Top 5 Registas of the modern era
When someone starts watching Football, s/he is mesmerised by strikers. As one starts watching Football regularly, s/he realises that tactically, the engine room of a team, the midfield, is where the real art lies.
The Regista or the deep-lying playmaker excels due to his vision, ball control, creativity and passing ability. They do not run through defenders as if they weren't there or depend on their physicality and acceleration to score or set up goals. They are artists with the ball at their feet and this is what makes them special.
As Italian legend Andrea Pirlo decided to call time on his glorious career, let's look at some of the greatest deep-lying midfielders of the modern era.
#1 Andrea Pirlo
My favourite memory of Andrea Pirlo was THAT Peneka penalty in the 2012 European Championships. The audacity to plan it and the finesse to execute it were the stuff of geniuses!
One of the best exponents of the deep-lying playmaker's role, Pirlo began his career as an attacking midfielder, like most registas do, with hometown club, Brescia. In his second spell with the club on loan from Inter Milan, coach Carlo Mazonne decided to field Pirlo as a deep-lying playmaker alongside Pirlo's idol Roberto Baggio, who played as an attacking midfielder.
The idea of shifting Pirlo from attacking midfield to deeper on the pitch is wrongly attributed to Carlo Ancelotti, though it must be noted that he brought out the best from the man nicknamed The Architect.
Transferred from Inter to crosstown rivals AC Milan, Pirlo won the Seria A and the Champions League twice. In 2011, Juventus signed Pirlo on a free transfer and in his four seasons with the club, Pirlo won the league four times.
Pirlo was one of the shining lights as Italy lifted the 2006 World Cup. Though Italy failed to replicate that form until the 2012 European Championships, Pirlo always received the plaudits for his performances for the Azzurri.
The deep-lying role allowed Pirlo time on the ball and this made it easier for the player to showcase his technique and vision. Composed on the ball and gifted with terrific close control, he always had the knack of playing the right pass to the right man at the right moment. He could do whatever he wanted with the ball as Joe Hart famously found out!