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Sports News of Thursday, 21 March 2019

Source: Ghanaguardian.com

Thomas Partey ranked among best midfielders in the world

We are reaching the business end of the 2018/19 season of football and like every other season, we have witnessed brilliant football all around the world. In football, every position is important, but the midfield governs a team's performance.

The midfielders breakdown opposition play by making timely interceptions, they dictate the proceedings in the middle and they also create goalscoring opportunities. The midfielders also tend to do the dirty work for the team, so that their attackers can do the damage upfield.

It was pretty difficult to pick out the top 10 midfielders in the world at the moment, as there have been a number of brilliant performances in the middle of the park. Before beginning with the slideshow, here are the midfielders who just missed out from this list.

Honorable mentions: Thiago Alcantara ( Bayern Munich), Casemiro ( Real Madrid), Luka Modric ( Real Madrid), Thomas Partey ( Atletico Madrid), Miralem Pjanic ( Juventus), Piotr Zielinski ( Napoli), Marco Verrati ( Paris Saint-Germain), Lucas Torreira ( Arsenal).

All the above players were considered, but they just didn't cut into the top 10 in the world according to me. This list is purely based on performances this season and not on reputation.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 midfielders in the world at the moment:

10 N'Golo Kante:

Kante has played most of this season in the right midfielder position as Sarri prefers Jorginho as the deep-lying playmaker. In spite of being played out of position, the Frenchman has been absolutely brilliant for Chelsea. Kante has been running the show for the Blues, while Jorginho has faltered in his preferred role.

Kante has adjusted his game perfectly and he has scored 3 goals and assisted 4, which is not bad for a natural defensive midfielder. If Sarri would have played Kante in his preferred role, he might have the best in the world again, but Sarri clearly doesn't see Kante as his defensive midfielder.

9 Axel Witsel:

Witsel signed for Borussia Dortmund this summer and what a signing the Belgian has been. He can be considered as the best signing of the summer this season. The Belgian has completely transformed Dortmund's midfield and has been running the show for BVB in the middle of the field.

Witsel has been a pivotal part of Dortmund's title challenge this season. His timely interceptions and tackles have instigated many Dortmund counterattacks. The Belgian has won 71 percent of his tackles this year and has scored 3 goals.

8 Georginio Wijnaldum:

When Liverpool signed Fabinho and Keita, everyone thought that Wijnaldum would get less game time, but that hasn't happened. Wijnaldum has been Liverpool's best midfielder this season. The Holland international has played primarily in two positions, that is the number 6 role and the number 8 role.
Wijnaldum prefers the number 8 role, but his versatile nature permits to him play anywhere in the midfield. He is absolutely vital to Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League this season. His interceptions, tackling, tenacity and tireless running have been a highlight this year.

7 David Silva:

David Silva has been Premier League's most consistent midfielder over the years and he has showed his class again this season. With Kevin de Bruyne out for most of the season through injury, the Spaniard had to step up and he along with Bernardo Silva have done just that.
The 33-year-old has scored 9 goals and assisted 10 this season. He just like last season has been Pep Guardiola's go to man. The Spaniard is one of best on the ball and his vision can be compared to the very best. He remains vital for City in their quadruple dream.

6 Sergio Busquets:

Busquets is the definition of a deep-lying playmaker. The Spaniard is the conductor of Barcelona and everything good on the field goes through him. He controls the tempo of the game, helps Barcelona keep possession in tricky areas, he is brilliant on the ball and his timely interceptions help the Blaugrana regain possession.

The 30-year-old veteran midfielder does all the dirty work so that the likes of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi can do the damage upfield. He has won 72 percent of his tackles in La Liga this season, which just further states his defensive authority. He doesn't do much in terms of goals and assists, but what he does with the ball is that he keeps things simple and tidy.

5 Fernandinho:

Another player much similar to Busquets is the Brazilian Fernandinho. His the most important player for Pep Guardiola in Manchester City. He has been tremendously again for City this season. He just like Busquets conducts everything in the middle of the Sky Blues.

The 33-year-old operates as the deepest of the three midfielders and allows the likes of David Silva and Bernardo Silva to roam around and create chaos for upfield. The Brazilian is one of the most underrated performers in this brilliant City side, but his importance can be stated by the fact that he has won 75 percent of his tackles in the Premier League this season which is the most in this City side.

4 Tanguy Ndombele:

Ndombele has been a beast in the middle of the park for Lyon this season. The young Frenchman is the definition of a modern day midfielder. He has been brilliant both in the league and in the Champions League.
The 22-year-old plays as a defensive midfielder and has traits similar to his French compatriot Paul Pogba. He can drive through the midfield, pick out passes at will and has that swagger about his play. He has given 6 assists in the Ligue 1 this season, which is not bad for a defensive midfielder.

His stats in the Champions League are absolutely incredible. He has won 71 percent of his duels and a 100 percent of his aerial duels in Europe this season, which just tells you how hard he works off the ball. The Frenchman is now on the radar of Europe's big boys and a huge summer move is on the cards.

3. Ivan Rakitic:

Rakitic has been brilliant for the Blaugrana this season. The Croatian had a wonderful World Cup and he has continued his form this season for Barcelona. The Croatian is one of the most underappreciated players in world football, but this season he has proved again that he is one of the best in the world.
The 31-year-old operates on the right side of the 3 man midfield and is the definition of a box to box midfielder. His work rate, tenacity and energy are indispensable to this Barcelona side. The Croatian has 9 assists and 5 goals to his name this season and has won about 79 percent of his tackles in the La Liga this season.

2 Bernardo Silva:

With Kevin de Bruyne ruled out for the majority of the season, it was time for Bernardo Silva to step up for Manchester City in their Belgian star's absence. The little Portuguese has done just that. In fact he has been so great that Pep Guardiola described him as undroppable.
Silva has played mostly in the right midfield role for City and he has been running the show alongside Fernandinho and David Silva. The Portuguese is know for his attacking play, but his defensive stats are one a defender would be proud of.

In the Premier League, the Portuguese has won 75 percent of his tackles. He has scored a total of 10 goals and assisted 9 this season. The 24-year-old is full of tenacity and his energy is indispensable to this City side.

1 Paul Pogba:

After winning the World Cup, it was time for Pogba to step up at Manchester United, but at the start of the season, he was pretty inconsistent. But with the arrived of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford, the big Frenchman has looked absolutely unstoppable in the middle of the park.
He has been producing insane stats for a midfielder. He has scored 14 goals this season, the most by any midfielder in the world and he has assisted 11. He has been involved in a total of 25 goals, which is again the highest by any midfielder in the world this season.

He has been creating chances, scoring goals and winning Manchester United matches on his own. Also, he is criticized for his lack of desire to defend. The stats suggest otherwise, the 26-year-old has won 64 percent of his tackles in the Premier League this season, which is not bad for a player who is creating so much on the other end.