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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Trequartista. What Does It Really Mean ?

Welcome to our World of Football !!
Mere footballers are normal, but artists and entertainers are a different league; Trequartista. The classical Number 10.
The moment I thought about creating a blog for conversing with my friends all about football, I never expected naming the blog would be such a difficult task. A lot of names were put forward but rejected for various reasons by close associates who are not only ardent football followers, but also breathe it.  Then, we decided to have a unique name related to football, at the same time curious to others who live other basic stuffs.
I rolled back the time, almost like a back pass to goal keeper, in this case to my childhood. As a school boy, I started kicking football under the influence of a dazzling footballer who made me addicted to that spherical mass and its rectangular green turf where he could enthrall soccer followers to ecstasy. Very soon, irrespective of my other priorities, I started following football every day, night and dream. If Adidas was for dreaming about ‘all day’, mine was ‘all time’. And that diminutive figure to enthrall me was none other than El Pibe de Oro, The Golden Boy, Diego Armando Maradona; the God football fanatics venerate and carry Number 10 in his back instead of the cross.
I decided to pass the ball forward to my defender and thought about the next deity who fascinated me and made me cry for him and his homeland. I realized that even God fumble sometimes from 12 yards. Interestingly, he practices Buddhism and renowned for his football skills and exciting gaze; Il Divin Codino, The Divine Ponytail, Roberto Baggio.
Couple of steps forward and I sent the ball swiftly to my midfielder and I could perceive him, The Midfield General, graciously accepting the ball, twisting away from the opponents like an artist or was he a scientist who can judge the attributes like flight, spin and bounce of a football ? There stood Zizou, Zinedine Yazid Zidane. His first name Zinedine means ‘beauty of the religion’ in Arabic and for football world it meant ‘beauty of the game’.
Zizou threaded a nice through ball to the future and an exceptional player from the present latched on to that pass from nowhere and the defenders of this millennium looked clueless on how to stop his slaloming run. La Pulga Atómica, The Atomic Flea, Lionel Andres ‘Leo’ Messi.
I started visualizing glorious days of Diego Maradona, Roberto Baggio, and Zinedine Zidane and compared them with Lionel Messi’s mesmerizing accomplishments till today to find out an interesting similarity; their playing position. Trequartista !
Trequartista in Italian means ‘Three quarters’ indicating the player operating ¾th up the field. In England they are known as ‘Playmaker’ and in Argentina ‘Enganche’. If you aren’t familiar with those words try shadow striker, deep lying forward, withdrawn striker etc.
Now, let’s see what Trequartista is capable of. In an ideal situation, Trequartista is an attacking midfielder with striker qualities proficient in setting up goal scoring opportunities for teammates, his prime responsibility, at the same time possesses an eye for goal to score himself. Being an artist in the football ground, Trequartista brings in an element of fantasy to the game through his defense splitting passes, creativity and controls the tempo of your team’s play.  Trequartista need not be an out and out striker but, he is the best player in your team and everybody tries to find his boots when your team has possession. Due to his higher technical ability and close ball control he drifts in to spaces offered by the opposition and operates in ‘the hole’ between defense and midfield of the opposition to create goal scoring opportunities. Hence these playmakers are different from centre forwards, strikers and wingers, thus forming an elite class; Trequartista.
I hardly remember the footballing zenith of Argentina’s golden boy, 1986 World cup triumph, because I was not fortunate enough to watch that moment of victory live on television. At a later stage, sports journals and clips from You Tube helped me in visualizing ‘Hand of God’, ‘Goal of the Century’ and Argentina marching past West Germany in the final at Estadio Azteca. In Italia 90, Maradona was deliberately fouled by opponents as they did not allow him or Argentina to play their natural free flowing football. Moreover, tactically and practically Argentina was fragile restricting themselves to a defensive unit, a system new to themselves as well as supporters. How incredible that Argentina managed to reach the final in spite of not taking the most out of little genius who was tortured like an animal at times; not in streets, but on the field. No need to emphasize, Barrilete Cosmico, Cosmic Kite was the greatest enganche Argentine football ever gave birth to, if not World football.
Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena. The arena where God blasted the ball into heaven thereby Italy missing the World cup, in spite of his solo efforts to guide a nation to the finals of FIFA world cup. Italy was not a bookmaker’s choice before the tournament started and things did not go well when they lost the initial match. Might be after listening to the prayers from that great nation, God decided to play the role of Trequartista to the utmost perfection. Luckily for Italy, God incarnated in the no. 10 jersey of the Azzuri and etched Baggio on his back. His dribbling was exquisite, free kicks were special, and he effortlessly infiltrated through opposition defense. Forget about the penalty miss, his pains throughout the 120 minutes which made him exhausted, and the sight of tearful Baggio in despair; would you dare to miss those thrilling runs from down the midfield or the elegance at which he deceived defenders ? Well, I won’t, at any cost, because very seldom God appears in the Azzuri jersey. May be the offers from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo were far superior to the ones from Rome and Milan !
Watching football becomes festival to eyes when footballers are merged with attributes of artists and scientists. The result was awesome; Zidane in French national jersey, again Zidane in Juventus jersey and yet again Zidane in Los Blancos jersey. Zizou was the master in pulling the strings from Trequartista position in all the teams he played for. Offer him football and a little space in the upper half of the field; he takes the spectators to a heavenly atmosphere where his team members float like angels or compelled to float into positions where Zidane want them to be. And the opponent defensive midfielders and backline gets the tormenting like a hellish life. At Stade de France against Brazil in 1998 World cup final, Zidane’s headers decided the tie while the artist in him controlled the game all the way through. At Hampden Park against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002 Champions league final, his classic volley decided the tie. This time the scientist in Zidane was spot on reading the flight, speed and spin of the football as it ballooned and dropped in the air.
I read about La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy, producing lots of young talents. When they adopted an Argentine and brought him up with Catalan football philosophy, nobody would have dreamed about the renaissance of a savior. In fact he was; Messiah reborn; Trequartista redefined ! Carefully observe any game that Barcelona opts for ‘Tridente’ – three pronged attack. Most of the time Lionel Messi is tightly marked by multiple players and he tend to drop deep to receive the ball. He then dashes off within no time, abruptly drops his speed and come to halt without losing the balance, and pulls away his markers along with him thus creating acres of spaces for his teammates. And his understanding associates rarely miss those goal scoring opportunities. Sometimes it’s not easy to track Little Messiah even if you are man marking him because he swaps positions with his strike partners and runs into channels where he can offer either through balls or delightful chips over the defense. True heir to Maradona, as declared by Maradona himself, is almost accurate in case of Messi. To make that reference complete, Messi has to match what Maradona has done with Argentina…‘World cup triumph’. As of now, other accomplishments are matched including the position; Trequartista or Enganche.
Trequartista, the position that is home to many football geniuses, is not a complete list unless the honorable mentioning of Alessandro Del Piero, Francesco Totti, Juan Román Riquelme, and Wesley Sneijder. The list continues…..
Here we go…..welcome to our blog TREQUARTISTA. Let’s have fruitful discussions, information sharing, and sometimes heated but, healthy arguments. There is gonna be a single religion bringing us together to make bridges across nations, languages and borders…..and we belong to that religion called FOOTBALL.

