Bill Shankly once said "football is a simple game made complicated by idiots". It would be interesting to see what he would say about Thiago Motta’s latest idea to revolutionise the sport.
Motta recently retired from professional football after a 17-year career at the top level that saw him play for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.
The 36-year-old has wasted little time in moving into the next phase of his career in football, taking charge of PSG’s under-19 side in the summer and it’s fair to say he sees the game very differently than most.
Football is constantly changing and evolving, with different styles dominating different eras. Manchester United’s swashbuckling style was highly successful under Alex Ferguson, while Barcelona’s ‘tiki-taka’ dominated the modern era. Italians have defended their way to success.
Generations ago, 2-3-5 was the most common system used, with 4-4-2 being the traditional English formation. 4-3-3 adaptations now appear to be the way forward on the continent. However, Motta is content with none of them, instead insisting on introducing a new 2-7-2 formation.
Motta told Gazzetta dello Sport: "I include the goalkeeper in the seven in the middle.“For me, the attacker is the first defender and the goalkeeper is the first attacker. The game starts from the goalkeeper, with his feet, and the forwards' pressing wins you the ball back."
It’s a bold formation to say the least and one that we’ve not seen the likes of in this era. He continued, explaining how his goal is to get as many attacking ball-players in his side as possible.
"My idea it to play offensively. A short team that controls the game, high pressure and a lot of movement with and without the ball," he added.
"I want the player that has the ball to always have three or four solutions and two teammates close by to help. The difficulty in football is, often to do things simply but to control the base, pass and get free.
"I don't like the numbers of the field because they trick you. You can be super offensive with a 5-3-2 and defensive in a 4-3-3.
"Depending on the quality of the guys. I had a game a while ago where the two full-backs ended up playing as the 9 and 10. But that doesn't mean I don't like people like Samuel and Chiellini, born defenders."