Lhe first two days of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have done nothing more than fuel a debate… that will last for years. Pedri (Barcelona/Spain), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund/England) and Jamal Musiala (Bayern/Germany) are fighting to be the most dominant midfielder of the next decade. At MARCA we examine the strengths of all three. And you, whose are you?
We are facing three players whose growth is being exponential on the pitch. That also translates into their price, so anyone who wants to sign them will have to dig deep into their pockets. Its value has not stopped rising throughout 2022, according to data provided by Football Benchmark, a data and analysis platform for the football business.
All three are in the top 10 U23 players with the highest market value. Bellingham is the fourth, costing 125.10 million; Pedri fifth (105 million); and Musiala tenth (82.5 million). Of this list, only Haaland and Tchouamni join the three as those that have increased their market value the most percentage since July.
The three are called to be differential in the middle of the field, but each one with its characteristics. Because they are not the same. Let’s take a deeper look at what each brings to the game.
The La Roja midfielder is the one who, positionally, plays the furthest back. Pedri participates much more in the elaboration of the play than Bellingham and Musiala. With Spain, if possible, he acts even closer to Busquets than in Barcelona. Gavi, on the other hand, is the inside player who plays the most forward.
A clear example is the following image, where we can see how he is almost on par with Busquets to try to get the ball played under pressure from Germany.
Pedri drops even deeper than Busquets to try to help the center backs get the ball out of the cave.
The midfielder trained in Las Palmas is also the one who best manages the ‘timing’ of the matches, above all, when it comes to holding the ball and ensuring possession. Pedro knows how to pause, while Bellingham and Musiala like ‘rock & roll’. “He is a superlative player because of how he turns, his handling of space-time is fantastic,” suggests Xavi Hernndez.
Qualitatively it is practically unmatched. also is the most reliable of the three in the pass. Pedri has a 91.1% accuracy rate (655 of 719) in the League. Musiala dropped to 83.86% (369 of 440) and Bellingham dropped to 82.52% (642 of 778). One aspect, that of the passes, in which stands out greatly not only in the volume of completed, but also in those who reach the last third of the field seeking to create danger, as well as those who perform in depth.
The most common criticism of Pedri is that you need to be more decisive. “We demand that he shoot, he has a good shot. It’s normal for him to be shy, but he has to believe it,” Xavi continues. It is true that he has improved, but his records -ad three goals this season- are far from those of Musiala (12) and Bellingham (9). As we see on the radar, he is in the average number of goals among those in the same position in the last year, but it is not a great record compared to the other two, as we will see below.
Physically, Pedri (1.74 meters) is also far Musiala’s 1.83 and Bellingham’s 1.86, but Luis Enrique vindicates him: “Even the thinnest. Pedri, he’s square. If you collide with him…”, Luis Enrique joked on ‘twitch’.
Borussia Dortmund midfielder is, by far, the one that covers the most ground of the three. Bellingham, without playing as close to the base as Pedri, is the one who best suits the ‘box-to-box’ profile (from area to area). It is the most dynamic, the one that best handles round trips and the one that seems most capable, without being excessively fast, to ‘repeat’ efforts.
“He is a very complete player, both in defense and attack. Also physically, tactically and technically. In addition, he is very generous in his efforts: he shows it and demands it,” Pep Clotet, the coach who made him debut at Birmingham City at just 16 years old, told MARCA.
Technically he is inferior to Pedri, but manage ms records. Bellingham is, between the League and the Champions League, the one that recovers the most balls (157, for Pedri’s 88 and Musiala’s 77), the one that intercepts the most (33, for Pedri’s 14 and Musiala’s 13), the one that clears the most (21, for Pedri’s 7 and Musiala’s 4) and the one who makes the most successful entries (34, to Pedri’s 13 and Musiala’s 12)… and the second to take the most shots (32, to Musiala’s 36 and Pedri’s 14).
In short, despite the fact that he is now standing out for his goalscoring facet, Bellingham is more characterized by being a great defensive player. They are ability to identify the exact moment to jump to pressure It is very important for his teams, since it leads him to stop the opponent’s counter on many occasions.
Here we have an example in the match against Iran, where the Asian team tries to counterattack after an attack not finished by England. Bellingham detects it in time and jumps to cover the opponent’s advance before he jumps into the vertical race
For when the opponent wants to start the race with the ball, Bellingham is already on top to cut him off. and manage to disrupt the counter iran
If we look at his performance in the past year, we see that Bellingham stands out more in the final partbeing a great assistant y scoring above average goals with respect to those of the same position, taking into account that he shoots less than that average. But it doesn’t stop there either. He is a good game dealercompleting many passes and also maintaining a good number among those who complete in the last third of the field.
The ‘jewel’ of Bayern left a recital of controls in the 1-1 against Spain. He is the one with a more athletic physiqueliterally speaking, of the three and the most versatile. Musiala was born an all-rounder. From the ‘wide zone’ onwards he has played everything: double pivot, midfielder, winger, second striker, even a ‘false 9’…
The position to which he best adapts, however, is that of ’10’. He can adapt to playing on the outside… but he performs better on the inside, since two of his main qualities are enhanced: arrival and stride. “Lw analyzed my style, my strengths and weaknesses. He sees me as a midfielder in the future and appreciates my qualities,” Musiala highlighted among his arguments for leaning towards playing with Germany instead of England.
Musiala, of the three, He is the one who plays closest to the rival goal.
Add many more touches in the opposite area (131) than Bellingham (78) and Pedri (38). That causes his relationship with the goal is the most prolific: This season he has 12 goals and nine assists. His efficiency in front of goal is outstanding: he has taken 36 shots, 27 on goal this season.
All this is maintaining his finishing performance over the last year, where we can see that he is by far the best of the three in this regard. He has high goal values, expected goalsshots, assists, key passes completed and expected assists.
Three footballers of many carats who are no longer promises, but realities. Three players with different characteristics but with a common goal: to dominate the midfield of the future.