What is the perfect modern footballer, and how do we define it?
The way the game is changing, the very smartest of managers are looking to mould players into versatile, physical monsters who can contribute in every phase of play.
Arrigo Sacchi suggested this was the way the game would go in 1987, and he appears belatedly correct—the rise of the physically dominant, committed man has replaced the specialist.
The Juan Roman Riquelmes and the Claude Makeleles of this world are fading. Here is the new breed of success.
Kwadwo Asamoah is an unbelievable physical and technical specimen.
He spent the entirety of the 2011-12 season with Udinese playing as a central midfielder, yet on arrival in Turin, when he was asked to play in a completely unfamiliar role of left-wing-back, he excelled in that too.
The Ghanaian is an absolute powerhouse who is quicker, stronger, more agile and more aggressive than most players in world football.
If any player epitomises the well-rounded game we've come to demand, it's him.
The second Juventus player to feature is Arturo Vidal, who is perhaps the most tenacious central midfielder in world football.
He's scored nine goals in all competitions as a shuttling midfielder but has also found time for 4.9 tackles per game.
He is physically superior to most, strong in the tackle and purposeful when running. He knows when to push forward, and his goals are mostly borne out of good positioning and opportunistic intent.
Marcelo Bielsa's 3-3-1-3 formation was very demanding, but it took advantage of his Chilean workhorses to great effect in 2010.
Gary Medel was one of those who learnt a great deal under the tactician's mysterious manners and has since became one of the most versatile players in world football.
His physical attributes are impressive, but it's his mentality that sets him apart.
The third Chilean and third Juventus player to feature—is anyone sensing a pattern here?
Mauricio Isla plays equally well in three positions—right-wing-back, shuttler or holding midfield. The Bianconeri has used him opposite Kwadwo Asamoah when fit this season, as he and Stephan Lichtsteiner timeshare a defensive role.
Isla works hard, appears insanely determined and looks certain to have an extra set of lungs. He moves up and down the touchline all day, and there are few who can match his energy levels.
Hernanes is our final example of the modern, complete player.
The Lazio dynamo's omission from Brazil's international team was a constant source of angst for the 2014 World Cup hosts' fans and one of the main reasons Mano Menezes was deemed incapable.
His all-action style in the heart of the Biancocelesti midfield has accrued him six goals in Serie A this season already, as he looks set for a Frank Lampard-esque haul.
He's creative, forceful, strong and quick. He's everything you need in a carrilero.
Statistics via WhoScored?