Spanish superclub Real Madrid has entered into an exclusivity agreement with Electronic Arts' licensed videogame franchise for this year's edition, FIFA 16.
The deal means that up-to-date likenesses of Real Madrid's players and pitch will become exclusive to the September game.
The three-year-deal means that FIFA 16 will feature updated 3D head scans of 14 Real Madrid players, with EA naming Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema among them.
Dani Carvajal, Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Isco, Lucas Silva, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Frenchman Raphaël Varane were also in on EA's photo shoot.
EA knows how popular the Real Madrid squad is, thanks to detailed gameplay metrics collected from the FIFA 15 fanbase, and the firm provided some Real-centric data to support its announcement.
For players picking Real as their team, the most popular fixture to take place – by far – was El Clasico: match-ups between Real Madrid and Barcelona took place 116.9 million times up until July 4 when data was locked down.
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich took place 67.2 million times, recreating the historic 2012-13 and 201313 UEFA Champions League semi-final configurations, while Los Blancos lined up against themselves 51.6 million times.
When FIFA 16 arrives, the series will have had Barcelona star Lionel Messi as its cover athlete for four years running, so the Real Madrid connection ups its visibility for fans of the world's other most popular club.
But the team behind the popular and critically acclaimed Pro Evolution Soccer series appears unfazed by developments.
"Lots of questions about Real Madrid partnership deal," wrote European Product Manager, Adam Bhatti, on Twitter. "Don't worry, has no impact on #PES2016, all teams in La Liga still fully licensed," he noted.
FIFA 16 is due to release the week of Sept 22 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC, while PES 2016 becomes available the week before. – AFP Relaxnews