Central midfield is one of the most important positions on the football pitch, with players given a number of different roles in which to help their side take victory.
Central midfield can range from defending and giving your back four a shield, or passing and creating chances for your team mates. Needless to say, it is one of the most valuable positions on the pitch.
But just who are the best at their particular midfield role, and who helps their team achieve glory?
GMS contributor Samuel Bradley gives his five best European central midfielders.
5. Mesut Özil
After bursting on to the scene in the 2010 world cup with Germany, the Turkish born attacking midfielder has gone from strength to strength. After moving to Real Madrid his superstardom was assured.
For the past three seasons in the Spanish first division he has been one of Madrid’s finest performers all over the park, playing mostly in a central role, but sometimes out wide. He has an amazing first touch, great dribbling, good passing and a decent eye for goal. All of these attributes combined make Özil one of the greatest central midfielder players in recent times.
4. Arturo Vidal
Vidal has made this list exclusively from his performances with Juventus in the 2012-2013 season. Although possibly a controversial choice, Vidal’s exploits with the Italian giants last season make him more that worthy of his place.
The Chilean partnered Andrea Pirlo in the heart of the Juve midfield, leading them to the Serie A title. Vidal mopped up any mistake any other player made, with his great reading of the game, and his amazing tackling and interceptions. However defending wasn’t his only strength, he has good passing, shooting and all round good forward play.
Combined, his skills make Arturo Vidal one of the greatest central midfielders in the world at the moment.
3. Xavi Hernandez
The only reason Xavi isn’t higher on this list, is that he is getting older and hasn’t had his best seasons in the recent years. This doesn't at all mean that he isn’t deserving of a place on this list however. Xavi, for the last 10 years or so, has been the best and most consistent passer of the ball in the world.
Rarely do you see a misplaced Xavi pass, and when you do people are always shocked. Not only is he the captain of Barcelona in front of the world’sbest player Lionel Messi, he is also always talked about as one of the greatest players ever, because of his range of passing and overall contributions to the Barcelona game over the years.
2. Bastian Schwienstieger
Schwienstieger seems to have been playing for ages, and people easily forget that this German maestro is only 29-years-of-age. He could seamlessly integrate in any of the world’s great midfields thanks to his numerous wonderful traits.
Schwienstieger has over the years been played in a number of positions in the Bayern Munich set up, right midfield, attacking midfield. However in the last few seasons, Schwienstieger has prospered in the holding midfield role, notably alongside Javi Martinez. Schwienstieger is known as the player that keeps Bayern ticking along, passing and distribution wise he is very solid, defending he is very solid and his general play just keeps arguably the world’s best team ticking along.
1. Andrea Pirlo
After moving from AC Milan to Juventus, Pirlo really found his way into people’s debates as one of the world’s best central midfielders. For Milan he was world class, but his move to Juve really saw his performances taken to a whole new level.
Gaining most recognition in the 2012 European Championships, especially with his cheeky chipped penalty against England, Pirlo became regarded as one of the world’s best playmakers, equal to, if not better than, Xavi.
Pirlo is one of the best passers of the ball in the game, barely ever misplacing any forward placed balls. He keeps Juventus ticking from the heart of their midfield and even has eight goals to his name. Needless to say, Andrea Pirlo is arguably the most impressive central midfield player in world football right now.
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