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The best central midfielders to sign on Football Manager 2023

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Central midfielders are among the most important players on the pitch. They’re the ones who get things going and link the defence to the attack.

Nearly every formation on Football Manager 2023 relies on central midfielders and so it’s important to find one or two you can rely on. Fortunately, there are plenty for you to consider, regardless of how much money you’re working with.

Here are the best central midfielders to sign on FM23.

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Souza
Besiktas

Veteran midfielder Souza is good enough to play in a top division and can be signed for as little as £2.1m. He’s a defensive-minded option with excellent stats.

Rafael Carioca
Tigres

A nice playmaker on a budget, Carioca is available for £2.2m. Having just turned 33, he’s a good short-term option.

Rade Krunic
Milan

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Krunic is on the fringes at Milan but is undeniably good enough to start for plenty of other top-flight teams. He’ll cost you £4.6m which is more than reasonable for a player of his quality.

Oscar Trejo
Vallecano

At 34, Trejo isn’t one for the future but the £1.2m-rated midfielder is a great option to turn to while you find someone younger.

Andres Guardado
Real Hispallis

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The versatile Guardado, who can fill in down the left as well as in midfield, is a bargain at £700,000. He brings 16 passing and 17 penalty taking.

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Alvaro Fidalgo
America

He got the nod for our attacking midfielders suggestions and Fidalgo keeps his place here too. At £400,000, he’s insane value and far too good to ignore. He’s a star for a smaller side or valuable backup for even a top team.

Nicolas de la Cruz
River

You can bring in De la Cruz for £2.3m, which is a good price for a player of his current ability. He’s still got a little room to grow as well so you might end up with a real gem if you play your cards right.

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Fernando Gorriaran
Santos Laguna

At £1.5m, you should definitely consider Gorriaran. He’s got 14s across the board and looks like a nice, well-rounded midfielder.

Giacomo Bonaventura
Fiorentina

With 15 passing and some excellent mental stats, Bonaventura could make a real impact for any top-flight side at £3.9m.

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Roberto Pereyra
Udinese

The versatile Pereyra is the best player available at this price bracket and will cost you £4.3m.

Joao Moutinho
Wolves

With an expiring contract, Wolves will offload Moutinho for as little as £4.2m. You will, however, have to match the 35-year-old’s hefty wage demands.

Charles Aranguiz
Bayer 04

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Perfectly suited for the role of ball winning midfielder, Aranguiz looks like a smart buy at just £7m. His mental stats are sublime.

Sergi Darder
Espanyol

Darder brings 17 vision and 16 passing, which tells you all about the kind of midfielder he is. He’s yours for £14.5m.

David Silva
Real San Sebastian

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Silva is valued at just £3.2m because he’s 36 years old and on an expiring contract. He comes with some hefty wages but you shouldn’t have any issues affording the entire deal.

Sergi Roberto
Barcelona

Capable as a defender and a midfielder, Roberto makes a valuable addition to any squad. For just £10.75m, he’s a smart buy.

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Mateus Uribe
Porto

With 16 tackling and 14 passing, Uribe is comfortable in a number of different midfield roles. He’s one of the best players you’ll find for anywhere close to his £10m asking price.

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Jose Campana
Levante

An attack-minded midfielder with 16 passing and 16 vision, Campana is out of contract in the summer but can be signed for a cool £11m if you don’t want to wait.

Marek Hamsik
Trabzonspor

It’ll cost you just £775,000 to sign Hamsik but his sizeable wage demands make this deal a little more expensive than it looks initially.

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Weston McKennie
Juventus

You can fit McKennie is nearly anywhere on the pitch. He’s a valuable squad player and can be recruited for a cool £15m.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Inter

Mkhitaryan’s price tag sits at just £3.7m, plus some huge wages. He’s just joined Inter and won’t move clubs immediately, but he’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Lazio

Milinkovic-Savic is the 16th-best midfielder on the whole game. His stats page is full of 16s and 17s, and if you want him in your team, it’ll cost you £55m. For this sort of quality, you won’t find much better for that price.

Luka Modric
R. Madrid

Up to the second-best midfielder on FM23, 36-year-old Modric is a sensational player and can be signed for £27m. He obviously doesn’t have long left at the top but he could make a title-winning impact if you’re the type of club who can convince him to leave Madrid.

Geoffrey Kondogbia
A. Madrid

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Atletico have plenty of bargains on offer, one of which is midfielder Kondogbia. A physical powerhouse with 15s across the board, his price tag of £19.5m is the cheapest of anyone at this level.

Pedro Goncalves
Sporting CP

Goncalves is already a star but has the potential to become a real superstar in a few years. The 23-year-old will cost you just £32m.

Teun Koopmeiners
Atalanta

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Koopmeiners is available for £20m, which is a bargain for a player of his current ability. The 24-year-old has some nice potential as well and will soon be worth far more than that.

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Nicolo Barella
Inter

At £45m, Barella looks insane. The 25-year-old is already an elite midfielder but still has the potential to become one of the best on the game. He sometimes hits the transfer list late in the summer but gets valued higher than that, so move quickly to snap up this bargain.

