Volante, an Argentine, explains the term midfielder in football – 03/21/2024 – The World Is a Ball

Volante, an Argentine, explains the term midfielder in football – 03/21/2024 – The World Is a Ball


In his most recent column in Sheet (“The modern footballer”), the brilliant Tostão, when speaking about footballers who play in midfield, wrote that “over time, the central midfielder came to be called midfielder, I don’t know why, because the word Do not say anything”.

Certainly Tostão, number 9 of the world champion team at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, refers exclusively to the use of the word in football, because, without resorting to a dictionary, anyone knows that midfielder, in one of its meanings, it is the part that allows people to drive a car – synonymous with driving. Or the ticket used to bet on lotteries.

In relation to football, in fact, it does not seem, at first, to make sense to refer to the midfielder who plays deeper, with the primary function of marking, as a midfielder.

Steering wheel, in fact, is one of the most emblematic and striking words for me, when I think about my progress in the profession.

I remember that in the mid-1990s, due to a campaign for didacticism undertaken by this Sheetthe journalist always needed, when referring to midfielders in a sporting context, to use parentheses with the explanation: midfielder (defensive midfielder).

When I read what Tostão wrote, I immediately had a memory, not very clear, of the reason for using a midfielder to qualify a certain type of player: it had to do with a former player.

And that’s it. At the end of the 1930s, Argentine Carlos Martín Volante, after playing for clubs in his home country, Italy and France, arrived in Brazil to play for Flamengo.

Raçudo and combative, he acted as the furthest man in midfield, ahead of the defenders. And he was tireless in his mission to regain possession of the ball for the team.

The fame he created grew to the point that the name by which he was known (Volante) became a position in football (volante). Someone, possibly from the sports media, must have been responsible for this creation, however it is not known who.

The term caught on and continues to this day in the mouths of narrators, coaches and fans, exclusively in Brazil, although some time ago the midfielder became modern and is not limited to regaining possession of the ball and handing it over to his teammate. closer.

He creates, attacks and even scores goals – a rarity in the last century. Examples of great midfielders are Casemiro (Manchester United), Spanish Rodri (Manchester City) and Englishman Rice (Arsenal).

The exclusively tick steering wheel, often brucutu (I remember a lot the Italian Gattuso as a symbol of the genre), is out of use.

For the record, I explain what some dictionaries bring in reference to the meaning of midfielder in football. Houaiss: defensive player in midfield (shirt 5). Michaelis: player who plays in midfield and has a defensive role; mid-center. Priberam: player who usually occupies a position between defense and midfield; mid-wheel.

Returning to Volante, the Argentine, after ending his playing career in 1944, having won four Rio State Championships with Flamengo, became a coach and managed Internacional, Vitória and Bahia.

For the latter, in which he stayed from 1958 to 1964, he won at Maracanã against Pelé’s Santos (who did not play in the decisive game) the first Taça Brasil, in 1959, a competition recognized by the Brazilian Football Confederation in 2010 as the Brazilian Championship.

Carlos Volante died in 1987, aged 76, in Italy, but his surname remains very much alive in Brazil: it is uttered by announcers, commentators and reporters at every football game.

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