Pro Evo is a game that is close to nearly every football fan's heart. Despite being utterly rubbish in recent years and bowing down to the cash-cow that is EA Sports FIFA, the glory days of PES were so glorious that they will always bring back wonderful memories to anyone who invested a hefty chunk of their free-time into Konami's football sim.
We have taken the time to evaluate and rank the very best players to use throughout the glory days of Pro Evo (PES 2-PES 6) and definitively crown the best ever. Although we're sure you already know who he is.
Lets do this!
Lee Carsley (PES 3)
It may seem crazy, but Lee Carsley was an absolute monster in the middle on Pro Evolution Soccer 3. Anyone who played as Everton or Republic of Ireland had a player who was a carbon copy of Gennaro Gattuso, the only noticeable difference being his big bald head. Carsley was dirt cheap for anyone starting a Master League, and was always one of the last players replaced. More often than not by Gattuso.
Samuel Eto'o (PES 5)
The sheer pace of Sammy Eto'o in his Barca days made him a serious handful in PES as defenders struggled to deal with the Cameroonian star. The sheer amount of rebound goals he scored, after Ronaldinho dribbled through the entire team only to see his shot saved, was outrageous.
Obafemi Martins (PES 5)
The shadow of Adriano (who we will discuss later) was never too big to stop young (or old, nobody knows) Obafemi from banging in the goals. His searing pace and ridiculous jumping made him an ideal striker for any situation. He was devastating.
The Top 5:
5. Thierry Henry (PES 6)
After the 2006 World Cup, the French team in PES 6 were total beasts, none more so than Thierry Henry. Pace, dribbling, finishing, passing, curve, he had it all. Arsenal were a joy to use, even if the gameplan consisted solely of going straight to the Frenchman at every available opportunity. The result was 2 or 3 goals like this in every game:
4. Pavel Nedved (PES 4)
Juventus were very strong on PES 4, and Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved was one of the more fun players to use, mainly because he could score from anywhere inside the attacking half. Whenever his distinctive blonde locks came on the ball there was nothing more to do than the obligatory fake shot and then BANG!
3. Alvaro Recoba (PES 4)
Look at those stats! Little Al Recoba was Uruguay's bucktoothed assassin before Luis Suarez had even played a professional match, and the mini-maestro was a sheer delight to use in PES 4. Insane dribbling, ferocious shots with stupid curve, and pinpoint crosses meant this man was not only a certain starter when using Inter, but he was a must-have in Master League too. Genius.
2. The Entire AC Milan Team (PES 4)
Honestly we had to pay homage to the most complete team in football video-gaming history at #2, but really any one of the starting eleven could have occupied this spot. Dida was a colossus between the sticks, the back four of Cafu, Nesta, Stam, and Maldini could have been the back four for a World XI, a midfield diamond of Gattuso, Seedorf, Pirlo, and Kaka is the stuff of dreams. To top it all off, Hernan Crespo and Andriy Shevchenko were ruthless up front. Perfection.
1. Adriano (PES 4/5/6)
The only sports video-game character that even comes close to Adriano in the Pro Evo series is Jonah Lomu, in Jonah Lomu Rugby. Adriano was quite frankly a joke in PES 4, 5, and 6. His left boot was so bloody powerful that it made the 'Square button' the 'Goal button'. Anywhere within 45 meters, a quick fake shot and a tap of Square and nine times out of ten you had yourself a screamer of a goal. Some implemented rules to mitigate his effectiveness, some banned him altogether, the rest just watched his goal celebration cut-scene over and over and over again. Rumour has it that PES producer Shingo "Seabass" Takatsuka was an Inter fan, and his favourite player was Adriano, so he insisted the Brazilian party-animal be given God-like powers for a number of consecutive years. Adriano, the best of the best.