Midfielder

midfielder is an association football position.[1] Midfielders are generally positioned on the field between their team's defenders and forwards. Some midfielders play a disciplined defensive role, breaking up attacks, and are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being more mobile and efficient in passing: they are commonly referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box, or holding midfielders. The number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the team's formation; the collective group of these players on the field is sometimes referred to as the midfield.[2]

Most managers assign at least one midfielder to disrupt the opposing team's attacks, while others may be tasked with creating goals, or have equal responsibilities between attack and defence. Midfielders are the players who typically travel the greatest distance during a match. Because midfielders arguably have the most possession during a game they are among the fittest players on the pitch.[3]

The midfield positions highlighted in relation to other positions in association football.

Central midfielder

Xavi Euro 2012 vs France 01
Former Spain midfielder Xavi was voted to the FIFPro World XI eight years in a row.

Central or centre midfielders are players whose role is divided roughly equally between attack and defence and to dominate the play around the centre of the pitch. These players will try to pass the ball to the team's attacking midfielders and forwards and may also help their team's attacks by making runs into the opposition's penalty area and attempting shots on goal themselves.

When the opposing team has the ball, a central midfielder may drop back to protect the goal or move forward and press the opposition ball-carrier to recover the ball. A centre midfielder defending their goal will move in front of their centre-backs in order to block long shots by the opposition and possibly track opposition midfielders making runs towards the goal.

The 4–3–3 and 4–5–1 formations each use three central midfielders. The 4−4−2 formation may use two central midfielders,[4] and in the 4–2–3–1 formation one of the two deeper midfielders may be a central midfielder.

Box-to-box midfielder

The term box-to-box midfielder refers to central midfielders who are hard-working and who have good all-round abilities, which makes them skilled at both defending and attacking.[5] These players can therefore track back to their own box to make tackles and block shots and also run to the opponents' box to try to score.[6] The change of trends and the deviation from the standard 4–4–2 formation to the 4–2–3–1 formation imposed restrictions on the typical box-to-box midfielders of the 80s, as teams' two midfield roles were now often divided into "holders" or "creators".[7] Notable examples of box-to-box midfielders are Bastian Schweinsteiger, Yaya Touré, and Radja Nainggolan.

Wide midfielder

Left and right midfielders have a role balanced between attack and defence, similar to that of central midfielders, but they are positioned closer to the touchlines of the pitch. They may be asked to cross the ball into the opponents' penalty area to make scoring chances for their teammates, and when defending they may put pressure on opponents who are trying to cross.[8]

Common modern formations that include left and right midfielders are the 4−4−2, the 4−4−1−1, the 4–2–3–1 and the 4−5−1 formations.[9] Jonathan Wilson describes the development of the 4−4−2 formation: "…the winger became a wide midfielder, a shuttler, somebody who might be expected to cross a ball but was also meant to put in a defensive shift."[10] Notable examples of wide midfielders are David Beckham and Ryan Giggs.[11]

2-3-2-3 formation
Metodo formation: the wing-halves (yellow) occupy a more defensive position supporting the inside forwards.

Wing-half

The historic position of wing-half (half-back) was given to midfielders who played near the side of the pitch. It became obsolete as wide players with defensive duties have tended to become more a part of the defence as full-backs.[12]

Defensive midfielder

Mario Balotelli shot Euro 2012 final 02 cropped
Spain holding midfielder Sergio Busquets (16, red) moves to block a shot from Mario Balotelli.

Defensive midfielders are midfield players who focus on protecting their team's goal. These players may defend a zone in front of their team's defence, or man mark specific opposition attackers.[13][14][15] Defensive midfielders may also move to the full-back or centre-back positions if those players move forward to join in an attack.[16][17] Sergio Busquets described his attitude: "The coach knows that I am an obedient player who likes to help out and if I have to run to the wing to cover someone's position, great."[17] A good defensive midfielder needs good positional awareness, anticipation of opponent's play, marking, tackling, interceptions, passing and great stamina and strength (for their tackling).

