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The most enjoyable aspect of Football Manager, and its predecessor Championship Manager, is being able to unearth wonderkids from far-flung places in the hope they will form the backbone of an all-conquering side for years to come.
Each player in Football Manager has a potential ability they can reach with careful nurturing and development. Play it right and you could have a bona fide superstar on your hands. But get it wrong and that player's career slips away.
Sometimes, though, the game gets it horribly, horribly wrong. When Leo Messi first showed up at Barcelona in the series he was predicted to be one of the world's best. So much so that the then-Rangers boss Alex McLeish tried to sign him and Barça team-mate Andrés Iniesta on loan.
On that occasion the game was right. Messi, and Iniesta, became superstars for Barcelona and probably exceeded what Football Manager ever predicted for them.
But for every Messi there are dozens of others who have been tipped by the game to have similar careers but failed to live up to their in-game potential.
We've come up with some of the most exciting prospects from the Championship Manager and Football Manager series and looked at how their careers panned out in the real world.