9 footballers who became better after changing positions, including Thierry Henry and Gareth Bale

9 footballers who became better after changing positions, including Thierry Henry and Gareth Bale

 

It’s funny to think that a professional footballer may not even discover their best position until after they’ve reached the pros.
But it’s true. Thierry Henry played as a winger before becoming a world-class striker, while Gareth Bale was a full-back before being moved further forward at Tottenham Hotspur.
And how can we forget about Lionel Messi’s success as a False 9 for Barcelona?
It’s funny to think that a professional footballer may not even discover their best position until after they’ve reached the pros.
But it’s true. Thierry Henry played as a winger before becoming a world-class striker, while Gareth Bale was a full-back before being moved further forward at Tottenham Hotspur.
And how can we forget about Lionel Messi’s success as a False 9 for Barcelona?
And if he ever does move from right-back, he’ll look to follow in the footsteps of these nine players who became even better after changing positions.
Sergio Ramos
In his second season at real madrid, Spaniard Ramos was moved from central defence to right-back.
His pace and reading of the game made him a fine full-back and he’s also played there for Spain.
But in 2011/12, under Jose Mourinho, Ramos solidified his position in the middle of the backline and Los Blancos quickly saw the best of him.
He’s now without a doubt one of the finest centre-backs in history.
Thierry Henry
It speaks volumes that Carlo Ancelotti regards his failure to realise Henry wasn’t a winger as one of the biggest mistakes of his career.
“My mistakes? I did not want Baggio at Parma and then at Juventus I did not notice that Henry was not a winger,” he told La Republicca in 2014, per football italia.Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger knew the Frenchman would thrive as a centre-forward, though, even if Henry wasn’t convinced at first. “At a certain point, I wanted to go to Wenger and tell him to put me back out wide,” Henry said.
But after failing to score in his first seven Premier League games, Henry quickly found his groove and the rest is history.
Gareth Bale
When Tottenham signed Bale from Southampton in 2007, he was a highly-rated left-back.
Indeed, he was given the No.3 shirt at White Hart Lane.
His Tottenham career got off to a wretched start but in 2010 he was given an opportunity to play on the left wing and it quickly became apparent that Bale would never play as a full-back again.
He ripped Inter Milan’s Maicon apart in October 2010 and three years later joined Real Madrid in a deal worth £85 million.
Vincent Kompany
Kompany’s ability as a centre-back is perhaps even more impressive when you remember that he joined Manchester city  as a defensive midfielder.
“My favourite position is in midfield but I can deliver just as good a job from central defence,” the Belgian said in 2009.
Roberto Mancini was keen to see it and Kompany would go on to become one of the finest centre-backs to ever grace the Premier League.
Javier Mascherano
It was going to be extremely tough for Mascherano to break into a bacra midfield that features Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets, so after arriving from Liverpool in 2010 he reinvented himself as a centre-back.
And he was a major success, making 334 appearances in a trophy-laden spell with the Spanish giants.
Andrea Pirlo
While Ancelotti failed to recognise Henry would flourish as a striker, he knew that Pirlo’s best position would be as a deep-lying playmaker.
The Italian played as a No.10 at the start of his career but Brescia manager Carlo Mazzone noticed his potential in a deeper role, and Ancelotti took his skills to another level when the pair came together at ac milan in 2001.
“He changed my career, putting me in front of the defence,” Pirlo told la gazzetta dello sport  in 2015.
“We shared some unforgettable moments. We had a magnificent past together.”
Gianluca Zambrotta
Zambrotta was one of Italy’s most exciting wingers when he joined juventus in 1999.
However, Zambrotta suffered an injury at the 2002 World Cup that forced him to miss the start of the 2002/03 season, and his replacement in the team, Mauro Cameronesi, impressed as Juve’s new right winger.
Zambrotta was converted to a full-back as a result and he took to his new position exceedingly well.
The Italian, who could play on either side of the defence, went on to enjoy a fine career for Juve, Barcelona and AC Milan, and won the World Cup with his country in 2006.
Bastian Schweinsteiger
Before developing into a World Cup-winning central midfielder, Schweinsteiger was actually played as a winger for Bayern_munich Louis van Gaal, who arrived at Bayern in 2009, has taken credit for moving Schweinsteiger inside.
“He did not fit in the position of left-winger for me,” Van Gaal is quoted as saying by Manchester united
“When I arrive at a new club, I talk with every player about his position, his personality, the team and how he works with his team-mates.
“I told Bastian: ‘I think you have to play in the midfield.’
“At that time, we played with two holding midfielders and a No.10, which was [Thomas] Müller.
“Then he played in a holding role and found he liked the game more than ever.”
Schweinsteiger went on to deliver his best stuff for club and country.
Antonio Valencia
Valencia’s career was heading downwards fast after he was handed the No.7 shirt at Manchester united.
Angel Di Maria and Memphis Depay joined, threatening Valencia’s place in the team.
But the arrival of Van Gaal in 2015 resulted in a switch to right-back and breathed new life into the Ecuadorian.
The switch allowed Valencia to stay at Old Trafford until 2019, with Jose Mourinho labelling him “the best right-back in the world” in 2017.
The German had to sit and watch the likes of Jens Jeremies, Niko Kovacs, Owen Hargreaves and Michael Ballack all deployed in central positions while he played out wide, where his crossing and long-range passing and shooting skills came to the fore.Some serious talent might have gone to waste if these lot hadn’t switched positions.

38 Comments

  1. Reply

    That amazing

  2. Reply

    Henry is a great player

  3. Reply

    Even Zlatan

  4. Reply

    Nice post

  5. Profile photo ofKreator

    Reply

    Nice Article

  6. Reply

    Very informative

  7. Reply

    This is very good

  8. Profile photo ofcelestine

    Reply

    Informative

  9. Reply

    Henry is one of the best

  10. Reply

    This is a very nice post

  11. Reply

    This is really good and interesting to know about them

  12. Reply

    Nice

  13. Reply

    Good one

  14. Reply

    Really good

  15. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  16. Reply

    Great

  17. Reply

    Bales was amazing

  18. Reply

    Thanks for the information nice piece

  19. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  20. Reply

    Good

  21. Reply

    Good

  22. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  23. Reply

    That’s very good

  24. Reply

    nice

  25. Reply

    good

  26. Reply

    Henry is better than bale

  27. Reply

    Se

  28. Reply

    Good

  29. Reply

    Nice

  30. Reply

    Nice update

  31. Reply

    Great

  32. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  33. Reply

    Really amazing

  34. Reply

    good

  35. Reply

    Very good

  36. Reply

    This is an awesome update.

  37. Reply

    Nice one

  38. Reply

    Good to know

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