30 Greatest Central Midfielders Since 1990 (Ranked)


There is always a big debate surrounding the greatest midfielders of all time, with many differing opinions among fans. It will always be a subjective matter – as is the case with almost everything in football – but certain factors can be taken into consideration. The likes of Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo, Xavi Hernandez and Lothar Matthaus are all viable options. But there are also plenty of Premier League legends to be considered, spearheaded by the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard – and even Kevin De Bruyne at this point.

It’s relatively easy to go through and simply name the best. However, when it comes to actually sorting the finest of the lot, well, that’s when things become challenging. Nevertheless, GIVEMESPORT has ranked 30 of the greatest central midfielders in recent history.

Ranking factors
Given how incredibly divisive this list is, several ranking factors will be taken into account. These include:

Personal awards (either the Ballon d’Or, World Player of the Year award, Golden Foot or a league’s player of the season)
Major trophies won (only includes the two major European competitions, any league titles, the main domestic cup)
Impact and influence on the game
Importance to their team
Iconic moments

30. Paul Pogba

29. Bastian Schweinsteiger

28. Fernandinho

27. Wesley Sneijder

26. Michael Essien

25. Xabi Alonso

24. Claude Makelele

23. Cesc Fabregas

22. Mesut Ozil

21. Frank Rijkaard

20. Toni Kroos

19. Sergio Busquets

18. Yaya Toure

17. Kaka

16. Juan Roman Riquelme

15. Andrea Pirlo

14. Frank Lampard

13. Steven Gerrard

12. Paul Scholes

11. Roy Keane

10. Clarence Seedorf

9. Luka Modric

8. Kevin De Bruyne

7. N’Golo Kante

6. Patrick Vieira

5. Lothar Matthaus

4. Michael Laudrup

3. Andres Iniesta

2. Xavi Hernandez

1. Zinedine Zidane

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