World Football's Current 11 Best Centre/Attacking Midfielders in the World

Manuel TraqueteSenior Analyst IOctober 6, 2010

World Football's Current 11 Best Centre/Attacking Midfielders in the World

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    When Spain won the World Cup earlier in the summer, the brightest stars weren't the forwards, but the midfielders: Xavi and Andres Iniesta (who scored the decisive goal).

    This shows how important midfielders are. They are the link between defense and attack, and they're the ones making the team work.

    The following list contains the 11 best centre/attacking midfielders in the world right now (in my opinion). This obviously excludes defensive midfielders.

Steven Gerrard

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Steven Gerrard of England is seen during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group G Qualifying match between England and Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium on September 3, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    For the past decade, Gerrard has always been one of the best midfielders in the world and a hero at Liverpool.

    His heroics helped Liverpool win the Champions League in 2005, and despite his lack of trophies, he's widely regarded as one of the best at his position.

    He combines technique, vision, and great long-range shooting skills.

Cesc Fabregas

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    BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:   Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal at Ewood Park on August 28, 2010 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    At 23, Cesc is already a top midfielder. He is a Barcelona youth product and has the La Masia certificate of quality.

    So far, he hasn't been able to emulate (or even come remotely close to) the achievements of his legendary teammates in the Spanish national team, Xavi and Iniesta, and he probably never will, but he certainly has what it takes to be a very important player in both Barcelona and Spain for the next decade.

    For now, though, he's an Arsenal player and the captain of the Gunners, where he's a hero among the fans. Despite his inability to lead Arsenal to silverware, he has shown his quality enough to be considered one of the best midfielders in the world today.

Frank Lampard

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15:  Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates at the end of the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON Final match between Chelsea and Portsmouth at Wembley Stadium on May 15, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    The Premier League player of the decade (according to official stats) has undoubtedly been by far the best midfielder in the Premier League for quite some time. His goals and assists stats are pretty much unmatched.

    Last season, he scored an amazing (for a midfielder) 22 goals in the Premier League as he led Chelsea to the title. He's a great long-range shooter and a fantastic free kick taker.

Wesley Sneijder

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    MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 29:  Wesley Sneijder of FC Internazionale Milano celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League group A match between FC Internazionale Milano and SV Werder Bremen at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on September 29, 2010 in Milan, It
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    For a Real Madrid reject, Sneijder has had quite an awesome season in 2010: He performed at a phenomenal level and won the treble with Inter Milan, playing the final of the Champions League in the Bernabeu of all places.

    Then, he had a fabulous World Cup, scoring five goals and leading Holland to the final.

    He's one of the candidates for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award, along with the Barcelona trio (Lionel Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta).

    His vision and great passing accuracy make him one of the best midfielders in the world.

Bastian Schweinsteiger

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    MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 20:  Bastian Schweinsteiger of Bayern runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and VfL Wolfsburg at Allianz Arena on August 20, 2010 in Munich, Germany.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    At 26, the German midfielder is in the form of his life and had an excellent World Cup.

    He has endless stamina, plays at a consistently high level, and is a great set piece taker. He leads both Bayern and Germany's midfield with great class.

    Real Madrid is rumoured to have been interested in him during the summer, but Bayern understandably refused to sell.

Andrey Arshavin

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    SAINT-PETERSBURG - NOVEMBER 16: Andrey Arshavin of FC Zenit St Petersburg during the Russian Premier League match between FC Zenit St Petersburg and FC Dynamo Moscow at the Petrovsky Stadium on November 16, 2008 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Kiri
    Epsilon/Getty Images

    This might seem like a biased choice, and maybe it is a little, but I definitely stand by it.

    Andrey Arshavin brilliantly led Zenit to the UEFA Cup title and Russia to the semis of Euro 2008 with absolutely brilliant performances.

    He contributed to Zenit's European success with an amazing four goals and 10 assists! In Euro 2008, he was Man of the Match in every match he played except in the semis against Spain.

