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Top ten best center midfielders in soccer today: A fan’s opinion
The center midfield position is one of the most important in the game of soccer. Center mids direct the attack by creating opportunities for the strikers and spraying passes all over the field. But, they also have to get back on defense. The position is one of the toughest to excel at, but these ten players are the very cream of the crop when it comes to the world's best central midfielders.
10. Jack Wilshere - Although Wilshere has had more than his fair share of run-ins with the law and at only age 19, the fact that he is starting for Arsenal at 19 tells you a lot about his talent level even before you see him play. When you see him play, you'll quickly admire his talent. Wilshere plays with a vivacious energy and the composure of a seasoned veteran as he holds down the center midfield for Arsenal. The bright spotlight does nothing to make Wilshere tentative or scared; instead, his tackles, through balls, and general energy level seem to rise to the occasion in the biggest games.
9. Xabi Alonso - Recently rumors were swirling that Alonso would be named Real Madrid's newest captain, and if that is the case, it would be well deserved. Alonso rose to stardom during his five year run with Liverpool, during which time he was vice-captain to Steven Gerrard. Now with Real Madrid, Alonso is known for his ability to play the long ball, especially long through balls, to free up teammates. In fact, many believe Alonso is the best in the business at doing so. Although Alonso isn't the most gifted player athletically which can be seen by his at times clumsy challenges, Alonso's skill and passing ability make him one of the best in the game today.
8. Frank Lampard - For the past ten years, as players have come and gone from Chelsea, Frank Lampard has been the constant face of the club. Lampard is a box-to-box midfielder whose work rate is second to none. Also an exceptional distributer and free-kick taker, Lampard has scored 115 goals in 344 appearances for Chelsea and 22 goals in 86 appearances for the English National Team. With his hard working attitude and great decision making, Lampard has engineered countless last minute goals for both club and country.
7. Steven Gerrard - Lampard's long-time partner in the center for England, Gerrard is widely considered to be one of the greatest center midfielders of all time. The long-time Liverpool captain is known to be a complete midfielder, excelling on both generating goals as well as thwarting the opponent's attack. His natural leadership and never-say-die attitude have made him a Liverpool legend, not to mention his rocket right foot, long range passing, and blistering runs from the midfield. The only reason he is not higher on this list is his recent injury problems; if he is at full-strength this year, don't be surprised to see him look like the best center midfielder in the world again, even at age 31.
6. Luka Modric - Modric had a breakout campaign for Tottenham last season, as he led Tottenham's impressive little run in the UEFA Champions League. Modric is great with both feet and moves off the ball extremely well. He also has become one of the best in the world at tracking back to gain possession of the ball, then immediately transitioning the team forward to counterattack. This offseason, the Spurs have valued Modric at 40 million pounds, which is a testament to how highly they grade him. Whether another club, such as Chelsea, also value him at 40 million remains to be seen. Still, without Modric, the Spurs would be a completely different team, which is why they are insisting on keeping him.
5. Wesley Sneijder - Sneijder revived his career when he moved from Real Madrid to Inter Milan in 2009. The short Dutchman is a free-kick master, but also brings much more to the table than just that. Sneijder displays an uncanny ability to link up passes with teammates and also make driving runs from his midfield position. In addition, he was one of the main reasons why Holland made it to the World Cup Final in 2010 and looks to be a major contributor as Holland are one of the dark horses to win the 2012 European Championships.
4. Cesc Fabregas - Whether or not he finally makes the long expected switch to Barcelona this offseason, Cesc is one of the greatest central midfielders in the game today. Since he broke through with Arsenal at such a young age, it is easy to forget that the Spaniard is only 24 and may not have even hit his prime yet, which is a scary prospect. With his passing ability and creative flair with the ball, it is no wonder the Gunners have been so reluctant to sell their captain. Fabregas is most famous for his vision and natural feel for the game, which helps him run the show for Arsenal's elaborate passing game.
3. Andres Iniesta - After scoring the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup for Spain, Iniesta was called the greatest player in the world by some, let alone the greatest central midfielder for that matter. He easily could be 1 or 2 on this list due to his precesion passing and seemingly-telepathic ability to understand his teammates' tendancies. Even against the stingiest of defenses, Iniestia can find a hole or create a chance out of nothing through his ingenuity and slick passing.
2. Bastian Schweinsteiger- The big German's stock has been rising ever since he broke through with the German National Team in 2004. He is now widely considered to be one of the best players in the world, which is why many of the top teams in the world have been trying to line up a sufficient bid to buy the playmaker, even though Bayern Munich say he is not for sale. Not only is Bastian a brilliant passer but he is also the best defensive midfielder in the game today. He can and will make the crucial tackle to win the ball, and then a few seconds later punish you with his rocket shot. With his natural fit in the center midfield, you'd assume he's been playing there his whole career. The scary thing is, he just switched from winger to central midfield a couple of seasons ago and is still improving his craft with every game he plays.
1. Xavi Hernandez - Even at age 31, Xavi is still the best there is in the central midfield. The Spaniard is the world's greatest passer, and he single-handedly sets the pace for Barcelona and Spain's possession styles of play. When the going gets tough for the best club and the best country in the world, both look to Xavi, and he does not disappoint. He calms the squad and gets them into their trademark passing games in the blink of an eye. Additionally, Xavi is brilliant on set-pieces and can also score the occasional goal. However, Xavi's game is setting up teammates and with good reason, as the unselfish Spanish player is the best there is at his trade.
Drew has always had an unconditional love for the beautiful game. He started kicking around a ball as soon as he could walk, and he has seemingly kept a soccer ball near his feet ever since. A club soccer state champion in his own right, Drew is a huge fan of the Barclay's Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, the German Bundesliga, and the Champions League.
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