Ranked! The 10 best central midfielders in the world
5. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
De Bruyne isn’t the best footballer in the world, but he’s arguably the most complete. Creative, powerful, skilful and dynamic, the Manchester City man can pass, shoot, dribble, tackle and cross - and all with either foot.
The Belgian contributes in every phase of the game; he has the technical ability of a luxury player without being anything like a luxury. He was the star man in Manchester City’s record-breaking title triumph last term, but has suffered with injury ever since and started only seven league games this term. On ability alone he's clearly much higher up this list.
4. David Silva (Manchester City)
A Manchester City mainstay since his arrival in the Premier League eight years ago, Silva won his third title after a superb individual season in 2017/18. Capable of playing on the right, as a No.10 or in the slightly deeper midfield role he’s been used in by Pep Guardiola, the Spanish schemer is a master at running games and finding spaces that seemingly don't exist.
Silva’s decision-making is almost flawless, and his tremendous technique means he’s invariably able to execute those ideas. He’s even begun to add more goals to his game in the last couple of years, becoming an even more rounded player at the age of 33.
3. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Kroos is Real Madrid’s heartbeat; the player who sets the tempo and makes things tick in the centre of the park. A pass master who rarely gives possession away, the former Bayern Munich midfielder is one of the best distributors on the planet, be it over long or short distances.
He’s an extremely clever player too, able to find space in a crowded centre and know exactly when to speed the game up or slow it down. Real Madrid have endured a sorry season to date, but Kroos is one of few players they've usually come to rely upon for his consistency since signing in summer 2014.
2. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Kante is a very different type of player to the majority of his peers listed here, but he’s undoubtedly one of the world’s top midfielders beloved by all. A two-time Premier League champion and World Cup winner last summer, the 27-year-old has made ball-winning fashionable since he played an instrumental role in Leicester’s title triumph of 2015/16.
Quick, tenacious and intelligent, Kante is so much more than a sitting midfielder who patrols a small area of the field. He has been entrusted with a role further forward under Maurizio Sarri, and while few believe it to be the Frenchman's best position, he is going about it in his usual unfussy way. Name a club that wouldn't want him in their side.
1. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Modric turned 33 in September but celebrated a first Ballon d'Or success shortly after, breaking the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly. Last year was the best of his career: after helping Real Madrid win their third consecutive Champions League in May, the ex-Tottenham man starred as Croatia reached the World Cup final for the first time in their history two months later.
Modric is an influential midfielder who raises the game of those around him. He suffered a torrid start to 2018/19 off the back of a gruelling summer, and won't look back on this campaign with anywhere near the same warmth as the last, but find us a better – or more consistent – passer around.