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stan007 Posted on 13/06/2011 17:25
Brazilian Football - Would you care for a Volante?

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Would you care for a Volante? Yes, please we’ll take all 3!

So, when is the defensive midfielder not a defensive midfielder? Why, of course when it is a volante.

The holding midfielder, defensive midfielder, the water carrier, the “Makele”, the position has many guises in England yet it always stirs an image of a defensive minded player, a tackler who gets the ball and gives to his more creative team mate. A guy who has nose bleeds if he crosses the halfway line, whose once yearly goal is celebrated with shock and amusement on the terraces.

In Brazil this position is interpreted in a very different way. The position is viewed as being so important and so distinct from the other midfield roles that it is even given its own name: Volante. And here in Brazil there is nothing really defensive about it.

A direct translation of the word volante would be ‘steering wheel’ yet when I asked my Brazilian wife for a translation in “footballing” terms she explained that it is quite simply the player who has to go in many places, run a lot and have many positions.



So while the initial job of the Volante is to protect the back four and allow the full backs, and sometimes even the centre halves to bomb forward, there is nothing overly defensive about this role. As Chelsea fans will tell you there is nothing defence about Ramires. His pace and dribbling skills often make him look like he’d be more at home on the wing. At Liverpool, Roy Hodgson often played Lucas Leiva in a role so deep and defensive that the Brazilian audience, addictively watching their Brazilian stars in the premier league on TV, hardly recognised the player.


The recently announced Brazilian squad for the forthcoming Copa America contains 3 Volantes all of which ply their trade in the premier league: Ramires, Lucas and Sandro. Playing two of the three appears to be the current trend and Lucas and Raimers will probably get the nod. Raimeres will naturally get forward more, while Lucas will hold, get forward, sit, cover the fullbacks, cover the centre halves and at times maybe even cover Ramires. So,Just like my wife said – the volante is simply the player who has to run a lot and go everywhere. Personally, I thought David Batty never put a foot wrong.



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