5 greatest Spanish midfielders of all time

Spain's David Silva and Andres Iniesta
Spain's David Silva and Andres Iniesta
Shambhu Ajith

Spain is one of the most successful and storied nations in the world of football. They have produced some of the greatest players to have graced the game in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Spanish top-flight is one of the best football competitions in the world. It is filled to the brim with talented technicians who stand out because of their undestanding of the nuances of the game. Spain is renowned for being home to some of the most technially gifted footballers of all time.

They have produced some of the greatest midfielders the game has ever seen. The players on this list have been nothing short of a joy to watch. Spanish midfield maestros have plied their trade all across the globe. They have stood out for their ability to manipulate the ball and orchestrate play with ease and grace.

Without further ado, let's take a look at five of the greatest Spanish midfielders of all time.

#5 David Silva

Manchester City v FC Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League Group F
Manchester City v FC Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League Group F

David Silva is one of the modern day greats. The Spaniard is a Premier League legend who spent his best years running the Manchester City midfield. He is the archetypal number 8 whose technical abilities are on par with his vision and he could orchestrate play from midfield and also chip in with crucial goals.

Silva first made a mark while at Valencia and then copped a move to Manchester City in 2010. The City project, bankrolled lavishly by their new Abu Dhabi owners, was just about to take off and Silva helped them win their first Premier League title in the 2011-12 season.

The Spaniard was at the top of his game and finished the season as the top assist provider, setting up 17 goals and scoring six in 36 Premier League appearances that term.

Silva was part of the Spanish team that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 Euros. By the time he left Manchester City in 2020, he had won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and five League Cups.

Manchester City have erected a statue outside Etihad as a tribute to Silva, one of the greatest modern day midfielders. He currently plays for Real Sociedad in La Liga.

9⃣ years4⃣ #PL titles 🏆Countless magic moments#OnThisDay in 2010 @ManCity signed David Silva

#4 Xabi Alonso

Spain v Portugal: 2010 FIFA World Cup - Round of Sixteen
Spain v Portugal: 2010 FIFA World Cup - Round of Sixteen

Xabi Alonso rose through the ranks of Real Sociedad's academy. He propelled them to a 2nd-placed finish in La Liga (their highest) as their captain in the 2002-03 season before joining Liverpool in 2004. Alonso went on to have an illustrious career, winning numerous titles at Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

It would have taken a world-class midfielder to rub shoulders with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets and Alonso was more than up to it. He was one of the most well-rounded holding midfielders in the modern game.

Alonso was excellent on both sides of the pitch. He could make some wonderful crunching tackles, score some worldies from far out and also spray immaculate long balls into the wings and the final third.

Alonso's calm and composed presence helped unleash the best in players like Steven Gerrard, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Mesut Ozil, to name a few. He was part of the Liverpool side that pulled off the Champions League miracle in Istanbul in the 2004-05 season.

He also won an FA Cup with the Merseysiders before moving to Real Madrid in 2009. With Los Blancos, he won one La Liga title, two Copa del Reys and one Champions League title. Alonso subsequently played for Bayern Munich and won three Bundesliga titles and a DFB Pokal with the Bavarians.

He hung up his boots in 2017. On the international front, Alonso was a vital cog in the dominant Spanish side that won two European championships in 2008 and 2012 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

🥳 ¡Feliz cumpleaños, @XabiAlonso! Where did he play his best football? 🤷‍♂️#UCL

#3 Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez during his Barcelona days
Luis Suarez during his Barcelona days

Not to be mistaken for the Uruguayan international, this Luis Suarez is also a Barcelona legend. Suarez was arguably the best attacking midfielder of the 1950s and 60s and won the Ballon d'Or in 1960.

Nicknamed the 'architect' for the way he controlled the proceedings with his incredible passing, he is the only Spanish player to have won the Ballon d'Or. Suarez played a pivotal role in Barcelona's successes in the late 1950s. He played as an attacking midfielder or as a wide midfielder during that time.

Suarez's exploits helped Barcelona win two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey trophies and two Inter-Cities Fair Cup. He then moved to Inter Milan with manager Helenio Herrera and became an important part of what is called the 'Grande Inter' era (1960-67).

Suarez's performances were crucial to the Nerazzurri winning two consecutive European Cups and three Serie A titles. He was also instrumental in Spain's 1964 Euro triumph.

#2 Xavi

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga
FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga

Xavi is one of the greatest midfielders of all time. The current Barcelona manager is a product of the famed La Masia. He rose through the ranks of the Barcelona academy and made his senior debut for them in 1998. Xavi would remain with the Catalans for 17 more years where he won almost everything he could.

He was their midfield lynchpin as Barcelona shook off their baggage from the late 90s and early 2000s to become the best football team in the world. It is hard to find a midfielder in the history of the game who understood and could manipulate space as efficiently as Xavi could.

He could upend entire defences with the drop of the shoulder. His technical ability is unsurpassed and his vision and imagination combined with his precise passing made him the most sought-after midfielder in the world.

Alongside Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, Xavi dominated proceedings in the middle of the park for club and country. He dictated the tempo of almost every game he played and was the heart and soul of the Spanish national side and Barcelona.

In fact, Xavi and Iniesta are considered the greatest midfield duo of all time. In his illustrious career, Xavi won eight La Liga titles, four Champions League titles and 3 Copa del Reys with the Catalans. He also won two back-to-back European championships with Spain in 2008 and 2012.

Xavi was one of Spain's best players as they lifted the 2010 FIFA World Cup as well.

🎈🎂 Happy birthday, Xavi Hernández. Enjoy! ⚽💫

#1 Andreas Iniesta

FC Barcelona v CA Osasuna - La Liga
FC Barcelona v CA Osasuna - La Liga

The diminutive midfield magician Andres Iniesta was poetry in motion on the football pitch. No matter how many opponents you throw at him, he'd come through unscathed with the ball sticking to his feet as though it'd been taped to him.

Like Xavi, Iniesta is also a product of La Masia. He made his senior debut for Barcelona in 2002 and went on to become the most decorated Spanish player of all time, with 35 major trophies.

Iniesta started off as a defensive midfielder. But thanks to his technical brilliance and explosive pace, he was moved to a more advanced position where he thrived. Iniesta is one of the best when it comes to dribbling and passing in the history of the game.

He played a big hand in Spain's 2010 World Cup triumph, even scoring the winning goal in the final against Netherlands. Xavi and Iniesta transformed both Spain and Barcelona into forces to be reckoned with and they dominated world football for several years.

Iniesta won the 2008 and 2012 Euros with Spain. He also won nine La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and six Copa del Reys with the Catalans. The Spaniard is still playing at the age of 37. He is currently at Japanese club Vissel Kobe and is one of the highest paid footballers in the world.

Andres Iniesta was king 👑
Edited by Shambhu Ajith


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