10. Leon Goretzka
Having signed for the record champions Bayern from Schalke in the summer of 2018, Goretzka has blossomed into a truly world-class box-to-box midfielder. In his first full season at the club, Goretzka was deployed in no less than six different positions and even turned out at left-back in 2018/19.
All of that has changed under Flick, who gave him the role in the centre of the midfield, where he is thriving now. A dynamic midfield presence, the 27-year-old’s work in tandem with Joshua Kimmich, also 27, provides the Germans with a solid heart for years to come.
2021 was a great year for the Italian. The fact that Jorginho finished third in the Ballon d’Or rankings explains why he is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. He won the Champions League and Euros with Chelsea and the Azzurri respectively, playing a crucial role in the successes of club and country from the base of midfield.
At Euro 2020, Jorginho ranked second overall for both passes completed, with 529, and ball recoveries, with 42. He was utterly central to the success Roberto Mancini’s side enjoyed en route to Wembley.
8. Toni Kroos
The final season under Zidane was a bit below average but there is no denying that Toni Kroos has taken his game to new heights ever since he made the switch to Madrid from Bayern Munich. Calm, composed and always assured on the ball, Kroos is the conductor in the midfield who pulls the strings for the Spanish giants. He was the pillar of Madrid’s five trophy venture in 2017-18. The German is the epitome of unbelievable consistency and class.
Boringly accurate with his passing, expect the 32-year-old to enjoy a new lease of life under Carlo Ancelotti, the manager he left Bayern Munich to play for. He is still, without a doubt, one of the best midfielders in the world right now.
7. Declan Rice
Declan Rice is one of the most talented players in the Premier League. He is still young and plays a key role in the squad at West Ham United. He’s everything you want in a footballer, beginning to influence games in the final third, while an excellent ball-winner and good passer.
Rice was part of the England squad that reached the final of Euro 2020 and is helping his club challenge for Champions League qualification. The 22-year-old is valued at over €120m by the London-based club, as a lot of teams look to steal him from the Hammers.
6. Bernardo Silva
Back to his brilliant best this season, Bernardo Silva has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. The Portuguese playmaker was linked with a move away in the summer, but City fans will be so glad that he stayed. He has become the player that makes Guardiola’s side tick.
A wizard with the ball at his feet, and he works just as hard to win possession back for his side. Silva gets into any team in the world on current form.