Registas of the future by Jake McGhee
What is a Regista?
A Regista is a term used to describe a deep-lying midfielder who dictates the play through his use of passing, ball retention and dribbling. A Regista operates infront of the defence but tends to focus on the creative aspect of their game rather than defensive, this allows the regista to dictate the tempo of the game and orchestrate the play from deep. The regista has its roots within Italian football as the term translates to ‘director’. Vittorio Pozzo, an Italian coach in the 30’s who managed AC Milan and the Italian national team along with Torino was the pioneer of the role, it is thanks to him that we have this role in the modern game. Italy has often been the home of the world’s greatest regista’s, notably Andrea Pirlo and Jorginho, along with Spain’s Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets.
The Regista’s of the future
Now for the vital element, the future. With the rapidly growing and modernising game of football more and more regista’s are coming to the forefront and catching the attention of clubs around the world.
The first name on my list is Sotiris Alexandropoulos, the 19 year-old Greek who plays his football for Panathinaikos is thought of as one of the most exciting prospects in The Shamrock’s ranks. He has enjoyed his start to life in the Greek Super League this season, showing his long-range shooting ability with a wonder-strike against Apollon Smyrnis.
Sotiris is a very positive player, he plays lots of progressive passes and only plays the ball backwards or sideways in situations where there are no other options. Particularly he enjoys playing a long ball over the top of the fullback onto the oncoming wingers, this ability to switch play into spaces is reminiscent of Xabi Alonso and other Regista’s of the pass. Aside from his passing ability he has a good work ethic, he often motors around the heart of the midfield and wins the ball back for his team, he has a great footballing brain and can anticipate the passes of the opposition and recovers the ball often whether it’s via an interception or a tackle. One of his most notable performances came against PAOK last where he played a key role in Panathinaikos’ 3-0 victory, he made 27 of his 31 attempted passes, won 11 of his duels and made a total of 5 recoveries which is very impressive for a 19 year-old against one of Greece’s best sides. Although Sotiris signed a new contract with Panathinaikos in May of this year until 2024 it would not be surprising if he attracted the attention from some of Europe’s top sides, he definitely has the quality to make a step-up to a league with a higher quality of football.
Martin Švidersky is a Slovakian u-21 international who plays in Man. Utd’s U23 team. He has been hailed as the next Michael Carrick, having a style of play very similar to him. Having made a total of 42 appearances over his youth career at Manchester United he has seemingly cemented his place in the academy and is surely looking to a call-up to the senior squad at some point, he will also have his eyes on a spot in the Slovakian national team. In last season’s EFL Trophy he averaged 85% of his passes reaching his teammate per 90 along with 5 duels won per 90 and 3 interceptions per game. Although he relishes in the defensive side of the game he also has an eye for a pass going forward, as seen in his stats and his passes in big games, such as this assist against Chelsea:
He is a player with lots of potential who may be the answer to Manchester United’s midfield problems as many fans of the Red Devils don’t believe that Fred is Man Utd. quality. Like Marek Hamšik, Martin is a very complete Slovakian midfielder who excels at all aspects of his game and often flys under the radar as a key performer. As is shown in this clip:
David Ayala is a 19 year-old defensive midfielder who plays for Estudiantes in Argentina’s top flight. He is following in Javier Mascherano’s footsteps as they were teammates prior to the veteran’s retirement, like Javier, David wins the ball often and likes to spray the ball forward. The left-footed regista loves to beat the press whether by playing a killer ball or exhibiting his excellent balance to dance away from oncoming challenges, his progressive and exciting style of play has led to him being considered by many to be one of the leagues most impressive deep lying midfielders. Ayala completes an average of 3 dribbles per 90 along with an 83% pass accuracy, however his long balls are less impressive as only 60% of these are successful. He also makes 7.18 passes to the attacking third per 90, which is an impressive feat for such a young player in a physical league.
A vital feature of the regista is having positional awareness, this is certainly no problem for Ayala as he boasts a high footballing IQ and a brilliant sense of awareness. He looks destined to make the jump across the Atlantic to Europe at some point or another to apply his trade to the shores of football’s best leagues.