FIFA 19 Ronaldo box art replaced in time for Champions League knockouts

Nearly half a year since its original release date, the FIFA 19 Ronaldo box art has been replaced. The Juventus and Portugal forward has been removed from all FIFA 19 box art, in-game menus, Ultimate Team packs, and promotional material. The box art now shows the trio of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, PSG’s Neymar, and Juventus’ Paulo Dybala. USA women striker Alex Morgan also appears in menus. The changes have been applied to copies of FIFA 19 on all platforms.

Re-branding an already released game is a drastic step no matter the company or reasons, however. Christiano Ronaldo has had a controversial few months following his move to Juventus. In October 2018, for example, EA explained that is was “closely monitoring” Ronaldo’s situation following rape allegations dating from 2009 in Las Vegas. Since then, Ronaldo has accepted a fine of €18.8 million over tax evasion charges during his time at Real Madrid.

According to EA Sports, however, the FIFA 19 re-branding has nothing to do with any of the above reasons. In a statement to Eurogamer, an EA Sports spokesperson explained the decision to replace Ronaldo was down to the Champions League knockout rounds. “With the UEFA Champions League coming to EA Sports FIFA 19 this year, we have a unique opportunity to offer a range of new content to players that reflects the real-world excitement of football.”

EA Sports is using the knockout stages to feature “some of the biggest stars in football” other than Ronaldo. “We often celebrate different talent across our sports games, and with the UEFA Champions League knockout stages underway we are featuring some of the biggest stars in football and bringing new players a range of content to get excited about.”

Ronaldo, of course, is playing a key role in Juventus’ own hopes of Champions League success. Whatever the reasoning behind the re-branding efforts, there are now more soccer stars represented in promotional materials of FIFA 19 than there were before.