Introduction blog for ‘TREQUARTISTA’


Manoj said...

nice name and a good intro...good luck buddy....wish to see more blogs from you...

Trequartista said...

Thank you, Manoj.

TKS said...

Good one.. :)

TKS said...

Good one.. Nice read throughout. may be you should have written a little bit more about little Leo.

Trequartista is an elite position in football and only legends excel there.. But, these days we don't see many who are good at that position.. I remember reading an article about the death of playmaker. That was discussing how the playmaker role is slowly vanishing from football. In that article, Messi was rather described as a False-9 than a playmaker. If you see Messi's stats, he's more of a scorer than creator, he's already the top scorer for Barca last year and this year. It's another thing that he also creates opportunity for his team mates, he has a staggering 18 assists this season(Top in the league). I would say Messi can excel as a playmaker in Argentina shirt, where he will have more responsibility and where he will be playing more centrally.

May be it will be a nice idea to write about the defensive midfielder and how Makélélé renamed it as "Makelele role" . -:).

True Blue,

Trequartista said...

Thank you, tRuE bLuE.

You are right. Trequartista is an elite position and whoever excelled in that position became legends. Specialty about Messi is that, he is such a high quality player who can excel in any position. He started as right winger, and then performed Trequartista role to a high-art. Yes, he even played the role of a false-9 for Barça. But, the success of Barça is that they devised the system to suit Messi. Whereas Maradona and Argentina failed to do that and paid the price in the World cup.

Hmmm...Makélelé was a master act in the defensive midfielder role. Sure, will write about of ‘Makélelé role’ at some point of time. I am sure Chelsea fans cannot forget the French man as he spent 5 successful years at Stamford Bridge.


Asish said...

You rock!! man~~
keep this flowing..

Trequartista said...

Thank you Asish for the encouragement :-)

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