The top 10 best midfielders in the world right now
Midfielders come in all shapes and sizes, from the deep-lying players that pull the strings in front of the back four to the no-nonsense, aggressive disrupter, the relentless players who don’t give the opposition a moment to breathe, and the playmakers who bring flair and creativity to the middle of the pitch.
Here are the top 10 midfielders in the world right now.
10. Declan Rice, West Ham and England
West Ham raised a few eyebrows when they put a £100 million price tag on Rice’s head in the summer, but that doesn’t look so silly now.
Rice drove West Ham to a top-six finish last year and was a key member of England’s Euro 2020 starting XI.
Rice ranks seventh in the league this year for total tackles, seventh for interceptions, and fourth for pass success rate (92%). He is a key man, not only in West Ham’s European charge this season, but England’s World Cup hopes in Qatar.
9. Leon Goretzka, Bayern Munich and Germany
Bundesliga manager Peter Neururer described Goretzka as the “talent of the century,” and the Bayern Munich midfielder is living up to the hype.
Since switching from Schalke to Munich, Goretzka’s game has stepped up a notch. A new training regime saw him bulk up without losing any of his speed, and now he’s a three-time Bundesliga winner, a Champions League winner, and a key part of the German national team.
8. Marco Verratti, PSG and Italy
One of most technically gifted playmakers in the game, Marco Verratti was touted as one of the best young midfielders in Europe when he helped Pescara win the Serie B title in 2011.
He made the huge move to PSG the following season and has won seven league titles and 20 other trophies in the last decade.
Verratti was named top performer in Euro 2020, as he claimed three assists on the way to Italy’s win.
7. Marcos Llorente, Atletico Madrid and Spain
Real Madrid sold Marcos Llorente to their city rivals Atletico in 2019, and it turned out to be a disastrous move in hindsight for Real fans.
Llorente had a phenomenal 2020-21 season, as he was directly involved in 23 goals – scoring 12 and assisting another 11 – as Atletico won their first league title since 2014. He is one of Spain’s most exciting midfielders as we move towards the 2022 World Cup.
6. Jack Grealish, Manchester City and England
The most expensive English player of all time at £100 million, Jack Grealish is worth that price tag.
One of the best dribblers in the game, Grealish has the ability to ghost past opposing players, and in his last two seasons with Aston Villa, he scored 14 goals and bagged another 16 assists.
Now in nine league games with Manchester City, he’s having a huge contribution, averaging 2.9 key passes per match.
5. Jorginho, Chelsea and Italy
Jorginho picked up the 2020-21 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award for an incredible season in which he played a key part in Chelsea’s Champions League victory.
Just a few weeks later, he helped Italy to Euro 2020 success in Wembley.
Jorginho may have missed his penalty in the final shoot-out, but it was his decisive penalty that got Italy to that game, as they beat Spain in the semi-final.
Nobody covered as much ground (86.6km) or made more interceptions (25) at Euro 2020, as Jorginho broke up opposition play and set Italy up for success.
4. Joshua Kimmich, Bayern Munich and Germany
Pep Guardiola described Kimmich as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world while he was coach of Bayern Munich, and it makes sense not to argue with Pep.
Kimmich is a six-time Bundesliga winner and Champions League winner with Munich, and can play across midfield or in defense.
A likely future captain for club and country, Kimmich was a key reason for Bayern’s treble-winning season in 2020-21 and is the first name on the team sheet in one of the best club sides in the world.
3. N’golo Kante, Chelsea and France
Kante is an absolute workhorse and still doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Rarely does any player out-run Kante, who covers every blade of grass every week.
Kante was one of the biggest contributors to Leicester’s incredible underdog Premier League win in 2015-16 before he made a £32 million move to Chelsea. He’s gone on to win another Premier League title, an FA Cup, and a Champions League, as well as the World Cup in 2018 with France.
2. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City and Belgium
Kevin De Bruyne is one of the most exciting midfielders of his generation.
The Belgian has 21 goals and 32 assists in his last 68 league games for Manchester City and averages a goal or assist every 99 minutes in the Premier League.
Since joining the Citizens, he has won three league titles, five League Cups, an FA Cup, and was a key part of City becoming the only team to attain 100 points in a single season.
Despite injuries disrupting his campaign this year, he is a star player among one of the most talented squads in the world.
1. Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United and Portugal
Arguably the greatest playmaker in the world, Bruno Fernandes was the highest scoring midfielder in Europe in 2018-19 and was fresh off the back of being named Primeira Liga Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.
No surprise then when Manchester United snapped him up for €55 million in January 2020.
In the two years since, Fernandes has scored 30 goals and assisted another 22 in the league, and has another 12 goals and 10 assists in Europe, as he’s been a bright spark for the Red Devils.