In football, like every other sport, the goal is always to win. To win in football, you simply have to outscore the opposition by any means possible. In order to score goals, it is necessary for some players to provide assists to the goalscorers. Some players, however, managed to fit both goalscoring and assisting into their game, and this has helped them to be among the best.
It is enough for players to be able to score goals on a regular basis, but when they add assists to it, it becomes perfect. It is usually expected of the forwards to have these great statistics of goals and assists, but some central midfielders can rub shoulders with these forwards.
On that note, here is a list of the five central midfielders who have the most goal contributions in the 21st century.
#5 Andres Iniesta (285 Goals + Assists)
Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta is one of the most complete midfielders of his generation. His understanding of football and how and when to act on the ball makes him an elite midfielder. The Spaniard received his footballing education from Barcelona's famed La Masia academy.
Iniesta is not too well-known for his goals and assists. But his ability to play football at a level few people can imagine set him apart throughout his career.
The midfielder has managed 285 goal contributions in his professional career so far, putting him in fifth place on this list. He has scored 82 goals in club football and 13 goals for his country. This includes the most important goal in the history of Spanish football when he scored the World Cup winning goal in 2010. He also has 160 assists in club football and 30 for the Spanish national team.
Among the midfielders of his generation, Iniesta remains one of the greatest to play the game. The diminutive Spaniard, 37, currently plays in the J-League for Vissel Kobe where he continues to catch the eye.
#4 Xavi (359 Goals + Assists)
Another Spanish midfielder maestro, Xavi, enjoyed a successful football career from his central midfield position. He is regarded as one of the best midfielders ever due to his intelligence and understanding of the game.
Xavi made 359 direct goal contributions in his career for club and country. The midfielder scored 109 goals for Barcelona and 12 for Spain, and made 214 assists for hte club and 24 for the country.
Throughout his career, he featured for FC Barcelona and Al Sadd, as well as the Spanish national team. He went on to become captain of Barcelona, having come through the club's academy.
Xavi presently manages his boyhood club Barcelona. He was appointed as the manager of the club in November 2021 after a stint in Qatar as manager of Al Sadd SC.
#3 Cesc Fabregas (388 Goals + Assists)
Another Spanish midfielder makes the list, highlighting the brilliance exuded by Spain's top midfielders in the 21st century. Cesc Fabregas has enjoyed a footballing career at the very top. The midfielder has also distinguished himself as one of the best in the world at various points in his career.
Fabregas has made 388 direct goal contributions since his debut, the third-most of any central midfielder in the 21st century. The Spaniard has scored 125 goals in club football and 15 for the national team. He also has 212 assists in club football and 36 for the national team. The 34-year-old Fabregas has played for Arsenal, FC Barcelona, Chelsea and AS Monaco in his career.
Fabregas wrote his name in Spanish football folklore after his pass in the FIFA World Cup final set up Andres Iniesta's winner in 2010. The midfielder currently plays in the French Ligue 1 for AS Monaco.
#2 Steven Gerrard (400 Goals + Assists)
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard enjoyed a hugely successful playing career for club and country until his retirement from the game. The Englishman played for only two clubs, as well as the England national team, in his entire career.
Gerrard contributed directly to 400 goals in his career, a staggering total that puts him in second place on this list. He scored 191 goals in club football and 21 for the England national team. He also made 165 assists for his clubs and 23 for the Three Lions. Gerrard only played for Liverpool and Los Angeles Galaxy before opting to retire from football.
Gerrard is currently the manager of English Premier League side Aston Villa. He led Scottish side Rangers to the league title in Scotland last season.
#1 Frank Lampard (483 Goals + Assists)
Frank Lampard was an exceptional midfielder during his time as a professional footballer. The Englishman enjoyed a very successful career for club and country until he decided to hang up his boots for good.
Lampard made 483 direct goal contributions in his career for his clubs and the England national team. The retired midfielder scored 266 goals in club football and 29 for England. He also contributed 176 assists for his clubs and 12 assists for the Three Lions. Lampard featured for West Ham United, Chelsea, New York City FC and Manchester City before his retirement.
Now a manager, Lampard is in charge of Everton in the Premier League. He has also managed Chelsea and Championship side Derby County in the past.