What Is a Regista and Who Is the Best in the World in 2022?

April 18, 2022

by catalin

Eduard Bănulescu

The regista is the dream role of football tactic geeks the world over. It’s a position usually equipped only by the most stylish, and technically versatile midfielders.

But, is the regista still of use in 2022? Is it a role that belongs to a by-gone era?

Let’s look at the modern players taking on a role similar to the classic regista. Let’s talk about the masters of the regista role. And, let’s see who we can scout for FootballCoin fantasy football.

What is a regista?

The regista role can best be explained by the traits such a player must possess. The regista must always be looking to get on the ball. They must always be looking to create a link between the defensive and midfield area. Their passing must be superb. The regista must be the player that dictates the flow and tempo of the game.

Unlike the classic playmaker, the regista will be happy with sitting deeper. The latter, however, will be seen less in front of the opponent’s goal. The regista is happy to play in front of the defensive line. They are, normally, the player that stars their team’s attacking actions. They need to dictate their team’s approach while playing forward passes from the back.

The term regista originates with Italian coach Vittorio Pozzo. Back in the 1930s, he demanded that his center-backs be more aggressive. This player, Pozzo believed, should also direct the play towards the opposing goal. Instead of using a three-man defense, Pozzo used a 2-3-5 formation. His center-half, who was the central player in the second line, was supposed to direct play using his passing ability. It is from the Italian word for “director” that the term “regista” was derived. The regista can be described as the director of a football match. They take on the responsibility for the production and lead it towards its conclusion.

What qualities does the regista need to possess?

The regista is, essentially, a combination between the playmaker and the defensive midfielder role. It is less frequent in modern football. Part of this is due to tactical trends. However, this is also due to the immense amount of skill that a regista must possess. Furthermore, this player, traditionally, needs to take the most amount of responsibility within their team.

The regista is active in front of the defense. The player must receive passes from the goalkeeper or defenders and moves the ball into space. The regista must be able to take the ball under pressure. The need to possess great intelligence in order to get themselves out of trouble.

Registas are responsible for moving play forwards through precise vertical passes to the more attacking players. They need to move the ball over long distances. Registas must be proficient at both short and long passes. They also need to be able both to break down lines and switch play with accuracy. They must also be able to make good decisions. This means they need to know when to move forwards and when to go backwards.

Registas’ attacking and defensive responsibilities

Registas work best with teams that dominate the ball and push high on the pitch. However, they also suit teams that have players who are willing to work hard to give the Regista the space and freedom to control the game. Traditional playmakers are more suited to a wide range of situations and systems. However, they don’t always have the same impact on the game. The registas prefer to quietly do their work and let other players shine.

Registas must be on the move constantly, searching for spaces to receive and scanning their surroundings in order to get a better understanding of what is happening around them.

The player must, also, immediately retreat during defensive transitions to take up a central position on the pitch that will prevent penetration through the middle and protect the defense. They are also crucial in slowing down the opponents’ progress.

Defensively, the regista’s role is to screen the defense, intercept any passes directed at opposing strikers, and block them whenever possible.

They should also pick up any balls that are left in the middle of the pitch and may have to move out of their slots to help other midfielders in duels. However, they should not leave central spaces empty.

Top 5 regista midfielders in 2022

Sandro Tonali

Sandro Tonali was always going to enter this discussion. The young midfielder has been blessed and burdened with the label of “The New Pirlo” since he started professional football. But, the shoe fits. His tremendous season for AC Milan has finally proven his talent. At his best, Tonali is an exceptional passer, that can work under pressure and can read the game exceptionally.

Ryan Gravenberch

Great regista midfielders are, often, tasked with taking great responsibility early in their career. It’s no different for Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch. An exceptionally mobile midfielder with a great eye for a pass, the Dutchman is, as expected, being scouted by many of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Exequiel Palacios

Exequiel Palacios is, at 23 years old, already being tasked with the regista role. Bayern Leverkusen has entrusted him with the responsibility. His great passing attributes and strong tackling make him an exceptional defensive midfielder capable of dictating play.

Billy Gilmour

Billy Gilmour is Scotland’s big hope. The youngster has been spending his time on loan to Norwich City sharpening his arsenal of skills. Gilmour can develop into a great regista.

Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley represents Toronto FC. The veteran midfielder may be playing outside of Europe’s elite leagues. But, his displays have enchanted MLS audiences. Bradley is a classic regista, one capable of complex, long-distance passes.

Notable mentions:

  • Rominigue Kouamé
  • Youssouf Fofana
  • Mahmoud Dahoud
  • Djibril Sow
  • Douglas Luiz

Best midfielders of all time who were active in the regista role

Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo is, without a doubt, the player most often associated with the regista role. Pirlo, however, began his career as an attacking midfielder. Upon joining Inter, the midfielder took on a deeper position. It would be used throughout his time in Italy, as well as when playing for Squadra Azzurra. Pirlo‘s late-career comeback, leading Juventus to glory, was spent playing as a regista. Through it all, there were few who approached his skill and finesse. All modern registas are measured after Andrea Pirlo.

Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes was one of Manchester United’s most technically gifted players. Not that many people would have noticed. The England international was one of the most underrated footballers of his age. Highlight reels showcasing Scholes’ perfect long-range passes continue to inspire modern footballers though. At his best, Paul Scholes was one of the best to ever play the game.


With Xavi in full form, FC Barcelona and Spain won virtually every honor they competed for. The regista was not Xavi’s only role. He was, however, the player always capable to dictate play. The midfielder perfectly understood Barcelona’s playing philosophy. The quick, fluid, passing football endorsed by the Catalans was rarely in better shape than when played with Xavi at the heart of it.

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