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​The 10 Best Attacking Midfielders In The World Right Now, Ranked​

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​The 10 Best Attacking Midfielders In The World Right Now, Ranked​

With arguably the two best players in the world battling it out for the top spot, this list of the 10 best attacking midfielders certainly isn't top heavy.

From top to bottom, there is playmaking quality throughout - with a mixture of experience and youthful exuberance represented.

We've used a number of stats from last season to quantify our rankings, as well as a player's overall contribution to the game in recent times. So who makes it into our top 10?

All stats come from WhoScored.com and are correct as of the publish date.

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10) Aaron Ramsey

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2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 13 appearances
  • 2 goals
  • 4 assists
  • 87.1% pass success
  • 1.4 key passes per game

It's not so much what Aaron Ramsey does on the pitch, it's how he does it. The Welshman plays with a smile on his face and, while his 2020/21 season at Juventus didn't pull up any trees, he's still a gifted attacker. That was evident at Euro 2021 where his incredible timing and running saw him combine with Gareth Bale again and again against Turkey before he put Wales ahead.

Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey
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9) Marco Reus

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 27 appearances
  • 8 goals
  • 6 assists
  • 81.7% pass success
  • 1.5 key passes per game

Dortmund's 2020/21 trio of young attacking talent - 18-year-old Giovanni Reyna, Erling Haaland (20) and Jadon Sancho (21) - combined for 39 Bundesliga goals. Sitting behind them at number 10, pulling the strings, was Dortmund's 32-year-old captain Marco Reus. "It's good to have him on the pitch talking to me and giving me advice," said Sancho. "Because when he tells me things I listen." The two-time winner of Germany's Footballer of the Year award has the experience, finishing and vision to make him worth listening to.

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marco reus
marco reus

8) Papu Gomez

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 20 appearances (9 Atalanta/11 Sevilla)
  • 7 goals (4 Atalanta/3 Sevilla)
  • 3 assists (2 Atalanta/1 Sevilla)
  • 84.8%/88.9% pass success
  • 1.9/0.9 key passes per game
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The Argentinian playmaker has come up the long way but is finally getting his due. From Argentina via Italy then Ukraine, Papu Gomez spent seven seasons at Atalanta (setting the Serie A season record for assists in 2019/20) before landing a deal to take him to Sevilla in January. Used mainly as an attacking midfielder or secondary striker, the Argentinian's movement off the ball and finding pockets of space make him invaluable. Scored twice and had an assist in Argentina's victorious Copa America campaign.

Papu Gomez
Papu Gomez

7) Mason Mount

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 32 appearances
  • 6 goals
  • 5 assists
  • 86.5% pass success
  • 2.4 key passes per game

Able to play any of the forward positions, Mason Mount has seen his career take off in the last three seasons. On loan at Derby under Frank Lampard, he stepped his game up when the pair returned to Chelsea and became a vital cog in Thomas Tuchel's machine. He was instrumental in England's run to the Euro 2021 final and Gareth Southgate understands his value to the national team: "He is an exceptional player, he finds space intelligently, he creates chances, he scores goals," said the coach.

mason mount
mason mount

6) Thomas Muller

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 31 appearances
  • 11 goals
  • 18 assists
  • 75% pass success
  • 2.9 key passes per game

It may seem to England fans that Thomas Muller has been around forever but the most decorated footballer in German history is still only 31. Thirteen Bundesliga titles, a World Cup Golden Boot (2010) and a 2014 World Cup winner, Muller can play anywhere on or behind the forward line. Despite his late miss against England, the German is known for his icy veins, ability to create chances and his scoring - 39 for Germany in 106 caps and 129 for Bayern in 383 appearances.

thomas muller
thomas muller

5) Kai Havertz

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 18 appearances
  • 4 goals
  • 3 assists
  • 84.9% pass success
  • 0.7 key passes per game

Scoring the winner in the Champions League final is the perfect end to a debut season with a new club, but Kai Havertz's first year at Chelsea didn't go completely smoothly. A change of managers, injury and catching COVID-19 were a few of the setbacks that the 21-year-old overcame to establish himself as a Thomas Tuchel and fan favourite.

kai havertz
kai havertz

4) Marcos Llorente

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 33 appearances
  • 12 goals
  • 11 assists
  • 84.6% pass success
  • 1.2 key passes per game

When he first switched Madrid teams from Real to Atletico, Marcos Llorente was used as in a defensive midfield role but when Diego Simeone moved him forward, he blossomed. "He can play anywhere," said Simeone, but it was his pace, first touch and movement that saw him finish second in La Liga in assists. At Euro 2021, he completed 94% of his passes as Spain reached the final four.

marcos llorente
marcos llorente

3) Bruno Fernandes

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 35 appearances
  • 18 goals
  • 12 assists
  • 78.3% pass success
  • 2.6 key passes per game

Playing just off the striker at Manchester United, Bruno Fernandes has been a revelation since arriving at Old Trafford. Last season, he finished behind only Harry Kane and Mo Salah in scoring and only Kane in assists. His lethal set pieces and trademark move of attacking the spaces between a full-back and central defender and then shooting have made him a hero in Manchester. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has built his 4-2-3-1 formation around the Portuguese and has been rewarded with 38 goals and 25 assists in all competitions.

bruno fernandes
bruno fernandes

2) Kevin De Bruyne

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 23 appearances
  • 6 goals
  • 12 assists
  • 81.7% pass success
  • 3.2 key passes per game

Kevin de Bruyne "sees things others cannot see" according to Pep Guardiola (thankfully not dead people) and that's what, simply put, makes him the best attacking midfielder in the world not named Lionel Messi. Since joining Manchester City six years ago, the Champions League may have eluded him but he's won the Premier League three times, five League Cups and an FA Cup. His vision and range of passing are matched only by his timing and the intelligence of his runs, and his playmaking is behind Belgium's rise to the No1 ranking.

kevin de bruyne
kevin de bruyne

1) Lionel Messi

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 33 appearances
  • 30 goals
  • 9 assists
  • 85.1% pass success
  • 2.2 key passes per game

Now that Argentina's Copa America campaign has ended in victory, football's decision makers can turn their attention to trying to lure free agent/best footballer on earth Lionel Messi to their team. Messi's contract with Barcelona expired at the end of June making him available for nothing. PSG and Manchester City have been on alert as talks over a new deal with Barcelona drag on. What else is there say about the man himself when it comes to forward play. His 672 goals in all competitions for Barca are more than the next four players on the scoring list combined and he's the proud owner of six Ballon D'Ors. At 34, he may be closer to the end than the beginning of his career, but he remains at the top of the tree.

lionel messi
lionel messi

All images are credit to PA.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Bruno Fernandes, Mason Mount, Lionel Messi, Kevin de Bruyne

Colin Hubbuck
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