It is no secret that former owner Silvio Berlusconi loves a two-striker formation. What usually is behind that is a trequartista. This role has been vanishing as of late and Milan’s new manager, Marco Giampaolo, is keen on bringing it back to glory.
The manager employs the same formation Berlusconi favoured, the 4-3-1-2. In the last half decade, Milan have strayed away from the iconic system in favour of a defence-oriented 4-3-3. The results have been less than favourable.
When Milan were at their peak they had a powerful trequartista on the pitch, be it Kaka, Rui Costa, Ruud Gullit, or any other legendary player within the ranks. While behind the striker, the trequartista role is so much more than just simply an attacking midfielder or a deep-lying striker. They are elegant on the ball, they are playmakers and goalscorers, they have unparalleled confidence in position with a range of passing that even a NFL quarterback would be jealous of.
Kaka was able to read the entire pitch against Manchester United and celebrated one of the greatest goals of all time during the game. He showed his ability, confidence, and swagger in this goal; flicking the ball high over two defenders causing a collision then heading the ball down on the run to bypass another player before slotting it home with power.
There is no better example of the responsibility of the trequartista than this. The word literally means three quarters and that is exactly how far up the formation one would be found.
The midfield connects the defence to the attack and vice versa. The trequartista has the responsibility of each realm. They can score goals, assist them, intercept the ball, or block a shot. Since the departure of Kaka to Orlando City, Milan have lacked this profile. The results of the pitch reflected this change as well, finishing as low as tenth in the league but only as high as fifth. For a team with seven Champions League titles, these finishes are unacceptable.
THE INTRODUCTION OF PAQUETA
Milan are entering a new age under Elliott and one of the marquee signings made thus far is Lucas Paqueta. As many of you know, Paqueta is a young and brilliant talent from Brazil. He was born for the trequartista role, while under Gattuso’s tutelage he was deployed as a left central midfielder in more of a mezz’ala role. He showed the creativity that the club was missing since Bonaventura’s injury.
Fans all over thought we finally had the mezz’ala we needed to fill the hole in our midfield. While Paqueta did do this, he was a trequartista back home in Brazil and again on the national team. On March 23rd, he was given the iconic number 10 previously worn by Kaka for Brazil. In the trequartista role, Paqueta flourished and scored his first goal for the national team. When fans thought they found a star mezz’ala, they really found a star trequartista.
Under Giampaolo’s system, expect to see Paqueta shine in this spot. He will have the freedom to get forward centrally and put the beautiful game truly on display. This also allows Bonaventura or Calhanoglu to slot into Paqueta’s old role of LCM giving the squad two creative outlets on the pitch with one able to move forward. Leonardo may have left us, but he did so with a gift in the form of Lucas Paqueta.