Rank these midfielders in an order.

el_loco_bielsa

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Xavi ——— Iniesta

(inseparable, these two both sneak into my top 10 list of the greatest midfielders to play the game, none of the others do - daylight between them and the others)


modric ——— pirlo

gerrard———scholes (both overrated by their respective fanbases)

kroos (a classic example of recency bias - you could compile a list of three dozen historical midfielders who‘d bring more to the table in your ideal midfield before kroos enters the conversation)

lampard


I’d love to broaden this to list my top 10 of all time, but I won’t hijack OP’s thread…
 

NasirTimothy

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Xavi ——— Iniesta

(inseparable, these two both sneak into my top 10 list of the greatest midfielders to play the game, none of the others do - daylight between them and the others)


modric ——— pirlo

gerrard———scholes (both overrated by their respective fanbases)

kroos (a classic example of recency bias - you could compile a list of three dozen historical midfielders who‘d bring more to the table in your ideal midfield before kroos enters the conversation)

lampard


I’d love to broaden this to list my top 10 of all time, but I won’t hijack OP’s thread…
Xavi and Iniesta only just ‘sneak’ into your top ten of midfielders?! Who else is on this list?!
 

Valencia Shin Crosses

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Lampard, Gerrard, Xavi, Iniesta, Pirlo, Modric, Kroos, Scholes.

Based on their ability, performances, peak, influences, achievement and overall.
Iniesta, Xavi, Modric, Scholes, Kroos, Lampard, Pirlo, Gerrard.

Have a much stronger feeling about the first 3 than the rest, think the final 5 can be arranged by preference almost.
 

Valencia Shin Crosses

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Anyone who has Iniesta lower than 2 needs to check their bias, and quite frankly he has an good argument to be #1 on this list. Criminally underrated player that has a claim with Xavi has the best midfielder of all time and arguably had a greater peak than Xavi.
 

432JuanMata

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Iniesta should be top imo. Never seen a player like him with the weight of pass to split a defence, was supernatural
 

tomaldinho1

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In the teams they were/are in: Xavi, Scholes, Iniesta, Modric, Pirlo, Gerrard, Kroos, Lampard

I still think it's a farce Xavi or Iniesta never won the Ballon D'Or...Xavi was always in third place behind Messi/Ronaldo whilst Barcelona were cleaning everything up and they both won the Euros and World cup...
 

el_loco_bielsa

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Xavi and Iniesta only just ‘sneak’ into your top ten of midfielders?! Who else is on this list?!
It‘s difficult to choose 10 but broadly speaking my top 15 (in no particular order) would include Maradona, Platini, matthaeus, neeskens, zico, didi, riijkaard, falcao, rivellino, gullit, zizinho, xavi, iniesta, kopa, Rivera.

Maradona makes the list because he played as an attacking midfielder rather than a pure striker for most of his career.

There is a debate to be had as to whether Pele makes this list too considering his starting position being deeper the further he got into his career, but I’m not going to engage in that at present.

There are other greats like bozsik, masopust and luis Suarez miramontes who could easily knock some of the 15 I’ve listed off the list - iniesta perhaps the most vulnerable here and xavi/riijkaard close behind.

I’ve just included central midfielders and attacking midfielders in this 15 and excluded wide midfielders like garricha, gento, best and jairzinho because the nature of the systems they were playing dictated that they play as wide forward rather than in any form of midfield setup that we would recognise these days.
 

JPB

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Overrating of Scholes and underrating of Gerrard is a given in this thread.

The players should be rated on a cumulative of what they have done domestically, in european competitions and in international tournaments. The top four without question is Xavi, Iniesta, Pirlo, Modric. Gerrard, Scholes and Lampard come next with Kroos last. While Kroos has trophies at every level there were more important players for Germany, Madrid and Bayern in their victories.
Scholes is the best out of all of them. 20 years of dominance with this guy at the heart of every Fergie team. He won 25 trophies including 11 Premier League titles (more than any other English player ever) and 2 Champions League trophies. This guy is one of the main reasons we dominated for so long. it has nothing to do with overrating, Gerrard isn't fit to lace Scholsey's boots. Scholes is on a whole different level. 11 times Premier League winner, let that sink in and think before you compare the two again. Scholes won us titles, Gerrard fecked the only chance up he had of winning a single PL title himself. Don't ever compare the two ever again.
 

