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Top 10 best midfielders of all time

The midfielder is considered a vital cog in the chain of team strategy, style of play and organising. A great midfielder is a combination of various fine qualities including technique, vision, tactical perspective as well as ultrasharp situation reading ability.

Deciding who is the best midfielder of all is nearly impossible. Therefore, this list was proposed by the Bongdatructuyen vip website that honors the outstanding midfielders. Let’s check them out.

Top 10 best midfielders of all time

10. Frank Lampard (England – Box-To-Box Midfielder)

  • Age: 1978
  • Caps: 106 Games
  • Major Club: Chelsea
  • World Cup Participation: 2006, 2010 (9 Games)
  • Club Honours: 3 Times English Premier League, 3 Times FA Cup, 2 Times League Cup, 2012 UEFA Champion League Winner
  • International Honours: None
  • Individual Achievement: 2004 UEFA Euro Team Of Tournament, 2005 FWA Footballer Of The Year, 2005 Silver Ball FIFA World Player Of The Year, 2005 Silver Ball European Footballer Of The Year, 2008 UEFA Club Best Midfielder, 2 Times England Player of The Year (2004, 2005), Chelsea All-Time Top Scorer – Greatest Player Ever, Order Of The British Empire.

Frank Lampard is one out of nine players, and the only midfielder who has scored 150 goals or more in Premier League with 174 league goals in total and 255 goals scored in all competitions, as well as the second in the all-time Premier League assists table.

He was one of the best midfielders in the mid-2000s. Known for his strategic sense, he fit into the tactical plan as the key centre line scorer. Johan Cruijff even praised him like this: “Lampard is the best midfielder in Europe”.

9. Luka Modric (Croatia – Central Midfielder)

  • Age: 1985
  • Caps: 104 Games
  • Major Clubs: Dinamo Zagreb, Tottenham, Real Madrid
  • World Cup Participation: 2006, 2014, 2018
  • Club Honours: 3 Times Croatian League, 2 Time La Liga, 2 Times Croatian Cup, 1 Time Copa Del Rey, 4 Times UEFA Champion League (14,16,17,18), 3 Times FIFA Club World Cup (16,17,18).
  • International Honours: 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up
  • Individual Achievement: 8 Times Croatian Footballer of the Year, 2 Times Spanish La Liga Best Midfielder, 4 Times Eastern European Footballer of the Year, 2017 UEFA Champion League Best Midfielder, 2018 UEFA Men Player of the Year, 2018 FIFA Best Men Player, 2018 Ballon d’Or, 2018 World Soccer player of the Year, 2019 Golden Foot

He was one of the best midfielders in the mid-2010s period. In his early career with Dinamo Zagreb, he won three consecutive titles in the Croatian league. After moving to Tottenham Hotspur, he won the club player of the year at 3rd season.

His career then reached a whole new level in Real Madrid, he is the decisive key to the team’s 3 consecutive Champions League titles. Luka is a diminutive central man who has an outstanding vision and can be able to turn the table with just a skilled pass.

The peak of his career is when he single-handedly led his Croatia team straight to the 2018 World Cup final and only stopped by France the giant.

8. Patrick Vieira (France – Box-To-Box Midfielder)

  • Age: 1976
  • Caps: 107 Games
  • Major Club: Arsenal
  • World Cup Participation: 1998, 2002, 2006 (12 Games)
  • Club Honours: 3 Times English Premier League, 4 Times Italian Series A, 5 Times FA Cup
  • International Honours: 1998 FIFA World Cup Champion, 2006 FIFA World Cup Runner-Up, 2000 European Championship, 2001 FIFA Confederation Cup
  • Individual Achievement: 2001 French Player Of The Year, Premier League Team of The Decade, 2006 FIFA World Cup All-Star team, FIFA 100, 2014 English Football Hall of Fame, 2019 Golden Foot.

Considered one of the greatest players in his generation, Patrick Viera regarded for his aggressive and profoundly competing style of play, all-round skills, a decent ball-handling and passing technique. He is also admired as the greatest defensive midfielder in the history of Arsenal club.

He performed so well at Arsenal that France fans had commented that he never was as good at the national team as he was in his club team. Patrick Viera was nominated for Ballon d’Or twice.

