The second overall midfield installment, we are now squarely in the center of the pitch: center midfield.
1. Luka Modrić, Real Madrid
Playmaker. That's the word that best describes Luka Modrić. Modrić can do just about anything on the field. He's an expert passer, a crack shot, and has fantastic ball control. While players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale usually receive more credit for Real Madrid, the Croatian magician is the squad's real motor.
2. Paul Pogba, Manchester United
I've written about Pogba before, wondering exactly how United manager Jose Mourinho would use the star (1) . Let's just say Paul Pogba has truly settled into his role at Manchester United. Pogba has been free to roam through midfield, which has allowed him to leave his expert mark on the game. At only 23 years old, the Frenchman has a real chance to blossom into one of the best center midfielders in history.
3. Iniesta, Barcelona
Having been sidelined with an injury earlier this season, Barcelona realized just how much a healthy Iniesta means to their team. For years, the Spaniard has been one of the top creators in the midfield and this season is no different. Like Modrić, Iniesta is the motor behind Barcelona's fantastic front line.
4. Arturo Vidal, Bayern Munich
Alturo Vidal is criminally under appreciated. He is the star of Bayern Munich's midfield, but receives very little attention due to the other superstars in Carlo Ancelotti's squad. Vidal can function in a defensive or holding midfield role, however, more often the Chilean slides farther up the field, where he flourishes as a center midfielder.
5. Toni Kroos, Real Madrid
Like Alturo Vidal, Toni Kroos also tends to be undervalued. While he isn't the flashiest player, Kroos is a fantastic footballer in his own right. The German is capable of doing nearly everything on the field and he is one of Real Madrid's most important players.
6. Ivan Rakatić, Barcelona
Another Croatian beast, Ivan Rakatić is an extremely well rounded center midfielder. While he doesn't possess the pace that is becoming more and more crucial today, Rakatić will wow you with his technical abilities. There are very few other players in football that can do what the Barcelona man does on the field.
7. Thiago, Bayern Munich
Thiago is unreal. He has some inherent qualities that are rarely seen in football right now. The Spaniard is so well rounded that he can play attacking, holding, or central midfield. Thiago has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga with a fantastic first half of Munich's 2016-17 campaign.
8. Marco Verratti, PSG
The first Italian to be featured here, Verratti is another fantastic youngster playing top flight football, at a top level. At only 24, Marco Verratti plays well beyond his years, with fantastic composure and talent for keeping the ball in difficult places. Verratti is the most likely replacement for legend Andrea Pirlo in the Italian national team.
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Published by Joseph Lowery