As published by the Spanish press AS, The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) has voted Spanish international Andres Iniesta as the best dictating midfielder of 2013 – with 38 votes more than second placed Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil.
The prestigious award is given to players who demonstrate midfield qualities in both a defensive and attacking sense. The midfield dictator is a generic term used for the player who controls the flow of the game, setting the tempo and releasing the ball to all areas of the pitch – in basic terms, these are the midfielders who most naturally take charge of the game.
The award over the past 10 years has gone to the game’s most notable characters. In 2006 Zinedine Zidane won the award in his retirement year, helping France to another World Cup Final. In 2007, Kaka was voted number one after Milan triumphed in the European Champions League before the Barcelona era began.
Barcelona’s ‘puppet’ Xavi Hernandez won the award for four consecutive years, from 2008-11 before team-mate Andres Iniesta received the award in 2012, following that up in 2013.
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, known as the assist king throughout Spain, ended up quite a way behind Iniesta in the votes, yet comfortably came second himself ahead of Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo.
The votes naturally favour those who play for possession-based sides such as Barcelona, Real Madrid or Premier League side Manchester City. However, it may come as a surprise that no Bayern Munich player made it into the top three – especially as the Bavarian giants competed an all-conquering 2013 which included a historic treble in a perfectly controlling manner.
Here are the official top nine and their number of votes:
Andres Iniesta 134
Mesut Ozil 94
Andrea Pirlo 78
Bastian Schweinsteiger 61
Xavi Hernandez 56
Yaya Toure 21
Toni Kroos 10
David Silva 6
Juan Mata 6
image: © Ronnie Macdonald