When Didier Deschamps was appointed Marseille manager in 2009, he immediately attempted to sell Valbuena, believing he wasn’t compatible with Deschamps’ preferred 4-3-3 formation.
Five years later, Valbuena is his key player—in a 4-3-3 formation.
Valbuena interprets the role in an interesting way, drifting laterally to provide both right-sided width and a proper creative threat from between the lines.
On his day he’s absolutely superb, a magician of a footballer capable of being both reliable and incisive with his passing, working excellently in tandem with a centre-forward.
Ahead of a powerful midfield lacking an outright creator, Valbuena is pivotal.