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Makélélé Role:  (Swahili word Makelele means “noise”) : [Noun-Plural]

It is not very often that a football term is named after a footballer himself, that too during his playing career. This is exactly what happened with Claude Makélélé when his destructive style of play earned him accolades worldwide and critics have termed the defensive midfield position as the Makélélé role. We look back at his playing days in the month when he decided to hang up his boots.

The Destroyer

Makélélé is a pure modern day footballer – an era where more and more emphasis has been given for shielding the back four with a defensive midfielder. The basic responsibilities of the player deployed in that position would be to protect his centre halves by breaking down any opposition attack. If he happens to be a good passer of the ball, then nothing like it as he can then initiate an attack after getting hold of the ball. However, more often than not, he would be instructed not to be too adventurous and sit back even if others are joining an attacking move. Makélélé had it all and another key skill – he was highly disciplined. With his good positional sense and clean tackling, he rarely got ticked off by the match officials, a treat so rare for defensive midfielders.

Makélélé came into prominence for Real Madrid in the early parts of the century. The Galacticos won the Champions League in 2002 and the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Raul got all the headlines while a calm and composed Frenchman worked as the engine of the team and did all the dirty work at the back. Makélélé was let go by the then president Florentino Pérez and this is when his career rose to a new height in Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. Known as the human shield, Makélélé made the holding midfielder’s position his own in a 4-3-3 formation. There are not many of his qualities around and this explains why most of the successful teams today need two players to do his job (in a 4-2-3-1 formation).

Feature Image Source – lequipe