Former world class holding midfielder Claude Makelele has named the player who he feels is currently filling the role best.
Real Madrid legends Claude Makelele and Luis Figo
During a live Twitter Q&A for the Champions League, Claude Makelele was asked which current player he felt played the role that was named after him best.
Widely regarded as one of the finest defensive midfielders to ever play the game, Claude Makelele had such a revolutionising effect on the position that he had a role named after him, aptly the 'Makelele role'.
Despite the term being well-known and well-understood, very few players genuinely play the 'Makelele role', and arguably none play it to the same standard as the Frenchman did.
Makelele holding his shirt aloft upon signing for Chelsea
The former Nantes, Marseille, Celta Vigo, Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSG man took two responses to answer the question, first stating that the position is "so tough."
Makelele went on to name the player many people would have expected him to say though, compatriot N'Golo Kante, who like Makelele did, currently plays for Chelsea. The 2006 World Cup finalist joked that although Kante is a player he likes, he hopes that he "doesn't get to be better than I was."
Makelele himself began his career as more of a midfield general or enforcer, but as the years passed by he dropped deeper until he created what we came to call the 'Makelele role'.
The role is essentially screening the back four and giving protection to them, allowing the teams attacking midfielders the freedom to go forward, and it requires hard work, aggressive tackling and a great reading of the game, all attributes that Makelele shared with his heir apparent Kante.
West Ham United's Dimitri Payet in action with Chelsea's N'Golo Kante
Kante's rise has been a quick one, playing very well but largely going under the radar at Caen, as the type of player who rarely makes the headlines.
Once the Frenchman signed for Leicester his value to a team became well-documented, and despite the efforts of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, many considered him to be the Foxes outstanding player last season.
Chelsea signed Kante in the summer for a seeming steal at £32 million given the current market, and he has picked up with the Blues where he left off with Leicester, starring in an undefeated Chelsea side who look to hold onto that record tonight against Liverpool.
Can N'Golo Kante become as good as Claude Makelele?
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