Definition of False 9

Is there a position in football that has gotten more fame in the last decade than the "False 9"? Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi combined to transform a position renowned for staying in the box and scoring goals into one that looked more akin to a midfielder.

The meaning of the False 9 position in soccer is explained.  What is it?When people used to think of a striker, it was often of a player akin to Alan Shearer or Thierry Henry. Players who would stay forward and look to play in and around the box, or otherwise as far forward as possible. It was known as "the 9" due to the traditional numbering system of England.

The "False 9" came about in the later half of the 2010s, with Francesco Totti at Roma under Luciano Spaletti. A player that was withdrawn from the regular striker spot, he would have much more room to act.

But it wasn't until Pep Guardiola took Messi and had him drop deeper into midfield that the False 9 would become recognized worldwide. This left the team without a striker in the traditional sense. Because he would drop towards midfield, centre backs would step up to cover the space. This, in turn, would leave acres of space for wingers like Alexis Sanchez and David Villa to run into and score. Or if the False 9 (Messi in this example), is left alone, he can turn and drive at the defence from deep.

Since Lionel Messi's sparkling performances in the position, many players have played in the False 9 position. One of the most renowned at the moment is Roberto Firmino at Liverpool, with early signs of Kai Havertz being used in a similar position at Chelsea. Whether we shall ever see a player be as effective as Messi was in those early days is certainly a challenging question to answer.