Holding midfielder

A holding or deep-lying midfielder stays close to their team's defence, while other midfielders may move forward to attack.[18] The holding midfielder may also have responsibilities when their team has the ball. This player will make mostly short and simple passes to more attacking members of their team but may try some more difficult passes depending on the team's strategy. Marcelo Bielsa is considered as a pioneer for the use of a holding midfielder in defence.[7] This position may be seen in the 4–2–3–1 and 4–4–2 diamond formations.[19]

Initially, a defensive midfielder, or "destroyer", and a playmaker, or "creator", were often fielded alongside each other as a team's two holding central midfielders. The destroyer was usually responsible for making tackles, regaining possession, and distributing the ball to the creator, while the creator was responsible for retaining possession and keeping the ball moving, often with long passes out to the flanks, in the manner of a more old-fashioned deep-lying playmaker or "regista". Early examples of a destroyer are Nobby Stiles, Herbert Wimmer, Marco Tardelli, while later examples include Claude Makélélé and Javier Mascherano, although several of these players also possessed qualities of other types of midfielders, and were therefore not confined to a single role. Early examples of a creator would be Gérson, Glenn Hoddle, and Sunday Oliseh, while more recent examples Xabi Alonso, and Michael Carrick. The latest and third type of holding midfielder developed as a box-to-box midfielder, or "carrier", neither entirely destructive nor creative, who is capable of winning back possession and subsequently advancing from deeper positions either by distributing the ball to a teammate and making late runs into the box, or by carrying the ball him or herself; recent examples of this type of player are Yaya Touré, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, while Sami Khedira and Fernandinho are destroyers with carrying tendencies.[7]

Deep-lying playmaker

Andrea Pirlo Juventus
Italian deep-lying playmaker Andrea Pirlo executing a pass. Pirlo is often regarded as one of the best deep-lying playmakers of all time.

A deep-lying playmaker is a holding midfielder who specializes in ball skills such as passing, rather than defensive skills like tackling.[21] When this player has the ball, they may attempt longer or more complex passes than other holding players. They may try to set the tempo of their team's play, retain possession, or build plays through short exchanges, or they may try to pass the ball long to a centre forward or winger, or even pass short to a teammate in the hole, the area between the opponents' defenders and midfielders.[21][22][23] In Italy, the deep-lying playmaker is known as a "regista",[24] whereas in Brazil, it is known as a "meia-armador".[25]

Writer Jonathan Wilson described Xabi Alonso's role: "although capable of making tackles, [he] focused on keeping the ball moving, occasionally raking long passes out to the flanks to change the angle of attack."[7]

2-3-5 (pyramid)
2–3–5 formation: the wing-halves (yellow) flank the centre half.

Centre-half

The historic central half-back position gradually retreated from the midfield line to provide increased protection against centre forwards – that dedicated defensive role is still commonly referred to as a "centre-half" as a legacy of its origins.[26]

William Carvalho plays generally as a defensive midfielder, although he can also be deployed as a central midfielder or a central defender. Known for his passing range and accuracy, ability to control a game and composure on the ground, he is praised for his good physicality.

Attacking midfielder

An attacking midfielder is a midfield player who is positioned in an advanced midfield position, usually between central midfield and the team's forwards, and who has a primarily offensive role.[27]

Some attacking midfielders are called trequartisti or fantasisti (Italian: three-quarter specialist, i.e. a creative playmaker between the forwards and the midfield), who are usually mobile, creative and highly skillful players, known for their deft touch, vision, ability to shoot from range, and passing prowess. However, not all attacking midfielders are trequartistas – some attacking midfielders are very vertical and are essentially auxiliary attackers who serve to link-up play, hold up the ball, or provide the final pass, i.e. secondary strikers.[28]

According to positioning along the field, attacking midfield may be divided into left, right and central attacking midfield roles but mostly important he is a striker behind the forwards. A central attacking midfielder may be referred to as a playmaker, or number ten (due to the association of the number 10 shirt with this position).[29][30] A good attacking midfielder needs good passing abilities, vision, the ability to make long shots, and solid dribbling skills.

Advanced playmaker

Francesco Totti Chelsea vs AS-Roma 10AUG2013
Italian offensive playmaker Francesco Totti in action for Roma in 2013.

These players typically serve as the offensive pivot of the team, and are sometimes said to be "playing in the hole," although this term can also be used as deep-lying forward. The attacking midfielder is an important position that requires the player to possess superior technical abilities in terms of passing and dribbling, as well as, perhaps more importantly, the ability to read the opposing defence in order to deliver defence-splitting passes to the striker.

