Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders Of All Time (2024)

Did you know that Lionel Messi has scored over 700 career goals? As a football fan, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the electrifying energy that fills the stadium when an attacking midfielder takes control of the game.

These skilled players possess an exceptional ability to read the game, create scoring opportunities, and execute dazzling plays that leave their opponents in awe.

As you journey with us through the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time, you’ll immerse yourself in the passion and talent that have shaped the beautiful game.

From the breathtaking dribbles of Ronaldinho to the relentless goal-scoring prowess of Cristiano Ronaldo, each player on this list has left an indelible mark on football history.

As you read about their incredible achievements and unforgettable moments, you’ll feel a sense of camaraderie with fellow fans who share your admiration for these legends.

Whether reminiscing about iconic matches or discovering new heroes, this article will deepen your appreciation for the attacking midfielders who have redefined the sport we all love.

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1. Lionel Messi

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

You can’t talk about legendary playmakers without mentioning Lionel Messi, whose extraordinary skills and vision have left fans and opponents alike in awe.

As an attacking midfielder, Messi has consistently demonstrated his ability to create goal-scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

His incredible dribbling skills, precise passing, and unmatched football intelligence have made him a nightmare for defenders, and his consistency over the years has earned him a spot among the all-time greats.

Messi’s unique ability to take over a game singlehandedly may draw you to him as an attacking midfielder.

He has a knack for finding spaces and creating opportunities others can’t see, often leaving spectators in disbelief.

As a fan, watching Messi play gives you a sense of belonging to a community that appreciates the beauty and artistry of the beautiful game.

His hard work and determination combined with talent have inspired aspiring footballers and is a testament to what can be achieved.

2.Cristiano Ronaldo

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

An astounding 807 goals in his professional career have been scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, whose versatility and incredible goal-scoring ability cannot be ignored though often considered a forward.

He combines exceptional vision and playmaking skills with the ability to adapt to various positions on the field, thus making him a force to be reckoned with, despite not fitting the traditional mold of an attacking midfielder.

As a member of this elite group, you can appreciate the skill and dedication it takes to achieve such a prolific record, and Ronaldo’s impact on the game is undeniable.

Throughout his career, Ronaldo has consistently demonstrated his ability to score from virtually anywhere on the field, making him a constant threat to opposing defenses.

His exceptional dribbling skills, powerful shots, and incredible accuracy have resulted in numerous highlight-reel goals that have left fans and opponents alike in awe.

As someone who values the artistry and skill of the world’s best-attacking midfielders, you can’t help but marvel at Ronaldo’s talent and dedication to his craft.

His continued success at the highest level of the sport serves as an inspiration to aspiring players and a testament to the greatness of the beautiful game.

3. Ronaldinho

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

There’s no denying that Ronaldinho’s flair, creativity, and jaw-dropping skills have cemented his place among football’s elite.

Hailing from Brazil, the land of magical football, Ronaldinho emerged as a force to be reckoned with during his time at Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona, and AC Milan.

His ability to dance past defenders, execute unbelievable passes, and score spectacular goals made him a crowd favorite and earned him the admiration of football fans across the globe.

As an attacking midfielder, Ronaldinho’s unique combination of vision, skill, and inventiveness made him a nightmare for opponents.

He possessed an innate ability to create something out of nothing, leaving defenders and goalkeepers in awe of his talent.

Some key highlights of his illustrious career include winning the FIFA World Player of the Year award twice (2004 and 2005), capturing the Ballon d’Or award in 2005.

Being an instrumental part of Brazil’s 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning team, and leading FC Barcelona to multiple La Liga titles and a UEFA Champions League trophy in 2006.

Ronaldinho’s impact on the football world will never be forgotten despite controversies and a decline in form marring his career.

As a fan, you’ll always cherish the memories of his breathtaking performances and the joy he brought to the beautiful game.

4. Ryan Giggs

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

As a football enthusiast, you can’t help but admire Ryan Giggs’ incredible record of playing in every Premier League season from its inception in 1992 until his retirement in 2014.

His longevity is a testament to his remarkable consistency, adaptability, and ability to perform at the highest level for over two decades.