7. Steven Gerrard (England – Box-To-Box Midfielder)

  • Age: 1980
  • Caps: 107 Games
  • Major Club: Liverpool
  • World Cup Participation: 2006, 2010 (9 Games)
  • Club Honours: 2 Times FA Cup, 3 Times League Cup, 2005 UEFA Champion League Winners
  • International Honours: None
  • Individual Achievement: 2000 PFA Young Player Of The Year, 2005 UEFA Champion League Most Valuable Player, 2005 Bronze Ball European Footballer Of The Year, 2006 PFA Players Player Of The Year, 2009 FWA Footballer Of The Year, 2 Times England Player of The Year (2007, 2012), Liverpool’s Greatest Players Ever, Order Of The British Empire

Steven Gerrard was one of the best midfielders and was one of the most popular superstars in the world in the second half of the 2000s.

He is a modern midfielder with the exceptional movement in many centre areas, organizing, leadership and outstanding long-haul with a strong spirit, becoming one of the most important scorers of Liverpool, scored more than 20 goals in three seasons.

He finished four times in the top 8 of FIFA’s World Player of the Year. He has been named 7 times in the PFA Team of the year and 6 times Premier League winners of the month. He has been 3 times in the UEFA Team of the Year and the FIFA Pro World XI.

6. Frank Rijkaard (Netherlands – Defensive Midfielder)

  • Age: 1962
  • Caps: 73 Games
  • Major Clubs: AC Milan, Ajax Amsterdam
  • World Cup Participation: 1990, 1994
  • Club Honours: 5 Times Eredivisie, 3 Times Dutch Cups, 2 Times Italian Series A, 1987 UEFA Cup Winners Cup, 3 Times European Cup (1989, 1990, 1995), 1993 Runner-Up, 2 Times Intercontinental Cup (1989, 1990)
  • International Honours: 1988 European Championship Winners
  • Individual Achievement: 2 Times Dutch Golden Shoe (1985, 1987), 2 Times Bronze Ball European Footballer Of The Year (1988, 1989), 1988 European Championship Team Of Tournament, 1992 Guerin Italian Series A Footballer Of The Year

Frank Rijkaard started his glorious career as a CB in Ajax, however, at AC Milan, he was transformed into a defensive midfielder. Ronald Koeman gave him this compliment: “Dunga, Marcel Desailly, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira all performed that role brilliantly, but Frank is the best holding player ever.”

He’s one of the most powerful players ever. He possessed immense courage and superb technique, all of which helped him well in managing the centre of the ground. His vision and ability to step forward have made him a powerful defensive midfielder.

Despite being a defensive player, he netted more than 150 goals in all club competitions. Finished twice in the top ten World Soccer Player of the year in the early 1990s.

5. Xavi Hernandez (Spain – Central Midfielder)

  • Age: 1980
  • Caps: 133 Games
  • Major Club: Barcelona
  • World Cup Participation: 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014
  • Club Honours: 7 Times Spanish La Liga, 1 Time Copa Del Rey, 3 Times UEFA Champion League (2006, 2009, 2011), 2 Time FIFA Club World Cup (2009, 2012)
  • International Honours: 2 Times UEFA Euro (2008, 2012), 2010 FIFA World Cup Champion
  • Individual Achievement: 1999 La Liga Young Player Of The Year, 2005 Spanish Player Of The Year, 2008 UEFA Euro Best Player, 4 Times IFFHS World Best Playmaker, 2009 UEFA Club Best Midfielder, 2009 Spanish National Sportsman of The Year, 2009 Bronze Ball World Soccer Player of The Year, FIFA World Player of The Year, 2010 FIFA World Cup All-Stars Team, 3 Times Bronze Ball FIFA Ballon d’Or (2009, 2010, 2011)

At Barcelona and even in Spain national team, he’s the crucial cog that keeps the whole tiki-taka system together, and with more than 100 successful passes in every single match, there’s no question about how talented he really is.

Nicknamed “Puppet Master”, Xavi is one of the most influential players of all time. He is also one of the most valuable players in the history of Spain as well as Barcelona.

Xavi was a key at Barca and Spain golden era thanks to his wisdom and reliability in the central field, an irreplaceable organizer with reliable ball control and the capacity to locate and manipulate gaps, and has made his reputation of very precise short and long passes.

4. Paul Breitner (Germany – Box-To-Box Midfielder)

  • Age: 1951
  • Caps: 48 Games
  • Major Club: Bayern Munich
  • World Cup Participation: 1974, 1982
  • Club Honours: 5 Times Bundesliga Champions, 2 Times Spanish Liga, 1 Time Copa Del Rey, 2 Times DFB-Pokal, 1974 European Cup Winner.
  • International Honours: 1974 FIFA World Cup Winner, 1982 Runner-Up, 1972 European Championship Winner
  • Individual Achievement: 1972 UEFA Euro Best XI, 1974 FIFA World Cup All-Stars Team, 1981 German Player Of The Year, 1981 Silver Ball European Footballer Of The Year.