This specialist midfielder's main role is to create good shooting and goal-scoring opportunities using superior vision, control, and technical skill, by making crosses, through balls, and headed knockdowns to teammates. They may try to set up shooting opportunities for themselves by dribbling or performing a give-and-go with a teammate. Attacking midfielders may also make runs into the opponents' penalty area in order to shoot from another teammate's pass.[2]

Where a creative attacking midfielder, i.e. an advanced playmaker, is regularly utilized, he or she is commonly the team's star player, and often wears the number 10 shirt. As such, a team is often constructed so as to allow their attacking midfielder to roam free and create as the situation demands. One such popular formation is the 4–4–2 "diamond" (or 4–1–2–1–2), in which defined attacking and defensive midfielders replace the more traditional pair of central midfielders. Known as the "fantasista" or "trequartista" in Italy,[28] in Brazil, the offensive playmaker is known as the "meia atacante,"[25] whereas in Argentina and Uruguay, it is known as the "enganche."[31]

False attacking midfielder

The false attacking midfielder description has been used in Italian football to describe a player who is seemingly playing as an attacking midfielder in a 4–3–1–2 formation, but who eventually drops deeper into midfield, drawing opposing players out of position and creating space to be exploited by teammates making attacking runs; the false-attacking midfielder will eventually sit in a central midfield role and function as a deep-lying playmaker. The false-attacking midfielder is therefore usually a creative and tactically intelligent player with good vision, technique, movement, passing ability, and striking ability from distance. He should also be a hard-working player, who is able to read the game and help the team defensively.[32]

"False 10" or "central winger"

The "false 10" or "central winger"[33] is a type of midfielder, which differs from the false-attacking midfielder. Much like the "false 9," his specificity lies in the fact that, unlike a traditional playmaker who stays behind the striker in the centre of the pitch, the false 10's goal is to drift wide when in possession of the ball to help both the wingers and fullbacks to overload the flanks. This means two problems for the opposing midfielders: either they let the false 10 drift wide, and his or her presence, along with both the winger and the fullback, creates a three-on-two player advantage wide; or they follow the false 10, but leave space in the centre of the pitch for wingers or onrushing midfielders to exploit. False 10s are usually traditional wingers who are told to play in the centre of the pitch, and their natural way of playing makes them drift wide and look to provide deliveries into the box for teammates. On occasion, the false-10 can also function in a different manner alongside a false-9, usually in a 4–6–0 formation, disguised as either a 4–3–3 or 4–2–3–1 formation. When other forwards or false-9s drop deep and draw defenders away from the false-10s, creating space in the middle of the pitch, the false-10 will then also surprise defenders by exploiting this space and moving out of position once again, often undertaking offensive dribbling runs forward towards goal, or running on to passes from false-9s, which in turn enables them to create goalscoring opportunities or go for goal themselves.[34]

Winger

Players in the bold positions can be referred to as wingers.

In modern football, the terms winger or wide player refer to a non-defender who plays on the left or right sides of the pitch. These terms can apply to left or right midfielders, left or right attacking midfielders, or left or right forwards.[8] Left or right-sided defenders such as wing-backs or full-backs are generally not called wingers.

In the 2−3−5 formation popular in the late 19th century wingers remained mostly near the touchlines of the pitch, and were expected to cross the ball for the team's inside and centre forwards.[35] Traditionally, wingers were purely attacking players and were not expected to track back and defend. This began to change in the 1960s. In the 1966 World Cup, England manager Alf Ramsey did not select wingers from the quarter-final onwards. This team was known as the "Wingless Wonders" and led to the modern 4–4–2 formation.[36][37]

This has led to most modern wide players having a more demanding role in the sense that they are expected to provide defensive cover for their full-backs and track back to repossess the ball, as well as provide skillful crosses for centre forwards and strikers.[38] Some forwards are able to operate as wingers behind a lone striker. In a three-man midfield, specialist wingers are sometimes deployed down the flanks alongside the central midfielder or playmaker.

Even more demanding is the role of wing-back, where the wide player is expected to provide both defence and attack.[39] As the role of winger can be classed as a forward or a midfielder, so this role blurs the divide between defender and midfielder.

396px-Boisko PositionsWMidfield
Wingers are indicated in red, while the "wide men" (who play to the flanks of the central midfielders) are indicated in blue.

