Fernandes, Kroos, De Bruyne: Stats create the 'perfect midfielder' from 10 key attributes

  • Kobe Tong

Who is the best midfielder in the world - Kevin De Bruyne, Joshua Kimmich, Bruno Fernandes or somebody else?

Now, if you know a thing or two about football, you're probably rolling your eyes at that question safe in the knowledge that ultimately, it's near-impossible to answer.

And that's because 'midfielder' is just about the broadest role imaginable on a football pitch with everything from deep-lying defensive players to false nines essentially rolled in with each other.

World's best midfielders

In other words, the players that occupy the definition of 'midfielder' are so varyingly different that you can't really pick a correct answer without having an innate bias to certain aspects of the role.

By that I mean: do you you have a soft spot for Claude Makelele-like players? Do you wet yourself at the sight of De Bruyne's inventive crosses? Or is out-and-out goalscoring the key?

Everyone to themselves but one can't help thinking that the question of midfielders, which we're seriously not letting up on here, is one best tackled by deconstructing key attributes.


Creating the 'perfect midfielder'

And that's exactly what journalist Sam Tighe has done this week, creating the 'perfect midfielder' not by choosing one player but merging ten together into football's answer to Frankenstein's monster.

There are ten different categories, including everything from crossing, shooting and tackling, into which ten different players will be inserted - and no one player can feature one more once.

To achieve this, Tighe has used the toolbox of sports technology company Twenty3 in order to use statistical models that illustrate why the ten selection are so brilliant at their respective attributes.

Sounds interesting, right? Well, we'll stop droning on and let the statistics do the talking, so be sure to check out Tighe's Twitter thread in its entirety down below.

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Oh my goodness me. If anything, the 'perfect midfielder' is an absolute understatement.

The ultimate footballing creation

I dread to imagine what a footballer who can tackle as well as Kante, cross as well as De Bruyne and pass as well as Toni Kroos would actually look like, but I can imagine it's pretty terrifying.

Besides, while our original question might have been impossible to answer in real life, I don't think there's any denying that this hypothetical midfield unit would be the real solution every single time.


But perhaps we should be thankful that this 'perfect midfielder' only takes residence within the minds of statistical models, otherwise we'd have the ultimate, walking, talking cheat code of sport.

Or in layman's terms: the Lionel Messi of midfielders.

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