Who are European football's top 10 central defensive midfielders?

The best central defensive midfielders from the top five football leagues in Europe according to the CIES Football Observatory.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
19th May 2017

article:19th May 2017

According to the CIES Football Observatory, Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara is the best central defensive midfielder in Europe, ahead of players like Manchester United duo Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera.

Only players who have played at least 2,000 minutes this season have been included in the analysis.


Thiago tops the rankings with a rating of 90 out of 100, with Pogba close behind on 89 and RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita on 88.5. Herrera comes in at fourth with a rating of 88.0.

The Premier League have three players in the top 10, and there are two each from the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and Serie A.

Check out the top ten in the gallery above.

Who is your favourite in the list?

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Pogba, Thiago and Kroos among the top 10 central defensive midfielders in Europe

The best central defensive midfielders from the top five football leagues in Europe according to the CIES Football Observatory.

=9. ROBERTO GAGLIARDINI | ATALANTA/INTER MILAN | 84.5 POINTS

=9. ROBERTO GAGLIARDINI | ATALANTA/INTER MILAN | 84.5 POINTS

=9. GRANIT XHAKA | ARSENAL | 84.5 POINTS

=9. GRANIT XHAKA | ARSENAL | 84.5 POINTS

8. THIAGO MOTTA | PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN| 85.0 POINTS

8. THIAGO MOTTA | PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN| 85.0 POINTS

7. TONI KROOS | REAL MADRID | 86.5 POINTS

7. TONI KROOS | REAL MADRID | 86.5 POINTS

=5. MARCO VERRATTI | PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | 87.0 POINTS

=5. MARCO VERRATTI | PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | 87.0 POINTS

=5. MAREK HAMSIK| NAPOLI | 87.0 POINTS

=5. MAREK HAMSIK| NAPOLI | 87.0 POINTS

4. ANDER HERRERA | MANCHESTER UNITED | 88.0 POINTS

4. ANDER HERRERA | MANCHESTER UNITED | 88.0 POINTS

3. NABY KEITA | RB LEIPZIG | 88.5 POINTS

3. NABY KEITA | RB LEIPZIG | 88.5 POINTS

2. PAUL POGBA | MANCHESTER UNITED | 89.0 POINTS

2. PAUL POGBA | MANCHESTER UNITED | 89.0 POINTS

1. THIAGO ALCANTARA | BAYERN MUNICH | 90.0 POINTS

1. THIAGO ALCANTARA | BAYERN MUNICH | 90.0 POINTS