Claude Makelele, possibly the best defensive midfielder of his generation. Makelele was so good that he has a football term based on his name The Makelele role. Makelele role in the team was very simple he was there to beak up attacks and to hold the shape of the team. He was a very simple but efficient defensive midfielder who had a world class positional sense.
Makelele belived that he was key factor in the success that Madrid was having at the time so he asked for a new contract but perez didn’t agree with makelele so he sold him to Chelsea and made these comments.
“We will not miss Makelele. His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn’t a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres”.
Makelele at Chelsea was a huge success for the player and the team. Makelele was more noticed and Chelsea had a very success period while he was there.
This is what Jose has to say about the role makelele had at Chelsea.
“‘Look, if I have a triangle in midfield – Claude Makelele behind and two others just in front – I will always have an advantage against a pure 4-4-2 where the central midfielders are side by side. That’s because I will always have an extra man. It starts with Makelele, who is between the lines. If nobody comes to him he can see the whole pitch and has time. If he gets closed down it means one of the two other central midfielders is open. If they are closed down and the other team’s wingers come inside to help, it means there is space now for us on the flank, either for our own wingers or for our full-backs. There is nothing a pure 4-4-2 can do to stop things’.
This is what makelele had to say on his role and the impact it had on the team
“in every team you need to know what your role is and one of the keys to my role is to keep the balance of the team right. So when Didier [Drogba] goes here, I do this. When Frank [Lampard] goes there, I go there. Same with Michaael [Ballack]. When one person moves out of position, then someone else comes in and covers for them”
“When you play in my position you have to enjoy it. You can’t be thinking I don’t get any goals’. You just enjoy it, you enjoy playing football, tackling, giving the ball. Just enjoy it. When you are small you have to tackle at the right moment. He might be tall, he might be strong but if you tackle at the right moment you’ll win it. It’s about timing.”
I the modern game defensive players don’t get a lot of credit for the jobs that they do. Sergio busquests for Barcelona is the most modern version of makelele that we have but the difference between the two that Sergio busquest is a better passer of the ball. Sergio busquest and Michael carrick will never get the praise that they deserve because their roles in their teams aren’t fancy and they don’t add any wow factor so most people don’t recognise the effect that they are having in the game