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HomeFive of the BestRanking the five best attacking midfielders in the world right now

Ranking the five best attacking midfielders in the world right now

Having recently run our judgemental rule over the best defensive and central midfielders on the planet, it’s time for the creatives to take centre stage.

This lot are the midfielders given greater licence to make things happen, free from shackles to crash into opposition boxes and find defence-splitting passes.

The traditional, luxury, number ten might be a thing of the past, but the new wave of attacking midfielders are more rounded than ever before.

Ranking the five best attacking midfielders in the world right now:

5. Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich

Jamal Musiala is a must-watch when he runs up a head of steam, with the Bayern Munich midfielder a balletic – and elite – ball carrier. His mazy work through opposition challenges is edge-of-your-seat stuff, with the 21-year-old having already cemented himself as a crucial figure for club and country.

England’s loss has been Germany’s gain after the latter won the international tug-of-war for Musiala, who has already racked up 27 international caps for Die Mannschaft.

He’s the jewel in the crown for German football as the nation looks to rebuild from underwhelming recent tournaments and has proven he can be the man to deliver on the biggest of stages. His last-gasp winner saw Bayern snatch the Bundesliga title from Borussia Dortmund on the final weekend of last season, a moment that will be replayed for seasons to come regardless of what else he goes on to achieve.

On the evidence of his early career, however, there will be plenty more Musiala moments to savour across the next decade. He’s averaged a goal or assist every 101 minutes in the Bundesliga across the last two seasons.

4. Phil Foden – Manchester City

We might still not know just what Phil Foden is position-wise. But what we do know, is he’s mightily effective wherever stationed in a Manchester City shirt.

Foden is a footballer’s footballer, world-class on the half-turn and in tight areas of the pitch. He manoeuvres between outstretched opposition legs and into pockets of space between lines, damaging defences with his invention in the final third.

Having been touted as the heir to David Silva at the Etihad, we’ve seen more of Foden in central positions for City this season. In the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, he has been the man to make things happen for Pep Guardiola’s team, producing the best return of his career with 18 goals and 10 assists across all competitions.

The Stockport schemer is still just 23 but already counts five Premier League crowns, six domestic cups, and the Champions League among his collection of winner’s medals. Next on Foden’s agenda, as he looks to reach the next level, will be an impactful Euro 2024 with England.

3. Martin Odegaard – Arsenal

Martin Odegaard has matured at Arsenal into the footballer first envisaged when he emerged as the most in-demand 16-year-old in the game at Strømsgodset.

After struggling for status in Spain at Real Madrid, he has become the leader of a new-look Arsenal, captaining the club during consecutive title challenges under Mikel Arteta. The Norwegian is a fabulous footballer to watch, intricate and inventive. He combines creativity with work out of possession, setting an example for Arsenal with his pressing, a crucial component for the new wave of number tens.

Odegaard hit 15 league goals last season for Arsenal and has developed a trademark in arriving late into the box to convert cut-backs. Influential and industrious, at 24 he has the potential to reach higher levels yet.

2. Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid

There’s a case to suggest that Antoine Griezmann is still underrated. A modest spell at Barcelona should not detract from what has been a stellar career for the Frenchman, who has delivered on the grandest of stages for club and country.

Griezmann has done it all in his career. A complete footballer, he has reached world-class levels in multiple positions, from a wide role, to support striker, and deeper in midfield for France.

He won the Golden Boot at Euro 2016 as the French reached the final, before leading Les Bleus to World Cup success in Russia two years later. On both occasions, he finished on the Ballon d’Or podium, a fitting recognition of his role in each tournament.

Last season was one of renaissance for the 33-year-old, who led La Liga for assists (16) and goal involvements (31), in addition to a strong World Cup with the national team. He has continued in a similar vein in 2023/24, with 19 goals in all competitions for Atletico, including a tournament-leading six in the Champions League.

The 33-year-old recently saw a world-record run of 84 consecutive appearances for France end, stretching back seven years. He’s been robust and remarkable in equal measure, arguably the most consistent performer in La Liga over the last two seasons.

1. Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid

Jude Bellingham was good, we knew that. Whether we envisaged he would be this good so soon, is another matter.

Bellingham’s first season at Real Madrid has been akin to a Hollywood tale, with the England midfielder instantly earning Santiago Muñez-style success in the Spanish capital. The 20-year-old has been a marauding force of nature for Los Blancos, leading La Liga for goals scored (16) alongside Ante Budimir and Artem Dovbyk.

How he has handled the expectation of the all-white colours has been nothing short of remarkable and his season could end up being a defining one. Real Madrid boast a healthy advantage in the La Liga title race, while a mouthwatering showdown with Manchester City awaits in the Champions League quarter-finals. There’s also the small matter of Euro 2024 with England in the summer.

Already the favourite for the Ballon d’Or, success in those competitions will make Bellingham the uncatchable frontrunner.

Read – Ranking the five best centre-backs in the world right now

See more – Ranking the five best goalkeepers in the world right now

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