If you are an optimistic Atlético Madrid supporter, there are three reasons to believe Atleti are a Big Club™:
1) Two weeks ago, they opened a stadium that will host the 2019 Champions League final. They made €200,000 off the first matchday at that stadium. Which is just as well, since the club remains in debt to a certain shady, Mexican billionaire.
"If they put me in a position where they say 'Griezmann, Saúl and Koke are leaving,' we'd have a lot of money and we'd have to go out and find replacements. Or none of them leave, and we don't sign anyone. Without a doubt, I would've picked the second option...because they're extraordinary players."
3) Atleti are one of the playable teams in the Fifa 18 demo.
And with that demo comes the most anticipated part of the game each year. The part that even players themselves look forward to. The part that ultimately boils down to one man hunkered down somewhere in the EA Sports complex in California.
Fans care. Clubs care. Players themselves care. If you don't believe me, watch this video:
(The best part of that video - which pretty shamelessly copies Jimmy Fallon's Mean Tweets - is Ronaldo. Everyone else - Dybala, Dele, Robben, Grizi - reads off a mildly insulting tweet about themselves. But EA Sports clearly didn't have the guts to make Ronaldo read anything negative. Self-deprecation isn't CR7's style or brand. So they cop out and inflate their cover boy's ego instead.)
Needless to say, no Atleti player reaches the heights of CR7's 94 overall rating in this year's game. Nevertheless, several colchoneros did well for themselves.
Below, you'll find the five highest-rated Atleti players in FIFA 18.
5) Yannick Carrasco
Overall Rating: 85
Ranking (among all players): 82nd
Position Ranking: 13th (among wingers)
What do Marco Asensio (96th), Dele Alli (93rd), Falcao (95th) Sadio Mané (98), Mauro Icardi (94), Dani Alves (97) and Raphaël Varane (87) all have in common?
Yannick Carrasco is better than every one of them. At least in FIFA.
Though developers absolutely botched his face, FIFA Carrasco is a terror on the left wing. The game completely overhauled its dribbling system, and Yannick gets where he wants. At 87 dribbling, Carrasco isn't far off from Robben, Messi, Dybala and the rest of the game's top dribblers. Combined with his 88 pace, he's tough to stop.
Did Carrasco get too much credit? Probably. But his real life form has at times approached his idealised FIFA 18 facsimile. FIFA Carrasco is also blessed with 4 star skill moves and a 4 star weak foot. Art imitates life in FIFA 18, as you'll often see Carrasco receive the ball, ignore an open teammate and enter a prolonged dribbling suite. Unlike recent games, he'll almost never lose the ball, and he'll often curl a shot into the far corner.
(Just playing, Yannick.)
4) Filipe Luís
Overall Rating: 85
Ranking (among all players): 78th
Position Ranking: 5th (among fullbacks)
Arguably the world's best fullback, Fili got a somewhat raw deal in FIFA 18. At 82 defending, Filipe received his due from EA Sports. In real life, he likely provides more defensive cover than Marcelo, and maybe even David Alaba.
However, Filipe does more than defend. You could make an argument that he's the best dribbler on the team. How many times has he conjured something on the left wing for Atleti? A quick one-two with Carrasco. A nutmeg, performed with almost insulting nonchalance. He's one step ahead on the chessboard. He's got remarkable field sense without doing anything measurably great. He's just good at football, and his preternatural dribbling is a big reason why.
EA Sports clearly hasn't watched much of Filipe Luís, as his dribbling rating is a mere 78.
Dribbling slight aside, Fili is still one of Atleti's best players in FIFA 18, and justifiably so.
3) Jan Oblak
Overall Rating: 88
Ranking (among all players): 31st
Position Ranking: 6th (among goalkeepers)
Branded as a "traditional" keeper as opposed to an "acrobat," Oblak's FIFA 18 lookalike trails only Neuer, De Gea, Buffon, Courtois, and Lloris in rating. The game clearly indicates that Oblak's global star is on the rise -- he's ranked ahead of Pogba (36) and Marcelo (38). With 90 handling and 87 positioning, FIFA Oblak — like real Oblak — is a wall at the back.
Oblak is fairly rated this year. But if he keeps adding clutch penalty stops to his resume, expect him to be near the top next year. Hopefully still in red and white.
As the Frente like to sing, "Obli, Oblak, every day I love you more!"
2) Diego Godín
Overall Rating: 88
Ranking (among all players): 27th
Position Ranking: 6th (among center backs)
Ranked ahead of Lloris (28), Auba (29) and Ibra (30), FIFA 18 recognizes el faraón as one of the world's best center halves. He boasts the third-highest defending rating in the game (88), trailing only Giorgio Chiellini and Mats Hummels. At 78 physicality, he's able to push most strikers off the ball. And his 65 pace is an honest rating as the Uruguayan ages.
At 27th, Atlético's vice-captain just missed out on the top rating on the squad. But you already knew who would win that title.
1) Antoine Griezmann
Overall Rating: 88
Ranking (among all players): 20th
Position Ranking: 5th (among strikers)
FIFA Griezmann feels like real Griezmann. He's slippery, creative and always a step ahead. At 20th overall, Grizi just beats out Dybala at 21st, Thiago at 22nd and Bonucci at 23rd.
Griezmann is, by far, Atlético’s most well-known player. He’s popular. He’s young. He’s good-looking. He’s small, which resonates with fans. He has his own celebration. He was always going to have the highest rating.
And his “Hotline Bling” celebration got a facelift this year -- he now high fives/fist bumps a teammate before going into his telephones routine.
If you missed the ratings reveal video above, Griezmann reads off this tweet:
"Why do people buy Griezmann (in FIFA)?
0.1% because he's good.
99.9% because of his celebration."
Grizi laughs and says that he plays as himself too — because he wants to do his celebration.
His 86 pace, 87 dribbling, 85 shooting and 78 passing ratings reflect the complete forward that he is. At 20th overall, he trails old friend Thibaut Courtois (19) and ex-Atlético forward Sergio Agüero (18).