Road to 1000 goals: Life of a Striker

kandersson

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This is my latest attempt of a story, and it's going to be about the career of a single player rather than a club or manager. More precisely, the career of a striker. The goal? Well goals, actually. 1,000 of them at the very least, and hopefully setting new goal scoring records for both real life and Football Manager!

Brazilian legend Pelé is obviously the man to beat here: his goalscoring record is often reported by FIFA as being 1281 goals in 1363 games (numbers might slightly differ depending on different sources, but we'll take this one for good). Other iconic strikers have allegedly accomplished this incredible achievement: the likes of Arthur Friedenreich, Romario and Tulio Maravilha are all said to have scored over 1,000 career goals (it's worth to note that these figures also include goals scored in friendly matches, youth matches and other non-official matches). It's no coincidence that these strikers were all Brazilian and scored most of their goals in Brazil: this is because Brazil has a history of producing world class, prolific strikers and also because clubs in Brazil tend to play about one million matches every season!

I guess it takes a Brazilian to beat a Brazilian, so this particular career will take place in the city of Teresina, state of Piauí, home of River Atlético Clube.


I took over River in january 2018 the second they were promoted to Série C (lowest playable league in FM). I have an affinity with this club from past editions of the game, I always have a preference for starting in lower leagues, plus I like the club's name and colors. Also, River play in a weak state championship, the unfashionable Campeonato Piauiense, which means every year we have 18 games against pretty poor opponents (usually Série D or lower). Which means our unnamed striker will use these games as a shameless chance to boost his tally. Yeah it's lame, but is it worse than counting obscure friendlies like Pelé and his pals did? Probabaly yes...

With non-stop action from january to december, and having already won consecutive promotions to Série A, the total number of matches per season should fluctuate from a minimum of 64 to a maximum of 82 depending on cup runs (unfortunately if we qualify for Copa Libertadores we stop entering the regional Copa do Nordeste, another juicy 12 matches). The weak Campeonato Piauiense (taking place january-may, just before the start of national divisions) should allow me to introduce my designated striker at (very) early age, and boost his development as well as his tally before a much harder Série A campaign.

The process of identifying the perfect candidate has already begun, of course this has to be a long-term goal (wink wink) but want to start this as soon as possible. And in fact I already have!
 
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kandersson

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Headhunting

As said above, I want to start this as soon as possible. At the start of 2020 River are a top tier club with a growing reputation in Brazil having won consecutive promotions from Série C under manager Alberto Rossini. We're in a great position for developing young players now, with no real pressure from the board, tons of games every year and the aforementioned weak Piauí state championship as a warm-up tournament. Now we just need to find the right man for the job, obviously we're looking for a very young striker with bags of long term potential, but also with some ability to make an immediate impact (and score goals) at Piauí state level (not hard) and hopefully in Série A (much harder). After much scouting and evaluation, I've identified three realistic candidates with the required combination of skills and potential:

1) The kid from Piauí: José Raimundo



2) Lower league prospect: Henrique Nardin




3) Santos academy prospect: Rodrigo Paulista




Honestly I like all of them and really believe each has the quality and potential to be a 1,000 goals striker. I have to pick one for this specific career though, evaluating pros & cons with the help of my staff, and eventually see how the player will respond on the pitch. I know I've already changed my mind twice...
 

kandersson

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Candidate #1: José Raimundo

  • + Product of River academy
  • + At least 4 stars potential
  • + Touted as the next Jairzinho
  • + Elite physical attributes for his age
  • + Below average injury susceptibility
  • + Already established as a member of the core social group
  • + Developed a Resolute personality via tutoring
  • + Has been very prolific in his debut season with the first team
  • - Average technical attributes
  • - Not adept as a penalty kick or free kick taker
  • - Rated as a fairly inconsistent performer
  • - Oldest of the pack (will turn 18 next august)
  • - Has already fulfilled 3 stars of his PA according to my staff

José Raimundo is a candidate you really want to root for. A product of River youth setup as well as a die hard supporter of the club, Raimundo has already seen plenty of action with the first team as the club faced an injury crisis upfront during our Série B campaign. And he responded remarkably:



20 goals in 25 apps in a decent national second division, good for 2nd place in the Artilheiro race. At the age of 17 JR already boasts 22 career goals for the club; a package of very good potential, positive personality and credible performances at this young age certainly makes him a legit candidate for a 1,000 goals career. Sub-par skills both as a penalty and free kick taker are a red flag for this challenge though, and his technical attributes in general don't look particularly impressive. Raimundo has shown glimpses of amazing raw talent as he was able to score at impressive rate (including consecutive hat tricks) in a very respectable league, but also signs of his inconsistency as he also went scoreless for several games in a row.

