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"La Copa, el final" - Vaya Con Dios, FM23

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

September 16, 2023

 


 

Intro


With FM24 on the horizon, it felt like a good time to start wrapping up the save and looking towards the next edition. The 2029/30 season will be the last blog on FM23.


And what better signal of the end than winning our first trophy?


Not just the first trophy of the save, I might add - but the first trophy in SD Compostela's history.



As a reminder, here's every episode of the save from the start:


 

Season Review



I know trophies aren't everything. This game is more about the journey than winning competitions. But it does feel good, doesn't it?


Winning the Copa Del Rey was a nice send-off for the save, and I felt our consistent improvement deserved more than a few third-placed La Liga finishes. As it stands, Real Madrid and Barcelona still have a stranglehold on the top two places, with the two clubs occupying first and second for 90% of the last decade. I'll keep playing the save until FM24 comes out, and maybe we can break that deadlock and get a title. I won't be blogging about it, but I'll post it on twitter if anything happens.


But more importantly, Compostela are Copa Del Rey champions!



The road to the final was tough.


We knocked out Barcelona in the Quarter Final by hammering them 3-0, with club stalwart Beñat Prados opening the scoring and Gigi Duca grabbing a brace. Vigo were up next, and two Galician derbies stood in the way of us and the final. The home leg was a drab 1-1 affair, and I had hoped to take a comfortable lead at home. Instead, we'd be heading to Balaídos all square.


Nicolò Fagioli opened the scoring for Vigo in the 36th minute, before Gigi Duca offered an immediate riposte one minute later. Duca struck again, with Mahmoud Madani and Antonio Luque providing the coup de grâce.


5-2 on aggregate, and Compostela were in the final.


I was tense. We'd been beaten 2-1 by Madrid five days earlier, with Eduardo Camavinga converting a corner in the 93rd minute. I was worried this could be a rout. I switched our tactics slightly, taking a more balanced approach.


Two minutes in, and Camavinga had scored. Not a good start.


Madrid piled on the pressure early on, peppering Bento's goal with shots and testing our back line to the max - but they held firm. Marco Paz opened our account with a leveller in the 17th minute, and Madrid looked shaken. Lorenzo Blasco fired home in the 34th minute, and we headed into the break 2-1 up. I praised the players for their determination, and told them to keep doing what they were doing. Gigi Duca scored in the 52nd minute, and any fight Madrid had seemed to fizzle away.


At the end, we ran out as deserved winners.



As a side note, after Unai Emery's sacking, Ferdinand De Borja was offered the Spain job. I haven't managed a national team in FM23, so I welcomed the invitation and look forward to rebuilding an aging Spain squad until FM24 comes out.


And of course he won manager of the season for the second year in a row. How could he not?



 



Save Review


I think I say this every time, but this has easily been my favourite FM save so far. We've had some truly excellent players at the club, and I've found my new favourite tactic in the 4-4-2 diamond. It's been interesting working with a club who essentially have no history beside a mediocre spell in the top-flight in the 90s. For me, this save was about the setting and the story, and writing a history from scratch.


Speaking of the players we've had, I wanted to recognize them officially, so here's my end of save player award ceremony:


Favourite player


Coming up to his seventh season at the club, I couldn't pick anyone else for this award but Beñat Prados. He's made 218 appearances for the club since joining us when we were in the second division, and he's listed as 'favoured personnel' in the club info screen.


Sadly, I think the club has outgrown Beñat. With the additions of Madani, Oschengo and Alcaraz, I think he'll be getting phased out of having a prominent role. However, that doesn't take away from his performances - he's been a consistent presence in our journey to the top of Spanish football, and for that he's my player of the save.


Favourite wonderkid


This one was slightly tougher to pick. Lorenzo Blasco and Juan Medina have both been excellent, but I think Gigi Duca pips them to top spot.


There may be an element of recency bias about this, but Gianluca Del Duca scored 31 goals last season at the age of 22. He's just appeared in a World Cup final for Italy, and I think he's set to become one of the world's best players.


Not bad for £2.2M from the Italian third division - I'll have to give chief scout Stéphane Chapuisat the credit for that one though.


Best transfer deal


This one was easy - selling Rafael Ianc to Barcelona for £70M, making £65M profit and setting a record for transfer fee received in the process.


He's just gone to Bayern in the save for upwards of £90M, and he's already one of the best keepers in the world.


Most disappointing player


I normally pride myself on my transfer business, but it doesn't always go right. Luckily, I write this blog, so I can choose the best ones and be quiet about the rest.


Omar Faraj scored 3 goals in 45 appearances for Compostela, with all of them coming in the early stages of the Copa Del Rey. He left for Mallorca for free in the 29/30 season, after coming in for £1.6M. Not one of my proudest moments.


 

Conclusion


To finish up, I wanted to do a review of the save goals I set in May and see if we achieved them:




1. Earn a European spot ✔️


Champion's League two years in a row? Objective achieved.


2. Challenge the dominance of the top La Liga teams ✔️


We've consistently challenged for the top spot in the past couple of years, and although we haven't finished higher than third yet, we came within one point of second last year.


3. Set up affiliate clubs in South/Central America ✔️


This one took a lot longer than I thought it would, as the board consistently denied my requests for it. However, we set up an affiliation with Defensor Sporting of Uruguay last year


4. Grow club to 'Rich' status ✔️





5. Nurture a wonderkid to international stardom ✔️

I've no doubt that Lorenzo Blasco, Juan Medina and Gigi Duca will be some of the best players in the world in years to come, but they're not quite superstars yet.


However, I think being the starting goalkeeper for Barcelona, then Bayern Munich, would earn you superstar status. Rafaël Ianc earns £185k a week at Bayern, and I imagine most football fans will know who he is. Objective achieved.



 

So, that brings my FM23 blogging journey to an end. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported and followed along so far, and I hope you've enjoyed the ride.


The future looks exciting. Football Manager is changing, and the next couple of editions should be some of the best. I'll be back very soon with a save reveal for FM24 which I'm incredibly excited about. Until November and the new game, you can follow along on Twitter (or 'X' as I'm loathe to call it) and see how Compostela get on.


Thank you, as always, for reading.


Vaya Con Dios.

 

FM Patrick


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