Kevin De Bruyne the standout player in our list of best midfielders in Europe's top five leagues

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No central midfielder has had as good a season as Kevin de Bruyne.

Just how good is Kevin de Bruyne? According to his Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, right now he’s the best player in the game not named Lionel Messi.

Hyperbole? Absolutely. But not by much. City’s dominant season in the Premier League was a result of De Bruyne’s consistent brilliance in the centre of the park, a player so attuned to the demands of his manager and the vision behind a historic success.

The Belgian duly tops our ranking of midfield maestros in Europe’s top five leagues – see who else made our top 10.

1. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City

Only an unexpectedly stunning season from Mohamed Salah has kept De Bruyne from sweeping England’s end-of-season awards. City have a squad full of riches, but De Bruyne is the reason they’re champions.

Few midfielders have had a season as good as this in recent memory.

Few midfielders have had a season as good as this in recent memory.

2. David Silva, Manchester City

Speaking of that squad full of riches – was this Silva’s best season in a City shirt? He’s been so good for so long that it seems hard to believe, yet the Spaniard found another level this season to lead his side to the title.

Was this Silva's best season at Manchester City?

Was this Silva’s best season at Manchester City?

3. Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona

Rakitic has had a resurgent year for Barcelona, often looking like the third-best player in his side behind Messi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen. He rediscovered himself this season after a few below-par campaigns.

Rakitic is back to being one of the world's best midfielders.

Rakitic is back to being one of the world’s best midfielders.

4. Miralem Pjanic, Juventus

Pjanic cemented his status as the Serie A‘s best midfielder this season. He’s a player who can be a metronome when Juventus are recycling possession, and visionary and lethal in attack. And that’s before you get to his set-piece prowess.

Pjanic is the conductor at the heart of everything good about Juventus.

Pjanic is the conductor at the heart of everything good about Juventus.

5. Fernandinho, Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s insistence on full-throttle attack from even his defenders makes Fernandinho City’s most important player. He’s still glued in to their possession football, but he’s also the rock that anchors their defence.

Fernandinho: City's most important player.

Fernandinho: City’s most important player.

6. Jorginho, Napoli

It says it all that with Fernandinho at 33, Jorginho is the favourite to deputise and eventually replace him at City. The Brazil-born Italian has had an utterly superb season for Napoli.

Will Jorginho swap Napoli for Manchester this summer?

Will Jorginho swap Napoli for Manchester this summer?

7. Saul Niguez, Atletico Madrid

Another player who’s turning heads at Europe’s other leading clubs. Saul’s been a great find for Diego Simeone, an energetic midfielder with an eye for goal.

Saul has been the breakout midfield star this season along with Jorginho.

Saul has been the breakout midfield star this season along with Jorginho.

8. Geoffrey Kondogbia, Valencia

Kondogbia’s stock had dropped sharply going into this season, but he’s redeemed himself just as his team have. Valencia have gone from relegation battlers to the top four, and Kondogbia’s been vital to that transformation.

Kondogbia has embodied Valencia's resurgence this season.

Kondogbia has embodied Valencia’s resurgence this season.

9. Radja Nainggolan, Roma

He shoots as if his foot is a cannon, bulldozes through midfield like a tank, and runs like he’s a literal engine. Calling him a one-man army might be a disservice to the rest of Roma’s midfield, but he’s been their heartbeat this season.

Nainggolan was crucial to Roma's Champions League run and third-place finish.

Nainggolan was crucial to Roma’s Champions League run and third-place finish.

10. Dani Parejo, Valencia

Much like Kondogbia, Parejo has embodied Valencia’s resurgence. This is a player who started off at Real Madrid but never quite seemed to be good enough for that level. He’s put that theory to bed this season.

Parejo was a driving influence in midfield for Valencia.

Parejo was a driving influence in midfield for Valencia.

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