Fabinho, Rodri, Kante, Rice: Who is the world's best defensive midfielder?

The defensive midfield position is one of the most important in football.

It’s virtually impossible to build a top-quality team without a world-class operator shielding the back-line and breaking up play.

Defensive midfielders these days also have to excel at the attacking side of the game.

They’re tasked with controlling the tempo of matches, as well as kickstarting attacks from deep with penetrative passes.

It really is a complex role in modern football, but there are a number of current players who’ve certainly mastered it.

But who is the best of the bunch? Well, the folks over at FourFourTwo have provided their answers to that very tricky question.

They’ve ranked what they believe are the 10 best defensive midfielders on the planet right now, with Liverpool‘s Fabinho in third and Manchester City‘s Rodri in fifth.

Spoiler alert, another Premier League star takes top spot on the list…

The 10 best defensive midfielders in world football

10. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)

9. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

8. Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan)

7. Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)

6. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

5. Rodri (Manchester City)

4. Declan Rice (West Ham United)

3. Fabinho (Liverpool)

2. Casemiro (Real Madrid)

  1. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

Kante at the top? Interesting. The Frenchman is undoubtedly one of the greatest defensive midfielders in history, but the 2021/22 season has been a poor one by his incredibly high standards.

At this point in time, there’s an argument to be made that Fabinho, Rodri and Rice should all be ahead of the Chelsea legend.

Bellingham featuring in the top 10 at the age of just 18 is yet more proof of what an absurd talent he is.

If Gareth Southgate doesn’t play the former Birmingham City man next to Rice for England at the 2022 World Cup, we’ll be flabbergasted.

That’s a midfield duo for the present and future, one which may prove to be the envy of international football in years to come.

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