    Arshavin was so impressive that many top clubs around the world tried to sign him, but Zenit initially refused to sell him. He was eventually signed by Arsenal in January 2009 for 15 million euros.

    He's had his brilliant moments at Arsenal (especially his awe-inspiring four goals at Anfield), but Arsene Wenger has failed and keeps failing to take advantage of the Russian's huge talents by playing him completely out of position. Despite Wenger's blindness, Arshavin still manages to have pretty good stats. This season, he has already scored five goals and had five assists.

    Fortunately for opponents, he hasn't managed to produce his best (or even near it), and he will never do it under Wenger.

    He is still 29, and he will hopefully move to a top European club in time so that he can compete for trophies like he deserves.

    He has said in an interview that he dreams of playing for Barcelona, and I'm sure that any Barcelona fan who has witnessed the Russian play at his highest level would definitely welcome Arshavin.

Ever Banega

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    MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 28:  Ever Banega of Valencia in action during the La Liga match between Atletico Madrid and Valencia at Vicente Calderon Stadium on February 28, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
    Angel Martinez/Getty Images

    This is probably the most controversial choice of all, but I felt it would be adequate to include a young, up-and-coming player, and Ever Banega definitely fits the bill.

    The 22-year-old midfielder has performed superbly for Valencia for the past two seasons and has just broken into the Argentina lineup under Sergio Batista. He played a fantastic match against Spain and was the "Xavi" that Messi never had during the World Cup.

    He has all the quality of a top midfielder, and while his inclusion might seem debatable now, it will surely be impossible to argue against in a few years. He's one of Argentina's main weapons to attack World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

Ricardo Káká

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    MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 07:  Kaka of Milan during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Reggina at the San Siro stadium on February 7, 2009 in Milan,Italy.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    While it's true that Kaka hasn't been the same since he left Milan, he's still one of the best and most feared playmakers in the world and will be a major weapon in Jose Mourinho's quest to dethrone Barcelona.

    2007 was Kaka's best year, as he led Milan to the Champions League title and was crowned as the best player in the world.

Paul Scholes

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22:  Paul Scholes of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage on August 22, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    "Paul Scholes is the complete midfielder. He is undoubtedly the best midfielder of his generation."

    This was said by French legend Zinedine Zidane. Surely he knows what he's talking about.

    Paul Scholes is a living football legend, and while he might not be the best midfielder in the world, he's certainly up there with the best despite being 35.

    Scholes has spent all his career at Manchester United, and Sir Alex Ferguson still trusts him 100 percent. The truth is that he never disappoints. Age doesn't seem to affect Scholes, as he keeps leading Manchester United's midfield with his usual class.

Andrés Iniesta

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 03:  Andres Iniesta of Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Mallorca at the Camp Nou stadium on October 3, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/G
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    A brilliant midfielder and a "clutch" player. He rarely scores, but he does when it matters the most. His goal against Chelsea and especially his goal in the World Cup final are absolutely legendary.

    Iniesta has fantastic technique and passing skills, but he achieves his maximum potential when playing alongside his football twin, Xavi Hernandez.

Xavi Hernandez

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    SANTANDER, SPAIN - AUGUST 29:  Xavi Hernandez of Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Racing Santander and Barcelona at El Sardinero stadium on August 29, 2010 in Santander, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Xavi is by far the best midfielder in the world; it's not even close.

    Xavi is already a football legend and leader of two of the best teams of the decade, Barcelona and Spain. His influence on both these teams is quite amazing. Without Xavi, Spain got trashed by Argentina recently and Barcelona struggles even against the minnows in La Liga.

    That says a lot about Xavi's incredible quality and influence. He's hands down the best midfielder of this generation and the man who finally led Spain to international glory after decades of failure. He's a hero in Spain and was recently considered the best Spanish player ever in a newspaper poll.

    There will never be another player quite like Xavi, and it will be a sad day for Barcelona fans and fans of the beautiful game in general when Xavi retires.