No. 10s and 4-3-3s: What Barça’s young midfielders must learn from Iniesta


Mediapunta in Spain, enganche in Argentina, trequartista in Italy, known in English simply as the number that gives the position its name: the beloved and so called #10. A central attacking midfielder that connects the midfield to the forwards (hence the root of the word enganche – literally that which connects/joins together), the #10 position is one of, if not the most, emblematic position in the history of football

And yet, at FC Barcelona, this position doesn’t exist. While this may seem contradictory and strange at a club of Barcelona’s stature, it never has and never will. Never! Well documented by now, of course, is how Barcelona’s 4-3-3 is the central part of the Catalan-Dutch footballing identity that has defined the blaugranes, their philosophy, and the way they play and understand the game – everything that makes it more than a club. The club has preferred the precise triangulations that arise out of the 4-3-3 over the ‘pausa’ and inspiration of a single player in the #10 position. A few experiments with 3-4-3 notwithstanding, this formation has been non-negotiable, a constant throughout the history of the club. Untouchable across decades and even at the youth levels, this way of understanding the game is oftentimes why a player brought up through La Masia can integrate and succeed in several different roles extremely quickly, even if out of position, better than established world class players in their natural position.


Throwback Thursday: Goal of the season