As football fans, we often find ourselves debating the greatest players in history. One of the most crucial positions on the pitch is the midfield. The midfielders are responsible for controlling the game, creating chances, and breaking up opposition attacks. It’s not an easy task, but some players make it look effortless. Sports Culture presents list of the top 10 best midfielders in football history, ranked based on their creativity, vision, work-rate, and consistency. These players have represented their respective country also played in top football leagues of Europe.
Paul Scholes – 10th Best Midfielders in Football History
Paul Scholes was a complete midfielder who possessed a wide range of skills. His ability to pass, shoot, tackle, and create chances made him one of the most well-rounded players in football history. Scholes won 11 Premier League titles with Manchester United, showcasing his incredible consistency and longevity at the highest level. His technical abilities were matched by his tactical intelligence, allowing him to control games from midfield with ease.
Scholes was also known for his powerful long-range shooting, scoring numerous spectacular goals throughout his career. His exceptional contributions to Manchester United and his impressive individual skills make him one of the best midfielders to have ever graced the game.
- Won 11 Premier League titles and 2 Champions League titles with Manchester United
- In his 718 appearances in Manchester United he scored 155 goals.
- Known for his exceptional passing, shooting, and tactical intelligence
- Named to the PFA Team of the Year 5 times
Luka Modric – 9th Best Midfielders in Football History
Luka Modric is a complete midfielder who possesses exceptional technical ability, vision, and creativity. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, including four Champions League titles with Real Madrid and the Golden Foot award in 2019. In addition to his success at club level, Modric has also been an integral part of the Croatian national team, helping them reach the 2018 World Cup final.
Modric’s ability to control the midfield, create chances, and score important goals make him one of the best midfielders of all time. His impressive performances and achievements in the game have cemented his place as one of the most talented players in football history.
These are the top 10 best midfielders in football history, each one a legend in their own right. They set the bar high for future generations, and their legacy will continue to inspire football fans for years to come.
- He has 3 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League titles for Real Madrid
- Led Croatia to the World Cup final in 2018, winning the Golden Ball award for best player of the tournament
- Won the Ballon d’Or in 2018
- Known for his exceptional dribbling, passing, and vision
Lothar Matthaus – 8th Best Midfielders in Football History
Matthaus was a versatile midfielder who played in three World Cups, won seven Bundesliga titles, and lifted the World Cup for Germany in 1990. He was an outstanding tackler, a fantastic passer of the ball, and a threat in front of goal.
Lothar Matthaus was known for his exceptional defensive skills, outstanding tackling ability, and his fantastic vision for passes. He was also a significant threat in front of goal and scored crucial goals in many games throughout his career. Matthaus was a complete midfielder who had the ability to take control of games with his impressive all-round play. His remarkable achievements and influence on the game have cemented his place as one of the greatest midfielders in football history.
- Won the World Cup with West Germany in 1990
- Won 7 Bundesliga titles and 2 UEFA Cups with Bayern Munich
- Played in 5 World Cups, more than any other outfield player in history
- Known for his versatility and outstanding tackling ability
Johan Cruyff – 7th Best Midfielders in Football History
Johan Cruyff was a visionary midfielder who revolutionized the game with his creativity and flair. His ability to read the game and make split-second decisions made him a formidable opponent, and his technical skills were second to none. Cruyff won three Ballon d’Ors during his career and led Ajax to three consecutive European Cups, cementing his place among the best midfielders in football history.
As a manager, he also helped Barcelona win their first European Cup in 1992, further adding to his remarkable legacy in the game. Cruyff’s unique style of play and innovative approach to football have inspired countless players and coaches, making him a true legend of the sport.
- Won 3 Ballon d’Ors during his playing career
- Led Ajax to 3 consecutive European Cup titles
- Won the European Cup as a player and a manager with Barcelona
- Developed the influential “Total Football” philosophy
Gennaro Gattuso – 6th Best Midfielders in Football History
Gennaro Gattuso was a fierce and uncompromising midfielder who could break up opposition attacks with ease. His hardworking nature and ability to win back possession made him a vital player for both AC Milan and the Italian national team. Gattuso won two Champions League titles with AC Milan, cementing his place as one of the best midfielders in football history.
He was also an integral part of Italy’s World Cup-winning squad in 2006, playing a key role in their success. Despite not being the most technically gifted player, Gattuso’s dedication and willingness to fight for every ball made him a fan favorite. His remarkable achievements, combined with his unique style of play, have earned him a place among the greatest midfielders of all time.
- Won 2 Champions League titles and 2 Serie A titles with AC Milan
- Achieved World Cup victory with Italy in 2006.
- Selected for the UEFA Team of the Year on two occasions.
- Known for his fierce tackling and tenacious defensive play
Andres Iniesta – 5th Best Midfielders in Football History
Iniesta’s close control and ability to retain possession in tight spaces were unmatched. Andres Iniesta is considered one of the best midfielders in football history, known for his exceptional technical skills and ability to control the game. His close control and ability to retain possession in tight spaces were unmatched, making him a crucial player for both Barcelona and the Spanish national team. Iniesta won four Champions League titles with Barcelona and was instrumental in their success during his time at the club.
