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Ranking the 5 best attacking midfielders of all time

Diego Maradona in full glory
Diego Maradona in full glory
Sourya C
Modified 07 Nov 2020, 10:39 IST

For football aficionados, attacking midfielders, and not strikers or defenders, are the real kings of the game. That's because players playing in positions that count as part of the attacking midfield are generally the ones possessing the most creativity and artistry.

The best attacking midfielders in the world have that element of magic about them, that intangible x-factor that could unlock the best and most stubborn of defences and enthrall millions of viewers.

In short, they epitomise the beautiful game in all its glory. Often, they are the most sought-after footballers as well, and the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Toni Kroos, among many others in contemporary football, prove that point.

Five greatest attacking midfielders of all time

The game's history has seen a plethora of brilliant attacking midfielders, so picking the top five among them is indeed a very arduous task, but we have tried our utmost best.

In this list, we have not included great players who primarily played as second strikers or wide attackers. Instead, we have focused on central playmakers and goal-scoring, free-spirited midfielders.

Without further ado, let's get started.

#5 Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton
Bobby Charlton

Even after years since his retirement, Bobby Charlton remains the best attacking midfielder England have ever produced.


A Ballon'd'Or winner (1966), a World Cup champion (1966) with his nation and a Manchester United legend who won the European Cup with the club (1968), Charlton was a pioneering attacking midfielder.

Football formations evolved during his time as Charlton became a deep-lying forward (akin to an advanced creative midfielder), scoring goals galore and dribbling past defenders with ease while also leading his team from the front.

#4 Michel Platini

Michel Platini of France
Michel Platini of France

It seems eons ago when Michel Platini was the best footballer in the world. Indeed, a shadow has fallen on the great man's reputation because of his tumultuous reign as an administrator, but any list of the best ever attacking midfielders necessarily needs to include the elegant Frenchman.

Platini, one of the best number 10s ever to have graced the game, won three consecutive Ballon'd'Or awards in the 80s and scored nine times during a superhuman performance in France's victorious 1984 European Championship campaign. He also dazzled with his creativity and skills during a very productive and successful spell at Juventus.

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Published 07 Nov 2020, 01:40 IST
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