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Football: Top 5 midfielders in Europe

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Sportskeeda

Midfielders are the backbone of every team. They create goals, they score goals and they defend goals. They are the real artisans in the field. Some midfielders play defensive football, some play attacking football and some play both. The midfield players in world football are top notch and the overall talent is better than it has been for several years.

So here is the list of Top 5 Midfielders in Europe (Wingers are also included).

1) Cristiano Ronaldo

 Age 28
 Nationality Portugal
 Club Real Madrid C.F
 Position Left-winger

Cristiano is one of the best players in world football right now, and the stats do the talking for him. He always favored the position in wide-midfield (wings) and he often switches position to play at both left and right wings. He is known for his fantastic dribbling and goal scoring ability. He often switches his position to play as a second striker in the match.

Cristiano’s Strengths and Weaknesses

               Strengths         Weaknesses
 Long Shots Crosses
 Free Kicks Defensive Play
 Key Passes -
 Aerial Ability -
 Pace -

Cristiano Ronlado’s contribution to Real Madrid has been vital since his move to the Spanish capital in 2009 for a world record transfer fee of around 80 million. Almost 38% of total goals scored by Real Madrid this season is scored by Ronaldo. He has made 5 assists in this season.

 Tournament Appearances Goals Assists Average PassesPer GamePass Successful%
 La Liga 27 27 05 32 77%
 CL 08 08 01 41 82%
 Copa Del Rey 04 06 Nil 30 80%
 Total 39 41 06 35 80%

(Stats till 18 march 2013)

What makes Ronaldo special is the high number of goals which is divergent for someone who does not regularly play as an out-and-out striker.

2) Andrés Iniesta

 Age 28
 Nationality Spain
 Club FC Barcelona
 Position Attacking Midfielder (Right, Left, Center)

Andres Iniesta is one of the most respected players in football history. He is known for his immense technique on the ball and amazing vision to create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. He is capable of playing in center and both sides of the midfield.

Iniesta’s Strengths and Weaknesses

               Strengths         Weaknesses
 Passing Crosses
 Through Balls Defensive Play
 Holding Balls Aerial ability
 Dribbling Tackling
 Finishing -

Iniesta has been vital for Barcelona for many years. In the 2012-13 season, he hasn’t been in top form compared to the previous seasons. He is considered to be the third best player after Cristiano ronaldo and Lionel messi. He went on to win UEFA Best Player in Europe Award for the 2011–2012 season. In the same year, Iniesta was selected as the UEFA Champions League Best Player for 2011-2012. He was also awarded IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker for 2012

 Tournament Appearances Goals Assists Average PassesPer GamePass Successful%
 La Liga 22 03 13 73 90.8%
 CL 06 01 01 97 90.9%
 Copa Del Rey 04 02 Nil 90 92%
 Total 32 6 14 87 91.3%

(Stats till 18 march 2013)

3) Franck Ribery

 Age 29
 Nationality France
 Club FC Bayern Munich
 Position Attacking Midfielder (Left)

‘Jewel of French football’, Franck Ribery has been considered as one of the best midfielders in the world. He is recognized as one of the best French players of the generation and he is one of the best attacking midfielder in the game.

Ribery’s Strengths and Weaknesses

               Strength         Weaknesses
 Passing Recovery runs
 Through Balls Defensive Play
 Holding Balls Aerial ability
 Dribbling -
 Crossing -

He generally plays as a winger and he likes to cut inside through the defenders and often likes to do layoffs. He prefers to play on the left side and he recently said ‘My pace is in the left’. Ribery has made vital contributions for Bayern’s unstoppable form this season.

 Tournament Appearances Goals Assists Average PassesPer GamePass Successful%
 Bundesliga 20 06 09 60 87.8%
 CL 06 01 01 39 84.9%
 DFB Pokal 02 00 02 48 88%
 Total 28 07 12 49 86.86%

4) Xavi

 Age 33
 Nationality Spain
 Club FC Barcelona
 Position Midfielder (Center)

Xavi is considered as one of the finest playmakers in the history of world football. He was an integral part of the sextuple-winning Barcelona side in 2009 (When Barcelona has achieved six titles in a year). He is known for his accurate passing and creative vision.

Xavi’s Strengths and Weaknesses

               Strength         Weaknesses
 Long Shots Aerial ability
 Passing Tackling
 Key Passes -
 Dribbling -
 Direct free kicks -

Xavi is a Barcelona youth (La Masia) product. He joined Barcelona’s youth team at the age of 11. He has been an important part of the Barcelona and the Spanish international side for many years. Xavi has won all major club and national championship titles, except for an Olympic gold medal.

He has been an integral part for Barcelona since his debut, he has played 697 matches, scored 78 goals and made more than 180 assists for over 50 players.

 Tournament Appearances Goals Assists Average PassesPer GamePass Successful%
 La Liga 19 05 05 99 95%
 CL 07 00 04 144 94%
 Copa Del Rey 03 00 00 98 94%
 Total 29 05 09 113.6 94.3%

5) David Silva

 Age 27
 Nationality Spain
 Club Manchester City
 Position Attacking Midfielder (Right, Left, Center)

Another Spaniard in the list, he is the fifth best playmaker in the list. The physicality of the Premier League didn’t suit him, after his move from Valencia in 2010, but after a very slow start, eventually he became the best playmaker in England.

Silva’s Strengths and Weaknesses

               Strength         Weaknesses
 Holding the ball Aerial ability (not much)
 Passing -
 Key Passes -
 Set pieces -
 Through balls -

Silva, at the age of 20, became a part of the Spanish international team and since then, he has made more than 70 appearances for Spain and scored 18 goals. After joining Manchester city, he has been an integral part of the team and made more than 100 appearances in two seasons.

 Tournament Appearances Goals Assists Average PassesPer GamePass Successful%
 Premier League 24 03 07 58 85%
 CL 03 00 00 54 88%
 FA Cup 01 01 00 58 84%
 Total 28 04 07 56.6 88.6%

There are many players who missed out of the list and I would like to mention some names. The players who missed out from the list are :

(In no specific order)

- Mesut Ozil (Just missed the list)
- Cesc Fabregas 
- Andrea Pirlo
- Yaya Toure
- Xabi Alonso
- Luka Modric
- Arjen Robben
- Frank Lampard
- Steven Gerrard
- Hazard
- Juan Mata

Don’t agree to the list? Then please comment with the names of players you think should be added to the list.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Sportskeeda

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