Ranking the 5 Most Prolific Midfield Tacklers in European Football

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterNovember 27, 2012

Ranking the 5 Most Prolific Midfield Tacklers in European Football

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    Who are the top five tackling midfielders in Europe so far this season?

    This list's omission of Bastian Schweinsteiger isn't suggesting he isn't a quality midfielder, but his role isn't specific enough.

    We focus purely on the defensive side of the game, and use WhoScored?'s statistics to supplement the collection.

5. Morgan Schneiderlin

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    Morgan Schneiderlin is the player who negates Gaston Ramirez's lack of defensive input.

    He allows others to go and play while quietly going about his job in Southampton's midfield, playing the destructive role so Jack Cork is free to float into space.

    His 4.3 tackles and 3.5 interceptions per game is an impressive average, and on Sunday against Newcastle the Frenchman recorded a monstrous seven tackles.

4. Ignacio Camacho

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    Ignacio Camacho is a midfield dynamo.

    Whether he's paired with Jeremy Toulalan or Manuel Iturra, he excels in the holding role of Malaga's 4-2-3-1 formation.

    Four tackles and 3.8 interceptions per game makes him the superior anchor in Andalusian territory and an outside shot for Spain's World Cup 2014 squad if he continues his progression.

3. Arturo Vidal

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    Arturo Vidal is on his way to becoming the best all-round midfielder in world football.

    For now, he remains a combative presence in Juventus' "MVP" midfield, providing steel and bite to complement Andrea Pirlo's elegant prowess on the ball.

    He's a little forceful, recording 2.6 fouls per game, but his 5.3 tackles stand as the second-most impressive in European football.

2. Milan Badelj

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    Milan Badelj is a highly proficient tackler because he rarely fouls his man.

    Recording just 1.6 fouls per game as the anchor midfielder supplementing the vivacious Rafael van der Vaart is an impressive feat, and he is third in the rankings for tackles with 4.3 per game.

    Badelj is just another Croatian talent who's had no trouble settling into one of Europe's top leagues. No team should hesitate after Luka Modric set the blueprint.

1. Valon Behrami

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    Are you a Valon Behrami or Blerim Dzemaili kind of guy?

    I'm a Behrami man, and boy has he impressed at Napoli this season. He's basically showing every attribute West Ham wanted him to, except in a different country, city and shirt.

    The statistics are insane, totalling 5.8 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game for a Napoli side that tends to control the lion's share of possession in games is truly unreal.