Pro Evolution Soccer’s iconic front covers – from Ronaldo and Buffon to Adriano

The latest edition of Pro Evolution Soccer 'hit the shelves' today under the name eFootball 2022 with Konami having undergone a revamp of the popular football video game.

Now free-to-play, users can download a soft launch of the game on Playstation, Xbox, PC and Android devices.

Only nine teams will feature initially. Gamers will be able to select Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester United, Arsenal, Corinthians, Flamengo, River Plate, and Sao Paulo to compete against the AI or other users online.

As a free-to-play model, the initial download will not cost at the point of purchase, but you can pay for in-game items such as coins and player packs.

The game features six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi as the cover star alongside teammate Neymar Jr but with PSG not in the game, fans will have to select their international teams to see them in action.

With no actual in-hand copy of the game, it seems Konami have officially retired their traditional in-action front cover images.

eFootball 2022 marks the end of the road for Pro Evolution Soccer and so to commemorate the series Daily Star Sport has delved into the archives, taking a look back at some of PES' most iconic front covers.

PES 2003

Which Pro Evolution Soccer front cover is your favourite? Let us know in the comments section.

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It's quite unusual to see a referee as the cover star of a video game unless you're Pierluigi Collina.

The Italian official, known for his no-nonsense approach, was the man chosen as the face of Konami's new video game following his appearance at the 2002 World Cup final.

What's more remarkable though is referees only feature in cut-scenes in PES 2003 with Collina not actually present in the final release.

Collina also appeared on the front cover of PES 2004 alongside Thierry Henry and Francesco Totti but didn't look nearly as menacing. There was a distinct lack of a signature too.

PES 2005

A face-off between two Premier League legends has to go down as one of the greatest video game cover photos of all-time.

A memorable year for not just the Gunners, who went the entire season without suffering defeat to claim a golden Premier League trophy, but also for Konami.

Pro Evolution Soccer 5 outsold FIFA for the first time in five years with 5.76 million copies bought around the world compared to EA Sports' 5.27 million.

And when Chelsea and Arsenal did 'face-off' it was the Gunners who came out on top, both at Highbury and Stamford Bridge, winning both league matches 2-1.

PES 2006

Fast-forward 12 months and Thierry Henry has been axed as cover star despite Arsenal's Invincibles season.

The Gunners captain was replaced by Inter Milan's Adriano, who had scored 42 goals the previous season for club and country.

There was one familiar face on the cover though with John Terry captaining Chelsea to their first domestic title in 50 years, with 95 points – a league record at the time.

A special cover image for a special season for Chelsea, managed by the self-proclaimed 'Special One'.

PES 2008

The first PES game on the next generation of console with PES 2008 available on both Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii.

The European version featured Michael Owen instead of Gianluigi Buffon with the Italian only featuring in his native country.

With no Pro Evolution 7, 2008 changed its title to match the FIFA franchise and the footballing season.

Best of all though, West Ham centre-back Lucas Neill was on the cover of the Australian version with Didier Drogba featuring for France.

PES 2010

With new licences for the Champions League and the Europa League, Konami went all out with two global superstars to represent PES 2010.

Having finished as Liverpool's top scorer with 18 goals in 22 Premier League matches, Fernando Torres took his place alongside Lionel Messi who had just won the Ballon d'Or for the first time.

The Argentine had firmly announced his arrival onto the scene by netting Barcelona's second in their 2-0 triumph over Manchester United in the Champions League final.

12 years on from his first appearance, Messi is back in the frame as Pro Evo's go to cover star.

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