Ali Bernarbia


In association football, a playmaker is an attacking player who controls the flow of the team's offensive play, and is often involved in passing moves which lead to goals. The term overlaps somewhat with attacking midfielder, but playmakers are not constrained to a single position - creativity is the only true requirement, and good passing ability and tactical awareness help. Because many midfielders have these attributes, they tend to be the playmakers of a team.

Qualities of a good playmaker

Perhaps the most important quality of a playmaker is the ability to read the game, and get into good positions making for effective receipt and distribution of the ball. Intuition is another key element of a playmakers' game, as they need to know where different players are at different times, without taking too long to dwell on the ball. A good playmaker will often hold possession, allowing other team members to make attacking runs. The ostensible role of the playmaker is to then provide or facilitate the final pass which leads to a goal. In football terminology this is often known as a killer ball or the final ball and is officially recorded as an assist. Although they do assist players, they have recently gained a reputation for being "El Goleador", the goal scorer.

Playmakers and tactics

Playmakers are not often renowned for their tackling or defensive capabilities hence they are often seen as a luxury in football teams, though they retain their places due to their ability to change games. In a 4-4-2 formation a playmaker will usually play alongside a defensive midfield player to ensure that the team is not vulnerable to attack. However with different formations a team may play with multiple playmakers. When Kevin Keegan managed Manchester City he often employed two playmakers Ali Bernarbia and Eyal Berkovic in a 3-5-2 formation . However most teams usually use only one playmaker to minimise defensive frailties and also because using more than one may inhibit each playmakers playing style. For example, at the 1970 World Cup the Italian manager, Ferruccio Valcareggi, opted not to play both Gianni Rivera and Sandro Mazzola in the same team .

In modern tactics some playmakers dictate play from much deeper positions in the positions normally reserved for holding midfielders. They influence the game by dictating tempo and being away from opposition defenders. They usually need at least one ball winning defensive midfielder alongside to adequately protect the defence. Perhaps the best example is Andrea Pirlo of A. C. Milan and Italy. Others in such mold are Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal and Juan Roman Riquelme for Boca Juniors and Argentina. While they are often associated with a deep position, playmakers can strike from the flanks or from the center, all in one movement. In the diagram shown of a successful German strike in the 1970 World Cup, playmakers come in several forms. The German winger Libuda starts the move by floating a long cross to Seeler at the far post. Seeler heads down for Muller, who plays it back to Overath for a goal. Many players can contribute to a football attack by skillful combined play.

See also


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