Matteo Brighi was the highest-rated player on FIFA 2003 and nobody knows why
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EA Sports were notorious for being a little overgenerous with their ratings in the early editions of FIFA and former Juventus midfielder Matteo Brighi may be the perfect example.
With the release of EA Sports' newly rebranded EA Sports FC 24 on the horizon, fans will be debating who should be given which rating.
But rewind to 2003, and little-known Italian midfielder Brighi was awarded a 97-rated card, higher than the likes of Edgar Davids, Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry.
Indeed, Brighi is the second-highest rated player in the game's history behind Ronaldo Nazario, who was rated 98 the following year.
To put Brighi's rating into context, he had just won the Serie A Young Player of the Year award following an excellent season on loan at Bologna from Juventus.
Those performances saw him called up to Italy's Under-21 where he played alongside Andrea Pirlo and reached the semi-finals of the European Championships, beating a young England side captained by David Dunn in the group stage.
However, Brighi's insane rating still seems a bizarre decision, particularly when considering how his career panned out.
Brighi returned to Juventus the following season but was soon shipped off to Parma as part of a co-ownership deal that saw Marco Di Vaio move in the opposite direction.
Injury hampered his progress in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region and he was sent on loan to Brescia the following year.
A move to Roma saw Brighi regain some of his old form, with the midfielder suddenly back in contention for selection for his country.
Speaking about Brighi in a candid interview with Il Romanista in 2008, former Italy boss Marcelo Lippi claimed that expectations were simply too high at the start of his career, with FIFA playing a major role in his exposure.
“From the human point of view he is a splendid boy, and from the technical point of view he is one of those diligent midfielders that every trainer would want to have," said Lippi.
“To my warning, at the beginning of his career, he was praised so excessively that too many expectations were created around him.”