Top 10 Best Midfielders In The World (2023)

Midfielders have one of the most important roles in a football team.

They build up the play and run the game like an engine. Midfielders in football also play a vital role in defense as well.

In football, midfielders control the game and create goalscoring opportunities for the strikers and also shield the defence.

The magicians, creative geniuses, and conductors we otherwise call midfielders have graced our various viewing screens and stadiums with their gifts.

The midfield position and midfielders are a unique position and unique set of players. There are at least three different types of midfielders: the attacking midfielders, the central midfielders, and the defensive midfielders.

A couple of midfield displays have been especially noteworthy this past year.

However, some have distinguished themselves as being among the best midfielders in the world.

In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG brings the top 10 best midfielders in the world in 2023.

1. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne best midfielders in the world LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during The FA Community Shield match between Manchester City against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 06, 2023 in London, England.
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Unsurprisingly, Kevin De Bruyne tops the list. The Belgian magician has continued to justify his claim to the title as one of the best midfielders in the world.

De Bruyne was very instrumental as Manchester City won their first-ever Champions League crown.

Belgian and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has struggled with injury problems towards the end of last season and the start of this new season.

This injury has seen him ruled out for the first four months of the new campaign, yet, it is still very difficult to think of a midfielder ahead of him especially in the attacking department.

De Bruyne has been at the forefront of every Manchester City attack and success story over the last six seasons, turning up with the assists and goals.

At the same time, the Belgian national team has enjoyed a degree of success, reaching the last four of the 2018 World Cup, amongst others. At 32 and injury permitting, he still has a lot to offer.

What makes Kevin de Bruyne the best midfielder in the world is his incredible technique, tactical intelligence, athleticism, work rate off the ball, skill, vision, crossing accuracy, a wide range of passing, and exceptional long-range shooting ability with either foot.

He also has one of the highest assists in football history.

2. Rodri

Rodri best defensive midfielders in the world LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Rodri of Manchester City during The FA Community Shield match between Manchester City against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 06, 2023 in London, England
(Photo by Michael Regan – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Rodri’s dirty work in the Manchester City defensive midfield position allows De Bruyne to thrive up-front, but Rodri didn’t just turn up good at Manchester City.

The Spanish international, before joining Pep Guardiola’s side in 2019, was a big part of Atletico Madrid’s solid midfield. His big game performances cannot be overlooked, having been named 2022/23 UEFA Champions League Player of the Season, 2023

UEFA Nations League Finals Player of the Tournament and a member of the 2022-2023 Premier League PFA Team of the Year.

His physical strength and height make him a formidable player who often wins tackles, ground and aerial duels.

Rodri can also function as a deep-lying playmaker who can direct gameplay through short and accurate long passes, exceptional positioning, and an uncanny ability to resist pressure.

3. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes best midfielders in the world MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Manchester United and RC Lens at Old Trafford on August 05, 2023 in Manchester, England.
(Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

It is now easy to see why Manchester United fans were delighted to see Bruno Fernandes join their team from Sporting Lisbon in 2020. In less than three years, the Portuguese international has become the skipper of the Red Devils.

He helped the team to win the Carabao Cup last season and was a consistent performer for the squad in the last couple of seasons.

Bruno Fernandes’ passing ability and post-current situation, even from set-pieces, are commendable and ranked highly as one of the best in the world and not just the Premier League alone.

He is a direct, energetic, and gifted playmaker who is capable of setting the rhythm of play, picking out passes, and dribbling past midfielders.

Another reason why Bruno Fernandes is one of the top midfielders in football is that he boasts a prolific goalscoring record from the midfield position. He is capable of shooting accurately from outside the penalty area and is a lethal free-kick and penalty taker.

4. Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva best midfielders in the world SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates the second goal during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Manchester City at Bramall Lane on August 27, 2023 in Sheffield, England.
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Bernardo Silva has tallied over 200 appearances since joining Manchester City in 2017 and has won multiple titles with the Etihad Stadium-based club.

He’s also as important to the Portuguese national team winning the Nation’s League. The midfielder has played an average of 30 Premier League games for City each season in the last six.

Bernardo Silva is a versatile and dynamic left-footed playmaker, with great technical ability.

He has the ability to play in a multitude of attacking and midfield positions, including on the wings, in central midfield, as a deep-lying playmaker, or as an attacking midfielder.

His technical skills, speed, agility, passing ability, ball control, vision, creativity, and dribbling skills are all highly regarded, as is his work ethic and defensive capabilities.

Although he is known for his ability to carry the ball forward and take on defenders, he is also a team player with a strong personality who prefers to contribute to the build-up of offensive plays rather than relying solely on individual dribbling runs.

5. Luka Modrić

Luka Modrić best midfielders in the world BILBAO, SPAIN - AUGUST 12: Luka Modric of Real Madrid in action during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de San Mames on August 12, 2023 in Bilbao, Spain.
(Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Croatian midfielder Luka Modrić is aging like a fine wine, and despite getting nearer to the age of 40, he remains unmovable and indispensable in the Real Madrid squad that ushered out some other players like Casemiro recently.

Modrić was the first player to break the dominance of the duo of Lionel Messi and Ronaldo on the FIFA Best and Balon D’or awards.

He is also the major factor in Real Madrid’s dominance in the UEFA Champions League in the last decade and also helped Croatia to the FIFA World Cup final and the semifinal finish in the last two editions.

