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In this post, we will check out the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time.
Attacking midfielders hold a unique position in the world of football, serving as the creative catalysts and playmakers for their teams.
Their ability to combine vision, technique, and goal-scoring prowess makes them indispensable assets on the pitch.
Throughout the history of the sport, several exceptional players have graced the position, leaving an indelible mark on the game.
From orchestrating intricate passing movements to delivering defense-splitting through balls, these attacking midfielders have consistently enthralled fans with their skill and ingenuity.
In this article, we delve into the realm of football’s elite playmakers and present a list of the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time, celebrating their unique contributions and impact on the beautiful game.
Table of contents
Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders of All Time
Zico, widely regarded as one of the greatest attacking midfielders in the history of football, left an indelible mark on the game with his exceptional skills, vision, and ability to influence matches.
Born Arthur Antunes Coimbra in Brazil in 1953, Zico showcased his immense talent throughout his illustrious career, earning him a place among the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time.
Zico’s technical prowess was simply unparalleled. He possessed extraordinary ball control, effortlessly gliding past defenders with his exquisite dribbling ability.
His close control and quick feet allowed him to create space and opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Zico’s exceptional touch and agility were instrumental in his ability to unlock tight defenses, making him a nightmare for opposition players to handle.
One of Zico’s most distinctive qualities was his unrivaled playmaking ability. His vision on the field was second to none, as he consistently delivered pinpoint passes and assists with remarkable accuracy.
Zico was a prolific goal scorer, renowned for his spectacular free kicks and long-range strikes. His ability to score goals combined with his creative playmaking made him a complete attacking midfielder, capable of influencing matches single-handedly.
His influence on the Brazilian national team was particularly noteworthy, as he played a pivotal role in their success during the 1970s and 1980s.
Although Zico may not have won a World Cup during his career, his impact on the game and his status as one of the top-rated playmakers in football history remains unquestioned.
9 Bobby Charlton
Bobby Charlton is widely regarded as one of the all-time best creative midfielders. He was a key member of the Manchester United team that won the European Cup in 1968 and the England team that won the World Cup in 1966.
Charlton was a prolific goalscorer, scoring 249 goals in 758 appearances for Manchester United and 49 goals in 106 appearances for England.
He was also a talented passer and dribbler, and he was known for his ability to create chances for his teammates.
Charlton retired from playing in 1976, but he continued to be involved in football. He served as a manager of Manchester United and the England national team, and he was also a member of the FIFA World Cup organizing committee.
Charlton is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. He was a gifted goalscorer, a talented passer, and a dribbler, and he was known for his ability to create chances for his teammates.
8 Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne undoubtedly deserves his place among the top 10 greatest attacking midfielders of all time. His exceptional vision, technical skills, and ability to dictate the flow of the game make him a truly remarkable player.
De Bruyne possesses an incredible passing range, with the ability to execute accurate short passes and precise long balls, often splitting defenses effortlessly.
His understanding of the game allows him to exploit spaces and create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates.
One of the most impressive aspects of De Bruyne’s game is his exceptional crossing ability. His pinpoint deliveries into the box have been a constant threat to opposing defenses, resulting in numerous goals for his teammates.
Whether it’s a curled cross from the wing or a driven low ball, De Bruyne consistently demonstrates his accuracy and versatility in providing goal-scoring opportunities.
His crosses have become a trademark of his playstyle and have been instrumental in his team’s success.
Furthermore, De Bruyne possesses an incredible long-range shooting ability. His powerful strikes from outside the box have often left goalkeepers helpless, finding the back of the net with precision and sheer force.
His ability to score from a distance adds an extra dimension to his attacking prowess, making him a nightmare for opposing defenses.
De Bruyne’s goalscoring record as an attacking midfielder is exceptional, and he has consistently been among the top goal contributors for his club and country.
His ability to win back possession and press opponents relentlessly makes him a complete midfielder. De Bruyne’s commitment to both ends of the pitch sets him apart from many other attacking midfielders and adds tremendous value to his team.
De Bruyne’s list of achievements is also a testament to his greatness. He has won multiple domestic league titles, domestic cups, and individual accolades, including being named the PFA Player of the Year.
