5 best defensive midfielders in the world
The importance of having a good defensive midfielder in the playing eleven can't be undermined. The defensive midfielder is regarded as a 'shield of defense' and often acts as a gateway for attack and is much admired these days by pundits and managers alike.
Nowadays, a holding midfielder's job is as much about restricting opposition play and backing up to help the defense as it is about reading the game, retaining the ball, and looking to create attacking chances.
The likes of Claude Makelele, Patrik Vieira, Frank Rijkaard, and Roy Keane have shown us how having an efficient defensive midfielder can turn around a side's fortunes and play a pivotal role in its quest for silverware. These very names have illuminated the ever-growing importance of a holding midfielder who forms a blanket for the defensive line and also performs an array of difficult tasks.
At present, there are several players in that position who are contributing immensely to their team's success. But, who are the ones at the top of the ladder when it comes to playing at the center of the pitch? We find out!
Here's a look at the top 5 defensive midfielders in world football today:
#5 Rodri (Manchester City)
The 23-year-old Spaniard has quickly become an integral figure at the center of the Manchester City midfield following his move from Atletico Madrid in the summer.
Considered a long-term successor for Fernandinho, Rodri boasts colossal physicality, aerial brilliance, and robust tackling proficiency - the ideal characteristics for a defensive midfielder.
Having made a total of 16 appearances for the Citizens, his stats read 2.5 tackles, 1 interception, and 2 aerial duels per game with a 93% pass accuracy, all the while sending in 1 key pass every game. At just 23, he has age on his side and can prove to be a vital cog in the City midfield in the future.
#4 Casemiro (Real Madrid)
Brazillian midfielder Casemiro has played an indispensable role behind Real Madrid's success in recent years and has established himself as one of the best players in the defensive midfield role in the world.
Casemiro, who has four Champions League winners medals with Madrid, has arguably been their most consistent player for the last couple of seasons. The 27-year-old has played every La Liga game this season and his eye-catching statistics of 3.7 tackles, 2.2 interceptions and 1.5 clearances per game outline his defensive potential.