Is the defender dying?
The 4 quarter finalist in this CL to my mind all share one thing - Suspect defences. And to me this speaks to a wider trend in football which is undervaluing the defender.
Think of a great defender..either a world wide star of repelling opposition attacks or one who turned that role into an art form. Chances are the images you're minds eye will throw at you will be of Cannavarro, Ferdinand, Jaap Stam or maybe it will dust off archive images of Nesta, Maldini, Danny Blind....
Whatever image you conjure I bet dollar to donut they'll be bugger all current players under the age of 30. Maybe Pique at Barca, Chinelli at Juve...but apart from that you'll be pressed to find many defenders who you mention in the same breath as Xavi, Ronaldo, Rooney et al.
In 2006 Fabio Cannavaro won the Ballon D'or..since then no defender has entered the top 3. The Fifa pro world XI in the last two incarnations has included such defensive 'talents' as Lucio, Maicon, Ramos, Alves, Puyol...none of whom could be considered 'greats'. Rio Ferdinand's transfer in 2001 still holds the record fee for a defender and remains the only defender to break €30m...
They're could be innumerable reasons for this...Football goes through cultural shift constantly, maybe defenders just aren't fashionable anymore....maybe the 'Makalele' role has made the centre half semi-redundant...maybe the idolisation of the Barca possession game has done likewise....or maybe the lack of glamour just ain't selling enough shirts for clubs to care....certainly the decline of interest Serie A towards the 'end-to-end' EPL has contributed some what.
Im not saying he position will disappear for good but the lack of top defenders is worrying...after all how else are we to judge the great attacking players of the era if their opposition suffers such a paucity of talent..
Agree? Disagree? Sunshine? Moonlight? Boogie? Feel free to comment below or tweet me
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