World Cup 2018: 5 world-class registas expected to shine in Russia
The role of the deep-lying playmaker (regista) has become critical for successful teams and at Russia 2018, this special breed of players is expected to be among the most important stars for their teams.
The deep-lying playmaker has become one of the most important roles in world football and is more popularly known by its Italian translation: regista.
The regista is the conductor, orchestra coordinator and the dictator who decides how and at what pace the team attacks/defends. This very important player usually possesses a bit of the defensive nous of the defensive midfielder and the attacking abilities of the box-to-box midfielder.
However, his most important job is to be the glue that holds the team together and be the link between defence and attack. The regista is expected to be an adept passer of the ball, the most intelligent player on the team sheet and the one man who dictates how possession of the ball is used, the tempo of the attack and the general balance of the team between attacking/defending.
It is no coincidence that the teams that have won the big titles in recent times; World Cup, UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Bundesliga and so on have all had one very good player occupying the regista role.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will have more than its fair share of classy deep-lying playmakers, here is a look at 5 of the very best:
#5 John Mikel-Obi (Nigeria)
Chieftain and leader of a resolute but limited Nigerian team, the former Chelsea midfielder will be the captain of the team at the World Cup and will be solely responsible for driving the team forward at the Mundial.
An adept passer of the ball capable of going short or long depending on the team’s needs, Mikel is one of the most senior members of a Super Eagles team that is big on enthusiasm but may find the going tough against technically astute teams.
A midfielder who defends like a matured centre-back would: with intelligence and an excellent reading of the game; his excellent long-range passing and the vision to by-pass the opposition’s midfield with balls over the top will be crucial for the Eagles as his passing will free up Nigeria’s pacy wingers: Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa, and co. to drive forward and disturb the opposition.
This defensive nous coupled with his brilliant passing and ability to dictate the tempo of a game will be of great help in slowing the game down at certain times to help his defenders recover and disrupt the flow of the opposition’s attacks.
Grouped alongside Argentina, Croatia, and Iceland, Mikel will have his hands full against registas of similar quality in these nations and if Nigeria has plans to make an impression, the 31-year-old will be key.