When you hear the term “Midfield Maestro” you instantly start thinking about the some of the great midfield players of the modern age. Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Arturo Vidal, and Marco Verratti. The name you rarely think of is Jorge “Koke” Resurrección. Why does the Atlético Madrid man go under the radar? What is it that makes so him special too?
Koke was an Atlético fan as a boy, and is the heart and soul of the team as a man. At 25 years old, Koke is one of the smartest players in world football today, and the Atlético Madrid man is the epitome of a disciplined midfielder, capable of playing as a 6, 8 or 10: he’s deep if you need him to drop back, he’s central anchoring the play if needed in the middle of the park and he’s forward delivering the final ball if he’s needed forward.
Averaging 56.2 games a season since 2012-2013, Koke nearly started all of them. The man is a machine, never shying away from his responsibility to the team and doing his job brilliantly regardless of if he’s playing as a narrow wide CM cutting inside to make up the numbers in the middle away in a derby game at Real Madrid; or being a creative hub in the centre to dictate the play in a home game against Deportivo. Koke does his job to the highest of level in the footballing world. Two different systems, two different tactical roles and two different performances befitting of each.
However, that’s not it: we are just getting started here. With the absolute best sense of marking around, Koke is the best Shadow Marker in world football. Tackles are the dirty parts of the beautiful game, interceptions are easy on the eyes and display a player’s ability to read the game. What goes unnoticed from viewers is a player’s ability to position himself to close out the space for the opposition players to operate in. Koke is best at marking the space and angling his body in the right position to take up to 3 players out of the equation of receiving the ball in tight spaces. Furthermore, he covers a vast area of the pitch with his work rate and unhuman pressing, with the ability to play the final ball. Only a handful of other players are able to do this with such discipline; most notably: Gundogan, Pogba and Dahoud. Although no one in football does it to the same extent as Koke, playing the same number of games year in year out.
For a player who is rarely applauded for his creative work, Koke has registered second most assists (51) in Laliga since 2012 – 2013 campaign and has recorded second best chance creation number in Champions League (71) since the start of the 2014 – 2015 edition of the competition, also notching up most passes completed in this season’s Champions League campaign (771).
A selection of "complete" central midfielders, measured by interceptions/tackles (X-axis) and chances created (Y-axis). pic.twitter.com/SLj8dGCsXh
— FIRST 11 (@FlRST11) May 21, 2017
Consistently producing at a high level of performance without being shade into the limelight, while elevating the level of his teammates is a monument to Koke’s finesse as a midfielder. The Spaniard defines the next generation of midfielders. If he does at some point decide to depart from Atlético for a better chance at winning some silverware, every big European club will line up to prize the 25-year-old.
And why shouldn’t they? He’ll improve every team in the world, without a shadow of a doubt. Barcelona look to be crying out for a player of Koke’s ability, Real Madrid would treasure a trio of Modric, Kroos and Koke in the middle of the park whilst Bayern Munich would be thrilled to have a player of Koke’s quality to partner up with Thiago Alcantara and Vidal. However, he looks fully committed to his childhood club and relishes the opportunity to represent the Rojiblancos every time he steps out onto the pitch dawning the red and white of Atletico Madrid.
Jorge “Koke” Resurrección, in simple words, represents the future.