If you think the highest FIFA-rating of all time belongs to Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, you're dead wrong. Instead, it's a relatively unknown Italian player... but how?
97. That's the FIFA-rating of a particular player, only a few people will even remember today. He was once one of the most promising young talents in Italian football, and at least on the virtual pitch he's on another level compared to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
So... who are we talking about? His name is Matteo Brighi, and he's the guy with the second-highest FIFA OVR of all time – only Ronaldo (R9) got an even higher rating of 98 in FIFA 04. What's even better is that literally nobody knows why EA Sports gave him this ridiculous rating in the first place. Not even he himself has an answer...
FIFA-Phenom Matteo Brighi: Better Than Messi & Ronaldo
At the peak of their careers, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both got a rating of 94 – it's the best both GOATs have achieved in FIFA, at least without special cards in Ultimate Team. Matteo Brighi could only laugh about such a low number in 2003. With an overall rating of 97 he was the best FIFA player to date. But... why him?
Football fans in their mid-30s may have heard the name before, but Gen Z has little chance of knowing the Italian in his "prime". He celebrated his greatest sporting success as a teenager when he was voted the best young player in Serie A in the 2001/02 season. When he actually got that crazy 97 rating in FIFA 03, he even was on loan from Juventus. Not exactly a career path that's common for a world-class player.
Brighi himself doesn't know why he got such a high rating in FIFA, as he explained in an interview years later. He may have been considered a "Future Star" back then, but now he's nowhere near the football GOAT debate – I mean, who can actually remember his mediocre Serie A career? Since FUT was created, the Italian's "peak" was a 78-rated gold card back in 2010 – in 2019 he quietly ended his playing career.
So, it will probably remain a secret how Matteo Brighi once was a 97-rated player. Was an EA employee just messing around, or was he supposed to get an OVR of 79 instead? At least that would make sense, looking at young and talented players in FIFA 23. What we like about this story, though, is that the developers screwed up back then and obviously do so know... just EA Sports things.