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Music] arrived at chelsea in 2003 after three successful seasons at real madrid in his time at the west london club he came to define a position and approach to playing it with such success that his name has become synonymous with the function the makaleli role is in effect the deepest lying midfielder of a midfield 3 in a 4-3-3 or the base of a midfield diamond while it has largely defensive connotations the role does in fact serve an attacking purpose as well makaleli was a converted winger having played this more attacking role at non and was thus technically proficient and quick at celta vigo and later at real madrid he played with defensive responsibilities and attacking ones operating in a two-man midfield makaleli and his partner would stage their forays forwards so that one was covering and the other was advancing this fostered a positional discipline especially at royale where his job was largely to protect and feed the ball to the advanced creative talents of the galacticos at chelsea makaleli became even more focused on defence this was in large part due to a tactical shift brought about by jose mourinho who became head coach in 2004.

while makaleli had played as the deepest midfielder under his predecessor claudio ranieri either in a 4-4-2 alongside frank lampard or at the base of a midfield diamond mourinho brought in the 4-3-3 that had brought him such success at porto the makaleli became the anchor playing behind two more attacking or shuttling midfielders the 433 has a clear advantage over the 4-4-2 which is one of the reasons teams started to employ a three-man midfield against what had been until mourinho and others instigated the shift the predominant tactical setup in europe’s main leagues makaleli could sit between the defence and midfield line leaving him spare if the two opposition midfielders picked up their opposite men if one pushed forwards to take makaleli then the other midfielder was free and if a wide player moved inside to create a 3 vs 3 then that meant a fullback was free to push forwards unmarked this facilitated transitions from defense to attack as the opposition found it hard to stifle and move forwards without adjusting their system to match the 4-3-3 or dropping to a 4-4-1-1 where the attacking midfielder could mark makaleli obviously this in turn reduced their own attacking options crucially then the makaleli role was not simply a defensive one screening the defense and moving across to protect the forays of increasingly adventurous fullbacks it was also a transitional position the link between defense and midfield that allowed a player to act as the fulcrum avoiding long punts forwards that would often see possession lost especially with only one forward operating between two wingers instead of bypassing the midfield with clearances or trying to find midfielders who were manmarked with direct passes a player between the lines could take the ball shield it and turn and play it forwards or why to the fullbacks if that player was technically accomplished and physically strong as makaleli was they could even lure the opposition midfield out of position as they sought to close down creating yet more space and crucially it’s a role born of a tactical shift to the 4-3-3 without that shift a player performing the same role in the 4-4-2 would leave their midfield partner isolated as they drop deeper either leaving them two-for-one or requiring wide players to tuck in though of course this does work in a strict 4-1-3-2 with attacking full-backs the makaleli role then is both positional and functional positionally the player sits himself in front of the back line shielding the central area but also covering the flanks functionally the role requires discipline tactical intelligence and awareness of teammates movement win the ball or receive it and move it on quickly without risk but always trying to find a teammate in space makaleli himself had the skills to accomplish this both the screening ball winning element and the transitional one while the makaleli role itself has at times ended up being viewed as a purely destructive role or one occupied by limited players who are unable to pass well or both in its purest form the makaleli role is both defensive and attacking stopping the opposition and then beginning an attack from deep [Music] you.

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