Gerrard, Pele and Maradona: Who is the best defensive and attacking midfielder of all time?


In the absence of the Ballon d’Or, France Football have decided to create the ultimate Dream Team.

To do so, they’re naming the very best players in every position and then holding a voting system to establish the best XI in world football.

We’ll allow them to explain the process…

“These eleven lists were established by the editorial staff of France Football who have traveled through time – since the mid-1950s – and gauged the different generations to each time appoint ten specialists (not necessarily Ballons d’Or), without letting themselves be impress by the prize list but rather by gauging these contenders in the light of their talent, their imprint and their class.
“The nominees, historical references of their position, will then be submitted to the votes of the usual jurors of the Ballon d’Or, some 170 specialists throughout the world, who will have the heavy task of appointing their cador for each position. The final Dream Team will be formalized in December, a period conducive to prestigious awards”.


The XI will line up in a 3-4-3 formation.

Last week, we brought you their list of the top 10 goalkeepers, right-backs, left-backs and centre-backs.

This week, it’s time for the midfielders.

France Football have listed the 20 best defensive midfielders and the 20 best attacking midfielders with two in each list making the XI.

Let’s take a look at each position.

Defensive midfielders:


Now, France Football appear to have a bit of poetic licence when it comes to calling players ‘defensive midfielders’.

Because the likes of Steven Gerrard and Xavi are included, neither of which can really be described as a DM. Elsewhere, there is one current player included in the form of Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, with his former club manager, Pep Guardiola, also in there. The younger of you will be familiar with the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Fernando Redondo, Clarence Seedorf and Xabi Alonso.

Meanwhile, there is also the legendary Marco Tardelli, Luis Suarez, Bernd Schuster and Frank Rijkaard.

Our two picks? Matthaus and Xavi.


Attacking midfielders:


Legendary names everywhere you look. Roberto Baggio, Alfredo Di Stefano, Andres Iniesta, Raymond Kopa, Diego Maradona, Pele, Michel Platini, Ferenc Puskas, Socrates, Zico and Zinedine Zidane – and that’s not even all of them.

But only two can make the XI. And it’s got to be Pele and Maradona for us…

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