Midfielder of the year: The nominees
It’s that time of the year when we decide who has been the best midfielder in the calendar year. It was extremely challenging to come down to 6 names that played crucial roles in their side’s successful runs. Now, it’s down to your votes to decide the ultimate winner!
Another fruitful year with the Catalans in La Liga and Champions League for Iniesta, yet it was his excellence in the Euro 2012 win for Spain that sets him apart from most of the midfielders this season. With Spain chasing their third consecutive major trophy on the international stage, the onus was on Iniesta to provide the goods on the field. Incisive passing, setting the pace for the side and a knack to pitch in with goals whenever required – this Barcelona youth product had everything going right for him this year. He has already won the European Player of the Year.
The Ivorian has been at his menacing best in the past year with Manchester City, and this time he also had a league title to show for it. Be it the stability he provided in the defensive midfield role or his marauding forward runs that reflected the relentless spirit of his side, Toure almost singlehandedly pulled his side towards the finish line. His performance against their cross-town rivals Manchester United in the title decider was well revered across Europe and for quite some time now, there hasn’t been a more dominating midfield presence in the game.
I know Pirlo has had a long and prolific spell at Milan, but talk about instant success at a club and one just cannot take an eye off what he has achieved with this Juventus side. He somehow found this ability to elevate his influence on the game to an unprecedented level with the Turin side and with him in the midfield, it wasn’t much of shock that the side went on an unbeaten league run of 49 games. His year wasn’t restricted to just a successful club run. His on-field genius was showcased when he led the tournament dark horses Italy to the final of Euro 2012. He was the architect of almost every move that troubled the opposition and all this was attained with an effortless approach. At the age of 33, Pirlo isn’t getting any younger, yet it would be no surprise to see him rule the turf for another few years to come.
This young attacking midfielder from Dortmund has been a headliner for his side in the past couple of years. Gotze was instrumental in his side’s Bundesliga and Cup victories and has continued his explosive form this season, especially in the group stages of the Champions League. He was also a part of his country’s European campaign where they made it to the semifinals and, as many would suggest, this prodigy has a lot more to offer. His pace and creativity is what Dortmund will bank upon if the side is to fulfill their Champions League winning ambitions.
Thomas Muller probably had the best year of his career so far. A stellar run for Bayern Munich and the national side makes him a deserved pick in our list as the 23-year-old has displayed quality football throughout the calendar year, which makes us forget the fact that he’s just 23. He’s already racked up 12 goals and 7 assists in the first half of the current season and more of the same should easily lead Bayern towards silverware at the end of the season.
Another German on the list! For Madrid, Ozil’s form is extremely crucial to the results they produce at the end of 90 minutes in a game. The creative force that he has been for the Los Blancos is at times overshadowed by the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo upfront, yet Ozil is one of those smoothest playmaking operators that are increasingly difficult to find in the modern game. His flair and the ability to find decisive passes in every other game was significant to Madrid’s La Liga win in May – and going into 2013, his creative attributes will be put to a severe test if the Spanish side are to claim their 10th European Cup.