Ranked! The 10 best central midfielders in the world
5. 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 from the engine room.
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 32.
4. 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. A two-time Premier League champion and World Cup winner in the 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. His forward bursts should become even more prominent under Maurizio Sarri, and the Frenchman is set to prove he has several more strings to his bow than were previously assumed.
3. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Kroos is Real Madrid and Germany’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 of the ball on the planet, be it over long or short distances.
He’s an extremely clever player too, who is able to find space in a crowded centre and know exactly when to speed the game up or slow it down. Kroos also demonstrated his set-piece prowess at the World Cup, bending in a brilliant free-kick against Sweden in second-half stoppage time.
2. 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.
Deployed in a No.8 role by Pep Guardiola, De Bruyne 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, and at 27 still has plenty left to give.
1. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Modric turned 33 in September but shows no signs of slowing down. This year has arguably been 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.
A superb passer who’s also adept at carrying the ball forward and driving into space, Modric is an influential midfielder who raises the game of those around him. After a magnificent 2018, he fully deserves top spot in this ranking.