The holy trinity 68

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Yeah pretty much. You can't ignore a Ballon d'Or and you can't ignore 4 CL titles or reaching a World Cup final with Croatia. Those are all absolutely massive achievements. All of those players played for great and dominant teams and all but Modric played in very talented international teams too, but overall career impact I'd have Modric above all but Xavi and Iniesta.
If you want to say Modric is better than all but Xavi and Iniesta because of what he won then I counter that with Scholes being better because 11 PL titles, 2 CL trophies and 3 FA Cups trumps 2 La Liga titles, 4 CL titles, 1 Copa Del Rey, a World Cup Final and a Ballon D'or.

16 major club trophies vs 7 and a Ballon D'or.

Scholes is better if we use your reasoning.
 

saivet

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Iniesta/Xavi

Modric

Pirlo
Scholes
Gerrard
Kroos
Lampard
 

Jev

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Iniesta
Xavi
Gerrard
Scholes
Modric
Pirlo
Lampard
Kroos
 

bosnian_red

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If you want to say Modric is better than all but Xavi and Iniesta because of what he won then I counter that with Scholes being better because 11 PL titles, 2 CL trophies and 3 FA Cups trumps 2 La Liga titles, 4 CL titles, 1 Copa Del Rey, a World Cup Final and a Ballon D'or.

16 major club trophies vs 7 and a Ballon D'or.

Scholes is better if we use your reasoning.
You are equating domestic cups or even league titles to have the same weight as CL titles, which is just wrong. And a big one is winning a Ballon D'Or. Or dragging Croatia to a world cup final. I love Scholes, he's up there with my favourites ever, but you can't ignore that he did nothing (whatever the reason) for England, and that goes against him. We also seriously underperformed in the CL for too long, 2 is good but Modric has 4 which again you can't ignore. Stuff like winning an absurd amount of CL titles and winning a Ballon d'or can only be matched by winning and being key for your country in the World Cup when it comes to greatness, and Modric dragged a minnow to the world cup final on top of the CL titles and Ballon D'Or. League titles are big, but quite a bit below CL titles, national team titles and especially a Ballon d'Or in terms of legacy and greatness. They are the pinnacle for club, country and individual honors. So when a group of players were all brilliant footballers and not necessarily a whole lot to split in terms of top level, the honors have to come into play too.
 

El Jefe

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Scholes is the best out of all of them. 20 years of dominance with this guy at the heart of every Fergie team. He won 25 trophies including 11 Premier League titles (more than any other English player ever) and 2 Champions League trophies. This guy is one of the main reasons we dominated for so long. it has nothing to do with overrating, Gerrard isn't fit to lace Scholsey's boots. Scholes is on a whole different level. 11 times Premier League winner, let that sink in and think before you compare the two again. Scholes won us titles, Gerrard fecked the only chance up he had of winning a single PL title himself. Don't ever compare the two ever again.
As I said in my initial post I expected a whole lot of overrating of Scholes and underrating of Gerrard and your post manages to take it further than I expected. If Gerrard played for us instead of Scholes all those years, we'd still have the same number of trophies so that means little to me.

The United fans that claim Scholes is on another level to Gerrard are just lying to themselves really.
 

The holy trinity 68

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You are equating domestic cups or even league titles to have the same weight as CL titles, which is just wrong. And a big one is winning a Ballon D'Or. Or dragging Croatia to a world cup final. I love Scholes, he's up there with my favourites ever, but you can't ignore that he did nothing (whatever the reason) for England, and that goes against him. We also seriously underperformed in the CL for too long, 2 is good but Modric has 4 which again you can't ignore. Stuff like winning an absurd amount of CL titles and winning a Ballon d'or can only be matched by winning and being key for your country in the World Cup when it comes to greatness, and Modric dragged a minnow to the world cup final on top of the CL titles and Ballon D'Or. League titles are big, but quite a bit below CL titles, national team titles and especially a Ballon d'Or in terms of legacy and greatness. They are the pinnacle for club, country and individual honors. So when a group of players were all brilliant footballers and not necessarily a whole lot to split in terms of top level, the honors have to come into play too.
That is all well and good but are you saying the 2 extra CL trophies that Modric has are worth more than 9 extra league titles than Scholes has? If that's the case then it's an absolutely outlandish statement.
 

