Raul Rediscovering His Form At Real Madrid As A ‘Trequartista’

‘El Siete’ continues to make his critics eat their words with his recent stunning run of form and it is all thanks to a new playing position.

It’s not a role or a terminology too renowned outside of Italy. They call it the trequartista [three-quarters] or trecuartista in Spanish, a deep-lying forward or playmaker who plays neither as a frontman nor a midfielder.

The role was defined best by Roberto Baggio in Serie A back in the 90’s. Zinedine Zidane made the position his own at Juventus later that decade, while Kaka has now assumed that mantle with Milan today.

Over in Spain, it’s a role that Raul has inherited in his last two games for Real Madrid: a 4-0 win over Sporting Gijon and a 6-1 annihilation of Real Betis just last Saturday. He has scored four times in these two matches, although he played only 135 minutes, one goal more than his last eight league games combined.

Spanish daily, AS believes that the reason he has hit such a rich vein of form is because coach, Juande Ramos has turned him into a trecuartista to accommodate Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the first XI to partner Gonzalo Higuain as the two main strikers, and to a certain extent, to make up for the loss of winger, Arjen Robben.

The 31-year-old captain has played in countless other positions throughout his career so far, including as a left winger. But he has found immediate success in his new role, one that is not foreign to Juande. When he was the coach at Sevilla, he would deploy Renato in that position, slotting him behind Frederic Kanoute and Luis Fabiano in a side that could not stop scoring goals.

Against Liverpool this Wednesday in the Champions League, and indeed any forthcoming matches in the competition this campaign, Raul will revert to his usual function as a forward as Huntelaar will be absent.

He will alternate with Higuain to play upfront and to drop deep to midfield while Robben returns to his usual wide position. With Lassana Diarra and Fernando Gago dead-set to start as the double pivot, Juande’s only dilemma now choosing between Marcelo and Wesley Sneijder to occupy the left flank.

KS Leong, Goal.com