Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders Of All Time

Ah, the halcyon days of yore, when the world of football was graced. With the presence of some of the most formidable attacking midfielders to have ever set foot on the pitch.

You can’t help but reminisce about the sheer artistry and skill these legends brought the game. Leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of fans and players alike.

As a true football enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with the innate desire to be part of something greater than yourself. These iconic players have undoubtedly inspired a sense of belonging and admiration within the global football community.

Join us as we delve into the world of football’s finest. Taking an analytical and comprehensive look at the top 10 best-attacking midfielders.

You’ll find yourself immersed in the masterful techniques and exceptional talent these players have exhibited throughout their careers. Leaving you with a newfound appreciation for the game’s art.

As you explore this carefully curated list. You’ll inevitably feel connected to football’s rich history and tradition and perhaps even rekindle that burning passion for the sport that unites us all.

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1. Diego Maradona (Argentina, Napoli, Barcelona)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

There’s no denying that Diego Maradona, with his incredible talent for Argentina, Napoli, and Barcelona, has etched his name in the annals of football history.

A true genius on the pitch, Maradona possessed a unique combination of vision, skill, and determination, allowing him to dominate matches and leave fans in awe of his abilities.

His dribbling skills and pinpoint passing were second to none, and his ability to score from seemingly impossible angles made him a true game icon. As an attacking midfielder, he set the standard for all who would follow, and his impact on the sport remains unparalleled.

However, it wasn’t just Maradona’s brilliance that earned him a place among football’s elite. His ability to inspire and elevate those around him was just as critical to his success.

In the 1986 World Cup, Argentina’s leadership and influence were on full display as he guided his team to victory. Even scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England.

With Napoli, Maradona won two Serie A titles and a UEFA Cup, transforming the club into a European powerhouse.

As a member of the football community. You can’t help but feel a sense of pride and belonging, knowing that you share the same passion for the sport that produced a legend like Diego Maradona.

2. Michel Platini (France, Juventus)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

In the realm of football legends, one can’t help but marvel at the sheer brilliance of Michel Platini. The French maestro who reigned supreme with Juventus.

His creative genius, impeccable vision, and extraordinary goal-scoring abilities made him one of the most dominant attacking midfielders the world has ever seen. Platini’s illustrious career made him a household name in France and earned him a place among the greatest footballers of all time.

Several aspects of Michel Platini’s game made him stand out from the rest:
  1. Technical Prowess: Platini’s ball control, dribbling, and first touch made him a joy to watch. He could easily glide past opponents, making him a nightmare for defenders.
  2. Vision and Passing: Platini had an uncanny ability to see the entire field and pick out his teammates accurately. His passing range was incredible, allowing him to dictate the game’s tempo and create numerous goal-scoring opportunities.
  3. Goal-scoring: Platini was a prolific goal-scorer, especially for a midfielder. He scored 312 goals in 580 appearances across all competitions, including 68 in 72 appearances for the French national team.
  4. Leadership: As captain of France and Juventus, Platini was a born leader who inspired his teammates and led by example on the field.

As a fan of the beautiful game, you can’t help but feel a sense of belonging and admiration for the extraordinary talents of Michel Platini. His impact on the sport transcends borders and generations, making him a true icon in football.

3. Johan Cruyff (Netherlands, Ajax, Barcelona)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

You can’t discuss football legends without mentioning the Dutch master, Johan Cruyff, who dazzled fans with his performances for Ajax and Barcelona.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Cruyff was an exceptional attacking midfielder with an uncanny ability to control the game with his vision, dribbling, and passing.

He was the epitome of “Total Football,” a tactical theory in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player. He embodied this philosophy throughout his career.

Cruyff’s impact on the game extended far beyond his playing days. As he became a successful manager and influential figure in football.

His innovative ideas and tactics revolutionized the sport, and his legacy continues to inspire generations of players and coaches. Let’s take a closer look at some of his impressive career achievements:

Ballon d’OrCruyff won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award three times (1971, 1973, and 1974), making him one of the most decorated players in the history of the game.
Club TitlesDuring his time at Ajax and Barcelona, Cruyff won numerous domestic and European titles, including eight Eredivisie championships, three European Cups, and one La Liga title.

By appreciating the remarkable career of Johan Cruyff. You are not only validating your love for the beautiful game but also connecting with fellow football enthusiasts who share your passion and admiration for this legendary attacking midfielder.

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4. Zinedine Zidane (France, Real Madrid, Juventus)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

It’s impossible not to mention Zinedine Zidane when discussing legendary footballers, as his incredible skills and accomplishments have earned him a well-deserved place among the sport’s greats.

