It’s a fun old game…
Jimmy Greaves was, of course, talking about football when he uttered that famous phrase.
But I’m sure Football Manager players would agree that it works for the legendary video game too.
The game’s producers are having a hard time scanning the globe trying to get every single player in the game, from established superstars to unknown youth team players from the far corners of the world.
For every one they nail, there’s one they don’t.
Cherno Samba, Freddy Adu and Sherman Cardenas are some of the most famous FM flops in recent years.
But what about “the next Cristiano Ronaldo”?
In 2006, a 14-year-old made history as the youngest player to play a professional game in Chile.
The player in question? Nicholas Millan.
If you’ve heard of him, I guarantee it’s because of Football Manager 2007.
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When FM07 came out, football fans were quick to snap up Millan for their team.
The 14-year-old was not only a professional professional, but had also scored four goals in just three games for the Chilean U17s.
Millan was a goalscorer in the game – if he could get a work permit.
Players would confidently claim Millan would score between 50 and 75 goals a season. Not bad for under £1million.
Unfortunately for our ‘next Cristiano Ronaldo’ – so dubbed for his love of stepping – he hasn’t even scored 50 goals in his entire 17-year career.
Millan burst onto the stage in Colo Colo and made his debut in 2006 at the age of 14.
At the time, both Chelsea and Everton were linked with offering the striker a trial – but none came to fruition.
In fact, he only played one more game for the Chilean team and was loaned out to Rivadavia de Lincoln, Tigre and Naval.
He failed to play, let alone score, in his first two stints away from home but found some rhythm at Naval, where he scored six goals in 48 games.
In 2013 he was traded to Union Temuco and scored three goals in 11 games before joining Curico Unido later that same year.
After just five goals in 46 games, he joined Puerto Montt, Pintana and Copiapo between 2015 and 2019, scoring 14 goals in 111 games.
Between 2020-21, he struggled through 26 goalless games before joining Independiente Cauquenes, scoring once in 17 games.
In 2022 he made 10 appearances for General Pico – without worrying the scorers.
At the age of 31, Millan plays for the Chilean second division club Iberia.
Well, he’s on the club’s books. He hasn’t really played yet.
Regardless, it’s a small leap in class for Millan, who played for seven third-tier clubs before joining Iberia.
It’s hard to say which is more remarkable: whether he’s scored fewer goals in 17 years than in a single season as a teenager at FM07, or the fact that he’s never cost a single penny in real life.
So far, Millan has only moved to a new club on loan or on a free transfer.
What a fall from grace for such a promising talent.