In the article “Who is a mediapunta?”, we shall be talking about the FALSE 9 or mediapunta and or demi neuf role and why they should be less criticized.
It’s one of my favourite roles. Why? It is selfless. It seeks to help the team and is almost misunderstood in most games. The player in this role is not often praised but keen watchers of the game recognize that the mediapunta does not exist ‘to be served’ but ‘to serve’.
A mediapunta is, in lay man’s language, a forward who plays as a traditional 9 and also acts as a number 10. Some call them “9.5’s” or better still ‘demi neuf’ in Lavoisier’s language.
The role of a number 9 is the simplest. Score!! Put the ball in the back of the net. Some could say it is not that easy, which is true, but the task the role requires is in fact the simplest. This is where the mediapunta comes in. As explained he is a cross between a 9 and a 10. The symbiotic product of the two positions
Thus, he is tasked with both scoring goals and creating them. He needs to be able to create situations which lead to others scoring. It demands the player to leave his natural habitat, in and around the 18-yard box, and come deep into midfield. This is so he is able to orchestrate or facilitate the start of the final phase of build-up play right up to a goal
This role requires the player to possess a skill set of making his instinctive scoring abilities dormant and while elevating a need to get teammates into better scoring positions. Keen awareness of different pitch zones and areas in relation to attacking teammates is key here. The mediapunta must know where runs should (and should not) be made in order to make correct passing decisions.
He is also required to possess a decisive technical ability with the ball to dribble, to create space and make inch perfect passes across reasonable lengths. Long distances are not hard and fast rule seeing as the player usually occupies the zones just around where a normal 10 would operate.
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Players like Karim Benzema and Roberto Firmino (and in rare cases Lionel Messi) have now come to be defined in this role. The mutation in their profile may have made them less of typical goal scorers (as most criticize them for, especially Roberto Firmino), but it has definitely made them better all-round players. How many strikers can stay at a top club for 5 years and counting? Very few, if any.
The mediapunta role requires more than just technical or tactical ability.
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It requires a psychological mettle to be able to operate differently to what the player’s nature conventionally requires him to.
Obviously no mean feat, this role in the opinion of some football writers, is the second most difficult role to perform aside the Mediocentro role. Which will be explained in my upcoming write ups