" I fully agree with you, Marcelo.
That having been said, why don’t you write an antitdote to the ills of those teams that currently play 3-5-2? This way, you could suggest some alternatives illustrating where for example Tcheco ought to play in this formation, or to find a way for Sport to relieve Paulo Baier of sole creative responsibility. Just an idea.
The thing about Pirlo is that we have one of those rare cases in modern football in which a coach makes a completely innovative tactical revolution: Pirlo used to play as a technically exquisite No. 10, with almost no defensive traits. The idea of coach Carlo Mazzone (in Brescia) and later copied by Ancelotti was to place him behind two ‘pit bulls’, and so the team gained in creative capacity, even more so than would have been the case were it an organising holder such as Rafael Carioca, Fernando Redondo, Marcos Senna or Xabi Alonso. And yet without losing the ability to press and rob in the middle.
By my reckoning there are three types of holding midfielder in modern football (and this excludes box-to-box midfielders such as Ramires, Vieira or Muntari), and then there is the ‘auxiliary centre-back’ or terceiro zagueiro.
1) CLASSIC HOLDING PLAYER: No.5, Clodoaldo, Toninho Cerezo (and later Redondo, Carrick, Xabi Alonso); overtly tactical, great reader of the game, with capacity to disarm but without running around or pressing so much, also, an excellent distributor of the ball.
2) VOLANTE DESTRUCTIVO: a more modern version, with a greater ability to destroy tempered by more limited vision and technique: see Dunga, Makelele and Mascherano.
3) THE PIRLO ROLE: almost unheard of before or since; converting an offensive linkman into a creator deep inside his own half. Needs the assistance of one or two enforcers.
4) TERCEIRO ZAGUEIRO (AUXILIARY DEFENDER): in a 3-5-2, this is the centre-back who usually brings out the ball into midfield. In a 4-4-2/4-3-3 etc, he tends to be a destructive midfielder.
I believe that the tone of the team, and the style which it intends to impose in a game, is in great part determined by the type(s) of holding midfielder(s) chosen to start.
Let us take for example the Brazilian 3-4-2-1/3-4-1-2 from World Cup 2002; at least Scolari was forced to make a change, bringing on a box-to-box player to partner the holding midfielder Gilberto Silva; imagine what would have unfolded if Emerson Gaúcho, the destructive midfielder who was to partner Gilberto, had not been injured. Something ugly surely would have ensued.