Midfielders often run the game of football. Connecting both defence and attack, these players are often responsible for the way the game is played setting the tempo for their respective teams.
All the best teams in the world have that one player (or in some cases 3) in the centre of the park capable of making a difference with a moment of magic. While the players are on this list are all above 30, there is no doubting the fact that they are still crucial and capable of making a difference to their sides.
Here are the 5 best midfielders above the age of 30:
5 Arturo Vidal (30)
One of the most consistent midfielders in the last few seasons, Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal is known for his warrior-like performances in the heart of the midfield for both his club and country.
Supremely skilled and not afraid of going into tackles, Vidal is one of the most complete midfielders in the game and is capable of playing as a defensive midfielder, central midfielder or even as an attacking midfielder.
After initially making his name at Juventus as part of a midfield three along with Pirlo and Marchisio, Vidal after his shift to the Bundesliga has arguably become a more rounded player and is capable of contributing equally in both defence and attack.
One of the first names on the team sheet for Carlo Ancelotti, the Chilean will be looking to have another stunning season for the Bavarian giants.
4 Blaise Matuidi (30)
One of the best signings of the summer transfer window, new Juventus recruit Blaise Matuidi has quickly settled into his surroundings and has shown why he is so highly rated by his peers.
Described as a “fierce and strong” tackler. Matuidi is adept at winning the ball back and starting off his team’s attacks. The Frenchman is also blessed with unbelievable stamina and his runs from midfield often creates space by drawing opponents out of position.
While the likes of Dybala, Chiellini and Higuain get all the attention, Matuidi’s addition this year could help Juventus take the extra step and finally win Europe’s premier competition this season.
An absolute engine who gives it his all in every game, the Frenchman’s stupendous fitness coupled with his excellent positioning skills has seen him become the game’s premier box-to-box midfielder.
3 Cesc Fabregas (30)
Probably not the first name on Conte’s team sheet but still capable of producing moments of magic, Cesc Fabregas will be hoping to reestablish himself as Chelsea’s main playmaker this season.
Capable of cutting open opposition defences with consummate ease, the Spaniard’s creativity and through balls have often helped Chelsea break down opposition defences and dominate possession against the smaller teams.
After having adjusted to Conte’s system last season, Fabregas will be confident of having an even bigger impact this season. In fact, in a recent interview with Marca, Fabregas spoke about Conte’s methods:
“With Antonio, there is no option other than to compete and give 100 per cent in every training session and each match. I’m not going to deny it, it was a difficult season.
“I came from playing everything with [Jose] Mourinho and [Guus] Hiddink and then suddenly I was not counted on all of the time. Not everyone knows what I went through during those months and there were people who went as far as to say that it was no longer worth it.
“I know what I can give the team and if I can play or not so I decided to stay and fight.”
Fabregas has looked in the mood this season and Conte and Chelsea fans will be thanking their stars that the Spaniard decided to stay at Stamford Bridge.
2 Andres Iniesta (33)
One of the true legends of the game, Andres Iniesta, even at 33 is one of the best midfielders on the planet. After having a relatively poor 2016/17 season by his own high standards, the Spaniard has made an impressive start this season and he will be keen on helping Barcelona achieve their lofty targets.
Blessed with excellent vision, passing ability and supreme dribbling skills, Iniesta has often been the silent architect of Barcelona’s immense success often being their most impressive player.
Also, Iniesta has a knack of putting up his best performances in the biggest stages. The only player to be the man of the match in both the World Cup and Champions League final, the Barcelona captain certainly has a few more good years left in him.
1 Luka Modric (32)
Real Madrid is a team full of superstars. The Ronaldos, Bales and Iscos of the world will always have a place in the Real Madrid team. However, when they come across a team which has a well-drilled defence, they rely on their midfield maestro Luka Modric to break down the opposition.
While the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo undoubtedly played a huge role in Madrid’s Champions League and La Liga double last season, Modric was quite clearly the most important member of Zidane’s squad.
The Croatian’s ability to spray the ball around and dribble past opponents with equal ease made him a valuable asset and Modric showed his class with a truly superlative performance in the Champions League final against Juventus.
While Madrid are always dangerous, there is a marked difference the way they play with and without their Croatian wizard.