NasirTimothy

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It‘s difficult to choose 10 but broadly speaking my top 15 (in no particular order) would include Maradona, Platini, matthaeus, neeskens, zico, didi, riijkaard, falcao, rivellino, gullit, zizinho, xavi, iniesta, kopa, Rivera.

Maradona makes the list because he played as an attacking midfielder rather than a pure striker for most of his career.

There is a debate to be had as to whether Pele makes this list too considering his starting position being deeper the further he got into his career, but I’m not going to engage in that at present.

There are other greats like bozsik, masopust and luis Suarez miramontes who could easily knock some of the 15 I’ve listed off the list - iniesta perhaps the most vulnerable here and xavi/riijkaard close behind.

I’ve just included central midfielders and attacking midfielders in this 15 and excluded wide midfielders like garricha, gento, best and jairzinho because the nature of the systems they were playing dictated that they play as wide forward rather than in any form of midfield setup that we would recognise these days.
I don’t think of many of the people you’ve named as midfielders. ‘Attacking midfielders’ or number 10s (Maradona, Pele, Platini, Zico etc.) are a totally different category in my view. They’re really forwards, but creative forwards as opposed to out and out strikers. With Xavi, Iniesta etc., they are most definitely not forwards of any kind.

Someone like Didi on the other hand certainly is a midfielder, no debate there.
 
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bosnian_red

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That is all well and good but are you saying the 2 extra CL trophies that Modric has are worth more than 9 extra league titles than Scholes has? If that's the case then it's an absolutely outlandish statement.
I'm barely even looking at league titles here. There's a lot that goes into play for that, but I don't think it defines greatness so much. All of them were part of dominant teams, Real Madrid happened to be in a league with 2 dominant teams and up against the best player of all time for that whole time while we had the best league manager of all time. I don't pick Scholes ahead of Gerrard or Lampard because of league titles, I pick him ahead because of the way he controls games and his ability. Modric IMO is right up there, but has just done more on the global stage. You can't deny that he's been far more influential in the Champions League. And it's night and day their international careers. And the Ballon D'Or. I just can't have Scholes on par with Modric when you take those things into account. I don't have to look at league titles at all when one was that influential in 4 CL wins along with winning a Ballon D'Or and dragging his small country to a WC final. Kroos has a WC win to add to those things but without a Ballon D'Or, but generally Modric's being a much more dynamic player with the ball at his feet puts him ahead of both IMO while I'd have Kroos and Scholes roughly level.

I know we're all United supporters, but a certain level of club & country achievements while being key to both AND individual achievements, you just can't ignore it.
 

Bastian

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1. Iniesta - Xavi
2. Modric
3. Scholes - Pirlo
4. Gerrard
5. Kroos
6. Lampard
 

BorisDeLeFora

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Hard to judge, they all had their differences in terms of styles and positions, depends on what you want, Xavi the best controller, Scholes/Modric/Pirlo/Kroos offer a bit more creativity but lack the relentless metronomy, Gerrard the better dynamic attacker than Lampard but then you can't dismiss the latters goal record, Iniesta probably the best player overall but there are things others could do that he couldn't.
 

youngrell

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I'm barely even looking at league titles here. There's a lot that goes into play for that, but I don't think it defines greatness so much. All of them were part of dominant teams, Real Madrid happened to be in a league with 2 dominant teams and up against the best player of all time for that whole time while we had the best league manager of all time. I don't pick Scholes ahead of Gerrard or Lampard because of league titles, I pick him ahead because of the way he controls games and his ability. Modric IMO is right up there, but has just done more on the global stage. You can't deny that he's been far more influential in the Champions League. And it's night and day their international careers. And the Ballon D'Or. I just can't have Scholes on par with Modric when you take those things into account. I don't have to look at league titles at all when one was that influential in 4 CL wins along with winning a Ballon D'Or and dragging his small country to a WC final. Kroos has a WC win to add to those things but without a Ballon D'Or, but generally Modric's being a much more dynamic player with the ball at his feet puts him ahead of both IMO while I'd have Kroos and Scholes roughly level.

