Top 10 Power Midfielders in World Football Right Now

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor IJanuary 10, 2014

Top 10 Power Midfielders in World Football Right Now

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    Football formations over recent years have become very fluid concepts, with players increasingly defined by a player's role rather than their starting position on the pitch.

    Besides those roles, players can also be split into certain attributes that they supply to a side whether it be pace, leadership, passing ability or, in this case, power.

    Whether a midfielder be purely defensive minded or verging on being classified as a forward, the ability to brush off opponents with strength is an attribute that can be highly effective if combined with other skills.

    But who are the most effective "power midfielders" in world football?

10. Ross Barkley

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    The 2013-14 season has so far been nothing short of excellent for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, who has made himself a key player for his club and forced his way into England's thinking ahead of the summer's World Cup.

    A little different to many on this list, Barkley operates as an attacking midfielder and uses his skill to great effect to create chances for both himself and teammates. However, there is also a side to his game based on raw power that can leave defenders trailing in his wake.

    Barkley is solidly built and uses his strength to great effect, while also demonstrating impressive acceleration when running with the ball. His skill set threatens to make him one of the Premier League's most destructive midfielders and Everton will do well to retain his services in the years to come.

9. Marouane Fellaini

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    Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has not had the best start to life at Old Trafford, but at his best he can be a dominant figure in the centre of the park for his side.

    Not blessed with great pace, the lack of dynamism of others in United's midfield has hurt Fellaini. However, when in a better balanced midfield unit, he can use his formidable strength to great effect in both attacking and defensive situations.

    Fellaini is better on the ball than many give him credit for, as acknowledged by Roberto Martinez in using the Belgian as his deep-lying distributor on arrival at Everton. His size and ability to breeze past opponents will always be his defining features.

8. Alex Song

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    There is much more to Alex Song's game than simple brute force, but the Barcelona man can mix with the best in the world when it comes to using his physical attributes to his advantage.

    Despite not being a naturally defensively-minded player, Song has made a career as a defensive midfielder due to his ability to both pinch the ball off opponents and then spread play to more advanced areas.

    Besides his excellent eye for a pass, though, Song has also proven consistently that he can make an impact when carrying the ball forward from midfield. With his rangy stride and ability to shrug off incoming challenges, it is an area of his game that could be utilised much more than at present.

7. Kevin-Prince Boateng

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    Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng is a highly individual and often abrasive character, all of which comes through in his distinct footballing style.

    Boateng is a maverick, possessing great individual quality with the ball at his feet. However, he blends that ability with physicality that makes him a very different proposition to many other attacking midfielders in world football.

    There has been an increasing trend for physical players with high levels of stamina in attacking midfield, with Boateng very much at the head of the charge. Once more, though, it is blended with enough skill to mean that his power is just part of a greater overall game.

6. Victor Wanyama

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    Victor Wanyama's quality was well known to those who have watched Celtic over recent seasons. However, it was only upon his move to Southampton last summer that a wider audience saw his ability on a regular basis.

    It is no surprise that Southampton's drop in form over recent months has coincided with Wanyama's injury absence, with the midfielder's dynamism from the centre of midfield an important element of manager Mauricio Pochettino's plans for the club.

    Known for his abilities as a defensive midfielder, the presence of Morgan Schneiderlin has allowed Wanyama to express himself as a box-to-box midfielder since his summer arrival. Thus far, it has proved a roaring success for the mountainous Kenyan.

5. Paulinho

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    Compared to most players on this list, Paulinho is a relatively slight figure and certainly would be towered above in height. However, the Brazilian has great strength and power within his compact frame.

    After coming to prominence at Corinthians alongside the more limited Ralf, Paulinho has quickly risen to an important role within Brazilian football as the first-choice "segundo volante," or box-to-box midfielder, for the national side.

    What makes Paulinho such an important player is the range of skills he brings to the side. He is comfortable breaking forward but equally so going man-for-man with an opponent in midfield or in aerial battles.

    Now in England, he is quickly becoming widely recognised as a truly world-leading player in his role.

4. Sandro

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    Tottenham midfielder Sandro missed the second half of the 2012-13 season with a serious knee injury and his absence was keenly felt by the North London side, who found themselves slipping out of the top four.

    The Brazilian is another who brilliantly combines physicality with ability, stealing the ball off opponents and driving forward to instigate attacking play.

    Known as "the beast" to Spurs fans, the former Internacional midfielder is still just 24 years old and, having now fully recovered from his injury problems, looks set to play a major role for his country over coming years.

    In an era where strong, powerful runners from midfield are becoming increasingly important, the defensive-minded Brazilian is the perfect antidote to combat opposition threats.

3. Paul Pogba

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    Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is widely regarded as one of the best of his generation, having recently won Tuttosport's Golden Boy prize awarded to the best young player of the past 12 months, per the Daily Mail.

    The young Frenchman has been a roaring success since moving to Turin from Manchester United just 18 months ago and looks set to be a major figure in European football for some time to come.

    Pogba's strength lies in his ability to blend deftness of touch with his imposing physique as he seeks to dominate the centre of the pitch. It is a balance that, as he gathers experience, he is becoming increasingly good at finding.

    As with any young player, there are still improvements to be made in his game but he is well on his way to the very top of the world game.

2. Sami Khedira

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    Due to injury, Germany international Sami Khedira faces a fight to regain fitness in time for next summer's World Cup and will be sorely missed by his country if unavailable.

    Khedira's physicality in midfield and his ability to track from box-to-box have proven immensely important for both club and country, although often underappreciated.

    What Khedira offers is defensive stability, relishing physical confrontation and one-on-one battles, while also steaming forward into the opposition's territory when needed.

    Now 26, he is approaching the peaks of his powers and, per the Daily Mirror, is a target for Premier League giants Manchester City.

1. Yaya Toure

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    The epitome of the powerful midfielder, Yaya Toure took up the reins of Michael Essien as world football's premier powerhouse and took the role onto new heights.

    Toure was guilty last season of having too many "off days," but has been sensational in 2013-14 as he quickly amassed double figures in goals in a City side that look nigh-on unbeatable on home turf.

    At his best, the Ivorian breezes past opponents, shrugging off markers with ease and striding forward up the pitchβ€”all while maintaining excellent close control of the football.

    There are few midfielders as feared as Toure, with the City man capable of single-handedly turning games at the highest level.


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