I definitely see a future for José Raimundo at our club, just not as a bona fide 1,000 goals striker...
 
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kandersson

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Candidate #2: Henrique Nardin

  • + At least 4 stars potential
  • + Also touted as the next Jairzinho
  • + Elite all-around athleticism
  • + Potential as a penalty taker
  • + Left-footed, also has a fairly strong right foot
  • + Promising football IQ, moves well off the ball
  • + Rated as a fairly consistent performer
  • + Available at a very affordable price, and willing to join
  • + Coolest name of the lot
  • - Low self belief
  • - Fairly susceptible to injuries
  • - More of a long-term prospect, might struggle to contribute straight away

Oh Henrique, why that low self belief and volatile attitude? I mean you're one of the top prospects in Brazilian football, have scored 3 goals in first 3 games with Série C side Confiança and future powerhouse River has scouted you for a whole year. Henrique! Change this face! Be happy! Enjoy!

[video=youtube;ZZgU0cT_TfI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZgU0cT_TfI[/video]​


I think young Henrique is a terrific prospect and in time will become a fantastic striker. A 120k euros bid was enough to convince third division club Confiança to sell, and Nardin was very happy to join River. He's probably two years away from being a reliable goalscorer, luckily Piauí state championship should give him the chance to develop early and build some confidence as well as score some goals. Nardin decided to make it harder for me - and for himself - by rejecting multiple mentors, apparently he was happy with his awful personality. His debut wasn't exactly exciting, as he missed a penalty and went scoreless in a typical easy win of Piauiense. Not cool. Things have gradually improved though.


12 goals in 9 matches in Campeonato Piauiense, plus a goal in his Copa Libertadores debut. Also a nice little record for Nardin:




Youngest goalscorer in Copa Libertadores!It's been a bit hit and miss with Henrique so far, and this was very much expected. He seemed to struggle the most in first games, playing without confidence and often looking lost on the pitch even against very poor defenders. Things went better as Nardin finally accepted some proper tutoring (once I became his favorite staff) and started to improve his determination and personality (now described as a less worrying 'Balanced'). 12 goals in 9 matches in Piauí is not particularly impressive, especially with 5 penalties, but it's a start. A good 5/6 on penalties (including a 5/5 after his first miss) is also very promising, as well as a debut goal in Libertadores.

Nardin will most likely get better every day now as he gels with new teammates and keep working on his technique and personality. Right now I'd not be comfortable using Nardin as a first choice striker in Série A, as he's clearly not ready to contribute at that standard, not yet. With first team action in Piauiense and Libertadores he can hopefully develop a bit faster than I expect, and with some patience, training and tutoring Henrique is a lock to become a quality striker. My only long term concern is his injury proneness, described as 'above average' by my staff.
 
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kandersson

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Candidate #3: Rodrigo Paulista

  • + At least 4 stars potential
  • + Could be the next Ronaldo
  • + A complete forward with good all-around attributes
  • + High character guy: brave, determined and driven personality
  • + Potential as a free kick taker
  • + Intriguing combination of intelligence and creativity on and off the ball
  • + Youngest of the three, will turn 16 in march
  • - Very one footed
  • - Poor penalty taker
  • - Rated as a fairly inconsistent performer
  • - Terrible hairstyle
  • - Unlikely to leave Santos in the near future

There's a lot to like about Santos sensation Rodrigo Paulista: he's quick, smart, creative, skilled and tough. He really looks like the total package and an ideal candidate for this challenge. Dubbed the next Ronaldo, he kind of reminds me more of fellow brazilian legend Romario. Buying him from Santos wouldn't be so hard per se: in Brazil every player on a senior contract has a mandatory release clause (only for domestic clubs) directly connected to his wages; the higher the wages, the higher the clause. 100K per annum means a 10M clause. Young players like Rodrigo at their first contract usually command very low clauses initially, Paulista himself has a 1,4M clause at this point. I would gladly pay that, unfortunately he's unwilling to leave Santos at the moment. Still...


I was able to arrange a two years loan, with an optional (optional?) future fee of 1,4M euros that meets his current clause. I'm confident I can convince Rodrigo to join permanently at some point during the next two years, becoming his mentor and favorite personnel, overpaying for his wages or bribing his agent, I don't care. A bit of a gamble, but one I'm willing to take. I feel Rodrigo will be the best player long term, and he also looks ready to contribute from day
one. His debut went well

:


Youngest goalscorer of Campeonato Piauiense after a hat trick debut!

It's all relative at this standard of football, though Rodrigo looked like a natural on the pitch and had a very convincing debut. He certainly looked more ready and more effective than Henrique Nardin, despite being even younger.

