In truth, Makelele was more than Deschamps. Deschamps introduced les Bleus to a culture of winning, which he had acquired in Turin. But he did not have Makelele's ubiquity, Makelele's apparent ability to draw the ball - as if magnetically - away from opponents. If Deschamps is to regarded as a "water-carrier", then Makelele at his best was a downpour, covering every inch of turf; nourishing every one of his teammates, making good teammates look great. Frank Lampard and John Terry became great players under José Mourinho - they owe almost as much to Makelele.
And now Makelele reaches the end of his career. Fans will miss him, though less than they would a flawed fantasist. PSG, however, will miss him terribly, just as Chelsea and Real Madrid continue to miss him. Makelele has indeed been a rare player. He has bent the sport to his will, or rather to suit his gifts and limitations. He has fulfilled his role with such expertise that he now defines it; Makelele has convinced the world that every team needs not a "water-carrier", but a "Makelele".
Makelele has always been an obvious, yet remarkable player. Obviously, yet remarkably, he remains by far the best "Makelele" we have seen.