The Top 10 Center Midfielders in the World Today

The center midfield position is one of the most important in the game of soccer. Center mids direct the attack by creating opportunities for the strikers and spraying passes all over the field. But, they also have to get back on defense, which is why one must be in top physical condition to do well as a box-to-box player. Do well in the center of the park and your fans are sure to love you and give you legendary status; however, when things aren’t going well, the center midfield players are often the first to get fingers pointed at them. Clearly, the position is one of the toughest to excel at, but these ten players are the very cream of the crop when it comes to the world’s best central midfielders. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments section on who should be higher, lower, on the list, or off the list.
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10. Luka Modric – Modric had a breakout campaign for Tottenham two seasons ago, as he led Tottenham’s impressive little run in the UEFA Champions League. Modric is great with both feet and moves off the ball extremely well. He also has become one of the best in the world at tracking back to gain possession of the ball, then immediately transitioning the team forward to counterattack. This offseason, the Spurs have valued Modric at 40 million pounds, which is a testament to how highly they grade him. Whether another club, such as Chelsea, also value him at 40 million remains to be seen. Still, without Modric, the Spurs would be a completely different team, which is why they are insisting on keeping him.

9. Wesley Sneijder – Sneijder revived his career when he moved from Real Madrid to Inter Milan in 2009. The short Dutchman is a free-kick master, but also brings much more to the table than just that. Sneijder displays an uncanny ability to link up passes with teammates and also make driving runs from his midfield position. In addition, he was one of the main reasons why Holland made it to the World Cup Final in 2010.

8. Xabi Alonso –
Recently rumors were swirling that Alonso would be named Real Madrid’s newest captain, and if that is the case, it would be well deserved. Alonso rose to stardom during his five year run with Liverpool, during which time he was vice-captain to Steven Gerrard. Now with Real Madrid, Alonso is known for his ability to play the long ball, especially long through balls, to free up teammates. In fact, many believe Alonso is the best in the business at doing so. Although Alonso isn’t the most gifted player athletically which can be seen by his at times clumsy challenges, Alonso’s skill and passing ability make him one of the best in the game today.

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7. Yaya Toure – Yaya is an absolute force in the center of the park for Manchester City, and was always one of the first names on the team sheet for Roberto Mancini’s Premier League winning side. Toure’s combination of size and strength would be enough for him to be a great midfielder, but the fact that he also posesses a tireless work ethic, world-class ball skills and inginuity on the ball make him one of the very best center mids in the world today.

6. Steven Gerrard – Lampard’s long-time partner in the center for England, Gerrard is widely considered to be one of the greatest center midfielders of all time. The long-time Liverpool captain is known to be a complete midfielder, excelling on both generating goals as well as thwarting the opponent’s attack. His natural leadership and never-say-die attitude have made him a Liverpool legend, not to mention his rocket right foot, long range passing, and blistering runs from the midfield. The only reason he is not higher on this list is his recent injury problems; if he is at full-strength this year, don’t be surprised to see him look like the best center midfielder in the world again, even at age 32.

5. Andrea Pirlo- A few weeks ago the casual fan may have brushed aside Pirlo in the discussion for the worlds finest center midfielders, but Pirlo proved at Euro 2012 that he is still world class. Although 33-years-old, Pirlo is showing very few signs that he is slowing down. He was brilliant for Italy and the main reason they made a somewhat surprising run all the way to the finals. Although most players would be entering the twilight of their careers at his age, Pirlo may have found the proverbial fountain of youth. His free kicks are as lethal as ever, his flair and creativity are still second to none, and his will to win is unmatched.

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4. Cesc Fabregas – Having finally been given the chance to make his mark for Spain, Cesc is one of the greatest central midfielders in the game today. Since he broke through with Arsenal at such a young age, it is easy to forget that the Spaniard is only 25 and may not have even hit his prime yet, which is a scary prospect. With his passing ability and creative flair with the ball, it is no wonder the Gunners hawere so reluctant to sell their captain. Now that Barca have him, he is taking his game to an even higher level for the Catalan giants.

3. Andres Iniesta – After scoring the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup for Spain, Iniesta was called the greatest player in the world by some, let alone the greatest central midfielder for that matter. He easily could be 1 or 2 on this list due to his precesion passing and seemingly-telepathic ability to understand his teammates’ tendancies. Even against the stingiest of defenses, Iniestia can find a hole or create a chance out of nothing through his ingenuity and slick passing.

2. Bastian Schweinsteiger- The big German’s stock has been rising ever since he broke through with the German National Team in 2004. He is now widely considered to be one of the best players in the world, which is why many of the top teams in the world have been trying to line up a sufficient bid to buy the playmaker, even though Bayern Munich say he is not for sale. Not only is Basti a brilliant passer but he is also the best defensive midfielder in the game today. He can and will make the crucial tackle to win the ball, and then a few seconds later punish you with his rocket shot. With his natural fit in the center midfield, you’d assume he’s been playing there his whole career. The scary thing is, he just switched from winger to central midfield a couple of seasons ago and is still improving his craft with every game he plays.

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1. Xavi Hernandez – Even at age 32, Xavi is still the best there is in the central midfield. The Spaniard is the world’s greatest passer, and he single-handedly sets the pace for Barcelona and Spain’s possession styles of play. When the going gets tough for the best club and the best country in the world, both look to Xavi, and he does not disappoint. He calms the squad and gets them into their trademark passing games in the blink of an eye. Additionally, Xavi is brilliant on set-pieces and can also score the occasional goal. However, Xavi’s game is setting up teammates and with good reason, as the unselfish Spanish player is the best there is at his trade.