Football has largely been an attack-oriented sport, with forwards often seen as the stars of the team. The dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in modern times, as well as the likes of Ronaldo, Diego Maradona and Ferenc Puskas in the past, is a clear highlight of the fact.
However, there come certain players in midfield and in defence who make you sit up and take notice. Luka Modric's Ballon d'Or win was a step in the right direction, although it can be argued that there was a certain bias in that decision. Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who ran the midfield for Barcelona and Spain, were regarded as the best in the world during their prime.
These days, with the emergence of social media, players more or less get the credit they deserve. No longer is Sergio Busquets the most underrated player in the world; when someone like Toni Kroos has a bad game, it is made known.
However, some midfielders tend to get less attention than they deserve.
With that in mind, let us look at 5 world-class midfielders who do not get the credit they deserve.
#5 LEON GORETZKA, BAYERN MUNICH
Much attention has been given to Leon Goretzka's fitness routine but the midfielder has quietly been an important player for Bayern Munich.
The Germany international joined Bayern Munich on a free transfer from Schalke in 2018 and immediately became a vital presence in midfield for the Bavarians. Technically gifted with a looming physical presence, Goretzka formed a good partnership with Thiago as Bayern Munich won the treble.
The 25-year-old also has an eye for goal and is capable of playing in various midfield positions. Having rejected the likes of Barcelona to join Bayern Munich, Goretzka looks set to enjoy a bright future there.
#4 MIKEL MERINO, REAL SOCIEDAD
A well-regarded talent during his younger days at Osasuna, Mikel Merino joined Borussia Dortmund in 2016 but failed to make an impact in Germany.
A move to Newcastle United happened but it lasted for only a season. Real Sociedad paid €12 million for his services in 2018, and he has shone at the club ever since. A strong midfielder with good defensive attributes, Merino provided a good base last season so that the likes of Martin Odegaard and Mikel Oyarzabal can go forward without hesitation.
He has recently been called up to Spain's senior side by manager Luis Enrique, and big clubs are reportedly keeping an eye on his development.
#3 LUIS ALBERTO, LAZIO
Lazio have formed an exciting squad under manager Simone Inzaghi, and Luis Alberto has been one of their best assets.
The Spain international joined the Italian club from Liverpool in 2016 for €4 million and did not enjoy the best of starts at the club. After a slow first season, Alberto became an integral part of the midfield, with his creativity and passing key weapons for the way Lazio attack.
The 27-year-old has been linked with some big names in recent months. Having formed a good midfield partnership with Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, Alberto has been linked with a move to Everton and Barcelona.