At the first half of his career, he played as a Left Back for Bayern Munich. After that, he transferred to Real Madrid for three seasons and this cost him 6 years not being called to the Germany national team because of the rule of excluding any player playing abroad.

After coming back again at Bayern Munich, he made a move of his spot to the central midfield and became one of the best midfielders at that time.

He then earned 4 times “German midfielder of the year” and 6 times listed in Bundesliga team of the season. He also ranked 4th in the 1974 Ballon d’Or.

3. Jozsef Bozsik (Hungary – Central Midfielder)

  • Age: 1925
  • Caps: 101 Games
  • Major Club: Kispest Honvéd
  • World Cup Participation: 1954, 1958
  • Club Honours: 5 Times Hungarian League, 1959 Mitropa Cup
  • International Honours: 1952 Olympic Game Gold Medal, 1953 Central European Champion, 1954 FIFA World Cup Runner-Up
  • Individual Achievement: 1954 FIFA World Cup All-Stars Team, 1952 Hungarian Football Federation Player of the Year.

Jozsef Bozsik is probably the greatest deep-lying playmaker in the history of European football and was the best midfielder in the World during the mid-50s. Overshadowed by the greatness of Ferenc Puskas.

Bozsik was known for his flawless technique, passing accuracy in both short and long-range with great timing, very difficult to lose the ball and manage the game with comfort.

He still holds the record most Caps and most consecutive years of Caps for Hungary national team.

2. Didi (Brazil – Central Midfielder)

  • Age: 1929
  • Caps: 68 Games
  • Major Club: Botafogo
  • World Cup Participation: 1954,1958,1962
  • Club Honours: 4 Times Campeonato Carioca
  • International Honours: 2 Times FIFA World Cup Winners (1958,1962), 3 Times Copa America Runner-Up (1953, 1957, 1959)
  • Individual Achievement: 1958 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, Brazil Football Museum Hall Of Fame

Didi is credited as the inventor of the iconic “Dry Leaf” or “Banana” free-kick practice, where the ball tends to be swung down at the time it reaches the goal.

“The Prince of Ethiopian” is considered as the greatest South American central midfielders ever and was the best midfielder in the world in the late 1950s. Didi was voted 20th World’s player of the century by IFFHS.

1. Lothar Matthaus (Germany – Box-To-Box Midfielder)

  • Age: 1961
  • Major Clubs: Inter Milan, Bayern Munich
  • Caps: 150 Games
  • World Cup Participation: 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998
  • Club Honours: 7 Times Bundesliga Champions, 1 Time Italian Series A, 2 Times DFB-Pokal, 2 Times UEFA Cup (1991, 1996), 2 Times UEFA Champion League Runner-Up (1987, 1999)
  • International Honours: 1990 FIFA World Cup Champion, 1986 FIFA World Cup Runner-Up
  • Individual Achievement: 1978 Bravo Award, 1990 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1990 World Soccer Player Of The Year, 1990 IFFHS World Best Player of the Year, 1991 FIFA World Player Of The Year, European Footballer Of The Year (1990 Gold, 1991 Silver), 2 Times German Footballer Of The Year (1990, 1999), 1988 European Championship Team Of Tournament

Known by the nickname “The Superman”, Matthaus is hand down the greatest midfielder of all time who holds the record of participating in 5 consecutive FIFA World Cup tournaments with 25 games, more than any other outfield players.

He is the most capped German player of all time with 150 appearances. Matthaus had an unbelievably long and successful career, from winning the European Championship in 1980 at the age of 19 to being crowned Footballer of the Year exactly 20 years later.

According to German Footballer of the year voting, he finished second place 3 times, is German defender of the year 3 times and German midfielder of the year 4 times. For an incredibly long 22 seasons, he played at the professional level. He was voted 15th World Player of the Century in both IFFHS poll and UEFA Jubilee poll.

So, that’s pretty much it. Do you agree on our list? Some might wonder where Maradona, Zico, Johan Cruyff is. They are undoubtedly world-class players of all time, but they are more like an attacking midfielder or second striker than a central or defensive midfielder.

Football is the passion of millions of hearts around the planet. 2020 is about to pass with the departure of football legend Maradona in the regret of the fans. But anyhow, his echo will last forever. Let’s take a moment of memorialization to him. Check with through upcoming football events in the near future. If you want to see another list that featured other positions, let us know in the comment section.