Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

The Magic of Attacking Midfielders

Attacking midfielders bring an unparalleled level of excitement to the game of soccer. These players have the ability to create extraordinary moments on the field, whether it’s through perfectly executed passes or breathtaking dribbling skills. In this article, we will delve into the role of the attacking midfielder, explore how this position has evolved over time, discuss the key attributes needed to excel in this role, and highlight some of the best attacking midfielders in the world. So, let’s get started!

How to Thrive as an Attacking Midfielder

The term “attacking midfielder” encompasses various roles within the game. It can refer to a central attacking midfielder, often called a “Number 10,” who operates centrally and has the freedom to roam the pitch and provide support to strikers. However, attacking midfielders can also play in wider positions, such as inverted wingers or as deeper-lying playmakers. Regardless of the specific role, attacking midfielders are responsible for fueling creativity on the field. They must be able to receive and distribute the ball with precision, move up the pitch to create chances, and bridge the gap between the midfield and the attack. These players also need to contribute defensively, tracking back to support their team and seize opportunities to launch counter-attacks.

what is an attacking midfielder

The Essential Attributes of an Attacking Midfielder

Attacking midfielders require a unique skill set to carry out their duties effectively. Here are some key attributes that define a successful attacking midfielder:

1. Passing Ability

The best attacking midfielders possess exceptional passing skills, allowing them to deliver accurate and incisive passes in various situations. Whether it’s a long, diagonal ball or a quick short pass during a transition, these players must have the ability to adjust the pace, power, and trajectory of their passes, even under intense pressure.

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2. Dribbling

Controlled dribbling is essential for an attacking midfielder to maintain possession, evade opponents, and create opportunities. These players should be able to turn swiftly, escape tight situations, and outmaneuver their opponents with their dribbling skills.

3. Ball Control

Attacking midfielders need to have impeccable ball control, enabling them to handle the ball with speed and accuracy. This skill allows them to move the ball away from their feet and into open spaces, maximizing their chances of finding successful passes.

4. Shielding

Shielding the ball is closely related to ball control. Attacking midfielders must be able to protect the ball from opponents by using their body as a shield. This skill is particularly crucial in tight midfield situations, as it allows these players to buy time for their teammates to position themselves effectively.

5. Technical Ability

Given their responsibilities to create space and chances in advanced areas, attacking midfielders must possess exceptional technical ability. Their close control, footwork, passing, and shooting skills should be of the highest caliber to excel in this position.

The Finest Attacking Midfielders of Today

Several exceptional players currently ply their trade as attacking midfielders at the highest level of the game. These individuals bring their unique styles and abilities to make a significant impact on their teams. Here are some of the standout attacking midfielders in the world today:

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City is widely recognized as one of the best attacking midfielders in the world. His remarkable passing ability and vision have been instrumental in his team’s success. De Bruyne has an astonishing record of 90 assists and 58 goals in 216 Premier League appearances, making him a creative force to be reckoned with.

Luka Modric

Luka Modric, the Croatian maestro playing for Real Madrid, has been a central figure in the world of soccer for well over a decade. Renowned for his technical skills and exquisite ball control, Modric’s influence on the game cannot be overstated. With an impressive collection of trophies, including 5 Champions League titles and a Ballon d’Or, Modric exemplifies excellence as an attacking midfielder.

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Spain’s Pedri may be young, but he has already proven himself as one of the world’s best young midfielders. Playing for Barcelona, Pedri showcases his technical ability, dribbling skills, precise passing, and intelligent movements on the field. At just 19 years old, he has a bright future ahead and will be one to watch in the upcoming 2022 World Cup.

Christopher Nkunku

Christopher Nkunku, a rising star from RB Leipzig, has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Bundesliga. Known for his creativity, goal-scoring prowess, and ability to provide assists, Nkunku has already claimed the title of Bundesliga Player of the Season for the 2021-22 campaign. With his blistering performances, Nkunku has put himself on the map as one of the top attacking midfielders in the game.

The Greatest Attacking Midfielders of All Time

Attacking midfielders have always been at the forefront of the game, earning accolades and captivating fans with their technical brilliance. Here are a few of the iconic attacking midfielders who have left an indelible mark on the sport:

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, was a true attacking midfield genius. His technical skills, creative flair, and mesmerizing dribbling ability set him apart from his peers. Maradona’s impact on the game goes beyond his on-field achievements, making him a legend in the soccer world.

Alfredo Di Stefano

As a legendary player for Real Madrid, Alfredo Di Stefano mesmerized fans with his technical flair, vision, and goalscoring prowess. Regarded as one of the greatest players ever, Di Stefano’s contributions to the game extended beyond his playing days, as he went on to have a successful coaching career as well.

Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton played a crucial role in England’s historic 1966 World Cup victory. As an attacking midfielder for both England and Manchester United, Charlton showcased his exceptional creativity and ability to control the game. His achievements include three First Division titles, one FA Cup, a World Cup, and a Ballon d’Or, cementing his status as one of the game’s greats.

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Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane, a legend of both the playing and coaching realms, possessed grace, vision, technique, and incredible ball control. With a string of accomplishments, including three consecutive Champions League titles as a manager, Zidane’s elegance and skill solidify his place among the best midfielders to have graced the game.


What is a winger?

Wide attacking midfielders and inverted wingers function similarly, but the traditional winger is a distinct position. Wingers rely on speed, agility, stamina, and crossing ability as they constantly move up and down the flanks, delivering crosses into dangerous areas. If you want to learn more about this role, check out our article on the role of the winger in soccer.

What is a box-to-box midfielder?

Box-to-box midfielders play an end-to-end game, covering ground from defense to attack. They excel at intercepting, tackling, and blocking the ball before transitioning into creating attacks and having shots on goal. Notable examples of classic box-to-box midfielders include Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Yaya Toure.

What are the main positions in soccer?

Soccer consists of various positions that play different roles on the field. These positions include the goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, and attackers. Within these categories, there are specific individual positions. If you want to learn more about the different positions in soccer, check out our article on soccer positions explained.


Attacking midfielders are the wizards of the soccer world, conjuring moments of pure magic on the field. With their creativity, technical proficiency, and ability to control the game, they leave a lasting impact on fans and opponents alike. Whether it’s the modern-day brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne or the legendary status of players like Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, attacking midfielders continue to inspire and entertain us with their exceptional skills. So, the next time you watch a game, keep an eye on these maestros as they orchestrate the beautiful game from the heart of the field.