Kevin De Bruyne leads the list of the best midfielders in the world and is widely recognised the best player in the world in his position.
It is often said that a strong attack wins you matches but a strong defence wins you the league. With that being said, what often goes unnoticed that any team is built around its midfield and having some of the best midfielders in the world makes a manager’s job much easier to achieve, both in defending and in scoring goals.
While there are several different roles and styles of midfielders that make comparisons difficult, we have tried to list the top 10 best midfielders in the world who mostly either influence the game in the central zones of the field or the attacking third.
With that being said, let’s get down to the list:
Best midfielders in the world: Top 10 list
|Player||Club||Country||Age||Career Appearances||Career Goals||Career Assists|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Manchester City||Belgium||31||535||134||195|
|Joshua Kimmich||Bayern Munich||Germany||27||376||39||83|
|Marco Verratti||Paris Saint-Germain||Italy||30||446||12||63|
|Bruno Fernandes||Manchester United||Portugal||28||404||124||96|
|Frenkie De Jong||FC Barcelona||The Netherlands||25||278||27||35|
|Luka Modric||Real Madrid||Croatia||37||606||65||92|
|Toni Kroos||Real Madrid||Germany||32||595||56||116|
|Ilkay Gundogan||Manchester City||Germany||32||464||69||52|
Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City and Belgium
Kevin De Bruyne is not only the best midfielder in the world by a large distance, he has also been the most consistent one on this list in the last few years. One of the best attacking midfielders of his generation, De Bruyne’s output for Manchester City has been nothing short of phenomenal.
A four-time Premier League winner over the last five years with Manchester City, De Bruyne is also the only player besides Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo to have won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year on consecutive occasions. He remains the yardstick for attacking midfielders in the world and he creates 3.5 chances every 90 minutes for City. De Bruyne has also struck a phenomenal partnership with City’s new number nine Erling Haaland and the club are expected to reap even greater rewards from it.
Pedri, FC Barcelona and Spain
Despite being an anonymous name only two years ago, Barcelona and Spain sensation Pedri has already made a gigantic and insurmountable leap towards the top of the game and is one of the best midfielders in the world right now. Compared to the wizardry of Andres Iniesta when on the ball and possessing the intelligence to hold positions, creating spaces that don’t exist and ghost into zones of reception without it, Pedri has already become the beating heart for the Barcelona side under Xavi.
He is one of the most prodigious young talents in world football and the 2021 Golden Boy award winner had a sensational season with Barcelona last year. He was also remarkable for Spain during the European Championship last summer.
Joshua Kimmich, Bayern Munich and Germany
Joshua Kimmich has been the fulcrum of the Bayern Munich side for a long time and is finally starting to receive his flowers. Kimmich is vital to Bayern Munich’s build-up in possession and his progressive carries into the final third allow the wingers and forwards to come into the picture. While Kimmich may not possess as many final passes or assists as some of the other names on this list due to the deeper nature of his role, there can be no mistake regarding his importance to the side.
Kimmich was one of the primary contributors to Bayern Munich winning a treble of silverware in 2020/21. Although he had a less than forgettable World Cup campaign where Germany were knocked out of the group stages, Kimmich may have a memorable season once gain as Bayern look like the favourites to pick up yet another Bundesliga title at the very least.
Marco Verratti, Paris Saint-Germain and Italy
One of the most underrated midfielders in the world, Marco Verratti is a genuine great of the modern game who has spent a large part of his career in the shadows of more illustrious players. To watch Verratti in the build-up stage is nothing less than a treat of its own. Fast on his toes, he is extremely press resistant and can get out of alarming situations very quickly and calmly which allows him to romp forward and progress the ball to the forwards.
Verratti is far from being a midfielder whose success on the pitch is exclusively because of his insane technical ability. He may look short in stature, but Verratti is combative and enjoys throwing in a challenge or duel even if it may end up in a booking. Injuries have hampered his career but Verratti continues to be as influential and consistent as ever.
Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United and Portugal
Hailed as one of the most productive midfielders in the Premier League, Bruno Fernandes has been consistently outrageous ever since he joined Manchester United in 2020. He was the highest-scoring midfielder in Europe in the 2018/19 season, where he grabbed 33 goals for Sporting Lisbon across all competitions.
Fernandes has brought the same output to Manchester United as well and consistently racks up goals and assists on a regular basis. The Portuguese midfielder scored 28 goals and put up 17 assists for his teammates across 58 appearances in his first full season at the club.
Frenkie De Jong, FC Barcelona and The Netherlands
Frenkie De Jong was at centre of a massive transfer saga between Barcelona and Manchester United in the summer of 2022. Although Barcelona were desperate to sell him, De Jong didn’t agree to it and held his ground, refusing to listen to any offers. Frenkie continues to be one of the most reliable central midfielders in the world and is an extremely important presence for both Barcelona and the Dutch national team.
De Jong burst on to the scene as a precocious young talent for Ajax and while his career has not exactly lived up to the potential he once promised following his move to Barcelona, he is still phenomenal while driving up the pitch with the ball and is among the best in the world at that facet of the game. He can also avoid opposition press with his outstanding turn and spatial awareness.
Luka Modric, Real Madrid and Croatia
Real Madrid were on the verge of getting knocked out of the Champions League 2021/22 at the hands of Chelsea with only 10 minutes remaining, despite winning the first leg 3-1 away from home at Stamford Bridge. However, much to their fortune, a recurring phenomenon over the years, Luka Modric came clutch. The Croatian midfield genius picked out Rodrgyo in the box with the most nonchalant outside-of-the-boot pass and while the technique itself was outstanding, it was the weight that he put on the ball that was inch-precise and allowed the Brazilian winger to finish it off first time.
37-year-old Modric continues to be the engine and the creative heartbeat of the Real Madrid side that conquered the Champions League as well as La Liga last year. Hailed as one of the greats of the modern era, Modric is compared to the likes of Xavi and Iniesta and is without a doubt, one of the best midfielders in the world even at his ripe old age.
Thiago, Liverpool and Spain
Thiago has been a massive revelation for Liverpool since signing for them from Bayern Munich. At this point in his career, he is almost single-handedly carrying the Liverpool midfield and is a delight to watch whenever he is in his zone.
Thiago’s technical abilities make him one of the top 10 best midfielders in the world year after year. He is a fantastic controller of tempo in the middle of the park and also possesses a fantastic pass in his locker which allows him to spray the ball towards the wingers and forwards regularly throughout the game. To his dismay, his career hasn’t reached the heights it should’ve because of injuries but Thiago is a world-class player any day of the week.
Toni Kroos, Real Madrid and Germany
It would be criminal to end a list of the best midfielders in the world without Toni Kroos in it. The German international is still the chief occupant of the engine room at Real Madrid and he cannot be afforded time on the ball. With an eye for a defence splitting long-ball, Kroos can virtually dissect any backline and still make it look effortless and casual.
Kroos’ partnership with Modric and Casemiro was one of the fundamental reasons behind Real Madrid winning three Champions Leagues in a row and he has also won the FIFA World Cup with Germany. He is phenomenal at releasing the ball at the very last moment that often ends up making the difference in a forward being through on goal.
Ilkay Gundogan, Manchester City and Germany
Having been coached by both Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, there is no doubt that Ilkay Gundogan is one of the best and smartest midfielders in the world. He was the first acquisition for Guardiola when he came to Manchester City in 2016 and since then, has played a crucial role in transforming them into a powerhouse in England.
He can take on several roles for his side. From controlling the tempo of the game to winning balls in the middle of the park to spraying passes upfront as a deep-lying playmaker or making runs into the box to score important goals, Gundogan possess both versatility and technical proficiency.
Who is the best attacking midfielder in the world?
Kevin De Bruyne is the best attacking midfielder in the world.
Who are the best young midfielders in the world at the moment?
Pedri, Gavi, Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala are some of the most promising and best young midfielders in the world.