Trying to rank the greatest midfielders of the 21st century is no easy task. We've seen far too many midfield maestros since the turn of the millennium and despite occupying similar areas on the pitch, they have come in all styles, shapes and sizes.
Whether it be the bombing box-to-box midfielder or the regista (deep-lying playmaker) or the trequartista, they are all tagged midfielders at the end of the day. On a match day, having a good midfield is half the job done and though it's the strikers that walk away with the goals, it's the midfielders that capture our imaginations.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the 10 greatest midfielders of the 21st century.
#10 Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso was one of those unique and versatile midfielders who was as astute in a creative sense as he was defensively. A vital cog in the Spanish team that dominated world football in the first decade of the 21st century, Xabi Alonso had an illustrious career playing for the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Xabi Alonso could telegraph passes from an entire district away and still find his target. He has also scored some incredible halfway line goals in his career. He has won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and Real Madrid and has won the league with Los Blancos and Bayern Munich.
Xabi Alonso also played a big role in Spain's 2010 World Cup triumph and is easily one of the best midfielders of his generation.
#9 Luka Modric
Luka Modric is one of those rare midfielders who has earned a Ballon d'Or. Even better, he did that by upsetting the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly. Modric had arrived at Real Madrid from Tottenham and after struggling in his initial days, he was even voted as the worst signing of the season.
The Croatian kept his head down and went about his ways and silenced his critics by cementing his status as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. The diminutive midfield maestro is a treat to watch on the football pitch with his twists and turns and incredible passing range.
Modric was one of the main factors behind Real Madrid's domination in the UEFA Champions League which saw them win Europe's elite competition on three successive occasions.
#8 Frank Lampard
Perhaps the greatest goalscoring midfielder of his time, Frank Lampard is the one of the most decorated English players. He scored a whopping 211 goals for Chelsea while playing in midfield.
The Englishman has won three Premier League titles, one Champions League, one Europe League, five FA Cups and three League Cups. Lampard's versatility allowed him to be fielded anywhere in midfield. But he worked best as a attack-minded box-to-box midfielder who had an eye for goal like no one else.
Lampard was also excellent at shooting from range and like Xabi Alonso and most of his contemporaries, he was also incredible from set-pieces. Lampard packed great vision and passing ability and his capacity to score from anywhere couple with those late runs into the box made him a ridiculously good goalscorer.