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The Top 10 Greatest Midfielders of All Time

Updated: May 3

Midfielders stand as the conductors orchestrating the symphony on the pitch. Over the decades, we've witnessed maestros who have elevated the game, dictating play with finesse, vision, and an unmatched understanding of the beautiful game. TheFootballSay Presents you the list of top 10 Midfielders of all time.

The list is presented by Gunther, A seasoned football fanatic who has been following the sport for years.

Top 10 greatest midfielders of all time - A Image collage

10. Günter Netzer: 

A German midfield dynamo of the '60s and '70s, Netzer's elegance, vision, and passing ability made him a standout player. His impact on the game, both domestically and internationally, earns him a deserving place in this illustrious list.

Netzer's vision allowed him to orchestrate plays with precision, threading passes that unlocked defences and created goal-scoring opportunities. His influence spanned not only domestic competitions but also left an indelible mark on the international stage, showcasing his prowess as a midfielder of global significance. 

9. Frank Lampard:

A goal-scoring machine from midfield, Lampard's ability to arrive late in the box and score crucial goals set him apart. His consistency and leadership qualities were vital for Chelsea's success during his illustrious career.

His knack for arriving in goal-scoring positions, often in the dying moments of a match, set him apart as a true midfield dynamo. Lampard wasn't just a scorer of goals; he was a consistent and reliable presence on the pitch, embodying the spirit of leadership for Chelsea throughout his illustrious career. 

His tenacity, work ethic, and unyielding commitment to excellence were vital components of Chelsea's success, and Lampard's leadership qualities resonated both on and off the field. 

As a goal-scoring machine with a remarkable ability to influence the outcome of matches, Lampard remains a symbol of enduring excellence in the midfield, leaving an indelible mark on the history of Chelsea and English football.

8. Andrea Pirlo: 

The Italian maestro personified the art of playmaking. Pirlo's vision and ability to dictate the flow of the game from deep-lying positions made him a modern-day midfield icon.

Pirlo's ability to dictate the flow of the game from deep-lying positions was nothing short of extraordinary, he acted as the orchestrator of his team's movements, showcasing an unrivalled mastery in distributing the ball with pinpoint accuracy and foresight. 

Pirlo's vision on the pitch allowed him to seamlessly connect the defence to the attack, making him a linchpin in any team he graced. Beyond his technical brilliance, Pirlo's calmness under pressure and his elegant yet effective playing style defined him as a midfield virtuoso, leaving an indelible legacy as one of the great playmakers in the history of football.

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7. Luka Modric

Luka Modric stands as a shining example of the modern midfield maestro. His inclusion in the pantheon of great midfielders is well-deserved, and here's why:

Modric possesses a visionary approach to the game, akin to the legendary players of the past. His ability to spot openings and create opportunities is reminiscent of the classic playmaking midfielders. Whether delivering a defence-splitting pass or orchestrating the buildup from deep positions, Modric's creative vision is a cornerstone of his impact on the pitch.

One of Modric's defining characteristics is his exquisite ball control and elegant style of play. Much like the traditional midfield greats, he glides across the pitch with grace, showcasing a level of technical skill that sets him apart. His close ball control under pressure, combined with a knack for evading challenges, allows him to dictate the flow of the game with poise.

While renowned for his attacking prowess, Modric's work rate and defensive contribution cannot be overlooked. Modern football demands midfielders to be multifaceted, and Modric excels in this regard. 

6. Lothar Matthäus:

A versatile midfielder, Matthäus was a commanding presence on the pitch. His leadership, combined with an impressive range of passing and goal-scoring prowess, made him a stalwart for both club and country.

Matthäus' ability to influence the game extended far beyond his impressive range of passing; he was a strategist, dictating the tempo with intelligence and vision.

What made Matthäus exceptional was not only his defensive prowess and ability to break up opposition plays but also his goal-scoring instincts, transforming him into a complete midfielder. 

His impactful performances and stalwart presence in the heart of the midfield became the cornerstone of his legacy, solidifying his status as one of the greatest midfielders to grace the game.

5. Xavi Hernandes 

Another product of the Barcelona youth system, Xavi's metronomic passing and control of the tempo were instrumental in the success of both his club and the Spanish national team. His football intelligence and technical ability make him a midfield maestro.

