Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

Where to Position Your Strongest Soccer Player?

Messi Dribbling

When it comes to soccer, a team’s strength lies not only in the individual talent but also in the collective effort of all players. The power of cohesion and teamwork cannot be underestimated. However, having one standout player can make a significant difference, whether the rest of the team is world-class or just competent. In this article, we’ll explore where the strongest player should be positioned to maximize their impact on the game.

What Defines the Strongest Player?

Strength in soccer is not solely determined by physicality. The strongest player is the one who contributes the most to the team, whether that be through skill, leadership, or mental determination. It can be a player with exceptional technical abilities or someone who brings unity and motivation to the team. The strongest player is often the captain, as their absence can weaken the team’s morale and overall performance. However, sometimes the strongest player is the most talented and skillful, capable of lifting the entire team with their abilities.

Positioning the Strongest Player

Central Midfielder

When determining where to play the strongest player, it’s crucial to consider their natural role and strengths. It’s not recommended to force the best player to play out of position just to fit a particular formation. Instead, adapt the formation to accommodate the strongest player. Central positions such as center-back or central midfielder are ideal as they allow the player to influence the game from a central role. These positions form the backbone of the team, providing stability and control.

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However, there are exceptions to this rule. If your strongest player is a center-back with exceptional passing and organizational skills, they might be more valuable in a defensive midfield role. Similarly, an aging but influential central midfielder could drop back into central defense, utilizing their experience and leadership to strengthen the team. Placing the strongest player at the heart of the defense instills confidence in the team and allows others to play with more freedom. This strategic positioning not only benefits the team but also opens up opportunities for other players to fill the vacated midfield role.

Becoming the Strongest Player

Kylian Mbappe

The path to becoming the strongest player on a team varies. It’s not solely dependent on age or experience. A player’s impact on the team is determined by their skills, determination, and ability to contribute more than anyone else. For example, Kylian Mbappe, despite being surrounded by superstars in Paris Saint-Germain, is recognized as the team’s strongest player due to his exceptional talent and performance. Age is no barrier to being the most crucial player on the team.

Examples of Teams with Standout Players

Teams throughout soccer history have had standout players who carry the team’s strength. These players may not always be the most creative or the highest goal-scorers. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Roy Keane – Manchester United

Roy Keane

Position: Defensive Midfielder

Despite being surrounded by players with arguably greater talent, Roy Keane’s leadership and demand for excellence made him the most dangerous player in the league. Manchester United played at their best when Keane was on the field, thanks to his remarkable leadership abilities.

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Lionel Messi – Barcelona

Lionel Messi

Position: Right Winger / Attacking Midfielder

Lionel Messi’s skill, determination, and sheer talent made him the strongest player at Barcelona. Even among exceptional players like Xavi and Iniesta, Messi’s influence and ability to change games set him apart. His goal-scoring ability and creativity made him the strongest player in La Liga.

Jordan Henderson – Liverpool

Jordan Henderson

Position: Central Midfielder

Jordan Henderson may not have the most exceptional technical skills or scoring ability, but his work ethic, leadership, and teamwork make him the strongest player at Liverpool. Without his presence, the team loses its unity and becomes weaker. Henderson’s impact goes beyond individual statistics and demonstrates the importance of strong leadership.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo

Position: Striker

Cristiano Ronaldo’s skill, focus, and goal-scoring prowess made him the most important player during his time at Real Madrid. Despite the presence of legendary players like Sergio Ramos, Ronaldo’s drive for excellence and relentless determination set him apart. His influence extended beyond his goals, inspiring the entire team to reach new heights.


Defining the strongest player on a team depends on various factors. For teams that need leadership, the strongest player is often the captain. In teams filled with mentally strong players, the most creative player usually takes on the role of the strongest. While central positions offer advantages by allowing the strongest player to have more influence, it’s essential to ensure the team is set up to maximize their strengths. Positioning the strongest player strategically can elevate the entire team’s performance and lead to success.

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If you’re curious about where to position the weakest player, read my article here.