Football Positions Demystified

9 Jan

Douglas Almeida - Avatar

by Douglas

If you consider yourself a passionate football fan, for sure you have heard attributes like: genius, wizard, the scientist, in Latin America, god (Maradona), or king(Pelé). These adjectives are directed to emphasize the importance of this specific role during the match, of playing the game from the defending position, to the atacking forwards.

Of course, for all positions we can see well talented players, sometimes making more of a difference than others, but most of the time we can see midfielders as point out of a curve, conquering an army of fans a long of their careers.

From tactics and strategy point of view, midfielders can perform with different approaches according to the system formation adopted by the coach. However, there are always some basics variations.

Central midfielder, posted exactly in the center of the battle, is responsible to connect the team with passes during the game. Usually, these guys are responsible and focused on reading the field well, trying to contribute accurate passes throughout the match. This a very dynamic position on the field.

Acting more defensively, holding midfielders are responsible for keep the defense protected, they are usually good tacklers and focus on marking their opponents, also for short passes execution.

Working aside, box-to-box midfielders normally support the team by giving options for the center positions, all the while moving fast through the opponent defense with the flexibility to move back if necessary.

In addition, there is the most emblematic, attacking midfielders, because of some expressive names that appeared along the history as geniuses like Zico, Maradona, Zidane, Riquelme.


By the way, the Brazilian selection from 1970 world cup, hosted by México, was composed based on high level midfielders, each one used to play for expressive teams in the current football scenario, presenting names like Gérson, Rivelino, Pelé, Clodoaldo, Everaldo, Carlos Alberto and Tostão. The people who have seen them playing together describe them as a fantastic squad who used to know each other with amazing syntony.

Actually, there are no pre-established patterns for the position; the coach must explore the skills of each individual, trying to achieve the right balance to construct a powerful team.

Sometimes, the way a genius reads the game can compensate some other deficiency the team could have.

This video shows a real example of this:

A new kind of game strategy appeared in the Spain selection, which includes maintaining the ball possession until finding a possible to way score, aka tiki taka. For some people it is boring to watch, but one has to admit that it works for the kind of players they have on the team. Midfielders acts as the base of the team that guarantee the success for the schema by passing the ball fast, inverting the game always when necessary.

Along the history as reference, we can see more names of these myths at

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