​If, like all of us, you've rediscovered your love of video games during this lockdown period, then it's more than likely you're familiar with Football Manager.


One of the most in-depth, meticulous and downright magnificent games ever produced is loved and adored by many, as players take on immense challenges with the aim of guiding their chosen side to the very top.

When I said 'all of us', though, I did actually mean all of us. As, just like us normal folk, footballers are also getting lost in the world of gaming as they embark on their own periods of solace and isolation. And yes, believe it or not, those whose jobs it is to play football every day actually like to maintain that theme in their free time.


Normally FIFA is the chosen football game of the professionals, but Football Manager also ranks highly among the options available. And just like the adventurous and crazy of us, the pros have succeeded in making some pretty impressive saves in the game.


Here are a few of the best ones...


Antoine Griezmann's Arsenal


Last summer rumours surfaced that Antoine Griezmann might be a closet ​Arsenal fan (something at present it isn't best to shout home about) when he revealed his Gunners squad in 2023. Which, by the way, obviously isn't true because it's just a game.


His tack was to discard all of the current Arsenal squad and replace them with up and coming British talent, with a few sprinkles of European talent thrown in for good measure. 


The likes of ​Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and ​Liverpool's Andy Robertson feature, while he caused outrage with his friend and international teammate Alexandre Lacazette by revealing he sold him to Huddersfield Town. Ouch.


He scooped a few trophies along the way including the ​Premier League, Carabao Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the ​Champions League. Not a bad haul, and something that shows anything truly can happen in the virtual world.


Ousmane Dembele's Winchester FC


Now this, this is proper Football Manager nerd behaviour.


Rather than opting for one of the hundreds of clubs available on the game, ​Ousmane Dembele spent his downtime in the 2018 World Cup making like the characters in Shaun of the Dead and heading to the Winchester.


The Barcelona starlet used the game's editor to create 'Winchester FC' with the intention of taking his new minnows from the eighth tier all the way up to the Premier League, while bringing a 'South American atmosphere' during each game. We don't know why either, but God we're glad he did.


How he got on we're not too sure, but his fellow teammate, Griezmann, did make some pretty startling accusations of his pal, including giving himself £40m while in the third division.

Amazingly, his escapades actually led to a flurry of interest in the real Winchester City FC, who play in the BetVictor Southern South Division.


Adam le Fondre Getting Sacked By SC Paderborn


After netting just why of 200 goals for a host of clubs across the English Football League, Adam le Fondre has since taken the next step in his career by joining Sydney FC. There he has......Nah, sod it, who cares? All we care about is Football Manager.


The striker's most recent save hasn't gone quite as planned, unfortunately, after revealing SC Paderborn sacked him as manager following a cup final loss, ninth place league finish and a European exit at the hands of Roma.


He's since embarked on a new step in his managerial career, taking on the vacant Fiorentina job. The latest update is that he's guided them to sixth, but struggling to balance the wage bill and maintain a competitive squad. We wish him all the best.


Diogo Jota's Telford United


While some footballers have been getting up to no good during quarantine, ​Wolves' Diogo Jota has been putting everyone to shame with some serious playing time registered on Football Manager.


While it's tough to be productive in these times, Jota has shown you can maintain your work ethic in a different manager. His particular forte has been Telford United. Down in the National League North - the sixth tier of English football - he's managed to steer them all the way up to the Premier League in 2029.


With just a 30-minute drive separating Wolverhampton from Telford, it's likely he's chosen his 'local' team which, if true, makes this save that extra bit sweeter.


Cesar Azpilicueta's Chelsea Conundrum


Captain of ​Chelsea, 25 caps for Spain and always a dedicated professional whenever he plays, it's no wonder that Cesar Azplilicueta knows a thing or two about football. What also can't be questioned is his devotion to the sport, something that is blatantly clear in a video he made on the game's official YouTube page.


Before joining the Blues from Marseille, Azpilicueta had risen through hometown club Osasuna's youth ranks - who are his chosen team in the game. While the details of his progress aren't known for sure, one thing is for certain.....he can't sign any Chelsea players.


He openly admitted they 'always refused to join', including those from the club's youth teams. What does west London have against Pamplona? 


Joe Lolley's Almighty Shrewsbury Town & Oxford & Gloucester


Joe Lolley

Nottingham Forest's Player of the Season in the 2018/19 campaign has shown over the years his skillset extends beyond the digital world. Not just savvy with a ball at his feet, Lolley clearly has a keen eye for the managerial side of thing with his impressive save on the game.


Speaking on the game's ​official website he revealed his save with Shrewsbury, but also casually dropped in a stupendous alternative with Oxford City. It's 100% football all the time for the winger, apparently.


He revealed: "We won the domestic league [with Shrewsbury] and were the best team in Europe every year for about eight to 10 years. I finished around 2040 playing a ridiculous formation (which I’ve never ever been able to replicate with any success) and winning roughly every game in the Joe Lolley stadium. Good times."

"My current save with Oxford City is up to 2037 and I’ve gone from conference South to five top flight titles and three European trophies, so that’s right up there," he nonchalantly added.


Currently in lockdown Lolley has taken Gloucester to the Premier League title after 20 seasons...


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