I know we're all United supporters, but a certain level of club & country achievements while being key to both AND individual achievements, you just can't ignore it.
The difference between Scholes having the same amount of CL titles as Modric is the exact same thing as your league title argument = Messi and Barcelona.

And Modric wasn’t the difference maker in those 2 extra wins, either.

Anyway, it’s a strange way to compare players when both have won so much. Best way is to watch them play and Scholes was a notch above.
 

tompo18

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Really depends what you are looking for in a midfield player.

Xavi and Iniesta I always thought were a bit powder puff when it came to shooting, and it just didn't excite me to watch them.

That's why they would never be near the top of my list.

You could argue Modric doesn't have a great goal scoring record, but he has a decent shot from range as sadly we know too well.

Lampard obviously had an excellent goal scoring record but for me was too lacking in other areas.

For me; as midfielders.

Modric
Scholes
Gerrard
Pirlo
Xavi
Iniesta
Lampard
Kroos
 

NasirTimothy

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The difference between Scholes having the same amount of CL titles as Modric is the exact same thing as your league title argument = Messi and Barcelona.

And Modric wasn’t the difference maker in those 2 extra wins, either.

Anyway, it’s a strange way to compare players when both have won so much. Best way is to watch them play and Scholes was a notch above.
Not at international level he wasn’t…..
 

el_loco_bielsa

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I don’t think of many of the people you’ve named as midfielders. ‘Attacking midfielders’ or number 10s (Maradona, Pele, Platini, Zico etc.) are a totally different category in my view. They’re really forwards, but creative forwards as opposed to out and out strikers. With Xavi, Iniesta etc., they are most definitely not forwards of any kind.

Someone like Didi on the other hand certainly is a midfielder, no debate there.
I disagree. Xavi fits your definition if you’re going to keep it extremely narrow and just stick central midfielders in there who never played in the advanced midfield positions, but there is little to differentiate an iniesta from a Platini or a zico. Both would’ve been playing the iniesta role in a pep side.
 

Bwuk

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Xavi
Iniesta
Modric
Scholes
Gerrard
Pirlo
Kroos
Lampard

I think Xavi and Iniesta are clear, then it probably comes down to personal preference.
 

Kanu

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1. Xavi - eyes in the back of his head, metronome. Easily the best midfielder I've seen.

2. Modric - most all round player of these lot. Exceptional player.

3. Gerrard - Underrated because he had some shit players around him for most of his career. Absolutely fantastic player. Would fit in any team.

4. Scholes - not much to add for him. Everybody here knows about his skill.

5. Iniesta - overrated because people compare him to xavi and modric who were easily better. Iniesta couldn't carry a team like the players above.

‐-----------------------------------

6. Kroos - Good player but the gap to the top 5 in this list is quite large.

7. Lampard - lots of goals, but in terms of overall technique the worst player on this list. Great leader though.

8. Pirlo - Good career from start to finish, but extremely overrated based on his final years. Not a leader.
 
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NasirTimothy

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I disagree. Xavi fits your definition if you’re going to keep it extremely narrow and just stick central midfielders in there who never played in the advanced midfield positions, but there is little to differentiate an iniesta from a Platini or a zico. Both would’ve been playing the iniesta role in a pep side.
Well there is plenty to differentiate Platini and Zico from Iniesta, namely goals. They were exceptionally prolific and Iniesta decidedly wasn’t. Hence their games are not that similar to his. Anyone who scores that much is going to have plenty of aspects in their game that are indistinguishable from strikers. The line is blurred though, I do accept that.
 

