Top 10 Best Defensive Midfielders In The World 2023

The Midfield Position is one of the most important positions a football team must equip well in any match they wish to win. The position is like the central position of the field- just like the CPU of a computer. Between the forwards and backward (team’s defender) is their position and through this point, they disseminate balls to other players at any angle.

Defensive midfielders are play-makers. Managers usually assign players to the midfield either as a central, or defensive midfielder depending on the skills of the player. Each of these has its own specific task. Defensive midfielders, however, are trained to prevent any goal from scoring by the opponent. At times they move to block a shot or a pass depending on the condition. They are the first line of defense for the team. Thus as long as the defensive midfielder is intact, the team is half-complete.

The best midfielder may not play in the best team; in fact, the best way to see how good a player is maybe to put him in an average team; one he would probably need to carry on his back.

Top 10 Defensive Midfielders In The World

1.  Casemiro

Team: Real Madrid

Carlos Casemiro is the henchman at Real Madrid. It has been Karim Benzema enjoying the spotlight; but Casemiro’s blood and sweat is what has kept the team going. In a single year this man has racked up 13 yellow cards! That tells you he is not afraid to throw himself in the way and block opponents’ paths to goal.

Carlos Casemiro is not interested in the headlines he just supplies the possession which team mates Luka Modric and Toni Kroos push forward, and which turns into goals.

He may not get goals or assists; but most times it is his interceptions and tackles that win the ball. With his recent trophy haul, and winning momentum it doesn’t look like there is any other defensive midfielder better than him at the moment.

2.  Rodri

Team: Manchester City

Rodri is the guy that takes over the mantle from the great Fernandinho. He is somewhat different from his predecessor; for one thing he prefers to stay on his man- tracking him, slowing him down until his team-mates are able to cover up, or until the opponent runs out of field.

Rodri is less likely to get sent off, or even to get a yellow card, but he is still very efficient. He wins the ball, changes gears, and puts his team on the front foot.

Rodri is very good at winning the ball; and he is also very good at winning aerial balls. Of course, he has been outshined by Kevin De Bruyne, but he is one of the main reasons why Manchester City is successful right now.

His passing is very good; he can pick out his team mates with long balls when they are using the counter attacking system; or when the team is using the slow build up process; his short, forward passes are a joy to watch. Rodri looks like he can play in the biggest teams in the world, and get a starting shirt.

3.  N’Golo Kanté

Team: Chelsea

N’Golo Kanté has fallen down the pecking order at present because of his recent injury woes. But even with one leg heavily bandaged, he is still one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

His presence alone is a serious morale booster; you can see the Chelsea players galloping at full throttle when he has the ball because they know he is not going to lose it; instead the ball is heading towards the final third.

Ngolo Kante has missed too many games this term, but his impact has been there for all to see when he plays; he covers the ground very well, and when he nicks the ball from the opponents, he changes pace like a Ferrari and bursts forward. Within the blink of an eye, opponents who were attacking have to be on the defensive.

4.  Fabinho

Team: Liverpool

Fabinho is a versatile, hard-working, and intelligent player. He has been at the heart of the Liverpool team that has taken the fight to any team they play. He is one of the guys in the team who inspires that confidence; his ball winning abilities; both on the ground and in the air, have minimized engagement with Liverpool’s defense.

Fabinho is versatile; he is very good at the outright defending; although Liverpool rarely under such pressure. One could say he actually defends the ball in attacking positions because he is very good at standing in the way and cutting out the passes much like a defender would do when protecting his box.

He also has that quick passing that turns the game around; he is a complete player; the dream of any coach.

5.  Joshua Kimmich

Team: Bayern Munich

Joshua Kimmich is the man at the heart of the Bayern Munich midfield. He gets the job done; he has aggression, versatility, and the ability to dictate the pace of the game.

Joshua Kimmich is known for aggressively running after opponents and recovering the ball, his tackles are precise and well timed. Aside from his ability keep opponents at bay, he also has great attacking sense.

Joshua Kimmich has great ball distribution. He can turn the game around with the flick of the ball and change a defensive situation into an attacking one. He has the vision, confidence and composure to deal with any team, in any competition.

6.  Pierre Emile Hojbjerg

Team: Tottenham HotSpurs

If you are looking for a real star of a defensive midfielder; one who does not play in a big team, but whose performances are so clear that everyone sees his hard work for his team, then Pierre Emile Hojbjerg is your man. He has been one of the most important, and the most consistent players for Antonio Conte at Tottenham this term.

With him at the center of the park; Tottenham transformed from a mediocre team to a Champions League team; he provided the cover for the defense; and made life difficult for attackers.

He is also quite daring; his forward runs are well timed, and he helps the press opponents back. He picks out team mates with great forward passes; and he has a very good work rate.

7. Sergio Busquets

Team: Barcelona

Sergio Busquets is a warrior on the pitch. Just when people thought he was done, and Barcelona was finished, he has regained that spark that made him one of the best players in the world.

Much of his performances of late can be attributed to the fact that Barcelona has been rejuvenated since Xavi took over, and started bring some of the old guys back, as well as some very good prospects.

Sergio Busquets racked up 14 yellow cards recently; he sweeps the midfield, taking the ball off opponents like a real champion. He also has great passing ability; without passing it is impossible to play for Barcelona.

8. Marcelo Brozovic

Team: Inter Milan

Marcelo Brozovic is a brilliant player; he is one of the key players behind Inter Milan’s resurgence lately. He has consistently had more touches of the ball in Serie A than any other player for several seasons, which means he is a top player- possibly the best player in the league.

Marcelo Brozovic has the uncanny ability to make the interceptions, and to provide tackles that stop invaders in their tracks.

Aside from that he can hold on to the ball; changing direction as he moves forward, thus keeping opponents at his back, while giving his team mates the time to push forward.

9.  Marco Verratti

Team: Paris Saint Germain

It is impossible to ignore Marco Verratti; he is one of the best midfielders in the world has he has proven over time on the biggest of stages.

He has dominated the French League One, even though it seems like the media only sees Mbappe, Neymar, and Messi. Nevertheless, Marco Verratti has been the biggest enforcer in the league, and he has also shown his quality in the Champions League, and the Euros.

10.  Jude Bellingham

Team: Borussia Dortmund

Jude Bellingham is one of the best young players in the world. He has a great future, and is lucky to play at a club like Borussia Dortmund where he is going to be given the chance to develop, and rise to the top of his game.

He is a complete player; someone who can perform very well in both boxes. Jude Bellingham knows how to use his pace to stay with attackers. He can also intercept the ball, or make tackles.

When he gets the ball, he can push forward really quickly, and exploit spaces left open by the attacking team. He is a complete player; one that has the ability to change a game, and that has the talent to be one of the most dominant in the game.



The best defensive midfielders in the world prove themselves when the team is built around them. This brings out the glory of their games but also creates a serious problem because whenever they are out injured, the whole team suffers for it.

Perhaps another defining characteristic of defensive midfielders is that they are usually content to do the dirty work to keep their teams going, even though they do not usually get much media attention. Many times, their only reward is the yellow card.