Toni Kroos
R. Madrid

Kroos looks like he still has a few years left in him, and his game is one which does not rely on physical stats. He’ll cost you £35m and could lead your midfield for the next few years.

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Stanislav Lobotka
Parthenope

Don’t expect goals from Lobotka but, with 16 passing and 17 tackling, you can expect everything else. The Slovenian is available for a fantastic £26m.

Guido Rodriguez
Real Hispalis

More of a defensive midfielder, Rodriguez regularly joined a top side in FM22 and that remains the case this year. For £20m, you can see why.

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Mikel Merino
Real San Sebastian

Transfer-listed at the start of the game, Merino is available for a cool £28m. Plenty of top sides are looking at him because of his 16 passing and 16 vision.



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Player ratings as spoils shared in Champions League

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Chelsea and Real Madrid left their Champions League group finely poised after a 1-1 draw at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium on Thursday evening.

Guro Reiten’s second half penalty cancelled out Caroline Weir’s first half opener in a tightly fought contest, and means that Chelsea, Real Madrid and PSG are all still mathematically able to qualify for the quarter finals as group winners heading into the final two group stage matches.

Chelsea started in the ascendency, Sam Kerr cracking the bar from close range inside two minutes after an Erin Cuthbert corner had triggered a goal mouth scramble.

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But just as they had done at Kingsmeadow a fortnight ago, Real grew into the game. The lively Olga Carmona saw an effort from range fly narrowly wide as the Spanish outfit started to enjoy more possession in the Blues half.

It was a scrappy first 45, characterised by multiple turnovers and transitions. Chelsea almost capitalised on a misplaced pass deep into the Real half on the half hour mark, as Lauren James picked up the loose ball and slipped in Kerr. The Chelsea was again denied by the woodwork, this time smacking the post.

The visitors were made to pay for their missed opportunities as Real took the lead six minutes later. Ann-Katrin Berger’s poor attempted pass into midfield was cut out by Weir, who diligently stroked the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the area – her second goal in three appearances against WSL opposition since departing the league in the summer.

Chelsea were gifted a golden opportunity to draw level 14 minutes into the second half after Guro Reiten was clumsily tripped by Ivana Andrés. Reiten’s subsequent spot kick clattered the post, but rebounded in off the head of the unfortunate Misa Rodriguez.

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The game became more stretched and open in the final 15 minutes, with Berger redeeming herself following her first half error with a superb save to keep out Carmona from point blank range.

It was Misa’s turn to pull off a superb stop as the clock ticked down as another chance for Kerr went begging. The Real keeper stretched magnificently to keep out the Chelsea forward, who had been superbly found by Reiten, to preserve a point for her side.

Kathellen Sousa, Sam Kerr

Kathellen Sousa started in the heart of the Real backline / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

GK: Misa Rodríguez – 7/10 – Unfortunate to see Reiten’s penalty go in off the back of her head after diving the correct way. Made a terrific, stretching save in the latter stages to keep out Kerr and preserve a point for her side.

RB: Ivana Andrés – 5/10 – Lost her bearings as Reiten got in behind and clumsily brought her down for the Chelsea equaliser.

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CB: Rocío Gálvez – 7/10 – Steady and dependable, hardly put a foot wrong.

CB: Kathellen – 6/10 – Produced a big block to keep out James in the first half. Lost track of Kerr on a couple of occasions and was fortunate to not be punished, but otherwise largely solid.

LB: Olga Carmona – 8/10 – Really livley and attacking, getting forward at every possibility. Fired narrowly wide from range in the first half, and denied by an excellent Berger stop in the second.

CM: Claudia Zornoza – 5/10 – Struggled to get her foot on the ball and string a series of passes together in a transitional game. Replaced with 15 remaining.

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CM: Sandie Toletti – 7/10 – Tidy in possession and drove Real forward from midfield.

CM: Caroline Weir – 7/10 – Great anticipation to open the scoring, intercepting a poor pass with her first touch and passing the ball into an empty net from the edge of the area with her second. Oozed class throughout.

RW: Athenea Del Castillo – 6/10 – Had a real battle with Eriksson, drawing a couple of cheap fouls and really frustrating the Chelsea full-back. Had less joy against Charles in the second half.

ST: Esther – 5/10 – Well marshalled by Bright and Buchanan and didn’t really have a sniff. Replaced just after the hour.

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LW: Naomie Feller – 5/10 – Outshone on the left flank by Carmona behind her. Largely kept quiet.

SUB: Sofie Svava (62′ for Esther) – 6/10

SUB: Maite Oroz (76′ for Zornoza) – 5/10

SUB: Nahikari García (89′ for Feller) – N/A

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Lauren James, Olga Carmona, Claudia Zornoza

Lauren James was back in the starting XI for Chelsea / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

GK: Ann-Katrin Berger – 5/10 – Had a mare for the Real goal, dangerously attempting to play into midfield and seeing her pass cut out by Wier on the edge of the area. Atoned for her error with a huge save to keep Carmona out in the second half.

RB: Jess Carter – 6/10 – Had a really tenacious battle with the impressive Carmona – the Real full-back got the better of her a couple of times in the second half, but it was otherwise a very even contest between the pair.