His performances in the UEFA Champions League and international competitions have also been exemplary. De Bruyne’s impact on the game has been consistent and his influence on the teams he has represented has been immense.
His impact on the game, both in terms of goals and assists, as well as his ability to control the tempo and dictate play, sets him apart from his peers.
De Bruyne’s inclusion among the all-time greats is well-deserved, and his legacy as one of the finest attacking midfielders will be remembered for years to come.
Kaka is widely regarded as one of the top 10 legendary offensive midfielders of all time. He was born in Brazil in 1982 and began his professional career with Sao Paulo in 2001.
He quickly established himself as one of the most talented players in the world, and in 2003 he was signed by AC Milan for a record fee.
Kaka spent six years at AC Milan, during which time he won the Serie A title, the UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
He was also named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007. In 2009, Kaka moved to Real Madrid for a world-record fee, but he struggled to replicate his form in Spain.
He returned to AC Milan in 2013, and he also played for Orlando City in the MLS before retiring in 2017.
Kaka was a gifted attacking midfielder with a wide range of skills. He was an excellent dribbler, passer, and finisher.
He was also a creative player who was capable of scoring goals from long range. Kaka was a key member of the Brazilian national team, and he helped them to win the FIFA World Cup in 2002.
Kaka is one of the most decorated attacking midfielders of all time. He has won numerous individual and team awards, and he is considered to be one of the best players of his generation. He is a role model for young players, and he is an inspiration to fans all over the world.
6 Michael Laudrup
Michael Laudrup is undoubtedly one of the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time. His elegant style of play, exceptional vision, and incredible technical ability set him apart from his peers.
Laudrup’s career spanned over two decades, during which he showcased his immense talent for clubs like Lazio, Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Ajax, leaving an indelible mark on each team he represented.
Laudrup’s greatest attribute was his ability to read the game and dictate play from the midfield. He possessed a sublime touch and exceptional close control, which allowed him to glide past opponents effortlessly.
His dribbling skills were unparalleled, and he often left defenders trailing in his wake. Laudrup’s ability to retain possession under pressure made him an invaluable asset for any team, as he could create opportunities from seemingly impossible situations.
Laudrup’s understanding of the game and his teammates’ movements allowed him to create countless goal-scoring opportunities. His assists record speaks for itself, as he consistently provided the final pass that unlocked stubborn defenses.
Beyond his individual achievements, Laudrup’s impact on the teams he played for cannot be overstated. His time at Barcelona, in particular, was marked by a period of immense success and stylish football.
Laudrup formed a formidable partnership with Johan Cruyff, and their collaboration led to Barcelona dominating Spanish football in the early 1990s.
Laudrup’s influence on the team’s playing style and his ability to unlock defenses played a crucial role in Barcelona’s resurgence.
His name deserves to be mentioned among the all-time greats, and his contributions to the game will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.
Ronaldinho is widely regarded as one of the greatest attacking midfielders of all time. He was known for his incredible dribbling skills, passing ability, and goal-scoring prowess.
Ronaldinho won two FIFA World Player of the Year awards and a Ballon d’Or in 2005. He also won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2005 and the Copa América in 1999.
Ronaldinho began his professional career at Grêmio in 1998. He moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 2001 and then to Barcelona in 2003.
At Barcelona, Ronaldinho won two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League. He was also named the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year in 2005.
After leaving Barcelona in 2008, Ronaldinho played for AC Milan, Flamengo, Atlético Mineiro, and Querétaro. He retired from professional football in 2018.
Ronaldinho was a joy to watch on the field. He was a master of dribbling and could weave his way through defenders with ease.
He was also a gifted passer and goalscorer. Ronaldinho was a true entertainer and helped to bring a new level of excitement to the game of football.
4 Michel Platini
Michel Platini is widely regarded as one of the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time. Born on June 21, 1955, in France, Platini’s playing career spanned from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, during which he achieved remarkable success both at the club and international level.
One of the key attributes that made Platini stand out was his exceptional vision and passing ability. He possessed a unique ability to read the game and deliver pinpoint accurate passes to his teammates.
