The reduction in Cristiano Ronaldo's overall rating in FIFA 23 is consistent with the downward trajectory of his stats since FIFA 20. His player card, while being one of the most overpowered ones in the past, has been rated at 90 for the upcoming title.
This has earned him the eighth spot on the top-rated card list, a substantial downgrade for a player of his standing.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of his ratings between FIFA 23 and FIFA 22:
With his debut season back at Manchester United a downright disaster, a sixth-place finish in the Premier League did Ronaldo no favors in the ratings department.
He is also not the only GOAT to be nerfed as Messi has also received a substantial nerf to his ratings — albeit not enough to knock him from the highest rating in the game.
It is important to note, however, that his individual performance was not too shabby. Out of the 37 matches he played for Manchester United, he scored a respectable 24 goals. But EA is known for their heavy-handedness when it comes to aging players, and the 37-year-old Portuguese forward is by far the oldest to be included in the top 10 FIFA 23 rankings.
That said, age is not the only reason why EA has decided to slash the overall points and with many factors associated with how ratings are decided, it would be unfair to critique only one aspect of the player. Here is a list of potential reasons why Cristiano Ronaldo's overall ratings have been nerfed for FIFA 23.
Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the writer's opinions.
5 reasons why Ronaldo got a lower rating in FIFA 23
1) Getting on in years
Cristiano Ronaldo has dominated football on a scale that can perhaps only be rivaled by Messi, and both of them appear to be past their prime. As an all-time footballing great, the former is known for his skilful shooting, athleticism, and attacking awareness. But as they say, time and tide wait for no man.
Cristiano Ronaldo has outstanding physical fitness without a shred of doubt, especially for his age, which allows him to still play at one of the biggest clubs in the world, even at 37.
But the fact that he is getting on in the years is inevitable. EA has undoubtedly taken his age into consideration while dealing out nerfs to his pace and strength.
2) The competition
Ronaldo's age is not the only reason for a lower rating. Other players such as Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe have had stellar seasons.
This is especially true for the Frenchman in Real Madrid who took his club through the finish line of both La Liga and the Champions League last season. Not to mention the rising youth such as the PSG frontman are giving veterans a run for their money.
Mbappe, FIFA 23's headliner, is just 23 and excels in agility and dribbling skills, outshining Ronaldo by not only individual stats but with achievements to back them up.
Other players who outrank him, such as Kevin de Bruyne and Lewdonski, have had successful domestic seasons with their respective clubs too. Even Salah and Van Dijk narrowly missed out on the Premier League.
3) 6th place finish in the Premier League
Ronaldo's move back to Manchester United last season was probably the most exciting football news of the year. But seeing as it ended in shambles, an argument can be made that EA's ratings for Old Trafford's prodigal son were highly influenced by how the team performed.
Remeniscent of their infamously bad 2013-14 season, the Red Devils were knocked out of the Champions League in the 16th round, and they barely qualified for the Europa League this season. Many supporters have started pointing fingers at Ronaldo for not living up to the task, while others say his style doesn't match the team.
With him starting on the bench in almost all matches in the current season, it appears Manchester United's management thinks the same.
4) How many goals does it take?
It's safe to say Ronaldo fans are not happy with his rating. Many have pointed out that he has scored 18 goals in the Premier League, despite his team having a bad season, and doesn't deserve a reduction in ratings.
The obvious comparison people bring up is with Messi, who also had an underwhelming season with just six goals in the domestic league.
However, it is important to note that goals are not the only category for ratings. Here is a table of stats comparing top players from last season, according to FBref:
It is important to note that the Argentinian arguably received a bigger reduction in his stats, losing two points to his overall ratings, despite the fact that PSG did manage to win Ligue 1. It seems EA has slashed the ratings of all players, especially the older ones, with even Lewandosnki getting a one-point reduction.
5) Pace problem
If FIFA 23 is anything like its predecessor, high agility, pace, and balance will be the hallmarks of a good striker, with Ronaldo's reduction in ratings coming in mostly with EA nerfing his athleticism, i.e., pace.
As discussed before, his increasing age has had some effect on his ability to employ his iconic playstyles, which have historically been physically demanding.
FUT players especially need to take into consideration how to use Ronaldo, now that he is not the overpowered speed demon like he was. A closer inspection to his stats reveals that the nerf is mostly due to a drastic fall in his acceleration stat, which has been reduced by a full six points along with a three-point reduction to his sprint speed.
In a game where pace is king, such a considerable downgrade is sure to invite criticism from fans of one of the greatest players of all time.