Welcome to World Class: The 5 Best Defensive Midfielders of 2020

We’ve left the defenders in the rearview mirror and we’re heading towards the midfield, and we’re looking at the often overlooked defensive midfielders.

Any good team needs someone to anchor the midfield and provide some balance to the team. They might not get goals, assists, or headlines, but sometimes their job is more important than anything on the pitch.

There are plenty of elite contenders on our pick list for the best defensive midfielder, but it’s time to decide on the top five, using our # W2WC metric.

Age continues to try to catch up with Fernandinho, but the Manchester City man is just not listening.

It’s no coincidence that City looked so shaky when Fernandinho was sidelined. He reads the game better than any other City player and is comfortable with supporting the defensive weight of Pep Guardiola’s attacking team.

City spent heavily on Rodri in 2019 to try to prepare for life without Fernandinho, but the Spaniard’s inconsistent start to life in England only magnified the importance of Guardiola’s most trusted soldier.

Fernandinho ranks fifth in the 90-minute Welcome to World Class defensive midfield list. Learn more about why Fernandinho is world class here.

N’Golo Kante is both the nicest man in football and the most destructive defensive midfielder around.

His danger-seeking eyes and stamina help World Cup winner Chelsea fly across the pitch from first whistle to last, and his ability to interrupt play continues to amaze.

Kante’s natural competence almost deserves a higher place on this list, but he has to show that he can get rid of his fitness difficulties first.

N’Golo Kante sits fourth in the 90-minute Welcome to World Class defensive midfield list. Learn more about why Kante is world class here.

Real Madrid have always had a ridiculous number of big names in their squad, but few have ever matched the importance of Casemiro.

Casemiro has spent years studying all the intricate details of his game to perfect his craft, and it has turned him into the glue that holds Real together. Defense crumbles without him and attackers often lose confidence without his security behind them.

Zinedine Zidane has been looking for a replacement for Casemiro for years, but finding someone who can fill his shoes has proven to be an impossible task.

Casemiro ranks third in the Welcome to World Class 90-minute world-class defensive midfield list. Learn more about why Casemiro is world class here.

Few players are as underrated as Fabinho, whose arrival at Liverpool in May 2018 gave them the balance they needed to turn their heavy metal football into winning football.

As both sides of him pressure their opponents with relentless enthusiasm, Fabinho simply watches. He plays chess in his mind and always seeks to be two or three moves ahead of the opponent. If there’s a gap that’s about to widen, Fabinho has already moved to plug it in before anyone even noticed.

Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and the other big names in Liverpool earned the applause for the Reds’ recent trophy, but none of this would have been possible without Fabinho’s calming influence.

Fabinho ranks second in the Welcome to World Class 90-minute defensive midfield list. Learn more about why Fabinho is world class here.

Not only is Joshua Kimmich the best defensive midfielder on the planet, there is argument to suggest that he is also the most complete footballer in the world.

After Bayern Munich decided his greatness was wasted in defense, Kimmich was moved to midfield, where he could bring his relentless energy, elite passing and penchant for a socialite on the big stage.

He does everything at such a high standard. Kimmich is one of those players that you can deploy anywhere on the pitch and you will always get results.

Joshua Kimmich ranks first in the Welcome to World Class 90-minute world-class defensive midfield list. Learn more about why Kimmich is world class here.

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