The front cover of EA Sports' FIFA video game series has featured some of the best footballers in the world. Stars such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, for example, have all had their visage adorn the game jacket in the past decade.
So who will be the cover star for the next instalment in the series? Goal takes a look at some of the possible contenders.
Who will be FIFA 20 cover star?
If, as expected, Ronaldo is out of the running for the cover of the next FIFA game there are plenty of alternatives available to EA Sports.
Chief among those is perhaps the Juventus star's arch nemesis Messi , a player with a global appeal and widely considered to be the best in the world. It wouldn't be the first time the Barcelona captain appeared on the cover of the popular game, having been EA Sports choice for four years on FIFA 13, FIFA 14, FIFA 15 and FIFA 16.
A Messi return to EA Sports could potentially be complicated by Barca's relationship with Pro Evolution Soccer producers Konami. Interestingly, the Argentine has not been the outright face of that game since the agreement was struck, but he was one of a number of players featured on the Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 game cover.
Rising Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is another strong possibility to replace Ronaldo on the cover of FIFA. A World Cup winner wih France, Mbappe was named Best Young Player at the 2018 tournament and earned a place on the FIFPro World XI last season.
Still in the formative stage of his career, Mbappe's prodigious ability has ensured that he has been heralded as a successor to Ronaldo and Messi in terms of being the best player in the world.
In February, EA Sports quietly altered the cover of FIFA 19, replacing Ronaldo with three players: Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne and Paulo Dybala. It is possible that they could stick with this multi-player model - indeed, they have used it extensively in the past - and they could equally favour just one of those individuals, with Neymar perhaps having the stronger claim given his reputation.
Another option for the front cover is recently crowned Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric , who also won FIFA's The Best award for his efforts last season. Modric's Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale could also be in the reckoning, while their Atletico Madrid rival Antoine Griezmann is another possibility.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is also sure to be among the candidates given his status in the game and the France star's playful personality would undoubtedly lend itself well to promotional work. Another Premier League star EA Sports could consider is Liverpool's Mohamed Salah , who finished just behind Messi in last year's Ballon d'Or votes.
Belgium captain and Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard is another star of the game who would be instantly recognisable across the globe. Indeed, his touted move to Real Madrid could also make him even more marketable.
Previous FIFA cover stars
EA Sports has used a number of different players as their cover athletes over the years, sometimes using one individual and other times using multiple.
You can see the main cover stars for the past 10 editions of the game in the table below.
|FIFA 19||Cristiano Ronaldo|
|FIFA 18||Cristiano Ronaldo|
|FIFA 17||Marco Reus|
|FIFA 16||Lionel Messi|
|FIFA 15||Lionel Messi|
|FIFA 14||Lionel Messi|
|FIFA 13||Lionel Messi|
|FIFA 12||Wayne Rooney / Kaka|
|FIFA 11||Wayne Rooney / Kaka|
|FIFA 10||Wayne Rooney|
While Ronaldo has enjoyed sole billing on FIFA 19 and FIFA 18, the other have usually been joined by different stars on regional cover variations.
For example, for the UK version of FIFA 14, Messi was joined on the cover by Gareth Bale, while the Polish version featured Robert Lewandowski.
Going back further than FIFA 10, from FIFA 06 to FIFA 09, the main cover stars were Ronaldinho and, to a lesser extent, Rooney. The regional flavour existed back then too.
The early 2000s - when the game series was known as FIFA Football - there were usually three cover stars. FIFA Football 2003 featured Roberto Carlos, Ryan Giggs and Edgar Davids, while FIFA Football 2004 had Alessandro Del Piero, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho.
Indeed, that decade is when EA Sports began to noticeably shift the focus of its game covers, ensuring that the biggest names in football were involved each year.
Football supporters and players of the game have been included in the process more often in the last decade, with EA Sports holding fan votes to select which players will accompany their main stars on the front.