Ranked! The 10 best attacking midfielders in the world right now

Ranked! The 10 best attacking midfielders in the world right now
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Attacking midfielders were once deemed football's luxury men - that player who didn't track back because they were simply too good and would hopefully cause more damage at the other end of the pitch. 

Well, times have changed now, and these attacking midfielders are industrious, combative and intense, all while maintaining their creative and technical qualities in the same breath. 

Attacking midfielders are now defined as those players who stray further forward than the traditional box-to-box central midfield player, but still maintain their defensive duties throughout a full 90 minutes. Too highly revered on the ball to be lumped in with 'normal' centre-mids, not high enough on the pitch to be regarded as a second striker looking to benefit off of a striker's flick-ons. Anyway, before we go off on another tangent, below are listed the ten best attacking midfielders in the world right now. 

10. Daichi Kamada

Daichi Kamada

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An industrious attacking midfielder with a penchant for creating chances, Kamada has flourished since breaking into Frankfurt's first team, helping the German side to win the Europa League final against Rangers back in May. 

The Japanese player glides across the pitch whenever he is running with the ball, but his close control means he is always available to find a teammate at the precise perfect moment he needs to. He enjoys getting forward through intelligent runs, but prefers laying the ball on a plate to his teammates rather than shooting himself. 

9. Lorenzo Pellegrini

Lorenzo Pellegrini

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A progressive ball-playing midfielder, Pellegrini has shone since becoming Roma's captain. Capable of passing through the lines, the Italian is extremely comfortable playing off of both feet and linking the team together. 

He also has an eye for goal, and is just as happy getting into the box for an attack as he is sitting on the edge and placing a shot into the top corner. The 26-year-old doesn't shirk a challenge either, with his stamina allowing him to recover quickly and regain possession for his side. 

8. Mason Mount

Mason Mount

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The aim of the game is movement. Or, at least it is for Mason Mount. Chelsea's standout performer from the past couple of seasons works tirelessly to find space, intelligently dropping into positions that either gives him more time or provides his teammates with acres to work in.

Mount's runs off the ball often gets him into dangerous positions, while his ability to receive balls on the half-turn and spin and run at defenders makes his play efficient and very effective. Adept at taking set-pieces, Mount creates a high number of chances from crosses and free-kicks. 

7. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes

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Bruno Fernandes rocked up at Manchester United in January 2020 and single-handedly turned their fortunes around, helping the club into the Champions League. He has struggled to live up to those same heights he reached back then, but under Erik ten Hag the Portuguese international is slowly getting there.

Not afraid to take a risk, Bruno's incisive passing and long-range shots can infuriate fans when they don't work, but are glorious when they do. A returner of plenty of goals and assists each season, Fernandes' work rate and desire to win are second to none. 

6. Christopher Nkunku

Christopher Nkunku

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When nearly every footballer in the world is surrounded by three players, there is a certain inevitability there will be a turnover in possession. Not with Christopher Nkunku, though.

Using body feints, close control, strength and guile, Nkunku often manages to squeeze out of tight spots with the ball and start attacks for RB Leipzig. A strong dribbler, the 24-year-old loves dragging defenders out of position, too, before releasing the ball at the perfect moment for a better-positioned teammate. 

His enhanced awareness on the situation around him has also meant the Frenchman is adding more goals and assists to his game. It's clear to see why Europe's top clubs are all coveting his signature. 

5. Jamal Musiala

Jamal Musiala

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We never really knew for sure whether Croydon-bred Jamal Musiala would become a striker, a winger (on the left or right), an attacking midfielder or… whatever Thomas Muller is. He's found a home in midfield under Julian Nagelsmann, though.

Still a teenager, Musiala has been outstanding for Bayern Munich this season, cementing his place in both the Bavarian club's starting XI as well as Germany's World Cup squad. His mazy runs, physicality and awareness are all excellent, and, while he is still only a teenager, he is clearly a player with an assuredness of their brilliant ability. 

4. Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard

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Once a wonderkid signed by Real Madrid at just 16-years-old, Odegaard is finally fulfilling the hype that surrounded him in his teenage years. Still only 23, the Norwegian playmaker is already Arsenal's captain, and is leading by example on the pitch.

Inspiring others around him, Odegaard's intelligent movement frees up spaces for his Gunners teammates, while his ability to control games is often reserved for much more experienced players. Not to mention the fact that his passing is sublime, Odegaard is a big reason why Arsenal are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League.

3. Piotr Zielinski

Piotr Zielinski

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Part of a hugely impressive Napoli side, Piotr Zielinski has emerged from the Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne shadows to become the side's talismanic figure. 

An effortless attacking midfielder, the Pole is always in space, never in a rush and always makes the correct decision. Zielinski's sublime technique creates attacking opportunities, while his dribbling skills often send defenders sprawling on the ground.

He is yet to keep his levels consistently high throughout his career, but, right now, the 28-year-old is among the world's very best attacking midfielders. 

2. Bernardo Silva

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva celebrates

(Image credit: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Tenacious in defence and imperious in attack, Bernardo Silva is fleet-footed, incredibly intelligent and horribly intense; often all at the same time. 

Bernardo is the man who progresses Manchester City's counter-attacks, often winning the ball back with sharp interceptions before spraying it forward with his accurate passing ability. His slight stature allows him to nick the balls off opponents, while his stamina means he simple never stops running. 

Perhaps the Portuguese international's greatest quality, though, is his dribbling. Able to keep the ball glued to his foot, Bernardo rarely loses possession and regularly takes defenders out of the game by committing them into mistimed tackles. 

1. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne

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Over the past five years there is only one man who could ever be considered the best attacking midfielder in the world, and that man is Kevin De Bruyne. 

With pinpoint, threaded passes often putting Manchester City's attackers clean through on goal, De Bruyne's trademark cross from the inside-right position also provides plenty of danger to opposition defences. Close him down at your peril - for De Bruyne's speed of thought consistently gets him out of tight situations - but leave him with too much space and watch the devastation unfold. 

With Erling Haaland now up front for City, the Belgian has even more attacking options to play, and when has he ever chosen the wrong one? Under Pep Guardiola, De Bruyne has also added an intense pressure to his game, closing down opposition players with dogged determination so that he can spray more passes around. 

The complete attacking midfielder, providing both goals and assists, there is nothing the 31-year-old can't do. 

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