Being a midfielder in present-day football means that you have to be able to do everything when on the pitch.
Defenders have the main job description of helping the goalkeeper in keeping the ball from getting into the back of the net. Attackers, on the other hand, have the responsibilities of trying to score against opposing defenders.
As for the midfielders, they are the link between the offence and defence in which they should have the strength to stop the ball from entering their own half while also having the speed and creativity to join the strikers up front when in search for a goal.
The tactical prowess and importance of midfielders were on full display in the recently-concluded FIFA World Cup and with domestic football in its early stages, most eyes are fixed on who the best midfielders are in Europe.
There is undoubtedly a long list and each name has a valid argument why they can make the list. Here are some of the best midfielders in football at the moment.
(HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Marco Verratti of Paris Saint-Germain, Paul Pogba of Manchester United, Toni Kroos of Real Madrid and Ivan Rakitic of FC Barcelona)
EDEN HAZARD – CHELSEA
Undoubtedly the most important piece in Chelsea’s hope for an English Premier League title run is midfielder Eden Hazard.
The Belgian had an incredible run in the World Cup where everyone saw just how incredible his command for the ball is as he stifled defences whenever he made important runs toward the final third.
Outside of that, Hazard boasts of his incredible football IQ as he can make key passes and decisions that certainly help the people around him play better.
No player has completed more take-ons in the Premier League so far than Eden Hazard:
• 6 attempted
• 6 completed
He only played 14 minutes. 🤪 pic.twitter.com/0cpCUcL04C
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 11, 2018
His abilities and contributions helped Belgium finish third in the World Cup and even earned Hazard heavy links to Spanish club Real Madrid.
At the moment, none of the transfer talks have materialised and Hazard remains to be a Chelsea player. He is undoubtedly one of the best in the world at what he does and should remain as a top star wherever he ends up.
N’GOLO KANTE – CHELSEA
It’s amazing that Chelsea have two players in the list but it is extremely difficult to leave N’Golo Kante out of the article given he is arguably the best defensive midfielder at the moment.
Just like Hazard, Kante had an impressive World Cup campaign which saw him help his country lift the coveted title against Croatia.
Outside of being a World Cup winner, Kante was also an important piece in helping Leicester City win the English Premier League title, as well as lifting the crown again in his maiden season with the Blues.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 14, 2018
Kante reads the game extremely well and his eye for the ball and tackling is second-to-none. He has a success rate of more than 60 per cent through three seasons and is a key player in Chelsea’s passing game as he completes more than 63 passes per game in the 2017-18 campaign.
He may not have the flash or the glitter as some of the players in the list, but Kante is simply good at what he does and is not afraid to get his hands dirty when needed in order to give a team the victory.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE – MANCHESTER CITY
The second Belgian on the list has constantly improved and is constantly a scary sight to see for defences every time he makes his appearance on the pitch.
Kevin De Bruyne arrived and helped transform Manchester City into the English giants they currently are.
Surprisingly struggling with Chelsea earlier in his career, De Bruyne has now flourished at the Etihad Stadium and has also shown what he could do in the international stage.
Bit tired after the game, but happy with our first trophy 😝😂🏆 pic.twitter.com/sIbfRRJ2oS
— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) August 6, 2018
Outside of his creativity and pace, De Bruyne has the unpredictability about him whether he makes a key pass or score a goal himself.
Last season, the Belgian scored eight goals and provided 16 assists in City’s dominant display in the Premier League. He has the knack of turning the game’s tide without a notice and can almost create something out of virtually nothing.
Adding another facet to his game is his defence as he has blossomed under the guidance of Pep Guardiola. The superstar completes 69 per cent of his tackles last year and has been able to help the defences in ball recoveries in key areas of the pitch.
LUKA MODRIC – REAL MADRID
Last but certainly not the least is the midfielder that captured everyone’s attention in the World Cup, Luka Modric.
The Croatian sensation had a stellar World Cup where he, alongside players like Ivan Rakitic, helped the underdog nation march towards their first finals appearance. They were close to glory but fell short in the process, but they won fans over with their incredible heart and no-quit attitude.
At the heart of that was Modric, who deservingly won the Golden Ball award along the way. With Real Madrid, he remains to be one of the best players playing in the best team in the world.
Back to work! ⚽🙏 pic.twitter.com/c3mAvc93VO
— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10) August 10, 2018
He is intelligent with or without the ball, but is exquisite when he has possession as his movement, creativity and unique passing abilities make him a puzzle each time someone tries to mark him.
Modric’s one-touch passing ability is something to behold as he can stay away from tricky situations and even if the defences try to box him in, he always finds a way to go past them and bring the ball forward.
His diminutive size certainly is not a liability as he is a complete midfielder who can do almost anything the coach or situation asks from him. His consistency throughout his career makes him an automatic on the list.