Hello all! It’s time to get back into our top 5 lists and for this one, we will be looking at a position on the pitch that is often overlooked. Defensive midfielders are often the unsung heroes. They are tasked with getting back and breaking up opposing attacks, and then turning and starting the attack for their own side. It’s time they get the recognition they deserve and I’m going to give it to them! Without further ado, here are my top 5 defensive midfielders in the world.
#5- Axel Witsel, Borussia Dortmund
This may be a surprise entry on this list for some people. Witsel raised eyebrows when he made a high money move to China last year. This season he has made a valiant return to European football with Dortmund. An absolute force in the middle of the field, Witsel is incredibly well-rounded. He is a goalscoring threat but is also a solid defender. Witsel’s passing and dribbling are also high quality for any defensive midfielder. He sets the tone for the Dortmund midfield and his good play is reflected in their first place standing.
#4- Casemiro, Real Madrid
Checking in at #4 on my list is the powerful Brazilian midfielder, Casemiro. He is cut from the old-fashioned cloth of defensive midfielders because his strengths lie purely on the holding side of play. His strength, size, and jumping make him an ideal player to sit right in front of the defense and help push opponents away. However, Real Madrid has struggled this season and Casemiro isn’t immune from those issues. He has not played as well this season and it’s evident in Madrid’s poor position in La Liga. The recent struggles moved him down my list but he is still a great player and deserves to be in the top 5.
#3- Fernandinho, Manchester City
Flipping the script from a large, powerful Brazilian to a wiry, smooth one is Fernandinho. At 33 years old he is the elder statesmen of this list and has really blossomed late on in his career. This season especially, he has proved his worth for City. He has cranked out solid performances every time he sets foot on the pitch. Another well-rounded player, Fernandinho is able to provide solid defending and then be a threat in the attack for City. His ability to be a jack-of-all-trades player is invaluable and lands him at #3 on my list.
#2- Sergio Busquets, FC Barcelona
A player who I believe is criminally underrated, the Spaniard Sergio Busquets gets the second spot on my list. Although he may not be the fastest player on the field, he is the rock of Barcelona’s midfield. His distribution and marking skills are incredible and he has been the definition of consistent for Barcelona. He is entering his eleventh year with the club and is often overlooked due to the star power around him. Busquets is one of the most under appreciated defensive midfielders in the world. Fear not Sergio, I see your quality and you have earned your place on my list. (As if he would actually read this LOL)
#1- N’Golo Kante, Chelsea
Before I begin, this is not a bias pick. N’Golo Kante is simply the best of all defensive midfielders. He deserves this number one spot. His stamina is like none other. He is like the thoroughbred horse of humans. I have never once seen him get tired or look remotely out of breath. His work ethic on the field is unbelievable. He relentlessly pursues the ball and often starts Chelsea’s counter attacks through his dispossessing of the opposition. He even pops up and scores the occasional goal to show that he is capable of more than just defending and passing. Hands down, Kante is my number one and I don’t think I’m the only person in the world with that belief.