A winger is an attacking midfielder who is stationed in a wide position near the touchlines.[38] Wingers such as Stanley Matthews or Jimmy Johnstone used to be classified as forwards in traditional W-shaped formations, and were formally known as "Outside Right" or "Outside Left," but as tactics evolved through the last 40 years, wingers have dropped to deeper field positions and are now usually classified as part of the midfield, usually in 4–4–2 or 4–5–1 formations (but while the team is on the attack, they tend to resemble 4–2–4 and 4–3–3 formations respectively).

The responsibilities of the winger include:

  • Providing a "wide presence" as a passing option on the flank.
  • To beat the opposing full-back either with skill or with speed.
  • To read passes from the midfield that give them a clear crossing opportunity, when going wide, or that give them a clear scoring opportunity, when cutting inside towards goal.
  • To double up on the opposition winger, particularly when he or she is being "double-marked" by both the team's full back and winger.

The prototypical winger is fast, tricky and enjoys 'hugging' the touchline, that is, running downfield close to the touchline and delivering crosses. However, players with different attributes can thrive on the wing as well. Some wingers prefer to cut infield (as opposed to staying wide) and pose a threat as playmakers by playing diagonal passes to forwards or taking a shot at goal. Even players who are not considered quick, have been successfully fielded as wingers at club and international level for their ability to create play from the flank. Occasionally wingers are given a free role to roam across the front line and are relieved of defensive responsibilities.

The typical abilities of wingers include:

  • Technical skill to beat a full-back in a one-to-one situation.
  • Pace, to beat the full-back one-on-one.
  • Crossing ability when out wide.
  • Good off-the-ball ability when reading a pass from the midfield or from fellow attackers.
  • Good passing ability and composure, to retain possession while in opposition territory.
  • The modern winger should also be comfortable on either wing so as to adapt to quick tactical changes required by the coach.

Although wingers are a familiar part of football, the use of wingers is by no means universal. There are many successful football teams who operate without wingers. A famous example is Carlo Ancelotti's late 2000s Milan, who typically play in a narrow midfield diamond formation or in a Christmas tree formation (4–3–2–1), relying on full-backs to provide the necessary width down the wings.

Inverted winger

Rapinoe candlestick
USWNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe (left), has been deployed as an inverted winger.

An inverted winger is a modern tactical development of the traditional winger position. Most wingers are assigned to either side of the field based on their footedness, with right-footed players on the right and left-footed players on the left.[40] This assumes that assigning a player to their natural side ensures a more powerful cross as well as greater ball-protection along the touch-lines. However, when the position is inverted and a winger instead plays inside-out on the opposite flank (i.e., a right-footed player as a left inverted winger), they effectively become supporting strikers and primarily assume a role in the attack.[41]

As opposed to traditionally pulling the opponent's full-back out and down the flanks before crossing the ball in near the by-line, positioning a winger on the opposite side of the field allows him or her to cut-in around the 18-yard box, either threading passes between defenders or taking a shot on goal using his or her dominant foot.[42] This offensive tactic has found popularity in the modern game due to the fact that it gives traditional wingers increased mobility as playmakers and goalscorers,[43] such as the left-footed right winger Domenico Berardi of Sassuolo who achieved 30 career goals faster than any player in the past half-century of Serie A football.[44] Not only are inverted wingers able to push full-backs onto their weak sides, but they are also able to spread and force the other team to defend deeper as forwards and wing-backs route towards the goal, ultimately creating more scoring opportunities.[45]

Other midfielders within this tactical archetype include Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale, as well as Megan Rapinoe of the USWNT.[46] Clubs such as Real Madrid often choose to play their wingers on the "wrong" flank for this reason; former Real Madrid coach José Mourinho often played Ángel Di María on the right and Cristiano Ronaldo on the left. Former Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes often played the left-footed Arjen Robben on the right and the right-footed Franck Ribéry on the left.[47] One of the foremost practitioners of playing from either flank was German winger Jürgen Grabowski, whose flexibility helped Germany to third place in the 1970 World Cup, and the world title in 1974.

