The centre of the football squad is commonly referred to as the midfield. It’s a key position that necessitates a unique fusion of aptitude, vision, and tactical awareness. As they became more well-known over time, a handful of excellent midfielders had a lasting impression on the game. Due to their ability to control the midfield tussle and set the tempo, they became legendary figures in the game. There are several ways in which these midfield gurus are different from their contemporaries. Whether it be by their expert dribbling, perfect passing, strong positional awareness, or game-changing long shots, every player on this list has significantly contributed to the success of his club. Find the list of the top 10 midfielders of all time below.
10. Ruud Gullit (NED)
Ruud Gullit narrowly edged over several other legends to make this list. Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, and Marco van Basten made up the renowned Dutch three that represented AC Milan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Milan had unprecedented success because to this combo, taking home three Serie A championships and two European Cups. At his previous teams, he added to his collection of awards by winning three Dutch league championships, a Dutch Cup, an Italian Cup, and an FA Cup. He greatly contributed to the resurgence of “Total Football” for Holland, which helped the country win Euro ’88 and is the first entry into our list of the top 10 midfielders of all time.
9. Lothar Matthaus (GER)
Lothar Matthaus has participated in the most World Cup games of any player. He has participated in 25, which is a record for an outfield player across five World Cups. He was the ideal choice for captain because of his dominating presence in the centre of the pitch, and he went on to become one of the finest captains in German football history. He won seven Bundesliga championships, three German Cups, a Serie A championship, two UEFA Cups, and three UEFA Cups throughout his club career. On the international stage, he won the 1980 European Championships and added a World Cup winners medal a decade later. He received the Ballon d’Or for himself in 1990, and the following year, he became the first-ever recipient of the World Player of the Year honour.
8. Zico (BRA)
Zico’s free-kick accuracy is unparalleled, and his open-play performance was as spectacular. The actual Pele once referred to Zico as “the White Pele” as being the player who most closely resembled him. His goal-scoring record demonstrates that his finishing was virtually as precise as Pele’s. Despite being a member of the outstanding 1982 team, he never managed to win the World Cup with Brazil, despite winning seven Rio State Championships and four Brazilian Championships in his club career. He earned 88 Brazil caps and scored an amazing 66 goals from attacking midfield.
7. Raymond Kopa (FRA)
Raymond Kopa, a member of the legendary Real Madrid team of the late 1950s, was equally skilled at playing up front and in offensive midfield. He assisted Stade de Reims in reaching the 1956 European Cup final, when they fell to Madrid, and was immediately signed by the Spanish powerhouses. Kopa earned a tonne of awards throughout his career, including three straight European Cups, two Spanish League wins, and four French League championships. He was also a member of the French team that competed in the 1954 and 1958 World Cups when he was awarded Young Player of the Tournament and Player of the Tournament, respectively. He is the only player to have received both honours.
6. Michael Laudrup (DEN)
One of the very few athletes who has represented both Real Madrid and Barcelona is Michael Laudrup. He won the hearts of the crowd with his refined approach, and his teammates loved him for his superb passing. Romario concurred with Raul’s assessment that Laudrup is the finest player he has ever partnered with, ranking Laudrup with Zinedine Zidane as the fourth-best player in game history.
5. Bobby Charlton (ENG)
Bobby Charlton, who is often considered as England’s all-time best player, was extremely exposed to the highs and lows of the game. Charlton, who was one of the lucky ones to survive the Munich flight disaster, went on to become Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer and, until recently, their top appearance-maker. He won the European Cup for United ten years after the tragedy, two years after assisting England in their lone World Cup triumph helping him be ranked among the top 10 midfielders of all time.
4. Michel Platini (FRA)
Michel Platini made a name for himself as one of the finest players of the modern age even before he started garnering negative press. He was among the finest of all time at dead ball delivery and precision passing. Platini won the French League, French Cup, two Serie A championships, Italian Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup, and European Cup during his time as a club player, but the last was overshadowed by the Heysel tragedy. He made the most impressions, nevertheless, on the international scene, notably at the amazing 1984 European Championships.
3. Zinedine Zidane (FRA)
Yes, the maestro finishes third, which illustrates how exceptional the top two are. Zinedine Zidane was the best player of an incredibly brilliant age and dominated world football for many years. He won two Serie A championships, a La Liga championship, a Champions League, but his greatest accomplishments were with France. He made history in the 1998 World Cup final by helping France defeat Brazil with two goals on each head, making him a hero in the process.
2. Johan Cruyff (NED)
The “Total Football” the Dutch played in the 1970s was best exemplified by Johan Cruyff. He appeared as though the supposedly impossibly difficult things he was capable of came as readily to him as breathing thanks to his grace and composure on the ball. Cruyff won nine Dutch League crowns, six Dutch Cups, a La Liga championship, a Spanish Cup, and three consecutive European Cups throughout his club career. He played a crucial role for Holland in the outstanding team that reached the World Cup final in 1974 but lost at the very last moment.
1. Alfredo Di Stefano (SPA)
Although he played alongside players like Ferenc Puskas, Francisco Gento, and Raymond Kopa at Real Madrid, Alfredo Di Stefano, who is regarded by some as the best all-around footballer ever, was still seen as the team’s key man. Because of the manner he managed the game, Di Stefano is included on this list rather than the one for strikers. Despite frequently being referred to as a forward, he would frequently collect the ball from his custodian on the edge of his own box as well as occasionally pop up on the edge of his opponent’s making him the top of our list of the top 10 midfielders of all time.
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