The 10 Top Attacking Midfielders in European Football (Part 1)
We’re kicking off the next installment of our top football players with a list of the top 10 attacking midfielders of the European football leagues.
26-year-old Manchester United and Spanish National Team midfielder Juan Mata may be a man of small stature, but he commands a large presence on the field. With an obvious ability to finish as well as support forward positions, he is an asset on the pitch with a strong left foot. In the 14/15 Premier League season he’s already put 3 goals on his card after 9 appearances, with 9 goals and 6 assists in 24 appearances since joining the Man U squad in January of this year.
Possessing strong passing, ball handling under pressure, and the proven ability to finish, Ribéry exhibits some of the most essential qualities of an offensive mid. He’s helped lead Bayern Munich into another stellar Bundesliga season as well. Despite being short and leaning toward the older end of the spectrum, at 31 he’s managed to maintain a competitive edge with speed and impressive control in his low-lying game. So far in 14/15 he’s chalked up 1 goal and 1 assist in his 5 appearances for Bayern and we expect more of the same carrying on into the winter months of the season.
The young-faced midfielder from Munich may be only 22-years-old, but his game has come a long way in just a few short years at the professional level. He came in for Borussia Dortmund as a trainee amassing 22 goals in 78 appearances before making the move to his current squad in Munich. With 16 goals in 37 appearances since mid-2013 he’s proven his ability to hold the ball and control movement up and down the field, which has been essential to his team’s success. In the 14/15 season he has amassed 6 goals with 1 assist in 10 appearances.
At 35 Pirlo still can change the direction of a match with a single pass. Calm, calculated and accurate, his experience has enabled him to earn the distinction as one of the biggest playmakers in football. Currently playing center-mid for Juventus, Pirlo has nailed down 1 goal and 1 assist in his 4 appearances during the 14/15 season. While he may find himself on the defensive end of the midfield from time to time, it is undeniable that his ability to capitalize on free-kicks and finish make up for a middle-of-the-road approach.
The Belgian attacking mid for Chelsea has had a stellar rise to the foreground of European football. With 3 goals and 4 assists already after 11 appearances in the 14/15 Premier League season, it’s no surprise why Hazard makes the cut. His strong left foot and relentless dribbling make him devastating to defenders caught on their heels. He can do well on the counter as part of the group or complete impressive solo efforts. The press in his homeland has even gone so far as to compare him to the likes of Belgian football legend Enzo Scifo to hammer the point home.
To check out part 2 of our list and see who else made the cut as a top performing offensive midfielder this season, click here.