Henri Saivet and 5 other Football Manager wonderkids who made it


The Mirror have described recent Toon Army signing Henri Saivet as a ‘Football Manager legend who can add much-needed steel to Newcastle’.

But what’s happened to the other wonderkids who caught our eye while spending countless hours enjoying the popular computer game?

We’ve racked our brains and come up with a list of five players who’ve gone on to emulate their PC potential.

Having blossomed in recent years and subsequently earned a move to the Premier League, Saivet is arguably worthy of a place in such exulted company…

Darijo Srna

Smiles all round: Srna lifts the Europa League trophy in 2009

Smiles all round: Srna lifts the Europa League trophy in 2009

Remember playing Football Manager 2005? Of course you do. If you were looking for a versatile full-back with bags of potential then Darijo Srna was your man.

Croatia’s answer to Philipp Lahm has gone on to have an impressive career, winning 21 trophies with Shakhtar Donetsk, picking up the Ukrainian Player of the Year award twice, while earning over 100 caps and scoring 21 goals for his country.

All this as captain and a defender isn’t bad going and no one can pooh-pooh the now 33-year-old’s real life achievements.

Ezequiel Garay

Established Ezequiel: FM legend has been there and done it across Europe

Established Ezequiel: FM legend has been there and done it across Europe

As a precocious 21-year-old on FM ’08, Argentine centre-half Garay proved to be a snip if you bought him on the cheap while he was at Racing Santander.

Now 29, Garay has clocked up 281 appearances and played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe including Real Madrid, Benfica and Zenit and has won major titles everywhere he’s gone as well as playing in a World Cup final.

Ivan Rakitic

Real life success: Rakitic holds the European Cup aloft following victory over Juventus

Real life success: Rakitic holds the European Cup aloft following victory over Juventus

Another Croatian makes the top five and this time it’s Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

For wily FM players, he’s fondly remembered as the 19-year-old playing for Basel at the start of the 2007 version of the game.

The virtual Rakitic went on to be a big game player who all the best teams in the world wanted a piece of.

Sound familiar?

Since starting his career in Switzerland, the tricky midfielder has played for Schalke, won the Europa League with Sevilla and then gone on to make the Camp Nou his home.

At Barcelona our FM prodigy has already won La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League and has recently added Super Cup and the Club World Cup medals to his collection within 17 months of signing.

He’s still only 27!

João Moutinho 

Happier times: Moutinho and James Rodriguez celebrate Porto's title triumph in 2013

Happier times: Moutinho and James Rodriguez celebrate Porto’s title triumph in 2013

Admit it. You were sat playing FM, managing Tottenham or Valencia with £10m in the bank, dreaming of becoming title contenders. And then you came across Moutinho.

The sweetheart of Portugal has gone on to have an established career, claiming 12 trophies on the way, as well as becoming a key part of the national team.

As a result a big money move to Monaco followed, where admittedly, it hasn’t quite worked out.

Maybe he should’ve chosen the path of his virtual self and made the switch to White Hart Lane?

Douglas Costa

during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between FC Bayern Munchen and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at tthe Allianz Arena on September 29, 2015 in Munich, Germany.

Great name, great player: Costa was an FM bargain when plying his trade at Gremio

Looking for a Brazilian flair player was the FM norm but if you just searched for anyone who had ‘inho’ in their name you might have missed a trick with Douglas Costa.

In 2010, an 18-year-old Costa was valued at a paltry €4.3m while playing for Gremio.

Shakhtar took a punt in January 2010 and the winger won five titles in as many years in Ukraine, along with six domestic cups.

And as we all know Bayern Munich then came calling and spent a monster €30m on the Brazilian who is now seen as one of the most feared attacking midfielders in the world.

Like his football friends above, this guy has definitely made it.

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William Geldart

Having graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Wales, Bangor, William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.