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b "Football / Soccer Positions". Expert Football. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  3. ^ Di Salvo, V. (6 October 2006). "Performance characteristics according to playing position in elite soccer". International Journal of Sports Medicine. 28 (3): 222–7. doi:10.1055/s-2006-924294. PMID 17024626.
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  5. ^ "Box to box Bowyer". London: BBC Sport. 29 April 2002. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  6. ^ Cox, Michael (4 June 2014). "In praise of the box-to-box midfielder". ESPN FC. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d Wilson, Jonathan (18 December 2013). "The Question: what does the changing role of holding midfielders tell us?". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Wide midfielder". BBC. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Formations guide". London: BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  10. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (24 March 2010). "The Question: Why are so many wingers playing on the 'wrong' wings?". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  11. ^ Taylor, Daniel (18 February 2010). "Milan wrong to play David Beckham in central midfield says Sir Alex Ferguson". The Guardian. England. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Football Glossary, Letter W". Football Bible. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  13. ^ Cox, Michael (20 January 2013). "Manchester United nullified Gareth Bale but forgot about Aaron Lennon". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  14. ^ Cox, Michael (16 July 2010). "The final analysis, part three: brilliant Busquets". zonalmarking.net. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  15. ^ Cox, Michael (10 February 2013). "How Manchester United nullified threat of Everton's Marouane Fellaini". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  16. ^ Cox, Michael (3 March 2010). "Analysing Brazil's fluid system at close quarters". zonalmarking.net. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  17. ^ a b Lowe, Sid. "Sergio Busquets: Barcelona's best supporting actor sets the stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  18. ^ F., Edward (28 January 2014). "On Going Beyond Holding Midfielders". Cartilage Free Captain. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  19. ^ Cox, Michael (29 January 2010). "Teams of the Decade #11: Valencia 2001-04". zonalmarking.net. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  20. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (2013). Inverting the Pyramid. Nation Books. ISBN 9781568589633.
  21. ^ a b Cox, Michael (19 March 2012). "Paul Scholes, Xavi and Andrea Pirlo revive the deep-lying playmaker". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  22. ^ Goldblatt, David (2009). The Football Book. Dorling Kindersley. p. 48. ISBN 978-1405337380.
  23. ^ Dunmore, Thomas (2013). Soccer for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-51066-7.
  24. ^ "The Regista And the Evolution Of The Playmaker". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  25. ^ a b "Playmaker". MTV. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
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  28. ^ a b "The Number 10". RobertoMancini.com. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  29. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (18 August 2010). "The Question: What is a playmaker's role in the modern game?". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  30. ^ Cox, Michael (26 March 2010). "How the 2000s changed tactics #2: Classic Number 10s struggle". ZonalMarking.net. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  31. ^ "Tactics: the changing role of the playmaker". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  32. ^ James Horncastle. "Horncastle: Riccardo Montolivo straddles both sides of the Germany/Italy divide". The Score. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  33. ^ "Introducing…the central winger?". zonalmarking.net. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  34. ^ "The False-10". Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  35. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (2013). "It's a Simple Game". Football League 125. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  36. ^ Galvin, Robert. "Sir Alf Ramsey". National Football Museum. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2008.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  37. ^ "Chelsea prayers fly to the wings". FIFA. 5 March 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
  38. ^ a b "Positions guide: Wide midfield". London: BBC Sport. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  39. ^ "Positions guide: Wing-back". London: BBC Sport. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  40. ^ Barve, Abhijeet (28 February 2013). "Football Jargon for dummies Part 2- Inverted Wingers". Football Paradise. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  41. ^ Wilson, Johnathan (2013). Inverting The Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics. New York, NY: Nation Books. pp. 373, 377. ISBN 1568587384.
  42. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (24 March 2010). "The Question: Why are so many wingers playing on the 'wrong' wings?". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  43. ^ Singh, Amit (21 June 2012). "Positional Analysis: What Has Happened To All The Wingers?". Just-Football.com.
  44. ^ Newman, Blair (8 September 2015). "The young players who could rejuvenate Antonio Conte's Italy at Euro 2016". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  45. ^ Goodman, Mike L. (6 June 2014). "How to Watch the World Cup Like a True Soccer Nerd". Grantland. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  46. ^ "11 Questions with Megan Rapinoe" (Interview). www.ussoccer.com. 22 September 2009.
  47. ^ Koch, Ben (1 February 2011). "Tactics Tuesday: Natural vs. Inverted Wingers". Fútbol for Gringos. Retrieved 29 October 2015.

External links

2009 in association football

The following are the association football events of the year 2009 throughout the world.