This Welsh wizard is undoubtedly one of the best attacking midfielders of all time, contributing to Manchester United’s successes with his dazzling skills, creativity, and unmatched work ethic.

Giggs won 34 major trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, and 2 UEFA Champions League titles, making him the most decorated player in English football history.

Giggs’ versatility and intelligence on the pitch allowed him to excel in various roles, from a flying winger in his early years to a central playmaker later in his career.

His dribbling ability, vision, and accurate passing constantly threatened opposition defenses, while his knack for scoring crucial goals further underlined his big-game temperament.

His professionalism and dedication off the pitch kept Giggs fit and enabled him to adapt his game as age caught up with him.

As a member of the football community, you can’t help but feel a sense of belonging and pride in celebrating the achievements of this legendary player, who has inspired countless aspiring footballers to dream big and strive for greatness.

5. Roberto Rivelino

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

Roberto Rivelino, another football legend, truly captivated fans with his mesmerizing skills and iconic mustache.

As an essential part of the Brazilian national team during the 1970s, Rivelino’s attacking prowess and creative vision helped Brazil secure the 1970 FIFA World Cup.

Known for his powerful left foot and dazzling dribbling skills, Rivelino was a force to be reckoned with as a midfielder.

His signature move, the ‘elástico’ or ‘flip-flap,’ left defenders utterly confused and became a staple trick for future footballers.

As a fan of the beautiful game, you can’t help but admire Rivelino’s incredible contributions to football. Playing for clubs such as Corinthians and Fluminense, his technical ability and precise passing made him a vital asset to his team’s attacking plays.

Rivelino’s charisma and distinctive appearance made him a fan favorite and a symbol of Brazilian football culture off the field.

So, as you delve into the world of football and its greatest attacking midfielders, remember to pay homage to the legendary Roberto Rivelino, for he was one of the best.

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6. Piet Keizer

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

Piet Keizer’s football prowess shouldn’t be underestimated, as he was a true maestro on the field and a force to be reckoned with in the football world.

This Dutch legend embodied the term ‘attacking midfielder,’ combining exceptional dribbling skills and precise passes to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.

As an integral part of the famous Ajax Amsterdam and Netherlands national teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Keizer played a crucial role in the success of ‘Total Football,’ a tactical revolution that has left a lasting impact on the beautiful game.

His ability to control the game’s flow and outsmart opponents with his tactical awareness allowed him to dominate the midfield and create a sense of belonging among his fellow players, who knew they could rely on his vision and creativity.

During his illustrious career, Keizer won numerous titles and accolades, both domestically and internationally.

His trophy cabinet includes three European Cups, six Eredivisie titles, and four KNVB Cup titles, all with Ajax Amsterdam.

In addition to his club success, Keizer was an essential part of the Netherlands national team that reached the World Cup final in 1974, narrowly losing to West Germany.

Although he never won the Ballon d’Or, his impact on the game cannot be overstated, as he was a true pioneer of attacking midfield play and an inspiration for generations of players to come.

As you learn more about the top attacking midfielders of all time, remember that Piet Keizer was a trailblazer whose contributions to football will never be forgotten. His legacy will live on in the hearts of fans and players alike.

7. Rivaldo

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

You can’t help but marvel at the sheer brilliance of Rivaldo’s game as if watching a master painter create a masterpiece on the pitch with every deft touch and breathtaking goal.

The Brazilian attacking midfielder, who graced the football world from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, was a true sight.

With his exceptional dribbling skills, powerful shooting, and penchant for scoring outrageous goals, Rivaldo was a crucial figure in a golden era for Brazilian football.

His performances for both club and country left an indelible mark on the beautiful game, and he more than deserves his place among the top 10 best attacking midfielders of all time.

Rivaldo’s extraordinary talent and technique are best exemplified by some of his most iconic moments and achievements:

  • 1999 FIFA World Player of the Year: Rivaldo’s phenomenal form for Barcelona saw him claim the prestigious award, beating out the likes of David Beckham and Andriy Shevchenko.
  • 2002 World Cup winner: A key player for Brazil, Rivaldo was instrumental in guiding his country to their fifth World Cup title, scoring five goals in the tournament.
  • Sensational bicycle kick goal: Rivaldo’s unforgettable overhead kick against Valencia in 2001 remains one of the most breathtaking goals in football history.
  • Barcelona and AC Milan hero: With numerous domestic titles and a Champions League trophy, Rivaldo’s club career was just as illustrious as his international exploits.