Pat_Mustard

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A never-nude? I thought he just liked cut-offs.
I disagree. Xavi fits your definition if you’re going to keep it extremely narrow and just stick central midfielders in there who never played in the advanced midfield positions, but there is little to differentiate an iniesta from a Platini or a zico. Both would’ve been playing the iniesta role in a pep side.
Zico would have been False 9 in a Pep side surely? There was some nice quotes from Pep lately regarding Roberto Baggio who was similar to Zico stylistically. I idolised Baggio when I was a kid so it warmed my heart seeing him get praised like this.

Guardiola said:
Pep Guardiola reveals how he would use Roberto Baggio in his current Manchester City side. ‘He’d score 50 goals per season. There’s no doubt about it.’
The Spaniard spoke to the Corriere dello Sport and you can read the rest of his comments here.
“If Baggio were to play in today’s football, he’d score 50 goals per season. There’s no doubt about it,” said Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola reveals how he would use Roberto Baggio in his current Manchester City side. ‘He’d score 50 goals per season. There’s no doubt about it.’
The Spaniard spoke to the Corriere dello Sport and you can read the rest of his comments here.
“If Baggio were to play in today’s football, he’d score 50 goals per season. There’s no doubt about it,” said Guardiola.
“I don’t just mean with me or Manchester City, I mean with any coach and any team. Roby was a phenomenon when playing basically with only one good leg and in an Italian football that at the time was very difficult for a forward to survive in.
“At that time, there were so few spaces and at most four or five chances per game, but he always managed to score and often in incredible circumstances. Roby was there with Diego Maradona, Marco van Basten, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero…
“Nowadays in Serie A, you see the forwards get far more service and in more comfortable areas. Italian football will always have an element of defend and counter, because that’s an aspect that is admired abroad and part of your culture, but with the revolution of Arrigo Sacchi and lately coaches like Maurizio Sarri and Roberto De Zerbi, there are teams who play the ball more and therefore also concede more.”
Baggio said that if he was playing today, he’d want to work with Guardiola as his coach.
“If he reconsiders retirement and gets into shape, I will gladly sign Baggio!” replied the Manchester City boss.
“In my team, he would certainly be a False 9. He wouldn’t have to run too much, but on the other hand he’d have 500 touches per game and score 50 goals per season.
“I don’t know if he’d win more Ballon d’Or trophies in this day and age. He’d be up against two aliens like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, so it’s fantasy football and impossible to know how things would go.”
Baggio was famously nicknamed a No 9.5, a player who was neither a striker nor a classic Number 10.
“There are so many players passionate about Baggio, because they can admire the YouTube clips. We are still in contact, I was meant to visit his home for the last two years, but due to commitments and COVID, we always had to postpone it. Maybe this summer will be the right time.
“I can’t wait for Roby to cook for me, he’s brilliant at that too, and I know he’ll always pick the right bottle of wine! I want to invite him to the Champions League Final, but there are so few tickets available, it might be easier to organise dinner.”
 

NasirTimothy

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Zico would have been False 9 in a Pep side surely? There was some nice quotes from Pep lately regarding Roberto Baggio who was similar to Zico stylistically. I idolised Baggio when I was a kid so it warmed my heart seeing him get praised like this.
Yes, that is most likely. He would have been the Messi in a Guardiola side rather than Iniesta I think. Same for Baggio.
 

432JuanMata

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Look like any United fan here Scholes was probably my favourite and one of the best players I’ve seen play for this club but if you are putting him ahead of Xavi and Iniesta then it’s just red tinted glasses.

People use Xavi/Iniesta as a excuse to bash Messi since he never won a CL without them, yet they won 2 Euros and a WC without him. Not forgetting Busquets but there is no better 2 midfield than Xavi, Iniesta.
 

Schmeichel's Cartwheel

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Xavi


Iniesta, Pirlo, Modric







Scholes
Kroos

Gerrard

Lampard

The gap between that top 4 & the other 4 (world class players themselves) is significant.