Some of the skills required to be a good defensive midfielder in soccer are the same skills required to be a good rebounder in basketball.
On his way to carving out a decade-long career as a pro for clubs such as Real Madrid (Spain), Chelsea (England) and Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia), along with France’s national team, 30-year-old Lassana Diarra has proven an expert at winning 1-on-1 battles for possession with his quick feet, anticipation, opportunistic positioning, and sheer toughness.
After sitting out for most of the past year due to a contract dispute, Diarra, a practicing Muslim, recently signed with Marseille (France). And it didn’t take long for him to showcase one of the underrated aspects of a defensive midfielder’s job — knowing what to do with the ball after you get it. In his debut match with Marseille on August 23, Diarra scored a goal and completed 100 percent of his passes.
Here is that goal:
And here are some highlights of Diarra’s previous best work over the years: