Top 11 best box to box midfielders in the world 2023


Quality box-to-box midfielders are a significant boost to every team due to their versatility.

They are known for their end-to-end role and taking up the responsibility for defensive and offensive duties in the centre of the pitch.


Over the years, some of the best box-to-box midfielders in world football, from Arsenal fan favourite Freddie Ljungberg to David Beckham, have been hailed for their tremendous impact. Here are the best players currently.


11. Nicolo Barella


Inter Milan’s hidden gem Nicolo Barella has been in fine form for the Nerazzurri lately. The Italian has been a key player in the Champions League campaign this season. His remarkable performance against Benfica in the quarter-finals was another hit in his career.


He is considered one of the best Midfielders in Europe due to his ability to play the box to box role confidently.


Many football fans would remember his performance in the European Football Championship that Italy won. The role he played was exceptional.


10. Bruno Guimarães


Expectations are always high when you get signed by a Premier League club, and sometimes it is hard to keep up.


Bruno Guimaraes is one of the best players in the Premier League, especially in the midfield. He has worked perfectly as a box-to-box midfielder for the Magpies.


He had an immediate impact following his arrival from the French club Lyon and helped the club preserve its top-flight status. The Brazilian is effective in every midfield position as he is not available for defensive duties but is in an offensive role and is capable of delivering defence-splitting passes.

Read: Best attacking midfielders in the world 

9. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Sergej Milinkovic Savic

Some football may be wondering seeing his name on this list, but for the last three seasons, he has been one of the best and a key player behind Lazio’s rise in the Italian Serie A. The Serbian is an example of a box to box midfielder.


Sergej Milinkovic-Savic knows how to score goals, make assists and defend when needed. He is an amazing player who has shown to be one of the best in Europe in his position.

He joined The White and Sky Blues in 2015 from the Belgian side Genk.


Putting out the numbers appears to be a usual thing for Milinkovic-Savic, which has drawn interest from top European football clubs who seek to secure his services.


8. Luka Modrić

Luka Modric against Sevilla
LauraHale, CC BY-SA 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Getting better by age would be the only way to describe Luka Modrić as an outstanding footballer. The Croatian has been in the core of Real Madrid’s midfield and appears not to be slowing down anytime soon.

Technically, the Croatian is a central midfielder but sits comfortably as a box to box player.

Read: Best Trios in Football History – Top 10 from MSN, BBC, RRC and others

Read: Top 20 Best Midfielders in the world


7. Leon Goretzka


Leon has been hailed as a born box-to-box player with speed and the ability to cover long distances quickly. He has good technical skills and can shine in any position in the middle of the park.


The 26-year-old joined Bayern Munich in 2018 from Schalke 04. Fast forward to 2023, he has enjoyed a remarkable career at the Allianz Arena.


This season has been different, even though the Bavarians have not recorded the best results lately, especially in the UEFA Champions League.


According to statistics, Leon found the back of the net five times in 32 appearances in all competitions for Bayern Munich.


6. Gavi


Gavi’s sharp rise to prominence is something worth mentioning. The Barcelona youngster has continued to steal the show whenever he is on the pitch. He is young but already looks like a complete player that could add quality offensively and defensively.


His performance was rewarded with the Golden Boy award, which he edged to emerge as the winner.


Following the departure of the club’s greatest midfielders, Xavi Hernandez and Andreas Iniesta, an enormous vacuum was created. However, the youngster is gradually making fans forget the good old days. He is still young and is expected to improve and possibly dominate at the highest level.

Read: Top 20 best Goalkeepers in the world

5. Federico Valverde

Federico Valverde has now become high and mighthy in his midfield role with Madrid
90Min, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“I made a bet, but I think he’ll score more than 10 this season,” Ancelotti said to Fede Valverde. The Uruguayan midfielder is such an amazing player Real Madrid now counts on nowadays.


Fede, Vinicius Junior, and Thibaut Courtois are the best summer signings of 2018. The Los Blancos made a good move.


Fede Valverde is one of the best Midfielders who can successfully thrive in any position. He can confidently play in the attack and the flanks and perform excellently in defensive positions.


He is one of the players expected to take over from experienced heads like Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos. The duo has been excellent in the midfield for Los Blancos in the last decade.

Read: TOP 10 Best young midfielders in the world

4. Frenkie de Jong


There’s a lot of potential in the Dutchman yet to be seen since his arrival at Camp Nou. The former Ajax midfield maestro is one of the standout players this season.


Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has trusted his midfield duties to the 25-year-old, which has paid off already.


Frenkie de Jong has good defensive abilities and excellent attacking prowess, which makes him one of the best players in Spanish La Liga.


Even though his future at Barcelona is firm, rumours continue to circulate of his potential move to Manchester United, who have continued to monitor the Dutchman.

Read: What is the raumdeuter position in football, roles and best players

3. Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham: Photo Credit/

Arguably one of the best young players on the planet, Bellingham has seen his performance attract the biggest clubs across Europe.


The 18-year-old midfielder began his football career as a humble youngster at Birmingham and immediately impacted the club before his move to Borussia Dortmund.


During the summer World Cup in Qatar, his quality was on full display as the Three Lions advanced to the semifinals before their eventual ouster by Les Bleus.


This season, Bellingham has continued to churn out the numbers for the Yellow Wall as they go toe to toe with a misfiring Bayern Munich side for the Bundesliga title.


2. Ilkay Gundogan


There’s a reason Manchester City has dominated in the English top flight in the last decade, and that’s having a good squad depth, and Ilkay Gündoğan adds to it.


His quality was displayed last season in the final-day drama against Aston Villa as he came off the bench to score two goals that aided the Cityzens to the title.


The German is the current captain of the Cityzens and has shown to be a great team leader. He brings a lot to m the team, offensively and defensively, which has been helpful to the team.


The Citizens are on course for a treble, and the German would be crucial for the remaining fixtures of the campaign.

Read: Top 10 Best midfielders in the Premier League

1. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne

Several players have contributed to Manchester City’s dominance in the Premier League, but Kevin De Bruyne is the most outstanding.


He is a complete player who has contributed almost everything offensively and defensively. His athleticism, skills, and vision rank in virtually every position in the middle of the park.

The Belgian was recently crowned the league’s best midfielder of all time by a poll.


Apart from his assist-making, he is also a proven goal-scorer. And another good area in which the Belgian continues to shine is his ability to work with both feet. He does the most damage with his right and occasionally inflicts with his left.