Ten of the Best Midfielders in the World

Strikers may score most of the goals, but many of the game’s real artisans reside in midfield. Here are 10 of the best midfielders in the world.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid in action during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match between Real Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 23, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.
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Ronaldo's favored position is in wide midfield, although he can also function behind the striker or as a center forward. One of the most eye-catching players in the world game, Ronaldo's array of skills make him worth the admission fee alone. His step over is world renowned, and he scores an abnormally high number of goals for someone who does not regularly play as an out-and-out striker. More »

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Arjen Robben (Netherlands & Bayern Munich)

Arjen Robben
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Robben has that deadly combination of pace and skill that frightens defenses. He also has end product, with an impressive goalscoring record over the years. Injuries have undermined him, but when on song, there are few better wide players in the world game.

Eden Hazard
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One of the best wingers in the world, Hazard has not disappointed since his big-money move from Lille in 2012. A defender's nightmare, Hazard can dribble at pace in a similar fashion to Lionel Messi. He has had no difficulty scoring goals in the Premier League, although his workrate has been questioned by manager Jose Mourinho. More »

Andres Iniesta
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Scorer of Spain’s World Cup winning goal against Holland in the 2010 World Cup final, the midfield star is one of the country’s most loved players and is even spared the usual hostile reception that Barcelona players receive when they visit Real Madrid. An excellent dribbler, who is superb at linking midfield and attack. Player of the tournament as Spain retained the European Championships in 2012. More »

Arturo Vidal
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Vidal has built on the reputation he gained at Bayer Leverkusen for being an excellent all-round midfielder. The difference is that he is now in the spotlight and seems to have relished the extra attention. Vidal can defend, pass the ball with assurance and also break into the area to score important goals. A successful spell at Juventus, where he won four Serie A titles, eared him a move to Bayern Munich in 2015. One of the most dynamic midfielders around. More »

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David Silva (Spain & Manchester City)

David Silva
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The tough confines of the Premier League do not appear ideally suited to the Spanish midfielder’s subtle skills. But after a slow start following his move from Valencia to Manchester City in 2010, the playmaker has emerged as one of the best players in the league. If Silva had not made it as a player, he would have wanted to become a surgeon, which comes as little surprise given the way he slices through Premier League defenses with those deft through balls and incisive dribbles.

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Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast & Manchester City)

Yaya Toure
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Watching the Manchester City star slip through the gears as he carries the ball through midfield is reminiscent of a Roy Keane or Patrick Vieira in his pomp. Yaya felt undervalued at Barcelona but has emerged as one of the key players in City’s ambitious project. The 2011, 2012 and 2013 African Footballer of the Year has deceptive pace, is tigerish in the tackle and scores his fair share of goals in a more attacking role than he was previously accustomed to.
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Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany & Manchester United)

Bastian Schweinsteiger
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The Manchester United star is one of the best all round players in world soccer. Capable of setting the tempo of a game with his impressive passing repertoire, he can also shoot from distance and is considered one of the leaders in the Germany dressing room. It is not a coincidence that this youth product survived many managerial sackings and regular squad clear outs at the Allianz Arena before making a move to United in July 2015. A Bavarian legend.

Cesc Fabregas
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Fabregas finally secured his desired move from Arsenal to boyhood club Barcelona in 2011 but he failed to hit the heights in Catalonia, struggling to adapt to the system, despite a respectable goals return in his three years at Camp Nou. Arsenal reportedly passed up the opportunity to re-sign him in 2014, and he instead joined London rivals Chelsea where he is set to see out the best years of his career. The Spaniard is the new heartbeat of the Blues midfield, his passing and creativity making him one of the first names on Jose Mourinho's team sheet. More »

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Luka Modric (Croatia & Real Madrid)

Luka Modric and Neymar
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Resembling Xavi in style, Real Madrid finally snared Modric from Tottenham in 2012 for a reported fee of $50 million and in 2014 he helped them win with Champions League. Injuries have undermined the Croatian during his time at the Bernabeu and Real miss him when he isn't there. Modric may not score as many goals as he should, but compensates for that with the sort of tempo-setting performances that make him such a precious commodity in world soccer.