Versatility is a valued commodity in all sports with football being no exception. Sure there are players who versatile in the sense they can play a variety of positions, but there are very few world football who excel in a multitude of roles in the most critical are of the pitch: midfield.
The midfield is where the gravity of the game lies the most and therefore the quality of the personnel there is crucial. You have your artists and anchors in there who play a vital role in protecting the goal, distributing the ball and providing direction for the team.
This encompasses several individuals who collaborate to make a team "tick". But there are a select few players who could be labelled a one man midfield as they are accomplished in most facets of midfield play.
Here are 5 of the best:
1. Yaya Toure, Manchester City
The Ivorian has only began to receive the recognition he deserves in the last few years, but there is no denying today he is one of the most influential players in the game. The former Barcelona man stands a giant 6ft 3in and blends raw power with deft touch to be a stylish behemoth in the centre of the park.
Equally adept at sniffing out danger as a holder or as an intelligent playmaker who is capable of unlocking any defence, his destructive runs through the middle of the pitch is a sight to behold especially for Ivory Coast and Manchester CIty supporters who are glad he is on their side.
Add to that, he is able to play as a central defender, making him one of the most complete and indispensable footballers on the planet.
2. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich
The Germany international first came to prominence as a young 20 year old winger during Euro 2004, for his fearless and fantastic displays for Die Mannschaft.
Since then, he has matured and developed into one of the world's foremost central midifielders combining exceptional vision, combative defending and the ability to score some extraordinary goals – no wonder he is lauded as the "brains" of the national team by current manager Joachim Low.
The Bayern Munich star has become more complete as a player with age, with his tactical awareness, defensive positioning and leadership improving immensely since his move to the middle of the pitch to become the fulcrum of the midfield for club and country.
3. Ramires, Chelsea
The Chelsea star is not your typical Brazilian. He does not wow you with the magic most of the samba boys possess, as he is technically lacking at times but his fierce determination, boundless energy and electrifying pace makes him a considerable force in midfield.
Strong in the challenge and always a willing runner, his tenacity and combativeness in midfield coupled with a deceptively strong build and speed, makes Ramires a wonderful player to have in your team.
His box to box qualities are highlighted by his sound defensive abilities as well as his tidy finishing, which is all made possible by his lung busting runs that has become a trademark of his.
Add to that, he has exhibited moments of sheer genius having won Chelsea's goal of year two seasons running for marvellous goals against Manchester City and Barcelona.
4. Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona
Since making his professional debut as sixteen year old for Arsenal in 2003, Fabregas has rapidly evolved into one of the most complete footballers on the planet.
Initially a defensive midfielder, he succeeded Gunners legend Patrick Viera as the sides midfield hub, utilising superb vision, tactical awareness and a good temperament to establish himself as one of the Premier Leagues finest playmakers.
After moving to Barcelona, the former Arsenal superstar's game has gone to another level in terms of it's completeness, having scored more goals and developing a killer instinct in the box that has been aided by Vicente Del Bosque's faith in Fabregas as the false 9 for Spain in several games. His formative years as a holding midfielder and growth as one of the finest playmakers coupled by his development as a forward, makes Cesc Fabregas a maestro in midfield.
5. Arturo Vidal, Juventus
Since making his move from Bayer Leverkusen to Juventus, the Chilean international has not looked back having grown into one of the world's finest defensive midfielders in the game.
Forming a devastating midfield partnership with Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio, Vidal's energy, pace and determination in midfield makes him an indefatigable figure in the heart of the Old Lady.
His tackling is first class and his tactical awareness and positioning are excellent to make him a feared warrior in midfield, but what is less heralded is his distribution and finishing. Having netted ten times this season including crucial strikers at home and away against Chelsea in the champions league, Vidal has added another string to his bow to make one of the most complete midfielders in the world.
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