The somewhat mythologized sub-genre called street soccer -- as presented by FIFA Street -- is hedonistic and excessive, with a strong tilt toward showboating and theatrics. It’s puzzling, then, that EA Sports decided to use Lionel Messi for the game’s cover art.
Messi is efficient and graceful; Street is abrasive and flamboyant. His natural talent was nurtured by, and continues to flourish at, FC Barcelona, which is one of the most group-oriented teams in the world. There’s no room for cocky individualism in the Nou Camp.
Messi is kind of quiet and goofy. If EA Canada wanted someone to fit into Street’s dubsteppy chav aesthetic, Wayne Rooney would have been ideal. For a cover athlete with the sheer audacity to pull off the stunts Street allows -- but without the marketing chops -- look no further than Mario Balotelli.
Leo Messi’s presence imparts a certain malaise, and it’s not long before you start to wonder if the same marketing dudes who designed the cover also called for FIFA Street’s vapid RPG elements and stunted social networking features.