As you reflect on Rivaldo’s incredible career, you can’t help but feel a sense of belonging and admiration for a player who truly embodied the magic and artistry of football.

8. Thierry Henry

Top 10 Best Attacking Midfielders

Speaking of Brazilian legends, let’s not forget another iconic player who made a significant impact in the attacking midfield position: Thierry Henry.

Henry is a true icon of the beautiful game, known for his lightning-fast speed, agility, and eye for goal. While he primarily operated as a forward, his versatility allowed him to play in the attacking midfield position, making him a force to be reckoned with and a constant headache for opposition defenders.

Thierry Henry’s career is nothing short of spectacular. Starting in France, he made a name at AS Monaco and then moved to Italian giants Juventus. However, his time at Arsenal under Arsène Wenger truly catapulted him to stardom.

He became the club’s all-time top scorer, with a remarkable 228 goals in 377 appearances. His vision, technique, and ability to score virtually anywhere on the pitch make him one of the best-attacking midfielders who ever graced the field.

Henry also enjoyed success with Barcelona and the French national team, winning numerous domestic league titles, a Champions League trophy, and the 1998 FIFA World Cup. So, as you walk down memory lane of football legends, pay homage to the remarkable Thierry Henry.

9. David Ginola

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Remember to mention David Ginola, another football legend who dazzled fans with his incredible skills and flair.

This French attacking midfielder had a remarkable career, playing for clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Aston Villa.

Ginola’s ability to create chances and score goals made him a fan favorite, and his performances earned him numerous individual awards, including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1999.

Three key aspects made Ginola stand out from other attacking midfielders:

  1. Technical ability: Ginola was known for his exceptional ball control, making it difficult for opponents to dispossess him. He could easily glide past defenders, using his dribbling skills to create space for himself and his teammates.
  2. Vision and creativity: Ginola could see the whole pitch and make precise passes leading to goal-scoring opportunities as an attacking midfielder. His vision and creativity allowed him to dictate the game’s flow and create chances out of seemingly nothing.
  3. Flair and entertainment: Ginola was a true entertainer on the pitch, always looking to inject excitement into the game with his flair and audacious skills. This made him a joy to watch for fans, who would flock to the stadium to witness his magical displays of skill.

As a football fan, you can’t help but admire and appreciate the incredible talent that David Ginola brought to the game.

His exceptional skills and ability to entertain made him not only one of the best attacking midfielders of all time but also a player who will forever hold a special place in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to witness his genius on the pitch.

10. Franck Ribéry

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In discussing football legends, it’s impossible not to mention Franck Ribéry, whose mesmerizing dribbling skills and creativity on the pitch have left fans in awe throughout his career.

Born in 1983 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, Ribéry’s journey to stardom began with his local club before moving on to bigger and better things with teams such as Marseille, Galatasaray, and Bayern Munich.

Throughout his time in football, Ribéry has become known for his incredible pace, agility, and ability to score goals, making him a formidable attacking midfielder and a joy to watch on the field.

During his time at Bayern Munich, Ribéry was vital to the team’s success, forming a formidable partnership with Arjen Robben, known as ‘Robbery.’

Together, they terrorized defenses with speed, skill, and precision, leading Bayern Munich to numerous domestic and international titles, including the 2013 UEFA Champions League.

Franck Ribéry’s accolades are also impressive, as he won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award in 2013 and has been named in the UEFA Team of the Year multiple times.

As a football fan, you can’t help but appreciate the sheer talent and dedication Ribéry has displayed throughout his remarkable career, solidifying his place as one of the best-attacking midfielders ever.

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In the end, these top 10 attacking midfielders are the cream of the crop. They’ve dazzled us with their magic on the pitch, leaving us breathless and begging for more.

So, take a bow, dear reader, as you’ve just witnessed the brilliance of these football maestros. Their legacy will undoubtedly continue to shine as bright as the stars, inspiring future generations to follow in their legendary footsteps.

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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