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The 10 Best Midfielders In The World Right Now, Named And Ranked

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The 10 Best Midfielders In The World Right Now, Named And Ranked

With the way football has become specialised, with its attacking midfielders and holding midfielders and the way managers like Pep Guardiola want their players to be able to interchange at will, there are fewer and fewer pure pivots anymore.

The list below however, is made up of the best all-round midfielders in the world. 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. Toni Kroos

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 24 appearances
  • 3 goals
  • 10 assists
  • 93.6% pass success
  • 1.5 tackles per game
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Despite a disappointing season in Zinedine Zidane’s final year as Real Madrid boss, his effect on the career of Toni Kroos can’t be ignored. Zidane moved the German talisman into a deeper role which allowed Kroos to influence the game from the very start of attacks. Boringly accurate with his passing, expect the 31-year-old to enjoy a new lease of life under Carlo Ancelotti, the manager he left Bayern Munich to play for.

Toni Kroos (PA Images)
Toni Kroos (PA Images)

9. Marco Verratti

  • 2020/21 Season Stats:
  • 16 appearances
  • 0 goals
  • 2 assists
  • 91.7% pass success
  • 2.5 tackles per game
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PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino had to make do without his playmaker extraordinaire for large chunks of 2020/21 as injury and COVID (twice) knocked Marco Verratti out of the line-up. A proven ball-winner, the tenacious Italian, when fit, is the first name on the star-studded PSG team sheet and was a key part of Roberto Mancini’s side’s Euro 2021 triumph and 34-match unbeaten run.

marco verratti (PA Images)
marco verratti (PA Images)

8. Paul Pogba

2020/21 Season Stats:

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  • 21 appearances
  • 3 goals
  • 3 assists
  • 83% pass success
  • 1.4 tackles per game

Frustratingly for United fans, there are only ever glimpses of the national team version of Paul Pogba when he’s in Manchester colours. If Gary Neville and Pogba’s agent are to be believed, this season could be Pogba’s last in the Premier League. A slow start in 2020/21 gave way to a January in which, at times, he looked better than Bruno Fernandes. His explosive start to the 2021/22 campaign was a timely reminder of his talents.

Paul Pogba (PA Images)
Paul Pogba (PA Images)

7. Sergio Busquets

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2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 32 appearances
  • 0 goals
  • 5 assists
  • 91.3% pass success
  • 1.8 tackles per game

While Sergio Busquets may have lost a step from his younger days, the 33-year-old Spain star relies far more on his speed of thought and his impeccable reading of the game to make an impact. That was evidenced by his outstanding performance at what was likely to be his last Euros.

Sergio Busquets (PA Images)
Sergio Busquets (PA Images)

6. Frenkie de Jong

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 35 appearances
  • 3 goals
  • 4 assists
  • 91.9% pass success
  • 1.2 tackles per game

As you’d expect from a player brought through the ranks of Ajax, the team that gave the world ‘total football’, Frenkie de Jong’s versatility stands out. The Dutchman grew into his new role in his second season at Barcelona and cemented his position as one of the best central midfielders on the planet.

Frenkie De Jong (PA Images)
Frenkie De Jong (PA Images)

5. Leon Goretzka

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 18 appearances
  • 5 goals
  • 5 assists
  • 87.7% pass success
  • 1.0 tackles per game

With Manchester City, Liverpool and Barcelona among the teams hovering, Leon Goretzka disappointed them all by reportedly signing a new deal to remain at Bayern Munich until 2026. A dynamic midfield presence, the 26-year-old’s work in tandem with Joshua Kimmich, also 26, provides the Germans with a solid heart for years to come.

Leon Goretzka (PA Images
Leon Goretzka (PA Images

4. Bruno Fernandes

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 35 appearances
  • 18 goals
  • 12 assists
  • 78.3% pass success
  • 1.5 tackles per game

In a mirror image of his United teammate Pogba, Bruno Fernandes is electric when playing for the Red Devils but an enigma when on Portugal duty. Given licence to roam behind the frontmen in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s system, his eye for goal and the ability to play in his forward players, he’s one of the Premier League’s best. 40 goals and 26 assists in his first 80 games for United tell the tale but his role changes when playing for the national team, shifting him deeper to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to do Cristiano Ronaldo things. Will that happen now he has joined United, too?

Bruno Fernandes (PA Images)
Bruno Fernandes (PA Images)

3. Joshua Kimmich

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 25 appearances
  • 4 goals
  • 10 assists
  • 86.3% pass success
  • 1.5 tackles per game

The future of the German midfield now that Toni Kroos has stepped aside, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka set the tone in the middle of the Bayern Munich team that won its ninth consecutive Bundesliga title in 2020/21. Employed at right-back, centre-back, centre-mid and on the right of midfield, Kimmich is able to ping the ball all over the pitch but is also not shy when it comes to putting it to the opposition.

Joshua Kimmich (PA Images)
Joshua Kimmich (PA Images)

2. N’Golo Kante

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 24 appearances
  • 0 goals
  • 2 assists
  • 86.5% pass success
  • 2.6 tackles per game

The driving force behind Thomas Tuchel’s glorious end to Chelsea’s 2020/21 season, N’Golo Kante was able to add an FA Cup final and Champions League title to his resumé that already included a Premier League title with Leicester and World Cup win with France. Able to single-handedly destroy opponents’ game plans, Kante should be even more explosive with a full season of Tuchel’s tutelage.

N'Golo Kante (PA Images)
N'Golo Kante (PA Images)

1. Kevin de Bruyne

2020/21 Season Stats:

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

“For me, De Bruyne is the best playmaker in world football. The capacity he has to read the game, to play with appreciation of time and space is unique,” so says Belgium manager Roberto Martinez. Whether it’s linking play for Manchester City or his country or firing one of his laser-guided passes, the Belgian is world-class, hence his short-listing for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for last season. Despite missing a chunk of the season through injury (and ending his Champions League Final early), he led the Premier League in chances created from open play and had twice as many assists as any of his City teammates.

Kevin De Bruyne (PA Images)
Kevin De Bruyne (PA Images)

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Bruno Fernandes, Joshua Kimmich, Kevin De Bruyne, Ngolo Kante, Paul Pogba, Toni Kroos

Colin Hubbuck
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