The 5 Best Attacking Midfielders in the World - Ranked

As youngsters, we all wanted to score the goals. Mind you, not everyone was cut out to do it, and eventually you'd just be happy to play. But there was always one position that, regardless of your own role, was always one we truly admired: the attacking midfielder.

It was them who offered something nobody else in the team could. Tasked with providing the creativity in the final third, laying on that killer pass and drifting in between the lines, there was always an element on envy at just how unique their skillset was.

Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller has been one of the best in his field for over a decade | Power Sport Images/Getty Images

I'd like to say it's the same in the modern era. Sure, the game has developed considerably, but it's the technical wizardry and sixth-sense vision that an attacking midfielder possesses that always makes you sit back and marvel. Rarely ever does your team win if they're not on it; their importance is immeasurable.

And while football leagues across the globe are either winding down or finished already, looking over the very best players of this ilk that the game has to offer feels like the requisite thing to do.

So, without further ado, here are 90min's top five attacking midfielders in the world, ranked for your pleasure.

5. Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech
Hakim Ziyech is now officially a Chelsea player | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Unfortunately there are no pictures of Hakim Ziyech in action for Chelsea just yet, but you can be sure that when there are, it'll be of him celebrating in some manner. The Blues have pulled off an annoyingly wise and astute coup in securing his signature. If you're not a Chelsea fan, that is.

The Moroccan assist king had been in inspired form once again for Ajax this (last?) season, racking up 13 assists to go with his six goals in just 21 league outings.

His ability to pick out a teammate has been on show throughout his time in Amsterdam, whether it's picking up space in between the lines or drifting out wide, his keen eye for the sublime rarely fails to deliver.

It's not just in the Eredivisie where he's shown his mettle, as on the European stage he's given even the most experienced defences the run around - namely Real Madrid and Juventus in last season's Champions League.

Over at Stamford Bridge they're well aware of that, and the Premier League may finally have someone to at least offer some challenge to the Kevin De Bruyne's of this world in the upper echelons of the league's assists charts.

Read Tom Gott's Hakim Ziyech profile here.

4. Luis Alberto

Luis Alberto Romero
Luis Alberto has been fundamental in Atalanta's incredible 2019/20 campaign | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Does one praise Brendan Rodgers for seeing it before the rest? It was the former Liverpool boss who first brought Luis Alberto to Anfield, but just 12 appearances later it looked like a poor investment on a player not cut out for this level of football.

How wrong everyone was.

Now over in Italy with Lazio, not one person across the globe can dispute that the Spaniard is among the finest in his position. The transformation has been a joy to behold, and his club are reaping the benefits of it.

Grabbing 15 assists in Serie A this season (with more certain to come), he's more than tripled his tally for the last campaign. Able to find the runs of his teammates via a combination of tactically adept vision and a range of neatly executed passing techniques, no playmaker in Italy can match him. Alberto is just that good.

With Lazio being such a joy to watch this season, simply envisage Alberto as the puppet master in all of it. Pulling the strings, encouraging the movement, and above all, entertaining.

Read Max Cooper's Luis Alberto profile here.

3. Kai Havertz

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Kai Havertz is being eyed up by a number of European sides this summer | INA FASSBENDER/Getty Images

Everyone loves a youth prodigy. Whether they've emerged from the lower leagues or battled their way up through a top club's academy, they force everyone to take notice.

Kai Havertz caused heads to turn last season, but building on those performances this time around, everyone's necks are now aching.

Combining creative flair with the level of instinctive forward play of a striker, he's able to find space anywhere on the pitch. Dynamism and intelligent movement both on and off the ball make him impossible to read, but his influence in the final third stretches beyond setting up his teammates.

He scored an immense 17 goals last season for Bayer Leverkusen, but while his stats may not read as well this term, but his improvement in the second half of the season in the false nine role has still been eye-catching.

Worth mentioning also, is that he's German. Everybody loves German footballers. Known for working so hard on and off the ball, any modicum of talent is heightened by the fact he's been educated in the Bundesliga, where he won't shy away from tackles and is tactically drilled to the bone.

All that in one? Yeah, he's going to be a world-beater.

Read James Cormack's Kai Havertz profile here.

2. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes already looks like money well spent for Manchester United | Pool/Getty Images

We might need to start coining a phrase in the vein of 'the Bruno Fernandes effect'. Reason being, when was the last time we saw a player join a club and make such a remarkable impact, in what felt like mere seconds after taking to the pitch?

The word that springs to mind to describe him is infectious.

Manchester United have suddenly turned into a new animal. Fernandes has come in, and with the confidence, desire and quality he possesses, it's rubbed off like a static shock on the rest of the squad.

Constantly craving possession, technically gifted with both feet and willing to shoot whenever the opportunity arises - he's been a revelation. And he's only played 13 games.

His inclusion is not, however, based solely on his Old Trafford career, as his seasons prior with Sporting CP and trophy winning-outings for Portugal have had their say too.

The thought of the 25-year-old getting even better than he is a genuinely frightening prospect.

Read Adam Aladay's Bruno Fernandes profile here.

1. Thomas Muller

Thomas Mueller
Thomas Muller has more assists than any other player in Europe this season | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Y'know how I said we all love a prospect? Well, in equal measures, we love a veteran who can still go.

In a way, you can consider Thomas Muller to have had a career resurgence of late, but in other ways not. He's always been superb. Yet, he was in and out of the starting lineup last season, while even at the start of this campaign Niko Kovac regularly omitted him from his team.

Common sense eventually prevailed when Hans-Dieter Flick took charge of Bayern Munich, and we've all been grateful to witness the German back to his very best.

No player in Europe has more assists this term than the 30-year-old's 21 (at the time of writing), with his telepathic connection with Robert Lewandowski on par with some of the finest combinations we've seen this generation.

What's intriguing about him is that no one aspect of his game is overly outstanding. By all accounts, he shouldn't be as good as football as he is. But you will fail miserably to find a more intelligent attacking midfielder on the planet. Because of that, he does everything to a tee.

Arguably, that makes him one of the most complete footballers, however, indisputably, he's the best attacking midfielder around.

Read Robbie Copeland's Thomas Muller profile here.