Whether it was a defense-splitting through ball or a perfectly weighted cross, Platini’s distribution was simply sublime.
His creativity and playmaking skills were unmatched, and he orchestrated numerous attacks with his intelligent positioning and ability to unlock defenses.
Platini was also an excellent goal scorer. Despite playing in a midfield role, he had a knack for finding the back of the net with great frequency. He possessed a lethal shot and was renowned for his precise free-kicks and penalties.
Beyond his technical abilities, Platini was a true leader on the pitch. He captained both his club, Juventus, and the French national team with distinction.
Platini played a pivotal role in Juventus winning multiple Serie A titles and reaching the UEFA Champions League finals.
At the international level, Platini’s impact was equally significant. He played a crucial role in France’s triumph in the 1984 European Championships, where he scored important goals and provided vital assists.
His performances in that tournament earned him the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, which he won three times consecutively from 1983 to 1985.
In summary, Michel Platini’s exceptional vision, passing ability, goal-scoring prowess, leadership qualities, and impact at both club and international levels firmly establish him as one of the top 10 best-attacking midfielders of all time.
3 Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He was a prolific goalscorer, a gifted dribbler, and a master of the passing game.
He was also a pioneer of the Total Football philosophy, which emphasized fluid movement and teamwork.
Cruyff began his career at Ajax, where he won three European Cups and eight Dutch league titles. He then moved to Barcelona, where he won La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
Cruyff won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971, 1973, and 1974. He was also named European Footballer of the Century in 1999.
Cruyff’s attacking midfield play was characterized by his vision, creativity, and passing ability. He was also a gifted dribbler, and he was able to beat defenders with ease. Cruyff was also a prolific goalscorer, and he scored over 300 goals in his career.
Cruyff’s influence on the game of football is immense. He is considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport.
His playing style and his coaching ideas have been adopted by many of the world’s top teams, and he is still considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time.
2 Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane, the legendary French footballer, undoubtedly belongs among the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time.
With his incredible skill, vision, and creativity, Zidane revolutionized the position and left an indelible mark on the game. His ability to control the tempo of the match, orchestrate attacks, and provide decisive passes set him apart from his peers.
Zidane possessed unparalleled elegance and grace on the field, making him a joy to watch. His technical prowess was exceptional, combining superb ball control, exquisite dribbling, and sublime first touches.
Whether it was gliding past opponents effortlessly or executing delicate flicks and tricks, Zidane’s close control and mastery over the ball were unmatched.
What truly distinguished Zidane was his remarkable vision and ability to read the game. He had an innate understanding of space and timing, allowing him to find pockets of space in crowded areas and exploit them with devastating effects.
Zidane scored numerous memorable goals throughout his career, including his iconic volley in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final, which showcased his technical brilliance and audacity.
He played a pivotal role in France’s triumph at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring two goals in the final and earning the tournament’s Best Young Player award.
Zidane also led France to victory in the 2000 UEFA European Championship, where his sublime performances earned him the Player of the Tournament accolade.
Zidane’s ability to control matches, create opportunities, and score goals set him apart as a true legend of the sport.
1 Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona is widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he is certainly one of the best-attacking midfielders to have ever played the game.
He was a master of dribbling, passing, and vision, and he had the ability to create chances out of nothing. He was also a prolific goalscorer, and he scored some of the most memorable goals in World Cup history.
Maradona began his career at Argentinos Juniors, where he quickly established himself as one of the most talented players in the world.
He moved to Boca Juniors in 1981, and he helped the club win the Argentine Primera División championship in 1981 and 1982. In 1984, he moved to Barcelona, where he won the Copa del Rey in 1983.
In 1984, Maradona moved to Napoli, where he spent the most successful period of his career. He helped the club win the Serie A championship in 1987 and the UEFA Cup in 1989.
Maradona’s greatest moment came in the 1986 FIFA World Cup, where he led Argentina to victory. He scored two of the most memorable goals in World Cup history, the “Hand of God” and the “Goal of the Century” against England in the quarterfinals.
He is still considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he is an inspiration to players all over the world.
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