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Cristiano Ronaldo signs with Juventus, EA Sports shits a brick

Should have called Harry Kane.

ronaldo fifa 19 origin access premier
Image: EA Sports

In the midst of the World Cup 2018 semi-finals, in the middle of the Belgium vs. France game, the chyron at the bottom of the screen informed us fútbol fans that one of the greatest players in the world — Cristiano Ronaldo — has left Spain’s Real Madrid after nine years to join the Italian club team, Juventus. While this is great news for all fans of fútbol, for EA Sports, the sporting development division of Electronic Arts, this is shit news.

EA Sports produces the FIFA series of video games, and while players move around throughout the year, usually it’s not much of an issue. Like the Madden games, EA will roll out an update and change a jersey or a team lineup. No problem. Just a few hours of development and a patch. This year, in September, FIFA 19 rolls out and poses a brand new problem for EA. After all, that’s Cristiano Ronaldo on the cover. In a Real Madrid jersey. Additionally, the career mode of the game finds the player teaming with — you guessed it — Real Madrid’s Christiano Ronaldo.

So you see how fucked EA Sports is right? Ronaldo, in his Real Madrid gear, is on the cover and all marketing materials. The game is centered around an interaction with Ronaldo, as a Real Madrid player. It’s a programming clusterfuck with no clear solution. The greatest goal scorer in the world just inadvertently dunked on EA while following his dreams (to Italy).

For those of you who don’t pay attention to fútbol or give a shit about the FIFA games, this is like if Tom Brady, after being the cover star of Madden 18, went to play for the Raiders a few months before the game was released. You can imagine the uproar, the annoyance from fans of the sport and game. Playing FIFA with Ronaldo on the Real Madrid squad instead of Juventus is more than annoying, it’s inaccurate.

Since the game isn’t out yet, this is totally fixable. Like when Kyrie Irving left the Cavaliers for the Celtics, 2K Games updated the NBA 2K18 cover. Of course, Irving is nowhere near the world-renowned player that Ronaldo is, and here in the U.S., where soccer is a niche market, having the star player represented accurately is a huge deal.

Regardless of whether it can be fixed in time and all the marketing materials changed, the expense to EA Sports will be substantial. I doubt they’ll replace Ronaldo, but it will certainly make them think about perhaps not picking a cover star that is frequently rumored to be looking for a new club. Maybe next time pick someone just getting started but a huge deal nonetheless.

We reached out to EA Sports but they did not immediately respond to our request for comment. We’ll update the post if we hear anything back.

What do you think the solution is? Excited for the next FIFA game? Let us know in the comments.

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Writing about consumer technology, social media and the deep layers of psychological torture endured by all of it. The world is changing, but that doesn't mean we can't be cynical about it. It's not all sunshine and roses in Silicon Valley. It's self loathing, pretentiousness and machines that squeeze juice for you. Also, a strong affinity for toasters.Follow on Twitter @cebsilver for them jokes. Chaotic neutral. Pitches to cebsilver@gmail.com

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