Every era in football produces breathtaking players, who are simply a class above the rest. We are lucky enough at the moment to have two such players who we have the pleasure of watching every week, in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. There is little doubting that they’re two of the finest to have ever played the game and the argument as to who is better is likely to forever remain unresolved.
Ten years ago we had a similar crop of players in the Brazilian trio of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaka, who in their own right were outstanding players. Gifted players like those I have mentioned deliver entertainment, they bring fans to the ground, they’re the reason why millions of us tune in every week, they’re the reason we love the game. But are they the sole provider of success? No.
Every successful team needs a player willing to put in the hard yards and put their body on the line. Every successful team needs a player who plays for the badge on his shirt rather than the name on the back. Every successful team needs a player who puts his teammates and the fans first. Every successful team needs a player like Thiago Motta!
Barcelona are arguably the finest club team of this era, a reign that began under Dutchman Frank Rijkaard in 2003. When the Catalan side claimed their second Champions League title in 2006 the team was lead by Carlos Puyol, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o. It saw the birth of an era of dominance for Los Blaugrana as they went onto dominate domestic and continental football since. Another side of a similar magnitude was the Internazionale side between 2007 and 2010. The Italian giants won an unlikely treble in 2009/10 coached brilliantly by Jose Mourinho with Wesley Sneijder and Diego Milito at the peak of their powers. However, on a purely domestic front, the most dominant side of this era has to be Paris Saint-Germain. After a takeover by Qatari businessmen in 2011 they have romped to four league titles with no other side in France’s Ligue 1 being able to compete with stars such as Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani. However these three teams have one unlikely common link, Thiago Motta.
A deep lying midfield player who is equally comfortable operating at centre back, Motta goes about his work quietly but efficiently. He doesn’t pop up with the match winning goal or the glorious inch perfect assist but what he does do he does well. He plays a vital role in converting defence into attack, while his ball retention and recovery skills mean that his midfield partners can focus on their duties further up the pitch. There is a touch of class to his play and he is a beautiful passer of the ball. It is by no accident that he has been involved in three of the best teams of our time. Every manager at every level across the globe wants a player with the skill-set that Motta has but finding a player on the level of the PSG man is no easy task.
Since breaking through the Barcelona youth ranks Motta has performed at the highest level of the football spectrum. His career threatened to plateau somewhat in his later years in Spain as he struggled to maintain a place in the first team with the emergence of Andreas Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez but a move to Milan and in the summer of 2009 seemed to revitalise the Brazilian born Italian international. He would go on to play 40 times that season as Inter enjoyed their best ever year. His defensive style proving a hit and soon Paris came calling. Italian football hit a sharp decline at the turn of the decade and as his 30th birthday loomed closer, a move to the French capital in 2012 came at just the right time. He has been a cog in that machine ever since while also representing his adopted nation Italy at three major tournaments.
Every successful team needs a player like Thiago Motta!
Having picked up 24 major honours during his career and having just turned 34 maybe it’s time people started to show some appreciation to this man and his unique style of play. He may not have been the most talented player of his generation but you’ll struggle to find many who will give you more in terms of hard work and consistency, all with a touch of Italian elegance. Bellissimo!
Thanks for reading!
Peter Muldoon, TFN Editor on 27/10/2016 at 16:33
Follow Peter on Twitter @NoSantiNoParty