Instrumental in the success of both FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team, Xavi's influence on the game was unparalleled. His metronomic passing style was not just about accuracy but also about orchestrating the rhythm of play, dictating the ebb and flow of matches with surgical precision.

Xavi's football intelligence was the bedrock of his midfield mastery, as he effortlessly navigated tight spaces, made split-second decisions, and crafted intricate plays. 

His technical ability, combined with an innate understanding of the beautiful game, positioned him as a true midfield maestro, leaving an enduring legacy as one of the finest orchestrators in football history.

4. Michel Platini 

The elegant Frenchman was the epitome of class in the ‘80s. A goal-scoring midfielder with an innate ability to read the game, Platini's influence extended beyond the middle of the park, leaving an indelible mark on the history of football.

Positioned as an attacking midfielder, Platini possessed an exquisite touch on the ball, allowing him to navigate through tight defences with apparent ease. His vision and passing accuracy were exceptional, making him a maestro in orchestrating the flow of the game. What set Platini apart, however, was his innate ability to find the back of the net. 

A goal-scoring midfielder of the highest order, he had a knack for perfectly timed runs into the box and a clinical finishing touch that made him a constant scoring threat. Whether dictating play from deep or showcasing his flair in the final third, Platini's playing style was a captivating blend of finesse and footballing intelligence, leaving an enduring legacy as one of the greatest midfielders in the history of the sport.

3. Zinedine Zidane 

Known for his grace on the ball and exquisite skill, Zidane mesmerized fans with his performances. The 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year guided France to victory in the 199 World Cup and remains a symbol of elegance in football.

The 2 Time Balon Do’r winner doesn’t need any introduction, His touch was so elegant that he managed to samba dance around the team of prime Brazil during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. A historic and Iconic performance for that period.

His midfielding qualities went beyond conventional playmaking; they were a spectacle of artistry on the pitch. Zidane possessed an exceptional ability to control the flow of the game with his elegant touches and precise ball control. What set him apart was not just his technical finesse but his vision and decision-making in crucial moments. 

2. Andrés Iniesta

A key architect of Barcelona's golden era, Iniesta's magical dribbling and precise passing made him the heartbeat of the team. His performances in crucial moments, including the 2010 World Cup final, solidified his place among the greats.

Know for his excellent control of the ball. Iniesta could manoeuvre through the tightest of defence. Barcelona’s playing style during the early 2010s favoured Iniesta’s style of play a lot.

The Tiki-Taka was perfect for creative midfielders like Iniesta to flourish as 2009 Barcelona went on to make history by winning the treble. 

1. Johan Cruyff

 A visionary on and off the pitch, Cruyff's influence extended beyond his playing days. As a midfielder, his intelligence, flair, and innovative style of play laid the foundation for Total Football, leaving an enduring legacy.

As a midfielder, Cruyff's intelligence and flair were unparalleled, setting the stage for the revolutionary concept of Total Football. His ability to seamlessly transition between attack and defence, coupled with an innovative playing style, laid the foundation for a new era in football tactics. 

Cruyff's impact was not confined to individual brilliance; he reshaped the way teams approached the game, emphasizing fluidity, positional awareness, and collective creativity. 

His enduring legacy as a midfielder goes beyond statistics; it encompasses a transformative contribution to the very essence of football, making Johan Cruyff a true icon in the annals of the sport.


Who do you think should rank number 1 when it comes to the best midfielder to ever grace the pitch? - Do comment down below.

While opinions on the greatest midfielders may vary, the influence and brilliance of these players transcend eras, solidifying their places among the footballing immortals.

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7 commentaires

Noté 0 étoile sur 5.
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29 avr.
Noté 1 étoile sur 5.

Awful Rating no way Iniesta is better than Zinedine. Whoever made this lost should never be let making any football top 10 lists.

10 mai
En réponse à

lol iniesta far clear of that bald head


31 mars

Where Is De Bruyne??

02 avr.
En réponse à

I mean keeping DeBruye might be fine but there are still lot to take in handy as these players has won individual as well as collective trophies too.


14 mars
Noté 4 étoiles sur 5.

I mean I would Keep Zidane at very top.


06 mars
Noté 1 étoile sur 5.

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