Al-Ahli Saudi FC

Al-Ahli Saudi Football Club (Arabic: النادي الاهلي السعودي‎, ) is a Saudi Arabian professional football club based in Jeddah, that competes in the Saudi Pro League, the top flight of Saudi Arabian football. The club was founded in 1937.

Domestically, Al-Ahli have won 3league titles, 13 King Cups, 6 Crown Prince Cups, and 1 Super Cup. In international club football, Al-Ahli have won 3 GCC Champions League and 1 Arab Club Championship and have reached two AFC Champions League finals. The first Saudi club combined the league and the King's Cup in the same season in 1968, the only club that did it 3 times 1968,1978,2016.

Al-Ahli is one of the four founding members of the Saudi Pro League that have never been relegated from the top flight, along with Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad, and Al-Nassr. Al-Ahli have a record-breaking 51-match unbeaten run from 2014-2016.

Al Ahli's home games are played at King Abdullah Sports City, also known as the KASC Stadium. The stadium, which is shared with long-lasting city rivals Al-Ittihad, is the second largest stadium in Saudi Arabia, with a total capacity of 62,000.

The club's most famous Saudi players are Taisir Al-Jassim, Khalid Massad, Amin Dabo, Mohamed Abd Al-Jawad, Malek Mouath, and Yasser Al Mosailem. And the most famous foreign players are Omar Al Soma, Victor Simões, Nabil Maâloul, Imad Al Hosni and Mohamed Barakat..

Al-Hilal FC

Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club is a Saudi Arabian professional multi-sports club based in Riyadh. The football team plays in the Saudi Professional League.

Founded on 16 October 1957, it is one of four teams to have participated in all seasons of the Saudi Professional League since its establishment in 1976. Overall, they have won 58 official titles on the national and international stage, more than any other Saudi club. In domestic competitions, they have won 45 trophies: a record 15 Professional League titles, a record 13 Crown Prince Cup titles, a record 7 Federation Cup titles, 8 King Cup titles, 2 Super Cup title, and the title winner of Saudi Founder's Cup (a centennial football tournament held every 100 years).

Internationally, Al-Hilal have a record 6 Asian Football Confederation trophies – the AFC Champions League in 1991 and 2000, the Asian Cup Winners Cup in 1997 and 2002, and the Asian Super Cup in 1997, 2000. In September 2009, Al-Hilal was awarded Best Asian Club of the 20th Century by the IFFHS.

Al-Qadsiah FC

Al-Qadsiah Football Club (Arabic: نادي القادسية‎; named after Quds, Arabic name of Jerusalem) is a Saudi Arabian football team that play in the Saudi Professional League. They are based in Khobar and their home ground is the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium.

Al-Wehda Club (Mecca)

Al-Wehda Club (Arabic: نادي الوحدة‎) is a multi-sports club team from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, founded in 1945. The football section plays in the Saudi Professional League. They also have a handball section.

Al Jazira Club

Al-Jazira SCC is a football club from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. They play in the UAE Arabian Gulf League.

Arturo Vidal

Arturo Erasmo Vidal Pardo (Spanish pronunciation: [aɾˈtuɾo eˈɾazmo βiˈðal ˈpaɾðo]; born 22 May 1987) is a Chilean professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Spanish club Barcelona and the Chile national team. His displays during his time at Juventus led him to be nicknamed Il Guerriero ("The Warrior"), Rey Arturo ("King Arthur") and La Piranha by the Italian press due to his hard-tackling and aggressive, tenacious style of play.VIdal started his career with Colo-Colo, where he won three Chilean Primera División titles. He moved to Europe, where he joined Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen and played there for four seasons. He then moved to Juventus in 2011, where he became widely recognized as one of the best midfielders in world football. At Juventus, he won the Scudetti in all four of his seasons and also was integral for them in reaching the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final. Vidal was named to the ten-man shortlist for the 2015 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award following his performances. On 28 July 2015, Vidal returned to the Bundesliga, joining Bayern Munich and won three consecutive Bundesliga titles. After three years at Munich, he signed for La Liga giants Barcelona.

Vidal has earned 103 caps for the Chile national team since his debut in 2007, playing in the 2011 and 2015 Copa América tournaments, as well as the Copa América Centenario, the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, and the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, helping his nation to victory at the 2015 Copa América and the Copa América Centenario.

