia to become the main rivals of the Clasico clubs is made more difficult by the club's transfer policy, which focuses on Basque players, but the famous Lezama academy helps.


DUNDALK


Luis Neto Zenit David McMillan Dundalk Europa League 2016

Dundalk made history in 2016 when they became the first Irish club to pick up points in the Europa League group stage as they defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv and drew with AZ Alkmaar.

The three-in-a-row League of Ireland champions have since lost players who have gone on to become full internationals, but their aim is to once again defy the odds and qualify for the Champions League.

Budgets are small and it can be difficult to attract top quality players, but if you manage Dundalk, there is a strong possibility of regular continental football. 

In real life, the club's European exploits have caught the attention of overseas investors, so who knows what lies in store if you can steer them to success?


STUTTGART


Stuttgart celebrate October 2017

VfB Stuttgart are back in the Bundesliga and they face a long journey if they are to once again rival Bayern Munich at the summit of German football.

Die Schwaben are one of a clutch of German clubs outside Bayern Munich to win multiple national championships and they enjoyed successful spells in the late 1980s, early 1990s and mid 2000s with players such as Jurgen Klinsmann, Fritz Walter and Mario Gomez passing through their ranks.

They suffered a gradual decline following their Bundesliga success of 2007 and were eventually relegated in 2016, but they're back now. Can you bring the good times back to Baden-Wurttemberg?


EVERTON


Gylfi Sigurdsson Everton

The 2017-18 season began with plenty of promise for Everton as they recruited a number of highly rated players, but things did not pan out as Ronald Koeman might have expected.

While in real life they are struggling at the wrong end of the table, the expectations at Goodison Park are for the club to qualify for continental competition and challenge the traditional top-four hegemony.

With players such as Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davy Klaassen and former star Wayne Rooney in the squad, as well as the backing of an ambitious owner, that should, in theory, be attainable.


ICELAND


Johann Berg Gudmundsson Gylfi Sigurdsson Iceland Kosovo

International management is much different to being at the helm of a club and that is very much the case in Football Manager too.

If you fancy really testing yourself in the international sphere, taking the reins of Iceland may be one of the more interesting and challenging jobs.

In real life, they topped their World Cup qualification group ahead of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey, becoming one of the smallest nations to ever qualify for the tournament.

It may not be as straightforward in Football Manager though, so you will have to figure out the secret to their unlikely success.


FOREST GREEN ROVERS


Forest Green Rovers New Lawn

Bringing a club from the lower reaches of the English football pyramid to the summit has long been a challenge relished by fans of the Football Manager series.

The likes of Southampton and Bournemouth have shown what is possible with the right management and recruitment, but can it be replicated elsewhere?

Users can take their pick from any of the clubs in League Two, but guiding newly promoted Forest Green Rovers to glory represents one of the more difficult propositions.Teams such as Luton Town, Notts County and Accrington Stanley are more obvious selections, but building an empire at The New Lawn would be quite an achievement.

Be warned: you'll need plenty of patience.


RANGERS


Daniel Candeias Rangers

After a number of years in the depths of Scottish football, Rangers are back at the top table and they are aiming to knock bitter rivals Celtic off their proverbial perch.

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However, as Pedro Caixinha has learned to his detriment, it is not simply a case of showing up and expecting parity to be restored; it will take a mammoth effort to win the Scottish Premiership.

Qualifying for European competition would help boost the coffers, but even that isn't as easy as it sounds, as real life has shown.

Nevertheless, managing Rangers has the potential to be rewarding, with regular access to the Champions League a distinct possibility should you mastermind domestic success.

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