It feels like playmakers are a dying breed.
Back in the day, football was blessed with a wave of creative midfielders whose sole focus was to set up chances.
But now, with an increased importance on players who shine at both ends of the pitch - or who are immense at one or the other - the true creative outlet is a lot harder to find.
Just look at Mesut Ozil. The Arsenal midfielder is the very definition of a playmaker, but in today’s world he’s considered lazy and can’t get into Mikel Arteta’s side.
Instead, players like Neymar or Lionel Messi have become known as playmakers. They are attackers who are not just responsible for setting up chances in every game, but scoring goals as well.
So, who are the best playmakers in the game right now?
FourFourTwo recently decided to rank the top 10 playmakers in the world, and the results were very interesting.
10. Jack Grealish | Aston Villa
It’s a rather bold claim - but we’re not arguing against it.
Only one player created more chances than Grealish in the Premier League last season and he topped the charts with 111 fouls won.
The 25-year-old has four goals and five assists to his name in the league this season and looks set to shine for England at next summer’s Euros.
9. Christian Eriksen | Inter Milan
Eriksen’s struggles at Inter Milan have been well documented, and they make the Denmark international quite hard to judge.
He doesn’t fit in Antonio Conte’s system and has been limited to three starts in Serie A this season.
On his day, yeah, Eriksen would be in the top 10 best players in the world.
But he hasn’t shown it so far in Italy.
8. Martin Odegaard | Real Madrid
Odegaard enjoyed the best season of his professional career in 2019/20, scoring seven goals and setting up a further nine in 36 games for Real Sociedad.
He’s now back competing for a spot in Real Madrid’s starting XI. The 21-year-old looks like the real deal - this campaign will give us more of an idea if that’s the case.
7. Giovanni Reyna | Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund have a wave of exciting youngsters.
Eighteen-year-old Reyna is just one of them.
The American has been playing just behind Haaland and they’ve already built up an exciting relationship in attack.
The attacking midfielder has scored seven goals and set up four in 2020/21.
If he continues on this trajectory, he’ll be a superstar in the near future.
6. Papu Gomez | Atalanta
Gomez has played a major role in Atalanta’s remarkable rise.
The Argentinian can score and create chances; he’s scored 59 times and set up 70 in 246 games for the Italian outfit.
Five of those goals have come this season. Despite turning 33 next February, Gomez isn’t slowing down.
5. Kai Havertz | Chelsea
FourFourTwo believe Havertz will sit number one on this list one day.
The German is tipped for superstardom after making a name for himself at Bayer Leverkusen and earning an £80 million move to Chelsea in the summer.
He’s confident with both feet and has enormous technical ability. It’ll be interesting to see if Frank Lampard can take him to the next level at Stamford Bridge.
4. Bruno Fernandes | Manchester United
Fernandes’ impact since joining Man United has been pretty remarkable.
There are more creative players on this list but considering his impact from a central position, we’ve no issue with Fernandes being ranked number four on the list.
3. James Rodriguez | Everton
You’re unlikely to see James bust a lung each and every week, but when he’s on it, any manager is going to ignore that.
And when you know how to get the best out of James like Carlo Ancelotti does, the results are quite special.
He’s been a major hit in the Premier League, forming a partnership with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison that propelled Everton to the top of the Premier League.
The 29-year-old has rediscovered his best form and it’s a lot of fun to see.
2. Kevin De Bruyne | Manchester City
De Bruyne is a central midfielder with the stats of a No.10.
Last season he set up 20 goals for his teammates, tying Thierry Henry’s record for most assists in a single Premier League campaign.
That’s to go with the 13 goals he grabbed himself.
The Belgian created 136 scoring chances in total last season and is a threat whenever he’s on the ball.
Many people would have him at the top of this list, that’s for sure.
1. Thomas Muller | Bayern Munich
But in at number one comes Bayern’s Muller.
There was a point in 2019 when Muller was deemed past his best but Hansi Flick brought him out of the cold at the Allianz Arena in a move that paid off big time.
Muller had 26 assists and 14 goals in all competitions last season. Robert Lewandowski stole the headlines but Muller played his part, too.
The German midfielder isn't as exciting as De Bruyne or James but he’s effective around the penalty area, and it’s been fun to see his rebirth.
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