Association football positions

In the sport of association football, each of the 11 players on a team is assigned to a particular position on the field of play. A team is made up of one goalkeeper and ten outfield players who fill various defensive, midfield, and attacking positions depending on the formation deployed. These positions describe both the player's main role and their area of operation on the pitch.

In the early development of the game, formations were much more offensively aggressive, with the 1–2–7 being prominent in the late 1800s. In the latter part of the 19th century, the 2–3–5 formation became widely used and the position names became more refined to reflect this. In defence, there were full-backs, known as the left-back and right-back; in midfield, left-half, centre-half and right-half; and for the forward line there were outside-left (or left wing), inside-left, centre-forward, inside-right and outside-right (or right wing). As the game has evolved, tactics and team formations have changed and so many of the names of the positions have changed to reflect their duties in the modern game (though some old familiar ones remain). The term "half-back" fell out of use by the early 1970s and "midfield" was used in naming the positions that play around the middle third as in centre midfield and wide midfield.The fluid nature of the modern game means that positions in football are not as rigidly defined as in sports such as rugby or American football. Even so, most players will play in a limited range of positions throughout their career, as each position requires a particular set of skills and physical attributes. Footballers who are able to play comfortably in a number of positions are referred to as "utility players".However, in Total Football tactics, the players are only loosely defined into a position. This tactic required players who were extremely versatile, such as Johan Cruyff, who could play every position on the pitch apart from goalkeeper.

Australian rules football positions

In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team is assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. These positions describe both the player's main role and by implication their location on the ground. As the game has evolved, tactics and team formations have changed, and the names of the positions and the duties involved have evolved too. There are 18 positions in Australian rules football, not including four (sometimes 6–8) interchange players who may replace another player on the ground at any time during play.

The fluid nature of the modern game means the positions in football are not as formally defined as in sports such as rugby or American football. Even so, most players will play in a limited range of positions throughout their career, as each position requires a particular set of skills. Footballers who are able to play comfortably in numerous positions are referred to as utility players.

Defender (association football)

In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals.

There are four types of defenders: centre-back, sweeper, full-back, and wing-back. The centre-back and full-back positions are essential in most modern formations. The sweeper and wing-back roles are more specialised for certain formations.

FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati is a soccer club based in Cincinnati, Ohio that plays in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2019. The team succeeded the lower-division team of the same name and was announced on May 29, 2018, when MLS awarded an expansion franchise to Cincinnati. The club's ownership group is led by Carl H. Lindner III.

Forward (association football)

Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, and are therefore most responsible for scoring goals.

Their advanced position and limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards normally score more goals on behalf of their team than other players.

Modern team formations generally include one to three forwards; for example, the common 4–2–3–1 formation includes one forward. Unconventional formations may include more than three forwards, or none.

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Brian Henderson (born 17 June 1990) is an English professional footballer who captains Premier League club Liverpool and plays for the English national team. He is usually deployed as a central midfielder for both club and country.

Henderson began his career at Sunderland in 2008, with a loan spell at Coventry City in 2009, before moving to Liverpool in 2011. He became captain of Liverpool in 2015 following the departure of Steven Gerrard. In 2010, Henderson won his first cap for England, having previously played for and captained the under-21 team. He has represented the country at UEFA Euro 2012 and 2016, and the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups.

List of most expensive association football transfers

The following is a list of most expensive association football transfers, which details the highest transfer fees ever paid for players.

As well as the most expensive transfers of all time, the page also lists transfers which broke the world transfer record. The first recorded record transfer was of Willie Groves from West Bromwich Albion to Aston Villa for £100 in 1893 (equivalent to £11,000 today). This occurred just eight years after the introduction of professionalism by The Football Association in 1885. The current transfer record was set by the transfer of Neymar from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million (£198 million) on 3 August 2017.

Luka Modrić

Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [lûːka mǒːdritɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and is the captain of the Croatia national team. Modrić plays mainly as a central midfielder but can also play as an attacking midfielder or as a defensive midfielder, usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker. Modrić is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, and the greatest Croatian footballer of all-time.Born in Zadar, Modrić's childhood coincided with the Croatian War of Independence which displaced his family. In 2002, he was signed by Dinamo Zagreb at age 16, after showing promise with his hometown club NK Zadar's youth team. He continued his development in Zagreb before spells on loan to Zrinjski Mostar and Inter Zaprešić. He made his debut for Dinamo in 2005 and won three consecutive league titles and domestic cups, being named the Prva HNL Player of the Year in 2007. In 2008, he moved to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur for a club-record transfer fee of £16.5 million, where he led Spurs to their first UEFA Champions League appearance in almost 50 years, reaching the quarter-finals of the 2010–11 tournament.

