Atlético de Madrid have been able to add to their title winning squad this summer with the acquisition of Argentine Rodrigo de Paul. The midfielder is a typical ‘box to box’ player, and one that Diego Simeone has yearned for his side. In addition, the former Udinese player comes after having won the Copa America with his national side this past month.
The new Colchonero has some very clear characteristics, which are reflected in Paco Seirul-Lo’s structures:
- Emotive-Volitional: Through his highly competitive spirit, he gives 100% throughout the game, all for the collective benefit.
- Conditional: He possesses a great synchronization between strength and endurance capacities, allowing him to cover a lot of ground during the game.
- Bioenergetic: The player can maintain an optimal physical shape, making use of explosive actions throughout the match.
This week, at the MBP School of Coaches, we will analyse through the fundamentals of the game what the Argentine player will bring to Atléti.
The first fundamental that stands out in the Argentine’s skill set is his ability to ‘prioritize passing over driving with the ball’. The 27-year-old knows how to identify when to perform one technical action or the other. Likewise, De Paul’s ability to drive with the ball in certain situations of the game is of a very high level. He often makes use of it, either to break the opposition’s pressing lines, or to fix opponents and open up useful spaces for his teammates.
The second fundamental that the midfielder excels in is his ability to ‘direct the play towards favorable spaces’. Whether through direct or indirect switches of play, de Paul is always aware of when there is an accumulation of opponents in one sector of the field, and, therefore, knows how to direct the play towards teammates who have a spatial advantage somewhere else.
Finally, the third fundamental to look at, and one which is essential to ‘El Cholo Simeone’s’ Game Model, is the player’s ability to ‘Identify the defensive responsibility’ in the different situations in the defensive phase. In this case, De Paul understands the defensive behaviours of the zonal defense and the defensive preferences regarding which player to defend and which to not.
Also noteworthy is the strong ability of the former Racing graduate to win possession, not only in 1vs1s, but through anticipating and intercepting balls.
In conclusion, the signing of Rodrigo de Paul for Simeone’s side will provide Atlético with a physical ‘boost’ and, at the same time, a great tactical intelligence in the different phases of the game. This will come through his passing range in the attacking phase, his defensive capacity in zonal defence situations, and from imposing his physical prowess in both transitions.