Every football fan has at some point owned or played a copy of FIFA in their lives. As the game has only gotten more realistic over the years, it has given fans a chance to relive some of football’s best moments once again from the comfort of their homes.
Much like the important role it plays for fans, FIFA games are also valuable to real-life players, especially through their cover photos. The game’s official licensing and brand value due to its affiliation with the FIFA governing body has helped it gain a monopoly over other football games and hence, associating with it has its own merits for a player.
Over the last decade, Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the FIFA cover photos as they were undoubtedly the best players across the world who managed to produce iconic moments etched forever in football history.
For instance, FIFA 18 had Ronaldo as the cover star following his Ballon d’Or win in 2017 and Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph following the 2016/17 season.
But the last three FIFA covers included Eden Hazard, Virgil van Dijk and Kylian Mbappe on the cover as these players stood out amongst the rest in one way or the other.
This breakage in the Messi-Ronaldo monopoly has led to fans even spearheading campaigns to have their own favourite stars featuring as FIFA cover models.
The latest example of this would be Everton’s Brazilian forward Richarlison, following the club’s victory against European Champions Chelsea on Sunday.
A first-half goal by Richarlison helped Everton take the lead on the evening and ended up deciding the match for the Toffees. Following the goal, the Brazilian celebrated by picking up a blue flare and running with it by the pitchside.
This celebration proved to be an iconic moment as matchday photographers did not fail to capitalize and clicked a few cold images of the Brazilian wheeling away in joy.
With the images circulating on Twitter, a few fans have gone and made the image as a potential cover photo for FIFA 23, where Richarlison can be seen holding onto the blue flare. This Twitter user’s edit of the image from Goodison follows the template of past covers where an iconic moment by a special player has been used.
FIFA 21 included an image of Kylian Mbappe celebrating a goal, captured from real life instead of being an image shot just for the cover in a studio. It looks like this designer has followed suit with this tradition with Richarlison’s edited cover for the upcoming FIFA 23.
Furthermore, it looks like the image has even found its way back to Richarlison who reposted the image on his Instagram story alongside a poll asking fans whether or not this should be the cover photo for the upcoming version of the famous game.
Although the picture looks apt as a FIFA cover photo due to its iconic nature, it looks unlikely that Richarlison would be the focal star for the next edition of FIFA, which is usually a UCL winner or a player who has consistently had a successful season in Europe.
The latest favourites for the next cover stars are Karim Benzema and Mo Salah, in that order due to their influential performances for their respective teams in Europe.
But there can be no denying that Richarlison’s photo from Sunday does make a case for itself due to its dramatic undertones and its general flair.
Perhaps if Everton were to survive relegation, Evertonians would come back to thank this goal for ensuring it and would definitely campaign harder for it to be next year’s FIFA cover photo.