We’ve moved on from the defensive positions in a soccer team now and moved onto the players who play in a more orthodox central midfield role. What do we mean by that?

Well, what we mean are players that tend to play in central areas. Not advanced midfielders, midfielders who play out wide or as wingers or wing backs. They are your traditional Number 6 and 8 players in the team, who play a defensive or box to box midfield role, or as a creative midfielder that dictates play.

I have to admit, deciding on the factors on what separates these midfielders from others in a later list was tough and there is a fair overlap between the two, with some players more than capable of being in both lists, however, if a player is on one list, then I have precluded them from being on the other when we look at more attacking midfielders next week and wingers/wide players the week after.

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So who are the midfielders that make it into this list? It is quite a tough one to judge as there are many different types of player covered by this definition and not all have the same skills, but regardless, here is my choice for the best in the world at the moment when it comes to natural central midfielders.

The Top Ten Central Midfielders In World Football Right Now

  1. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

An easy pick as the best midfielder in the world at the moment. De Bruyne at his best is almost unplayable. He is the best creative passer from midfield in world football, one of the best crossers, excellent at set pieces and from range and scores and creates goals in equal measure. On his day he is unstoppable and is the main creative influence in a team of brilliant stars at Manchester City. That says it all really.

  1. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

Without doubt, the best defensive midfielder in world football at the moment and a fantastic human being too. Kante’s selfless attitude and willingness to do the work of others have made him invaluable for club and country for many years. With astonishing fitness levels, a humble attitude, quiet nature but fiercely competitive when on the football field, Kante is not just a midfield superstar, but he makes great players even greater by how he plays.

  1. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Joshua Kimmich is a brilliant football player with a very high football intelligence. He can play almost any position on the pitch to a staggeringly high level. Injury has curtailed his season this time around but even so, he is a must inclusion on the list and I have chosen him in what I believe is his best position for club and country, at the heart of midfield where his tenacity, workrate, passing skill and vision can be put to great use.

  1. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

The German midfielder may well be in his thirties but there are few who can pick a pass as sharply as the talented Kroos. A massive influence for club and country, Kroos passing and set piece skills are a key threat for both teams. He may not perhaps score as many goals as his talent suggests he should but when it comes to knitting a team together with a blend if defensive skill and attacking ability, there are few, if any, better.

  1. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

The former Ajax youngster has had a bit of a troubled time of it since joining Barcelona right at the end of the Lionel Messi era, but there is no doubt that he is a fantastic talent. Clean in possession, with superb touch, vision and control, as his experience and physicality improves, he is only going to get better and when he does, he is likely to make significant strides up this list and become the focal point for Xavi’s new Barcelona side.

  1. Fabinho (Liverpool)

A lot of eyebrows were raised when Liverpool spent upwards of £30m on the Brazilian from Monaco, but once again, it looks like an exceptional piece of business. Fabinho’s versatility is so useful for the Reds but he is a massive presence in midfield and there is no doubt when he plays Liverpool look better defensively and also going forward. When fit, he is arguably the first name down in midfield for the Reds now under Jurgen Klopp.

  1. Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich)

It is testament to the strength in depth that Bayern Munich have that Goretzka has not always been a first choice at the club, but he has developed into a consistent starter for club and country with a happy knack of scoring vital goals for both. Tall, rangy, powerful and a good finisher, clever passer and very useful at the back when defending, Goretzka’s all round game has turned him from a squad man to a first teamer for club and country.

  1. Koke (Atletico Madrid)

A couple of years ago, Koke would probably have been overlooked by many due to the form of Saul Niguez, but since then, Koke has established himself as the dominant midfielder at Atletico Madrid and also for Spain. He leads by example and is a tenacious and fiery competitor who is the embodiment of his club manager but arguably a much better football player.

  1. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Not too long ago, Modric would probably have topped this list when he was at his creative best. He may be getting on in age now, but the Real Madrid star still has all the tricks in the book, can still spot a defence splitting pass and can still create havoc for opponents. How long he can keep that up remains to be seen but at the moment, he is hanging on to a place in this top ten.

  1. Marco Verratti (Paris St Germain)

Behind the silky smooth skills of PSG’s most talented attacking players, there has to be a gritty, determined player that is going to do the dirty work and win the ball back and dictate the game. Verratti has done that superbly well for PSG for a number of years now and but for a poor injury record, he would likely be considerably higher up this list. He is huge miss for club and country when absent and his influence on both when playing is huge.

Some of the players who were just outside making this top ten list include: Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Jorginho (Chelsea), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Nicolo Barella (Inter), Gini Wijnaldum (Paris St Germain), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Manuel Locatelli (Juventus) and Francesco Valverde (Real Madrid).

More Top 10 Lists

Check out our other Top 10 Lists from Ian John: