Yesterday I forgot to post one of the goals I scored in my last two games before the mid-season negotiations. The goal is worth posting now for a couple of reasons:
First and foremost, it was the winning goal in the 2-1 win over Feyenoord, which was my first win after a run of nine consecutive defeats.
Second, it’s a pretty nice goal – rarely for the Default team, it’s a long shot from outside the box that curls into the bottom corner of the net past the CPU keeper’s reach.
Third, it was almost the final kick of a ball in my team from Van den Berg, one of the better Default players. Now that I’m at the mid-season point, my House Rules have kicked in, and Van den Berg has left my team forever.
I have mixed feelings about getting to this stage, this time around. As I hinted yesterday, I have started to feel that PES2008 – or PES2008 Master League, I should say (99.99% of my PES year is spent on ML) – is simply a waste of my time. The arcadey gameplay of PES2008 makes the ML feel lightweight and unimportant. It lacks almost everything that made Master League “arguably the greatest game mode ever created, period”.
(I’m paraphrasing from memory from an article I read in a games magazine back in 2002 or so, when I was trying to pluck up the courage to spend literally every penny of my meagre savings on a PS2. Eventually I took the plunge and got myself the console+one game – PES2. It was the best £180 I ever spent. )
Still, I’m here now, so let’s see what kind of business I can get done.
My first House Rule has come into play: I am not allowed to have any players that I had in my last career. There are only two exceptions: Beerens and Maldini. I had them for such a short time that I want to see more of them. It’ll be a good few seasons before I’m in a position to get them, though.
My second House Rule: I will maintain a squad of no more than 28 players. This seems reasonable to me because no matter how well I do in this negotiation, I’ll still have mainly default players. In time I want to go down to 25 players or even to 20 players. We’ll see.
I released Stremer and Huylens and Dodo and Lieberman. I did put them up for transfer first but no one came in for them. In the final week of negotiations, I simply let them go.
I sold Ettori – another one of the better Default players. I was sorry to see him go, as I don’t think I kept him for very long last time either, but I have to be ruthless if I want this new Superleague ML with House Rules to work. Away he went.
I traded Van den Berg for a 26-year-old striker called Caracciolo. Who he? I have no idea, but he was on the ‘Openness to Negotiation’ list. Big and strong, albeit with no pace and very little shooting ability- but he’ll do. He’s better than any of the Default strikers.
Also on the Openness to Negotiation list was one Halil Altintop, a highly-spoken-of striker aged 24. I traded El Moubarki for him. At the moment, Altintop seems to be as mediocre as Caracciolo, but I suspect that things will change. His development curve is very steep.
I also went shopping on the Youth Player list. I got three 17-year-olds: Jackson (CB), Postma (SB), and Camacho (AMF).
Camacho also plays at DMF, and he has the all-important Middle Shooting ability. I keep seeing his name in people’s lists of good buys in the Master League, so I have high hopes.
As for Jackson, I had him in my PES6 ML team. He was reliably solid, if not quite superstar material.
Postma will easily supplant the shambling Griersen at right-back. In fact, putting all of my Youth players straight into the team is a no-brainer. I’m rock-bottom of the division. What is there to lose? Nothing.
I got one other player. This one was a bit special. I snatched him from the Unbelonging list, paying several thousand points that I could ill afford and potentially risking a Game Over at the end of the season. I think I’ll be all right, though…
The player is Elcherino – a 23-year-old CF based upon the legendary Eusebio. I tried to get him a few times during my first PES2008 ML career but failed every time. I was very surprised to get him (and most of the others) so quickly this time around – especially with the ML difficulty set to Very Hard.
(I last had Elcherino in my ultimate team of galacticos back in PES5. He can be seen knocking in a couple of corkers in the opening stages of my first PES5 compilation movie. In that team he was overshadowed by Bergkamp (as the movie demonstrates). What I loved about PES5 was that even though I had a massive squad packed with superstars, I had to work hard every season to be consistently successful. It took me 15 seasons to win a Treble, and I only won two or three more Trebles in the 25 or so seasons after that. I was playing PES5 until the day before PES6 came out. No, it won’t be long before I’m back there…)
Here’s my all-new First XI. It looks pretty good, I have to say:
Neither Elcherino nor Altintop are natural wide men up front, but I want them to play there nevertheless. For now. It’ll be a rare game when all three play together anyway, so they can deputise for each other.
Immediately after the negotiation period, I played my first game with my new players. It was very interesting. So interesting, in fact, that it deserves a special post all of its own. That’ll be for tomorrow.