11 of the Greatest Box-to-Box Midfielders in World Football

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​The box-to-box midfielder is the toughest position to master in the modern game as it requires both defensive and attacking diligence. 


Coaches love a gut-busting midfielder who can cover every blade of grass on the pitch and can influence the game at the front or at the back.


To be considered a truly great box-to-box midfielder, the player must possess incredible fitness, stamina, tactical astuteness and a certain degree of skill to excel in such a role.


Here are the 11 who do it the best. 

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11. Hernanes - Inter Milan

After five years in Serie A, first with Lazio and now with Inter, Hernanes has built a reputation as a solid all-round midfield operator. 


He was reasonably prolific during his time with Lazio, scoring 41 goals in 156 appearances. He also has the ability to play the killer pass and has no qualms about getting stuck in when the going gets tough in some of Serie A's scrappier affairs. 


At 29, he doesn't quite have the engine he possessed a few years back, but when he is fit he is still an effective midfielder who covers all four corners of the pitch.​

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10. Moussa Sissoko - Newcastle

​Newcastle's bulldozing powerhouse has had a fantastic season and there is lots of speculation that he will leave Tyneside for greener pastures come the summer.


At times under Pardew, Sissoko was used as a makeshift winger, but his influence is greatest when he is driving through the opposition in the centre.


Incredibly powerful running and an imposing stature have helped Sissoko develop an image as one of the Premier League's most impressive midfield engines. His star is certainly on the rise, but where will he end up?

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9. Gabi - Atletico Madrid

​Gabi is one of Spanish football's most consistent midfielders and has been pivotal in the heart of Diego Simeone's midfield since returning in 2011. 


The 31-year-old can make key passes, but loves to work hard and make tackles in the centre. As an extremely adept ball-winner, he is crucial for the balance in  an attack-minded side like Atletico. 

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8. Ramires - Chelsea

​Although the purchase of Cesc Fabregas and the rise of Nemanja Matic has put the Brazilian's place in the first-team in doubt, Ramires remains one of the fittest box-to-box midfielders in world football.


His outstanding stamina enables him to charge relentlessly from attack to defence and he has proven effective in both departments. 


Ramires has notched 33 goals and 20 assists during his Chelsea career, but has also made countless tackles, blocks and interceptions which have underlined his versatility and usefulness. 

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7. Arturo Vidal - Juventus

​Apart from his wonderful penalty-taking abilities, the Chilean has been a crucial cog in the Juventus midfield for a long time. 


Manchester United reportedly tried to lure him to Old Trafford last summer and his consistently solid performances show exactly why they wanted him in the team. 


A proven goalscorer and creator, Vidal also has the ability to maintain the shape and throw his body in front of the ball when needs to be. 

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6. Claudio Marchisio - Juventus

​Marchisio consistently ranks as one of the best-performing midfielders in Serie A, quite simply because there is nothing he cannot do. 


The 29-year-old has been a constant presence in the Juventus midfield since 2006 and formed an effective trident with Vidal and Andrea Pirlo as the Bianconeri regained Italian supremacy under Antonio Conte.


Marchisio's work-rate and quality on the ball have made him a fan favourite and regular starter under both Conte and Massimiliano Allegri. 

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5. Yaya Toure - Manchester City

​What an important player Toure has been for Manchester City in recent seasons. 


The Ivorian powerhouse has been one of the greatest players the Premier League has ever seen. He scores plenty of goals, creates, holds the play up and can inject pace and power into counter-attacks.


On top of that, he provides great aerial superiority when defending corners and uses his long legs and massive frame to win the ball back. He has set the bar high for future box-to-box midfielders in English football.

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4. Bastian Schweinsteiger - Bayern Munich

​Quite simply one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, the Bayern Munich stalwart has no limitations to his midfield play.


Known for his leadership and tactical awareness, Schweinsteiger has developed a knack for scoring important goals and contributes in the creativity department as well.


His organisation has always been first-class and those rare occasions when Munich are penned back in defence, Schweinsteiger is crucial in creating the shield in front of the back-four. 

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3. Jordan Henderson - Liverpool

​If there is one player to replace Steven Gerrard in the Liverpool midfield, it is Jordan Henderson. 


When the Reds vice-captain first arrived at Anfield, his sub-par performances attracted criticism, but Brendan Rodgers has shown unshakable faith in the former Sunderland man and he has repaid his manager by growing into one of the game's finest midfielders.


Henderson has built himself up and can hold his own against anyone in the opposing team, but the decisive difference in his make-up has been the addition of goals. With the ability to contribute goals from midfield like Gerrard, the sky is the limit for Henderson as far as his Anfield career is concerned. 

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2. Paul Pogba - Juventus

​Paul Pogba has the world at his feet. After leaving Manchester United in acrimonious circumstances, the France international has exploded into one of the most insanely gifted midfielders in the game.


Amazingly, he is still only 21 and is improving with every game.


Goals, creativity, confidence and the will to run himself into the ground, Pogba is already one of the world's most coveted players and he is likely to stay at the very top of the game for many years to come. 

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1. Blaise Matuidi - PSG

​Although he doesn't possess the star quality of Pogba, this Frenchman does it better than anyone else when it comes to genuine box-to-box midfield duties. 


Boasting a set of iron lungs, Matuidi's play consists basically of non-stop running. He is an incredible source of energy and vitality in the PSG midfield, but he has a bit of artistry about him too.


Last season, Matuidi managed seven goals in all competitions, showing that he could be useful in attack as well as defence. He is the type of player every manager would love to have in their teams, so Laurent Blanc is lucky to have him at the Parc des Princes in Paris for now. 

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