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      What Does It Mean to Be a Playmaker in Football?

      2024/06/06 09:48

      A playmaker is a common term in basketball, but not that common in football. While his position is defined in a basketball arena, it’s harder to determine a playmaker on the football field. There’s no general definition for a playmaker as there is for a striker (forward). In general, it’s a player who controls the flow of his team’s game, being involved defensively and offensively on the pitch in English football. But, what exactly is a playmaker? 

      What’s a Football Playmaker?

      Football is by far the most popular sport in the world. There’s no question about it – every kid dreams of growing into one of its idols, which are mostly pure 9s or 10s. Forwards are the most popular position in the game, but lately, there’s another position behind them that’s been getting all the attention – the playmaker.

      Nowadays, football is not only popular because of games and rivalries, but because of betting too. New betting markets such as player goals or assists have emerged as favorites among the youth. Plus, join any betting site and you’ll get a whopping number of casino bonuses and special deals that are simply too good to lose. You can use that extra money to bet on your favorite forwards or the other emerging position we mentioned – the playmaker.

      In general, playmakers are usually attacking midfielders. However, they cover less ground defensively, so they don’t quite fit the position. Playmakers are not stuck to one position. They roam across the pitch and involve others in the action, often releasing key passes that lead to goals.

      Some playmakers can often operate as supporting strikers or on the sides. Others are more suited in a central midfield role. Pivots can be playmakers too. In fact, they most closely resemble the general association with the term as they influence their team’s gameplay both offensively and defensively.

      In that matter of the word, one player that fits the definition in modern football is Sergio Busquets. The former Barcelona icon has shown he can influence his team’s gameplay many times. He’s been a stalwart on the higher defensive end, often robbing opposing attackers of the ball. While he wasn’t that much of a passer as Xavi or Iniesta, we’ve seen Busquets start a move that results in Leo Messi getting the ball directly or indirectly which led to a goal.

      Barcelona is probably the blueprint for playmakers. Besides Busquets, it also had Xavi and Iniesta from the golden era that both fit the definition of a playmaker. Xavi was more comfortable in a central midfield role, slicing defences with assists that Lionel Messi typically converted to goals. 

      Andres Iniesta was more open-minded and usually played higher up the pitch, but he also managed to influence Barca’s way of play a lot. A deep-lying playmaker such as prime Andrea Pirlo can influence a game a lot. While this role usually also involves a bit of play on the defensive ends, geniuses such as Pirlo have played it incredibly throughout their illustrious career.

      Can Forwards be Playmakers Too?

      While the usually playmaker position is usually given to midfielders, there’s a case to be made where forwards can be playmakers too. No article on football is complete without mentioning Lionel Messi, probably the best playmaking forward. No matter the match or team, when Messi plays, he makes everyone better. The genius of Lionel Messi is that he can greatly influence his team’s characters and gameplay on the pitch and score goals at the same time. 

      That’s a heavy burden to bear for strikers whose main role is to simply score goals. That’s easier said than done, but with a good playmaker behind them, it’s viable. Messi has done both on a number on occasions, especially as Xavi and Iniesta moved on from Barcelona. In that position, Messi has been devastating in every competition including the Champions League where we’ve seen him break records many times. 

      We’ve seen other forwards play this role too. Cristiano Ronaldo was among the deadliest playmakers of his time, despite the fact he most often played the role of forward at Real Madrid. To answer the question from the heading – yes, forwards can be playmakers too. But, it takes a real genius to do it both, and that’s why Messi and Ronaldo are the two greatest players of their time.


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