Who are the Best Midfielders of All Time?

best midfielders of all time

Top Ten Midfielders

Midfielders control the flow of the game. They control the game and are frequently crucial in shifting from defense to offense or stopping opposing attackers. While offensive midfielders, forwards, and wingers typically receive all of the acclaim and attention, the central midfielders frequently do all of the legwork and allow these attacking-minded players to express themselves.

Some clubs’ and squads’ whole ideologies are based on the power of their midfield and the quality of their midfielders. With so many brilliant and famous center midfielders to select from, picking the top ten is a difficult challenge. Below is the list of the top 10 best midfielders of all time.

1. Luis Figo

Luis Figo

Luis Figo, the Portuguese playmaker who finished second in La Liga assists behind Lionel Messi, was a winner everywhere he went. After leaving Sporting for Barcelona, he helped the Catalan club win three straight Spanish crowns.

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Controversy ensued when that year’s Ballon D’Or winner moved to Real Madrid but played in a team that included fellow new arrival Claude Makélélé. As well as Steve McManaman, Roberto Carlos, Raul, and Fernando Morientes won Real’s first title in four years. During his stay at Inter, he added four more league championships to his trophy collection.

2. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard, a member of England’s golden age, was instrumental in Chelsea’s rise to European powerhouse status. Lampard’s penchant for coming late in the box helped him score numerous critical and match-winning goals as one of the world’s finest box-to-box midfielders.

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The only Premier League midfielder to have scored more than 150 goals, Frank Lampard won an impressive 13 titles with Chelsea. The former England international was probably at the pinnacle of his career from 2004 to 2006, finishing second in the Ballon d’Or rankings to the famous Ronaldinho.

3. Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo

You could see Roy Hodgson (and Joe Hart) having nightmares anytime the word Andrea Pirlo comes up in discussion. The former England manager saw his squad ripped apart by the deep-lying playmaker in back-to-back championships at Euro 2012 and Brazil 2014.

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Pirlo was a brilliant playmaker who led Italy’s midfield for 13 years, winning Serie A with AC Milan before adding four straight titles with Juventus.

4. Johan Neeskens

Johan Neeskens

Dutch midfielder Johan Neeskens, an exceptional player in his own right, was sometimes overshadowed by his better famous countryman, Johan Cruyff. Neeskens, Cruyff’s steel, was a key member of Ajax and the Netherlands national team in the 1970s when they produced some exquisite and breathtaking football.

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The Dutch midfield maestro was famed for his tireless running, constant pressure on opponents, and incredible passing abilities. He was also a very gifted and competent ballplayer.

The presence of Neeskens on the Ajax and Dutch national teams allowed the more creative players to express themselves and play freely. Neeskens, a real team player, was instrumental in Ajax’s three successive European Cup victories.

5. Didi


Didi, the 1958 World Cup Tournament Player of the Tournament, almost had his right leg amputated when he was 14 years old due to a severe illness caused by an accident. However, the Brazilian would win two World Cups in gold and green, scoring 20 goals in 68 appearances for his country, 12 of which came from his famous knuckleball free kicks.

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6. Luka Modric

Luka Modric

Luka Modric, the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, is ranked eighth. Modric, one of the complete midfielders in history, has been routinely ranked for more than a decade. Modric’s game has changed and improved over the years, and he is capable of choosing defense-splitting passes and performing defensive tasks.

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7. Lothar Matthaus

Lothar Matthaus

Lothar Matthaus, Germany’s all-time most capped player, also owns the record for most World Cup matches played by a single player, with 25. Only Rafael Marquez can match the German’s five World Cup appearances record. Image – Source

The midfielder spearheaded Die Mannschaft to victory against England in Italia ’90, and he won the Ballon d’Or that year.

8. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard is, without a doubt, the best Liverpool midfielder of all time. He is perhaps the most outstanding player to never win the Premier League. The Liverpool legend’s inspiring performances and leadership qualities are widely known.

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His tendency for big game performances cemented his position as one of the finest English footballers of this age. Gerrard, who could play across the midfield line, nearly single-handedly led Liverpool to their stunning 2005 UEFA Champions League victory.

Gerrard was practically unplayable from 2004 through 2010, propelling an ordinary Liverpool squad to high heights with some breathtaking individual performances.

9. Xavi


With Andrés Iniesta (see below) and Sergio Busquets, Xavi was part of probably the finest club and international midfield in football history, pulling the strings during the tiki-taka period that won two Euros and a World Cup.

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The midfielder won 25 major championships at Barcelona and will take over as manager of the Catalan club in November 2021, just six years after leaving the club as a player.

10. Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes, a Manchester United icon, is ranked sixth. The ‘Ginger Genius,’ one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s most trusted players, was instrumental in transforming Manchester United into the European Super Club today.

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Paul Scholes was one of the most skilled midfielders to ever play in the Premier League, and his passing range was just breathtaking. With Manchester United, the England midfielder won every trophy imaginable and was well-liked by both teammates and opponents.


The list is vast and divided into outstanding players in international football history, particularly in the midfield role. Dominating the middle is the most crucial element in modern football,” argues Germany’s Toni Kroos, but this isn’t a new phenomenon; great teams have relied on their midfield throughout history. The West Germans of the 1990s, Spain’s three of Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets, Brazil’s 1970 World Cup-winning four, or France’s ‘Magic Square’ of the 1980s possessed plenty of skill.

The top 10 of the best midfielders of all time are listed above. We utilized a variety of milestones and a player’s total contribution to the game over history to calculate our rankings.


The images used in this blog are not owned by UK Business Magazine, they are picked from different sources and the copyrights of the images goes to respective business owners.

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