CB: Millie Bright – 7/10 – Made a number of important interceptions and did a good job keeping Esther under wraps alongside Buchanan.

CB: Kadeisha Buchanan – 7/10 – Popped up with a big block to keep out Weir in the first half and won plenty in the air.

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LB: Magdalena Eriksson – 5/10 – Had a real scrap with Del Castillo, getting increasingly frustrated in the first half at the ease at which the Real winger hit the deck. Didn’t venture forward a great deal, and replaced by the more attack minded Charles at the break.

CM: Sophie Ingle – 7/10 – Got Reiten in behind with a fabulous lofted pass in the build up to Chelsea’s equaliser. One of the coolest heads in a sometimes erratic encounter.

CM: Erin Cuthbert – 6/10 – Struggled to stamp her authority on the game in the first half as possession constantly changed hands. An improved second half display, impressing with her ability to get the ball into the front three.

CM: Jessie Fleming – 4/10 – Struggled to get hold of the ball at times and make her mark on proceedings. Largely starved of service and on the fringes of the game, before being replaced at half time.

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RW: Lauren James – 7/10 – Played Kerr in with an impeccably weighted pass in the first half, from which Chelsea should have scored. Flashes of quality with her superb feet, strength and intelligence.

ST: Sam Kerr – 5/10 – Cracked the bar inside two minutes from close range, hit the post when one v one on the half hour mark and denied by a Misa save in the dying stages – opportunities she would usually bury.

LW: Guro Reiten – 7/10 – Won the penalty from which Chelsea equalised. Cracked the post with her effort, which still went in via the head of Misa. Her delivery was on point as ever; played a superb teasing, looping ball across the face of goal, begging to be buried and picked out Kerr with a magnificent through ball in the latter stages.

SUB: Niamh Charles (46′ for Eriksson) – 7/10 – Made a real impact from the bench with her pace, athleticism and determination.

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SUB: Fran Kirby (46′ for Fleming) – 6/10

SUB: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (77′ for James) – 5/10

Player of the match: Olga Carmona (Real Madrid)



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Manchester United Board of Directors block 2023 dividends payment

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Manchester United’s Board of Directors did not approve a dividends payment to the club’s owners, the Glazers, scheduled for 2023.

The controversial Glazer ownership of United has reared its head once again in recent times following last month’s announcement from the club itself confirming that they were open to a sale.

A statement released in November confirmed the club and its owners would ‘consider all strategic alternatives’ amid sustained pressure from fans for the Glazers to sell up once more, with protests coming and going since their takeover in 2005.

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It was confirmed in a statement on December 8 that the Glazers would not be taking out a dividend payment, before that announcement was made: “On 15 November, the Board of Directors did not approve the payment of the semi-annual dividend for fiscal 2023.”

United’s Board of Directors is comprised mostly of Glazers, with Avram and Joel both holding titles of ‘Executive Co-Chairman and Director’. Kevin, Bryan and Edward – all siblings of Joel and Avram – are listed as Directors for the club.

The Athletic report that the decision is an economic one, considering the investment into the team this past summer which was in excess of £200m.

The decision marks the first time since 2016 that the Glazer family haven’t taken dividends out of the club and further fuels speculation that a sale could be imminent, with the Raine Group – who facilitated the 2022 sale of Chelsea – acting as United’s ‘exclusive financial advisor’ while they explore a potential sale.

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Carlo Ancelotti speaks out in defence of Cristiano Ronaldo

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Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has issued a defence of Cristiano Ronaldo amid continued criticisms over his attitude.

The 37-year-old is currently at the World Cup as a free agent having agreed to a mutual exit from Manchester United in November, following increasing tension between himself and manager Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo’s behavioural problems have been publicised to a stunning extent in recent times, walking out twice on United during matches this season and being dropped by Ten Hag as a result the second time around.

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The same issues seem to have followed him into the Portugal camp in what is expected to be his final World Cup. Ronaldo was unhappy with being substituted in his nation’s 2-1 defeat to South Korea and started on the bench as they thrashed Switzerland 6-1, playing some 20 minutes and having to watch his replacement Goncalo Ramos bag a hat-trick.

The Portuguese Football Federation released a statement on December denying reports in Portugal that Ronaldo had threatened to walk out on Fernando Santos and the team in Qatar. Amid the drama, Ancelotti, who managed Ronaldo for two seasons, offered a defence to Corriere dello Sport: “Ronaldo probably still feels in his 20s because he’s fine, he’s got the answers he’s looking for in his body.

“The competition has become tough,” he added: “I’ve coached him for two years and there were no problems. In fact he solved them for me.

“Cristiano trains well, he pays attention to detail, everything was easy for me to manage. He is an exceptional player.”

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Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Sean Walsh, Ali Rampling and Brian Goldfarb to look back on the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!

Ronaldo himself released a statement addressing the reports after Portugal did so, talking up the unity among Santos’ squad.

Portugal take on Morocco in the World Cup quarter-final on December 10, where it remains to be seen if the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be restored to a starting berth as a result of the team’s exceptional last 16 performance without him.

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