Gerrard, Lampard, Pogba: Who are the most prolific midfielders of the 21st century?

Any debate over the greatest central midfielder of the 21st century will stretch a few hours. Probably days, in fact.

The list of talented midfielders is comprehensive. We got to witness the likes of Steven Gerrard and Andres Iniesta at their primes, now it’s the turn of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.

An instrumental no. 6 or no. 8 is invaluable to any side and the very best teams can always rely upon a midfield that does it all; breaks up play, brings others into the game, plays the right pass, scores…

From here on out, this article will ignore the best defensive-minded central midfielders but that’s not to diminish their importance.

Instead, we’re looking at the most prolific midfielders since the turn of the century, taking into account goals and assists.

Which midfielders have been most prolific?

PopFoot have shared the 20 midfielders (no. 6s and 8s only. There’s no Kevin De Bruyne as he’s considered a no. 10) that have the most goal contributions since the turn of the century.

It helps to put into perspective just how good these guys are. Frank Lampard’s goals tally from midfield is nuts, while the Spanish trio of Iniesta, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas were true assist kings.

Here’s the list in full…

The 20 most prolific central midfielders in 21st century

T19. Marouane Fellaini – 168 (115 goals, 53 assists)

19. Aaron Ramsey – 168 (94 goals, 74 assists)

18. Paul Pogba – 169 (85 goals, 84 assists)

17. Georginio Wijnaldum – 170 (117 goals, 53 assists)

16. Joao Moutinho – 203 (65 goals, 138 assists)

15. Yaya Toure – 204 (122 goals, 82 assists)

T13. Bastian Schweinsteiger – 210 (102 goals, 108 assists)

13. Toni Kroos – 210 (74 goals, 136 assists)

12. Andrea Pirlo – 226 (86 goals, 140 assists)

11. Miralem Pjanic – 227 (89 goals, 138 assists)

10. Arturo Vidal – 228 (143 goals, 85 assists)

9. Luka Modric – 243 (110 goals, 133 assists)

8. Ivan Rakitic – 253 (120 goals, 133 assists)

7. Andres Iniesta – 264 (93 goals, 171 assists)

6. Clarence Seedorf – 267 (147 goals, 120 assists)

5. Paul Scholes – 274 (169 goals, 105 assists)

4. Xavi – 335 (123 goals, 212 assists)

3. Cesc Fabregas – 370 (120 goals, 230 assists)

2. Steven Gerrard – 390 (212 goals, 178 assists)

1. Frank Lampard – 472 (303 goals, 169 assists)

Nb. List accurate from February 9, 2022.

Any player that scores more than 300 goals in their careers has done well. To do it from midfield is unreal. 

Chelsea legend Lampard was one-of-a-kind, even managing 27 goals in all competitions in 2009/10.

He’s far ahead of Gerrard in second place, although we’re not here to kick off a Lampard vs Gerrard vs Scholes debate…

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