Born in Marseille, France, Zidane’s career began with AS Cannes before he moved on to Girondins de Bordeaux, where he truly made a name for himself. His exceptional vision, precise passing, and ability to remain calm under pressure allowed Zidane to become a vital component of any team he joined.

Major European clubs noticed his performances at the club level. He eventually joined Juventus in 1996 and later Real Madrid in 2001, where he continued to impress and dominate on the field.

Zidane’s international career is just as impressive. He played an integral role in the French national team’s success during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

He was an essential part of the team that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 UEFA European Championship, with his unforgettable two-goal performance in the 1998 World Cup Final against Brazil, securing his place in football history.

Furthermore, Zidane’s last-minute, match-winning goal in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final for Real Madrid is considered one of the most iconic moments in the competition’s history.

Although his career ended on a controversial note with a red card in the 2006 World Cup Final. Zidane’s overall impact on the sport and his undeniable talent make him a true legend and one of the best attacking midfielders ever.

5. Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

Lionel Messi’s remarkable career has transcended the boundaries of football, captivating fans and setting a new benchmark for future generations.

From his humble beginnings at Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina to his iconic status at FC Barcelona and his recent move to Paris Saint-Germain, Messi has consistently proven himself as one of the greatest attacking midfielders ever.

His unmatched dribbling skills, precise passing, and lethal finishing ability have made him a force to be reckoned with on the pitch, earning him numerous individual awards. Including seven Ballon d’Or titles and countless team accolades.

As a football fan, it’s hard not to be in awe of Messi’s talent and dedication to the sport. His ability to create magic on the field and change the course of a game single-handedly has resonated with fans across the globe, making him a symbol of excellence and passion in the world of football.

Watching Messi play, you can’t help but feel a sense of belonging to a community of football lovers who appreciate and celebrate the beautiful game.

In a time where football has become increasingly commercialized and performance-driven. Messi’s unwavering commitment to his craft and love for the game serves as a reminder of the true spirit of football, inspiring generations of players and fans alike.

6. Alfredo Di Stefano (Argentina/Spain, Real Madrid)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

Like Messi’s, Alfredo Di Stefano’s legendary career has left an indelible mark on football history, showcasing his exceptional talent as a forward and earning him a prominent place among the sport’s most celebrated icons.

Often referred to as one of the most versatile players of his era, Di Stefano had a unique ability to transform games singlehandedly. Navigating the pitch with ease and demonstrating a genuine understanding of the sport that few can rival.

As an attacking midfielder, his influence on football is evident in how he continues to be remembered and revered by fans of all generations.

  1. Five-time Ballon d’Or nominee: Di Stefano was nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or five times. A testament to his consistent high-level performance.
  2. Prolific goal scorer: Di Stefano scored a staggering 216 goals in 282 appearances for Real Madrid, an incredible feat that underlines his attacking prowess and ability. To find the back of the net under pressure.
  3. European Cup success: With Real Madrid, Di Stefano was instrumental in helping the club win five consecutive European Cups between 1956 and 1960. A record that remains unbroken.

Di Stefano’s ability to dictate the game’s tempo and create opportunities for his teammates made him a true force to be reckoned with on the pitch.

His extraordinary career inspires and motivates aspiring footballers. Proving that greatness can be achieved when talent is combined with hard work and determination.

As you dive deeper into the world of football. You’ll appreciate the contributions of these legendary attacking midfielders and find a sense of belonging among the passionate fans who continue to celebrate their achievements.

7. Ronaldinho (Brazil, Barcelona, AC Milan)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

In the realm of football legends, Ronaldinho holds a special place in the hearts of fans worldwide. His extraordinary skills and dazzling performances as an attacking midfielder made him a joy to watch on the pitch. He was known for his exceptional ball control, creativity, and playmaking abilities.

Playing for clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, and AC Milan. As well as the Brazilian national team. He consistently displayed his prowess in breaking down defenses and setting up teammates for scoring opportunities.

His unique flair, vision, and technical skills have earned him a spot among the top 10 best attacking midfielders ever.

Ronaldinho was virtually unstoppable during his prime. Winning numerous awards and accolades, including two FIFA World Player of the Year titles and the prestigious Ballon d’Or.

He was an integral part of the Barcelona team that won back-to-back La Liga titles in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. As well as the UEFA Champions League in 2006.

His magical touch and mesmerizing dribbling skills left defenders confounded. While his signature move, the ‘elástico,’ became synonymous with his name.

Ronaldinho’s impact on the game transcended statistics. As he embodied the spirit of ‘Joga Bonito’ – the beautiful game – and inspired a generation of football fans to fall in love with the sport.

