The role of the defensive midfielder is often tough to play, due to the demanding maturity in the position. Defensive midfielders operate in the space ahead of the defense line and behind the center midfielders. They are crucial due to their contribution to both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. The basic duties of defensive midfielders are to make tackles and recover the ball before the opposition even gets close to the defense line. Furthermore, they carry the ball to the opposition half and distribute it through passing channels. They link up the defenses to the attackers during transition phases. Some of the greatest players to grace the role of defensive midfielders include Andrea Pirlo, Pep Guardiola, Patrick Viera, and Didier Deschamps. However, today we look at the Best Defensive Midfielders in the World in 2022.
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Club: Manchester City
Rodri is arguably the closest thing Spain has to Sergio Busquets. Often referred to as the successor to the latter. Rodri impressed at a young age at Villarreal and later moved to Atletico Madrid before being brought to Manchester City.
At Man City, Rodri has proved to be one of the best players in his position in the Premier League. The Spaniard during his two full seasons at the club has won both the Premier League and Carabao cup. He is a player to maintain the structure of the team and often drops between the center-backs when the fullbacks move forward. He offers defensive solidity and is well-capable of picking up forwards with a long ball. Rodri is showing all the signs of a superstar in the making.
Club: FC Barcelona
If playing defensive midfield is an art, Busquets is the artist. During the 2010s, Busquets has arguably been the best defensive midfielder helping FC Barcelona lift numerous titles, including 8 La Liga, 7 Copa Del Rey, and 3 Champions League Titles.
Many over the years have praised Busquets for being a key part in the functioning of FC Barcelona and the Spanish National team. Busquets is known for dictating the play and controlling the tempo of the game. He is often referred to as a ‘Regista’ or a deep-lying playmaker.
The Spaniard has exceptional passing range and contributes equally in the defensive aspect of the game. His key attributes include positioning, interceptions, long balls, and his composure. He is incredibly press resistant thus, rarely can someone take the ball away from him. Sergio is often praised by legends of the game such as Xavi, Iniesta, Johan Cruyff, and Vincente Del Bosque.
Read more: 5 Best Left Wingers in the World in 2022
The Chelsea superstar is the most hard-working and efficient defensive midfielder in the last few years. Although a defensive-minded player, he plays the box-to-box role at Chelsea in a double pivot. At Stamford Bridge, Kante’s major accolades include the Premier League, Fa Cup, Champions League, and Europa League. He is also a World Champion with France.
The Frenchman is an energetic force in the middle and can perform effectively in the attacking and defensive phases of the game. Kante possesses excellent ball-winning abilities combined with his positional and tactical understanding of the game.
Club: Manchester United
Casemiro is another fine example of a defensive midfielder who has made his name in European football. At Real Madrid, the Brazilian has won numerous titles which include 5 Champions Leagues, 3 La Liga, 3 UEFA Super Cups, and a Spanish Cup. He was also a key member of the 2019 Copa America-winning Brazil team.
Despite playing from deep, Casemiro has 60 goal contributions for Real Madrid. Currently plying his trade in England for Manchester United, the midfielder offers versatility being able to play as a single pivot, a box-to-box role, and even as a center-back. He provides aggression and physicality along with a high work rate and tackling ability. He is also quite mobile and is seen operating high on the field just outside the box and helps link up the play.
Also read: 5 Best Right Wingers in the World 2022
Club: Bayern Munich
Joshua Kimmich is often regarded as the successor to Bayern Legend Philip Lahm. Traditionally starting as a right back, Kimmich now plays as a Centre Defensive Midfielder due to his maturity at understanding the game. He has been crucial to Bayern’s success, having scored nearly 50 goals and providing over 100 assists in his career
At just 27, the German has already won everything at club level, especially the Bundesliga every season since he joined Bayern. He was also part of the 2020 Sextuple-winning Bayern side when they won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, DFL Super Cup, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and the Club World Cup.
Kimmich is a deep-lying playmaker who dictates play and shines under the quick transition Bayern side who often plays high. He likes to provide line-breaking passes and often takes a shot from long. The German is great at set pieces and is known to excel at tactical aspects of the game.