This is a new four-part FM17 Project series in which Sam Tighe writes about his attempt to complete the Pentagon Challenge – winning the Champions League in five different continents on the same save.
After resigning from Dorados, the day after I was the beneficiary of another managerial merry-go-round. Sao Paulo boss Filipe Luis (the current Atletico Madrid left-back) was handed the Brazil national team job, and his former club plucked Geraldo Dellamore from Vasco da Gama. Two days after I’d resigned from Dorados, I assumed Dellamore’s mantle as the captain of Vasco’s ship.
The beauty of this was twofold: First, I’d landed another extremely stable job with a good team in waiting; and second, Vasco da Gama were already in the Copa Libertadores and making good progress. I picked up the project in April 2027 and, in November that year, beat Palmeiras 5-1 on aggregate to lift the trophy. It was the second Champions League success in a single calendar year.
(Palmeiras beat me to the Brasileiro Serie A title by seven points, but that only bothered me a tiny bit).
My outright smugness at landing Champions League numbers three and four in record time quickly faded when I realised I hadn’t loaded up the European leagues, so would have to wait until June 2028 to start applying for European jobs and finish the challenge. It was for that reason I experienced what has to be the single most bizarre competition in football: the precursor to Brazil’s Serie A season, the Rio State Championship.
My continent-conquering Vasco side faced off against a mixture of decent opponents and some truly terrible ones. We set the club record for biggest ever victory against fourth-tier Boavista SC, winning 19-1. The club’s new striker, Luciano, scored 10 of them.
By the time May rolled around I was itching to depart, so I resigned and a few weeks later the European leagues kicked in. Cautiously optimistic, I started applying for relatively low-key jobs at Kaiserslautern and Pescara – but soon realised my time split across four continents, and glittering trophy haul of 19 cups and league titles, had finally turned some heads.
I spent the entire summer of 2028 debating which job to take, delaying acceptances in hope of a more favourable opportunity (and pissing a lot of chairmen about), before eventually plumping for OGC Nice. They looked in fantastic shape: the facilities were excellent and my predecessor, Florent Balmont, had done a stand-up job.
I decided to move back to 4-3-3 with three strikers and no wingers, inheriting five talented forwards. The midfield also looked pretty strong – all I needed to do was secure a reliable goalkeeper and a solid left-back to establish one of the best teams in Ligue 1.
It was here that my “win now” mentality hit overdrive. I’d played with fire a little at Dorados, running the club in the red for most of my tenure in an attempt to squeeze the very most out of the limits the board set, but I plunged Nice into heavy debt. Signing left-back Thierry (£6m from Cruzeiro) and goalkeeper Benjamin Diallo-Issah (£17m, Crotone) torpedoed the bank balance and left me entirely unable to manoeuvre for the rest of the season.
Fortunately, the ends justified the means. We qualified for the 2029/30 UEFA Champions League thanks in part to a magnificent run of 12 wins from our first 13 matches. The only low point was a 5-0 defeat to south-coast rivals Monaco in the French Cup, but that match doubled as a serious point of intrigue, as it was where the Nicolas Rebellon story resumes.
Following a few good years at Wolfsburg, my former Colombian prodigy moved to Monaco for £65million in the summer of 2021, when I was managing in South Africa. He was regularly scoring more than 20 goals a season at that point and, by the time I set foot on European shores, he’d already won the Ballon d’Or. The first time we met as opponents, he put four past my dizzied Nice defence with no remorse. But I still hold a soft spot in my heart for him…