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Who Is The Best Central Midfielder Of The 21st Century?

Ryan Sidle

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Who Is The Best Central Midfielder Of The 21st Century?

So that's the defensive line and goalkeeper sorted it's time to move on to the men who are going to make our team of the 21st century a real attacking force to be reckoned with.

For those of you who want to continue the done to death argument of who was better between Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes now is your chance to vote.

But a word of warning there's a good chance you'll be picking someone completely different. Don't forget to vote.

Let's meet the candidates!

Esteban Cambiasso:

A La Liga winner with Real Madrid before moving to Inter Milan where he became an integral part of a team that won five Serie A titles in a row, culminating the 2010 treble. Helped keep Leicester in the Premier League before they went on to win the league.

Cambiasso kisses the Champions League trophy. Image: PA Images.

Steven Gerrard:

Probably the best Premier League player never to have got his hands on the trophy but his performance in the Champions League final of 2005 alone could have got him on this list. Could have left Anfield and won more silverware but stayed with the team he loved.


The 2005 Champions League belonged to Gerrard. Image: PA Images.

Andres Iniesta:

In a world of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo it's quite an achievement to finish second in the Ballon d'Or and split them, as done by Iniesta in 2010. Has eight league titles and four Champions League's to his name plus two Euros and a World Cup, including a final winning goal in 2010.

Man of the Match winner in the 2010 World Cup final. Image: PA Images.


Speaking of the Ballon d'Or the Brazilian is the last man to win the award before the Messi/Ronaldo era. A one time Serie A and La Liga winner and also got his hands on the Champions League and World Cup. Underperformed at Real but a hell of a player with Milan.


In his glory days at Milan. Image: PA Images.

Frank Lampard:

There is no goal scoring midfielder better than Lampard. Chelsea's all time top scorer just seemed to know when to arrive in the box and it inevitably led to a goal. Four time Premier League and one time Champions League winner.

Lampard and Terry
Lampard and Terry

Chelsea without these two still seems a bit weird. Image: PA Images.

Claude Makelele:

You know you're good when a position on the pitch is named after you. Sure there'd been defensive midfielders before the Frenchman but he defined the 'Makelele role,' by standing out in a team of Galacticos. Won Champions League and La Ligas with Real before titles with Chelsea.

An important building block of the Abramovich era. Image: PA Images.

Luka Modric:

Mad to think the Croatian was voted as worst signing of the season months after moving to Real Madrid. Now won three Champions Leagues with Los Blancos and was arguably more deserving of this year's Ballon d'Or than Cristiano Ronaldo.

As good on the ball as anyone. Image: PA Images.

Andrea Pirlo:

No classier operator on or off the pitch. Won two Serie A titles and two Champions League titles with Milan. They thought he was done and then he won four league titles with Juve. Won the World Cup and mastered free kicks.

Pirlo Brekko
Pirlo Brekko

No Pirlo, no party. Image: PA Images.

Bastian Schweinsteiger:

As well as having the most wonderfully German name going the former Bayern Munich midfielder was a pretty good footballer. Won eight Bundesliga titles and a Champions League with Bayern. World Cup winner in Brazil.


Just about make him out there. Image: PA Images.

Paul Scholes:

It seems like people either highly overrate or underrate Paul Scholes but he was still a bloody good player. So good he won a Premier League title after retiring! Plus the seven before hanging up his boots and Champions League win. Couldn't tackle mind.

Scoring the goal that took United to the 2008 Champions League final. Image: PA Images.

Clarence Seedorf:

In all the charity matches since retiring the Dutchman has shown he could still be playing. Two Champions League titles with Milan made him the only man to win it with three different clubs, also won two Italian league titles.

With Pirlo and Kaka he's the third of that Milan midfield in the poll. Image: PA Images.

Wesley Sneijder:

Another who probably should be a Ballon d'Or winner. He doesn't have the longevity of everyone else but for the 2009/10 season alone deserves to be on here. So important to Inter's treble win and Netherland's run to the World Cup final.

2009/10 was Wesley Sneijder's season. Image: PA Images.


The embodiment of tiki taka and man with over 700 Barcelona and 130 Spain appearances to his name. Seven time La Liga winner, four times Champions League winner, two Euros and a World Cup to his name. The perfect partnership with Iniesta.


Xavi got used to lifting titles in his career. Image: PA Images.

Zinedine Zidane:

If Zizou has made management look easy then he made playing look even easier. Two time FIFA World Player of the Year, Euro 2000 winner, one La Liga and one Champions League. Took France to the World Cup final in 2006, put them ahead and then the biggest moment in any World Cup final.

Possibly the most iconic sight in football history. Image: PA Images.

Yes the next three aren't in alphabetical order because I a) forgot to put them in somehow or b) had long debates about their inclusion.

Xabi Alonso:

An important part of Spain's dominance whilst also capturing Champions League glory with Liverpool and Real Madrid and league titles with Real and Bayern Munich. Great passer and scorer of halfway line goals.

Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso

Just look at him! Image: PA Images.

Sergio Busquets:

Rounding off Spain and Barcelona's dominance of the last eight years of football. Busquets might dive and not be as glamorous as Xavi or Iniesta but he's been just as important in the Pep and post Pep era for the Catalans.


His strengths allow others to show off theirs. Image: PA Images.

Patrick Vieira:

Roy Keane may feel hard done to, missing out here, but Vieira's brilliance continued more in the 00s than the Irishman's did. Unbeaten season with Arsenal before being stripped of the Serie A title with Juventus and then redemption with four titles with Inter. An FA Cup with Manchester City and Euros with France.


Loved a challenge did Vieira. Image: PA Images.

Don't forget to vote!

Topics: Xavi, Lampard, zidane, Gerrard

Ryan Sidle
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