He also scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final, which cemented his place in history as one of the greatest midfielders of all time. Iniesta’s unique style of play, combined with his numerous achievements, has earned him a place in the hearts of fans around the world, and he remains an inspiration to many young players.
- Won 9 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League titles with Barcelona
- Scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final for Spain
- Won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award in 2012
- Named to the UEFA Team of the Year 6 times
Andrea Pirlo – 4th Best Midfielders in Football History
He was a master of the deep-lying playmaker role and could dictate the tempo of the game with his vision and passing range. Pirlo’s ability to create chances from deep and his skill in setting up his teammates made him one of the most creative midfielders of his time. He won six Serie A titles with AC Milan and Juventus, two Champions League titles, and was part of Italy’s World Cup-winning team in 2006.
Pirlo’s style of play, elegance on the ball, and his uncanny ability to deliver pinpoint passes made him a fan favorite. He was a true artist on the field, and his remarkable achievements and contributions to the game have cemented his place as one of the greatest midfielders in football history.
- Six Serie A titles with AC Milan and Juventus
- Two Champions League titles
- Part of Italy’s World Cup-winning team in 2006
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (2006)
- UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament (2012)
- UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season (2010–11, 2011–12)
- Won Serie A Footballer of the Year award in 2012 and 2013
- Italian Football Hall of Fame inductee (2019)
- MLS All-Star (2016)
Michel Platini – 3rd Best Midfielders in Football History
A prolific goal-scorer, Platini was a masterful midfielder who captained France to the Euro 84 title. He played a crucial role in France’s success in the 1984 European Championship, where he led them to victory as their captain. He won three Ballon d’Ors in a row from 1983 to 1985, an achievement that reflects his exceptional skill and talent.
Platini was known for his precise passing, exceptional vision, and his ability to score from anywhere on the field. His free-kick technique was particularly noteworthy, and he scored many spectacular goals from dead-ball situations. Platini’s legacy lives on as one of the greatest midfielders ever to grace the game.
- Won 3 Ballon d’Ors in a row from 1983-1985
- Captained France to victory in Euro 1984
- Scored 9 goals in the 1984 European Championship
- Scored many spectacular goals from dead-ball situations
- Known for his precise passing and exceptional vision
Zinedine Zidane – 2nd Best Midfielders in Football History
Zidane’s ball control, vision, and passing made him one of the most elegant midfielders to ever play the game. His ball control, vision, and passing ability were simply breathtaking, and his elegant style of play earned him admiration from fans all over the world. Zidane won Ballon d’Or, an award given to the best player in the world, and led France to their first World Cup triumph in 1998.
He was instrumental in Real Madrid’s Champions League success in 2002, scoring a remarkable volley in the final. Zidane’s remarkable achievements, combined with his unique skills, have cemented his place as one of the most elegant and effective midfielders to ever play the game. His influence on the game is still felt today, and he continues to inspire the next generation of players.
- Won Ballon d’Or award
- In 1998, he led France to their first-ever World Cup victory.
- Won 2000 European Championship with France
- Instrumental in Real Madrid’s Champions League success in 2002, scoring a remarkable volley in the final
- Widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders in football history
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Xavi Hernandez – Best Midfielders in Football History
One of the most celebrated midfielders of his generation, Xavi’s impeccable passing and vision allowed him to dominate games for Barcelona and Spain. His ability to control the pace and flow of a game, his accurate passing and his exceptional vision were integral to the success of both Barcelona and Spain during their respective golden periods. Xavi was the beating heart of Pep Guardiola’s iconic Barcelona team that won multiple domestic and international titles. With his superb technique, he was able to maintain possession under pressure and set the tempo for his team.
He was also a key figure in Spain’s dominance on the international stage, playing a key role in their victories at the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. Xavi’s legacy lives on, not only in his remarkable achievements, but also in his influence on the game, as he helped shape the tiki-taka style of play that has become synonymous with modern football.
- 8 La Liga titles with Barcelona
- 4 Champions League titles with Barcelona
- 2 UEFA European Championships with Spain (2008 and 2012)
- 2010 World Cup with Spain
- 3-time UEFA Team of the Year
- 2010 World Cup All-Star Team
- 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or finalist
- Most successful passer in La Liga history with 16,533 completed passes
- European record holder for most accurate passes in a single match (200 out of 204)
These are the top 10 best midfielders in football history, each one a legend in their own right. They defines what Sports Culture is. Also They set the bar high for future generations, and their legacy will continue to inspire football fans for years to come.
How many UEFA Champions League does Xavi Has?
Xavi has 4 Champions League titles with Barcelona.
How many UEFA Champions League does Iniesta Has?
Iniesta has total 4 Champions League titles while playing for Barcelona.
How many Ballon d’Ors does Michel Platini Has?
Michel Platini Won 3 Ballon d’Ors in a row from 1983-1985.
In which year Zinedine Zidane won world cup?
In 1998, Zinedine Zidane led France to World Cup victory.
What year did France win their first World Cup?
In 1998, France won their first-ever World Cup victory.
How many La Liga titles does Luka Modric has?
Luka Modric has 3 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League titles for Real Madrid