He possesses superior technical ability, is a big game player, and can play the role of a box-to-box mifielder.

Modrić is recognized for his tactical acumen and adaptability in both offensive and defensive situations, as well as his ability to read the game, interpret space, and maintain a high work rate.

As a former attacking midfielder, he is regarded as one of the best players when it comes to the “pre-assist” or build-up play, frequently creating opportunities for his teammates to score or deliver passes that lead to goals.

Famed for his trivela passing, Modric has that vision and ability to pick passes between the lines and is still able to a deeper area of the pitch.

6. Casemiro 

Casemiro best defensive midfielders MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Casemiro of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on August 14, 2023 in Manchester, England.
(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Brazilian midfielder Casemiro may have left Real Madrid, but his quality certainly hasn’t left him.

The midfielder has continued to show that he is a class and quality anytime, any day, and last season, despite some abysmal performances from the Manchester United team, he was one of the few without any fault or blemish all through the season.

Casemiro is a strong tackler and a good reader of the game, and he also easily breaks the opposition’s attacking threat. He is an aggressive defensive midfielder, and his passing ability and scoring goals have not been a stranger to him.

He was renowned for his dynamic and combative style of play, tight marking of opponents, and ability to break down opposition play as a defensive midfielder

7. Jude Bellingham 

Jude Bellingham best midfielders in the world BILBAO, SPAIN - AUGUST 12: Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid CF looks on during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de San Mames on August 12, 2023 in Bilbao, Spain.
(Photo by Ion Alcoba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Jude Bellingham has taken the La Liga by storm, matching Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoring record in his first four La Liga games.

The English International joined Real Madrid for big money in the summer and has started justifying the fee.

It isn’t a surprise for many after he left Birmingham for Borussia Dortmund as just a teenager and slotted into the team seamlessly.

He even captained Dortmund a couple of times before leaving.

The young midfielder is excellent at making runs into the box, creating big chances, and linking play in attack. He also has exceptional control of the ball, good physicality and amazing technical quality.

However, Bellingham is also has a great goalscoring profile for a midfielder. He has so far scored 5 goals in his first  four appearances for Real Madrid in La Liga.

8. Martin Ødegaard

Martin Ødegaard best midfielders in the world LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Martin Odegaard of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Fulham FC at Emirates Stadium on August 26, 2023 in London, England.
(Photo by Jacques Feeney/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Like Jude Bellingham, Martin Ødegaard made a big move as a teenager when he joined Real Madrid at barely 16 years old.

Even though he didn’t remain at Santiago Bernabeu, he’s grown to become one of the best midfielders in the game.

He orchestrated Arsenal’s title challenge last season from the midfield and is expected to stay at the club, although a move back to Real Madrid in the future is on the cards.

Ødegaard is considered a contemporary playmaker, renowned for his delicate touch, technical proficiency, dribbling skills, exceptional vision, and wide range of passing.

He is also known for his ability to deliver precise, curving crosses from dead balls and set pieces. His style of play has drawn comparisons to Mesut Özil and Guti.

Despite his diminutive stature, Ødegaard is a hardworking player who excels at pressing the opposition and covering large distances to help his team regain possession.

He possesses natural balance, speed, and shooting power, which is impressive and shows why he is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in the world.

9. Pedri

Pedri best midfielders in the world BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20: Pedro Gonzalez 'Pedri' of FC Barcelona looks on during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona and Cadiz CF at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on August 20, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
(Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Remember the 2020/2021 season where Pedri played in almost every competition available for both Barcelona and Spanish national teams without resting at 17?

That was how good the youngster has been, and although he may have slowed down, he remains a huge part of a rebuilt Barcelona squad that won La Liga last season, and at just age 20, the 2021 Golden Boy and Kopa Trophy winner still has a lot to offer.

Pedri is widely recognized for his agility, intelligence, creativity, and work ethic on the field, thanks to his exceptional technical abilities, ball control, passing accuracy, situational awareness, and vision.

He has a knack for maneuvering through tight spaces, identifying gaps, and delivering precise final or penetrating passes, making him a valuable playmaker.

His dribbling skills, stamina, and composure under pressure are also highly regarded, as is his ability to use either foot with equal effectiveness.

10. Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong best midfielders in the world BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20: Frenkie de Jong of FC Barcelona during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona v Cadiz FC at the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium on August 20, 2023 in Barcelona Spain
(Photo by David S.Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

It is no wonder that several clubs have tried to pry him away from Barcelona, including Inter Milan and Manchester United, just to mention a few.

Since joining Barcelona from Ajax in 2019, he has made over 100 appearances, becoming a key part of the Blaugrana.

De Jong is a versatile player who is capable of playing in several positions, including regista, defensive midfielder, central midfielder, holding midfielder, box-to-box midfielder, and even at centre back.

He is highly regarded for his ability to combine defensive stability with playmaking skills.

De Jong’s exceptional vision, close control, and precise passing have earned him accolades, as has his ability to dribble in tight spaces.

He is a natural dribbler, with a high success rate in this dribbling and carrying the ball from deep. De Jong is also an excellent reader of the game, often making runs through the middle to create offensive opportunities.

He is known for his long cross-field passes, his ability to create space, and his effectiveness in absorbing attacking pressure. His accuracy, work rate, and movement are among the attributes that make him one of the best midfielders in the world.

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