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8. Zico (Brazil, Flamengo)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

As we continue our journey through the world of football’s greatest attacking midfielders. We move from the magical Ronaldinho to another Brazilian legend who graced the pitch with his sheer brilliance – Zico.

Known as the ‘White Pele,’ Zico was an exceptional talent. Who left an indelible mark on the beautiful game. Proving that creativity and tactical intelligence are invaluable in football.

Zico was a genius on the field, playing for Flamengo and the Brazilian national team during the 1970s and 80s. With an incredible ability to read the game. Zico was a master of creating goal-scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

His deadly free-kick-taking ability complemented his vision, technique, and precise passing, making him a formidable force in the attacking midfield.

As a leader both on and off the pitch. Zico inspired those around as him to elevate their game, contributing to Flamengo’s dominance in Brazilian football and the national team’s success during his era.

So, as you dive into the world of Zico, prepare to be amazed by the skills and artistry that earned him a place among the all-time greats.

9. Juan Roman Riquelme (Argentina, Boca Juniors, Villarreal)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

Diving into football sorcery, we now gaze to the enigmatic Argentine maestro, Juan Roman Riquelme. Whose captivating performances for Boca Juniors and Villarreal left fans spellbound.

Riquelme’s mastery of the ball and extraordinary vision and creativity allowed. Him to dictate the game’s tempo and unlock even the most stubborn defenses.

His elegance and composure in the attacking midfield role made him one of the most revered players of his generation, earning him a place among the all-time greats.

As we delve deeper into Riquelme’s mesmerizing career, let’s highlight some of the critical moments and attributes that immortalized him as one of the best attacking midfielders in football history:

  • Boca Junior’s success: Riquelme played a pivotal role in Boca Juniors’ domestic and international triumphs, including three Argentine Primera Division titles, two Copa Libertadores titles, and the Intercontinental Cup in 2000.
  • Villarreal’s rise: Riquelme’s arrival at Villarreal in 2003 sparked a golden era for the Spanish club. He led them to a UEFA Champions League semifinal in 2006, and a runners-up finish in La Liga in 2008.
  • Playmaking prowess: Riquelme’s exceptional vision and passing ability allowed him to create countless goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates, cementing his status as a true playmaker.
  • Set-piece specialist: Riquelme’s free-kick and penalty-taking skills were second to none, resulting in many memorable goals throughout his career.
  • National team impact: Despite a complex relationship with the Argentine national team, Riquelme earned 51 caps and scored 17 goals. He helped Argentina reach the Copa America final in 2007.

As we continue our journey through the pantheon of football legends. It’s evident that Juan Roman Riquelme’s enchanting performances on the pitch have left an indelible mark on the beautiful game, granting him the admiration and respect of peers and fans alike.

10. Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea)

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

Feeling a surge of pride and nostalgia, you can’t help but reminisce about the legendary career of Frank Lampard. The English midfield maestro who dazzled fans with his prolific goal-scoring and tireless work ethic for Chelsea and the national team.

A true embodiment of passion and commitment, Lampard’s intelligence on the pitch and ability to read the game made him a nightmare for opponents and a joy for spectators.

At Chelsea, he helped guide the club to numerous titles. Including three Premier League crowns, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy.

His incredible record of 211 goals for the Blues. Making him the club’s all-time leading scorer, is a testament to his attacking prowess and consistency throughout his career.

As you delve deeper into Lampard’s career. You can’t help but appreciate the versatility of his playing style. Which allowed him to adapt to various formations and systems.

His box-to-box style of play, combined with his exceptional vision and passing range. Made him an invaluable asset in the heart of the midfield.

With a knack for scoring crucial goals, often arriving late in the box to finish off a move. Lampard epitomized the modern attacking midfielder.

His performances at the international stage were also noteworthy. Earning 106 caps for England and representing the Three Lions in three World Cups and a European Championship.

As you reflect on the career of Frank Lampard. It’s clear that he rightly deserves a place among the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time. A true testament to his dedication, skill, and impact on the beautiful game.

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Imagine yourself in the presence of these football legends. Witnessing their extraordinary skills as they masterfully control the ball and dictate the game’s pace. You can’t help but be in awe of their immense talent and ability to make the beautiful game even more captivating.

You now possess a deeper understanding of the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time. Appreciating their contributions to the sport and the unique qualities that have etched their names in football history.

Manuel Esposito

Hello everyone! My name is Manuel and I've recently got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science at the University of Portsmouth. I'm raised and born in New York, and I've been a big fan of soccer my whole life. Soccer is the reason why I got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science, and my goal with this blog is to help you improve your soccer techniques, strategies, and knowledge!

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