In the summer of 2012, Modrić joined Real Madrid for a £30 million transfer fee, where he became a key contributor under head coach Carlo Ancelotti, helped the team win La Décima, and was selected for the 2013–14 Champions League squad of the season. After Zinedine Zidane took over Madrid, Modrić was critical to three consecutive Champions League titles from 2015–16 to 2017–18, each time being voted into the squad of the season. He won the La Liga Award for "Best Midfielder" in 2016 for the second time, and the UEFA Club Football Award for "Best Midfielder" in 2017 and 2018. In 2015, he became the first Croatian player to be included in the FIFA World XI, in which he was included once again between 2016 and 2018, as well in the UEFA Team of the Year between 2016 and 2018. In 2018, Modrić became the first Croatian player to win the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award, and by winning The Best FIFA Men's Player and Ballon d'Or awards, he became the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the awards in more than a decade.

Modrić made his international debut for Croatia against Argentina in March 2006, and scored his first international goal in a friendly match against Italy. Modrić has since anchored Croatia's "second Golden Generation", participating in every major tournament Croatia has qualified for, including the 2008, 2012, and UEFA Euro 2016, as well the 2006, 2014, and 2018 FIFA World Cup. At UEFA Euro 2008, he was selected for the Team of the Tournament, becoming only the second Croatian to ever achieve this honour. Following group stage eliminations in his first two World Cups, Modrić led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup Final, and he received the Golden Ball award for Best Player of the Tournament. Furthermore, he has been named the Croatian Footballer of the Year a record seven times between 2007–2018.

Montreal Impact

The Montreal Impact (French: Impact de Montréal) is a Canadian professional soccer team based in Montreal, Quebec. The Impact competes as a member of the Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer (MLS). The team began play in 2012 as an expansion team of the league, being the league's third Canadian club, and replaced the North American Soccer League team of the same name.

In 2015, the Impact became the second MLS club, and first Canadian club, to advance to the final of the CONCACAF Champions League, in its current format since 2008, where they had finished runners up in the two game aggregate goal series against Club América. The Impact had won the Canadian Championship in 2013 and 2014. The club plays its home games at Saputo Stadium and is coached by Rémi Garde.

Playmaker

In association football, a playmaker is a player who controls the flow of the team's offensive play, and is often involved in passing moves which lead to goals, through their vision, technique, ball control, creativity, and passing ability.In English football, the term overlaps somewhat with an attacking midfielder, but the two types of midfielders are not necessarily the same, as playmakers are not necessarily constrained to a single position. Several playmakers can also operate on the wings, or as a creative, supporting striker; some can also function in a more central midfield role, alternating between playing in more offensive roles and participating in the build-up plays in the midfield. Other players still function as deep-lying playmakers, in a free role, behind the midfield line. Playmakers are not usually known for their defensive capabilities, which is why they are often supported by a defensive midfielder. As many midfielders and forwards have the aforementioned creative and technical attributes, they tend to be the playmakers of a team.

Portland Timbers

The Portland Timbers are an American professional soccer club based in Portland, Oregon. The Timbers compete in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league's Western Conference. The Timbers have played their home games at Providence Park since 2011, when the team began play as an expansion team in the league.

The club was founded in 2009, when the city of Portland was awarded an expansion berth to Major League Soccer. The team is owned by Peregrine Sports under the majority ownership of Merritt Paulson, whose companies had acquired the then-USL Pro team in 2007 and later established the Portland Thorns women's team in 2012. The club is a phoenix club, and the fourth soccer franchise based in Portland to carry the legacy of the Timbers name, which originated with the original team, in the North American Soccer League in 1975.

In 2013, the Timbers finished the regular season in first place in the Western Conference, clinching both their first-ever playoff appearance and a CONCACAF Champions League berth. In 2015, the franchise won the Western Conference Finals in the playoffs, and their first major trophy, the MLS Cup. In 2017, the club again finished the regular season in first place in the Western Conference.

Real Monarchs

Real Monarchs is the reserve team of American soccer club Real Salt Lake that plays in the USL Championship. The team currently play their games at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.

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