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Could Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo keep Huddersfield in the Premier League next season?

We used Football Manager 2017 to determine whether the might of Cristiano Ronaldo AND Lionel Messi could keep Huddersfield in the Premier League

We’re pretty excited to see Huddersfield in the Premier League next season. 

The Terriers defied all odds by winning the Championship play-off final at the end of last season, and ensuring their passage into the top-flight for the first time since 1972.

David Wagner’s side narrowly defeated Reading in a gripping penalty shootout to provide one of the biggest promotion shocks in recent times, and landed themselves a tasty £170million kitty in the process.

Going up

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Going up

But now their rubbing shoulders with the big boys, can Huddersfield build on their success and remain in the Premier League next season?

The odds are stacked against them once again, with the last three play-off final winners heading straight back down to the Championship after a season in the top-flight.

What’s more, only four play-off final winners have remained in the Premier League in the last 10 years, with Derby’s ill-fated 2007/08 campaign the pick of those failures.

So we decided to run a little experiment to see if Huddersfield can survive in the Premier League next season, and what better tool to use than Football Manager 2017.

And to make things interesting, we decided to give David Wagner a little bit of help in the form of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo:

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There they are.

Messi and Ronaldo, the biggest and best names in football, will be playing in the blue and white stripes of the Terriers.

Can they keep them in the Premier League?

Let’s find out:

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Oh, well that’s awkward.

Unfortunately, the might of Messi and Ronaldo still wasn’t enough to keep Huddersfield up, as they finished 18th in the table with a measly 33 points, two away from safety.

However, they did better than fellow newcomers Brighton, who finished bottom of the table with only 20 points.

Newcastle, on the other hand, carried on from where they left off a few seasons ago and finished eighth.

It didn’t quite go to plan for Wagner and co.

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It didn’t quite go to plan for Wagner and co.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, with Messi’s first season in England still pretty decent as he duly topped the league’s average player ratings table with a tasty 8.02.

The little magician managed 14 goals in the league, which was short of the 26 he managed for Barcelona the previous season, but… it was for Huddersfield.

Ronaldo was also predictably adept in the Huddersfield line-up, and racked up 13 goals for the Terriers with an average rating of 7.38.

 

Fantasy football

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Fantasy football

Huddersfield did go agonisingly close to staying up, with their fate going down to the penultimate day of the season.

Wagner’s side actually managed to beat Manchester United in their final game of the season, in what turned out to be their most impressive result of their ill-fated campaign.

Ronaldo even bagged a brace against his former employers.

Old friends

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Old friends

Despite their relegation woes, Messi and Ronaldo made it into the Premier League Team of the Season, but are both understandably looking for a move in the summer.

And as for Wagner?

Unceremoniously sacked and replaced with Brian McClair.

Pretty standard XI

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Pretty standard XI

It is worth noting that this simulation was done with Huddersfield’s reputation prior to the 2016/17 season, with their finances matching that of a team that expected to reach the mid/lower reaches of the Championship.

What’s more, Messi and Ronaldo’s reputations and expectations likely caused conflict among the Huddersfield players, with pair often discussing their discontent in team meetings and to the media.

It’s probably what you’d expect though. eh?

Here’s hoping the Terriers fare better in the real world.

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