The defensive midfield position, often referred to as ‘the Makélelé role’ by pundits and fans alike around the world, and as blues’ fans, we all know just how important and what an absolute rock that position can be. In this article, we’ll take a look at the man who made the Defensive Midfield role such a pivotal part of a football team’s arsenal.
Having joined the blues from Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2003, Makélelé came with the reputation of being a pint sized demon, tackling hard and brushing aside opposing team’s attacks before they could even breathe on the defence. Makélelé is regarded as one of, if not, the best holding mids in the world. His five year stint at the Kings Road boy’s saw him claim silverwear, including two premier league trophies, a community shield, two carling Cup’s, an FA Cup and ‘that night in moscow’, a runner’s up medal in the Champs League final.
Makélelés’ role never delivered the goal’s, but that wasn’t part of his game, nor was it expected of him, player’s and fan’s alike were always happy to just let Claude ‘do his thing’ and sweep up the ball, and play it out to Robben, Duff, Lampard or Drogba, and watch the devastation unravel. However, When Makelele did get close to goal, you knew about it. Against spurs in the league, Makélelé scored a steamer of a goal, a curling volley from 18 yards out, causing a bench-clearing celebration. Although we ended up losing the game 2-1, this goal was the best goal to effort percentage that year, with one shot and one goal, totalling a 100% average. Not bad eh!
When Makélelé left, he not only left a brilliant, golden period with Chelsea behind, he left a gapping hole in the Blue’s’ ranks, with no one being able to fill that role. The sale of John Obi Mikel excited Chelsea fan’s, as we thought we’d bought the new Makélelé, a great signing none-the-less, but Mikel’s not really made the impression we all thought and hoped for. The only player to fill Claude’s boots to an extent, would be the power house, Michael Essien. But when blighted with injury, Essiens absence leaves us with that hole to fill, which we can hopefully fill with Oriol Romeu.
Now retired, he moved to French Ligue 1 club, Paris Saint-German, from the Blues on a free in 2008, with Blues’ fans sad to see him leave. Behind him he left a legacy as one of the world’s best holding midfielders, imprinting a deep impact on the premier league, and all the other leagues and team’s he had plied his trade for, with fan’s of all club’s appreciating his game. Go into any pub, any town, in any part of this country, and i don’t think you’ll find one person say one bad thing about Makelele’s game. Loved for his professionalism and his rock solid performances, The pint sized Frenchman will and has already gone down in history, as one of this centuries best.
By Warwick Tuatara