World Cup Rankings: Who Ranks No. 1 in Each Position? (Midfield & Attack)

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The World Cup is just about a week away and no one can contain their excitement for the biggest competition in football. The 32 nations that will be represented in Russia are gearing up for the festivities, decorating the streets with national colors, citizens scouting out the pubs that will be having specials, while chattering along about their team’s chances this year.

Friends will begin to preview each match after a drink, comparing their countries midfielders, saying Toni Kroos is better than Kevin De Bruyne or that Leroy Sané should have been chosen over Marco Reus. But who is better than who? Here are our initial rankings for the best players in the middle of the park and in attack this summer.

Defensive Midfield/Center Midfield


Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos are in the top 3 on the list because of their vital roles for club and country, while Kevin De Bruyne might have just edged himself over the Germany midfielder after his tremendous year and Man City.

Sergio Busquets and N’Golo Kante have a similar role for their respective countries being the aggressive ball-winners who do the easy stuff so well and make the difficult look easy. Both deserve to be mentioned recognized for their simple, yet incredibly effective skills.

The “best of the rest” bunch are really still fantastic midfielders, with Casemiro, Iniesta and Rakitic just some of the many talent bunch going to the World Cup.

  1. Luka Modrić (Croatia)
  2. Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
  3. Toni Kroos (Germany)
  4. Sergio Busquets (Spain)
  5. N’Golo Kante (France)
  6. Casemiro (Brazil)
  7. Andres Iniesta (Spain)
  8. Thiago Alcantara (Spain)
  9. Ivan Rakitić (Croatia)
  10. Koke (Spain)
  11. Paul Pogba (France)
  12. Saul Ninguez (Spain)
  13. Fernandinho (Brazil)
  14. Ilkay Gündogan (Germany)
  15. Mousa Dembele (Belgium)
  16. Leon Goreztka (Germany)
  17. Nemanja Matić (Serbia)
  18. Corentin Tolisso (France)
  19. Mateo Kovačić (Croatia)
  20. Hector Herrera (Mexico)

Attacking Midfielders


Because of the ambiguity surrounding what Didier Deschamps wants to do with his side, we’re going to consider Antoine Griezmann an attacking midfielder based on his Euro 2016 role playing off the shoulder of Oliver Giroud, and the fact that Giroud is a perfect fit as a No. 9 in Deschamps’ system. This means the Atletico man tops the list.

Spain’s Isco and David Silva are right behind the Frenchman, even if they are more likely to play as quasi-wingers for Julen Lopetegui. Paulo Dybala will be hoping to get on the field for Argentina as manager Jorge Sampaoli and Messi himself both say the Juve man is too similar a player to Messi which is why he may not be used.

Others are looking to announce, or re-announce in James Rodriguez’s case, their name on the big stage with Christian Eriksen leading Denmark, Sergej Milinković-Savić manning Serbia’s attack and Hakim Ziyech who in charge of Morocco’s destiny.

Dele Alli narrowly misses out, but could prove us wrong in Southgate’s new system where he can become the main creator in midfield.

  1. Antione Griezmann (France)
  2. Isco (Spain)
  3. David Silva (Spain)
  4. Paulo Dybala (Argentina)
  5. James Rodriguez (Colombia)
  6. Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
  7. Mesut Özil (Germany)
  8. Nabil Fekir (France)
  9. Sergej Milinković-Savić (Serbia)
  10. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)


messi_2803reu_875.jpgThere is only one choice for the #1 spot here. Although Argentina are lacking a great defense and a dominate midfield, you can back Messi to bring them further than most would like to bet on.

Neymar and Mo Salah are under the Argentine, both looking to come back with a vengeance after having their star-studded year brought to screeching halts by injury.

Others like Sadio Mané, Eden Hazard, and Kylian Mbappe round out the list, with Thomas Müller and Marco Reus also included as they will play out wide for Germany in Russia.

  1. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
  2. Neymar (Brazil)
  3. Mo Salah (Egypt)
  4. Kylian Mbappe (France)
  5. Eden Hazard (Belgium)
  6. Thomas Müller (Germany)
  7. Marco Reus (Germany)
  8. Dries Mertens (Belgium)
  9. Sadio Mané (Senegal)
  10. Raheem Sterling (England)


gettyimages-857987460.jpgA very top heavy group with the choice between Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane a futile decision. All three are dominate at the club level and have shown the same quality for their country, but only one sticks out above the rest for continued excellence.

Sergio Agüero wasn’t Argentina’s first choice four years ago, but having kept up his brilliance for Manchester City may push him over compatriot Gonzalo Higuaín. A fully-fit Agüero is incredibly difficult to deal with and might help Messi and Argentina become dominate, offensively.

Uruguay’s frontmen Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani are back as a striking partnership for Uruguay and look impossible to stop, while Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus where difficult to rank against each other.

Oliver Giroud makes the cut simply because he is stupendous for France. He is the target man who can create, score, and be a nuisance all at once. Without him, France’s attack look great. With him, they look unstoppable.

  1. Cristiano Ronald (Portugal)
  2. Harry Kane (England)
  3. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
  4. Sergio Agüero (Argentina)
  5. Luis Suárez (Uruguay)
  6. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
  7. Roberto Firmino (Brazil)
  8. Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)
  9. Oliver Giroud (France)
  10. Diego Costa (Spain)

That wraps up our rankings for midfielder and attackers. If you missed our rankings for goalkeepers and defenders, you can check it out here.

We are just 8 days away from World Cup 2018! Stay up to date with all things World Cup this summer at The Unfit Pundit.

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