Hello and welcome to the latest and last instalment of this series. In the previous two parts we’ve looked at what are the key traits of a fantasista and how it can be interpreted as well as translated into FM. Here are the previous two parts if you haven’t had a chance to go through them: Part One and Part Two.
To briefly sum up the essence of this project, my aim was to try and recreate a role that has perhaps faded away from the modern football vocabulary – the role of the creative forward that can defy the traditional confines of the game and offer that little bit of magic that turns the game in his side’s favour. Part one covers a few important aspects – why the fantasista isn’t the same as a ‘false nine’ or a ‘second striker’ for example, or in short… what are the traits that make up to define its’ style. In part two we’ve looked at Luan and Gremio as an experiment. We’ve covered how important it is that the overall design of the tactical set-up benefits from a fantasista and how to make the best use of his qualities. Unfortunately all my saves from before a couple of months back vanished and I don’t have the luxury to show the screens but Luan finished as the top scorer/top assist holder in the Brazilian top division as well as holding the record for the most key passes executed in the league.
As mentioned before, there are a few ideal characteristics I would look for in a player in order to get him to play as close to a fantasista as possible and that included a few PPM’s:
- Tries killer balls often
- Plays one-twos
- Moves into channels
- Comes deep to get the ball
- Curls ball
Whilst the style of play/movement these would help create would definitely ease the implementation of this role into FM, I wanted to show that different types of players can perform the fantasista role differently just as much as Del Piero was a different kind of fantasista from Totti or Baggio. At the end of the day what you want him to do is … well… ‘the magic’.
Now I’ve chosen a bit of a challenge for this part. Having looked through Ajax’s roster I just couldn’t resist managing that squad full of young talent that just recently made the headlines by getting to the Europa League final. Plus… what better candidate for the ‘fantasista’ role can I possibly ask for than a young, talented and ‘open to moulding’ Kasper Dolberg?
- the fantasista (treq) looks to hold up the ball and spray an important finall ball for the on-running options. The yellow lines outline the offensive passing options Dolberg can perform providing he can make use of his balance + vision + passing in order to execute a turn & pass. There are four potential openings that can be on the receiving end: SS, AM & the WM’s. The two blue lines show the ‘safe route’ in case Dolberg is pressured by the opposition to the extent where he can not turn/pass. This duty of holding up the ball, spotting the opening and providing the final ball is a task the trequartista is much better equipped to perform compared to the previous role of the defensive forward.
- given that the Trequartista is a playmaking role, in current FM dynamics, that means that he will attract the ball and team-mates will look to him as the main source of creativity upfront. We only have two playmaker roles in this system: the DLP, responsible for organising and creating play from deep and the Trequartista/Fantasista himself. This makes attacking build up much easier, because the Trequartista is a role that makes himself available for a pass almost every time. This comes at the cost of him denying his defensive duties, but that is why this role is so special: when the team is defending / in the process of winning back the ball, the Trequartista will ignore that and instead look to find the best possible position to receive a pass and break play forward. Pure fantasista style. This is why you will find him lingering on the touchline at times, upfront, near the last man or deep down in midfield – he is simply roaming around assessing the situation on the pitch according to his own tactical intelligence (why mentals are so important for the role!) and finding the best position to receive a pass and create an attack from it.
- On a last note, I mentioned before that the fantasista is different from a false nine or a withdrawn striker. He is much more aggressive (risk-wise) with the ball compared to a false nine – he will look to attack the goal just as much as supporting his team-mates, if not more. Compare to the withdrawn striker, the fantasista does not have a ‘fixed’ position behind a specific player and does not rely on him to create space for him. As mentioned before, you will see him be far up the pitch at times, as high up as a poacher, and as deep in midfield as a CM at other times. Of course, there are hundreds of systems employing various styles of fantasistas, some even behind two strikers, but I’m trying to get as close as possible to the ideal definition of the role that I have in my head. On this note, the trequartista in the striker role is still a role on an ‘attacking’ duty, and his charge in the final third is much more aggressive compared to a false nine or a DLF.