Picking Football's 5 Most Genuine Box-to-Box Midfielders

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 12, 2012

Picking Football's 5 Most Genuine Box-to-Box Midfielders

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    Who are the top five genuine box-to-box midfielders in world football?

    The term "midfielder" has become so diverse it's almost impossible not to categorise players, and the box-to-box type are the most explosive of all.

    The modern game has done away with old-school enganche-type players like Juan Roman Riquelme and replaced them with physical specimens.

    To be included on the list, the player must be playing that role for his current club.

Arturo Vidal

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    Arturo Vidal has everything you need in a box-to-box midfielder and holds the current crown for best in the world.

    He has pace, strength, stamina and determination, but also combines his physical superiority with goals and vital interceptions.

    Andrea Pirlo provides the flashy brilliance in Juventus' midfield, but Vidal does the running.

Claudio Marchisio

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    Arturo Vidal's partner in crime is Claudio Marchisio.

    If you thought just the Chilean romping around the field was terrifying enough, add this soon-to-be Juventus legend to the mix and it's easy to see why the Old Lady went unbeaten for so long.

    The Italian terrier got by largely on tenacity to start with, but has added elements to his game over subsequent seasons to make him an undroppable member of Antonio Conte's team.


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    Romulo has proven what a fine player he is while donning a Brazil shirt—it's just a shame that he's stuck over in Russia, playing for Spartak Moscow at the club level.

    He ran the channels superbly at the London 2012 Olympics, providing vertical thrust when trickery failed. His tall, powerful frame among smaller, niftier players creates a bizarre juxtaposition in what was Mano Menezes' side and is now Felipe Scolari's.


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    Hernanes is having a truly standout season at Lazio, and his consistent non-inclusion for the Brazilian national team was one of the major reasons fans were upset with Mano Menezes.

    His all-action style in the heart of the Biancocelesti midfield has made him unplayable at times, and the capital club are a distinctly lesser side without his drive and determination.

    He's creative, forceful, strong and quick. He's everything you need in a carrilero.


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    If it weren't for Ramires, it's distinctly possible that the Chelsea collapse would have happened even sooner.

    As far back as in the preseason game against the Seattle Sounders, it was glaringly obvious that the Blues had a back six and a front four, but no cohesion whatsoever between the two "sets" of players.

    John Obi Mikel's lack of vertical movement is effectively masked by Ramires doing the work of three men, running from one end of the field to the other several times to link the play.

Notable Exceptions

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    Yaya Toure

    Would almost certainly be at the top of the list, but Roberto Mancini reserves a diverse role for him. It ranges from holding midfield to revolutionary trequartista, but rarely encapsulates pure box-to-box play.


    Bastian Schweinsteiger

    Similar to Toure, he spends a lot of time in a double holding pivot with Sami Khedira (country) or Javi Martinez/Luiz Gustavo (club). If he were given the role, he'd excel.


    Daniele De Rossi

    It's difficult to know what Zdenek Zeman is thinking at any given moment, as De Rossi's role is simply shrouded in mystery.


    Sami Khedira

    Much the same as Schweini, he finds himself in a double pivot and is restricted in his role. When he's unleashed, he can be devastating, but it can work the other way too (Euro 2012 vs. Italy).