The unnamed 1000 goals candidate has now found a name and a face: it's Rodrigo Paulista

From now on Paulista will be first choice in every game and competition (he's not eligible for Copa Libertadores group stage as he joined after registration date), his playing time will only be limited to avoid injuries and fatigue - I'm expecting a good 60-70 games from him every season. Rodrigo will also be assigned his preferred No.9 shirt as soon as possible (has settled for 99 for now).

Road to 1000 goals begins here!
 
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kandersson

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Now I'm not going to do an update for every match, but second appearance of Rodrigo sets another record:



A rare 7 goals game in a 10-0 thrashing against one of the weakest team in Piauí. This is obviously a new record for both River and Campeonato Piauiense, beating club icon, talismanic striker Gil.



Yeah Piauí state is a joke, Paulista's start at the club has been impressive nonetheless.
 

Sammuthegreat

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Love it. Think you made the right choice for what it's worth, Paulista is clearly the best of the bunch on paper - best stats, 2 extra years to develop and the best personality/Determination.

At 5'8'' he's clearly more Romario than Ronaldo too
 

kandersson

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Love it. Think you made the right choice for what it's worth, Paulista is clearly the best of the bunch on paper - best stats, 2 extra years to develop and the best personality/Determination.

At 5'8'' he's clearly more Romario than Ronaldo too
Thanks! I was going to settle for Henrique Nardin as it was pretty clear that Paulista wouldn't want to leave Santos in the near future, but when they made him available for loan I decided to gamble on a two years loan + future fee because Rodrigo is just too good and worth the risk. I'm sure Nardin will develop into an excellent striker in time and he was a steal at 120k, but Paulista is the real deal!
 

kandersson

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First Top Scorer Award



Despite joining late during Piauí state championship and only playing 6 games in the league Rodrigo Paulista was able to win the Artilheiro do Campeonato Piauiense with an outrageous 22 goals in 6 apps. Paulista joined River icons Gil and Anderson Ligeiro as Piauí scoring champions, and topped an all-River podium in this year charts. 22 goals in 6 apps is quite crazy even for Piauiense standard, didn't really expect this and I'm not sure he could keep that average in the future. Paulista showed some all-around superstar potential, as he scored a few headers (!), a couple of direct free kicks (!!) and was flawless from penalty spot (3/3). Very promising for sure, but can he do it out of Piauí? We'll find out soon...

In other news River officially announced shirt numbers for the season:



Rodrigo Paulista claims his preferred No.9 shirt (seems like a fine choice for someone touted as the next Ronaldo), courtesy of José Raimundo who had to leave his beloved #9. I'm sorry Raimundo, it's all about Paulista now...
 

kandersson

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[FONT=&quot]Another precocity record for Rodrigo Paulista:

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[FONT=&quot]Youngest goalscorer in the history of Copa do Brasil. To make it even sweeter it was a brace against his alma mater Santos, including the game winning penalty kick in injury time.

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[FONT=&quot]Santos just don't deserve you Rodrigo![/FONT]
 
Feb 13, 2016
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Woah! You always came out with a cool challenge. I've been following you since your GSM challenge. Absolutely will following this!

Sent from my C2005 using Tapatalk
 

kandersson

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Woah! You always came out with a cool challenge. I've been following you since your GSM challenge. Absolutely will following this!

Sent from my C2005 using Tapatalk
Thanks mate, hopefully I can have some success with this as well. I like to think that Paulista is the brazilian reincarnation of legendary SM striker Paolone, the name is almost the same!
 

kandersson

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[FONT=&quot]I promise these records are going to stop at some point:

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[FONT=&quot]With this goal scored against Gremio Rodrigo Paulista sets a new record for youngest goalscorer in Série A at 16 years and 63 days. With Campeonato Piauiense and Copa do Brasil records already in the bag, next on Paulista's list is Copa Libertadores.[/FONT]
 

kandersson

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[FONT=&quot]Let's do this one more time:

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[FONT=&quot]Rodrigo Paulista steals Henrique Nardin's record as youngest goalscorer in Copa libertadores at 16 years and 124 days. Poor Nardin is currently 'enjoying' a spell with the U20 squad as Paulista is scoring for fun as River frontman, a role that he also stole from Nardin. It's not all bad for Henrique though, he's developing nicely without all the pressure and sooner rather than later might form an exciting partnership with Rodrigo himself in the first team.

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[FONT=&quot]In other news Paulista has missed the first penalty of his young career (he still scored a hat trick in that game...) though still boasts a very good 8/9 from the spot, not bad with an attribute of 7 (improving though) as a PK taker.[/FONT]
 

kandersson

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[FONT=&quot]Rodrigo why are you teasing me...

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[FONT=&quot]why don't you want me...

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