Is Manchester United signing really the best midfielder in the world?

File photo of Juventus' Paul Pogba

Jose Mourinho said that he could call Paul Pogba the best midfield player in the world in his pre-match press conference.

France's Paul Pogba in action

When discussing who is the best player in the world, few would allow Paul Pogba's name to enter such discourse. That title is seemingly reserved for one of only two men; Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with a murmur of Luis Suarez now acceptable following his haul of 59 goals last season.

The question of who is the finest midfielder however, that one is a little less cut and dry. For so long Barcelona's midfield axis of Xavi and Iniesta were considered the world's best, but with Xavi now plying his trade in Qatar, and Iniesta the wrong side of 30, Mourinho could have opened up a real can of worms with his claim earlier today.


Manchester United manager Jose MourinhoManchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Following the former Chelsea boss' claim, we take a look at some other possible candidates for the title of best midfielder in world football.

Discounting wingers and players we considered too attacking to be put down as traditional 'midfielders', we have managed to whittle it down to just nine world class options.

These include Mourinho's choice of Pogba, joined by Barcelona's Andres Iniesta & Sergio Busquets, Real Madrid duo Luka Modric & Toni Kroos, World Cup winner Thomas Muller and Premier League stars Mesut Ozil, Kevin de Bruyne and N'Golo Kante.

Thomas Muller of Bayern Munich celebrates a goal against FC BaselThomas Muller of Bayern Munich ranks among the world's best midfielders

Paul Pogba

Chosen by the 'Special One', we couldn't miss off Paul Pogba. The Frenchman is the most expensive player in the history of the game and a superb all-round midfielder.

A fine athlete as well as being technically gifted, Pogba is not statistically amazing, with 9 goals and 15 assists from 45 games for club & country last season.

Andres Iniesta

The Barcelona man has ranked among the world's best midfielders for more than a decade now. He has incredible control, vision and the ability to thread a pass through the eye of a needle.

Once again, he is not prolific with either scoring or assisting, with 37 goals and 58 assists over the course of his career, but anyone need only watch Barcelona or Spain play to understand the profound effect Iniesta has upon any game he plays in.

Spain's Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets celebrate after Iniesta scoredSpain & Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets both feature on our shortlist

Sergio Busquets

A controversial choice, perhaps, Busquets has never been the most popular of players. The deep-lying Spaniard has for so long been the man tasked with doing the 'dirty work' in a dazzling Barcelona team.

His antics may be deplorable at time, but his football is marvellous. Brilliant at breaking up play and unerring in possession, Busquets has seen off the likes of Yaya Toure and Cesc Fabregas' challenges for his place in the team for a reason.

Luka Modric

Declared a 'flop' after a tough first season in Madrid, Luka Modric has become anything but that now. A mainstay in a team which has won two Champions League trophies in three seasons, Modric has been superb.

The Croatian midfielder makes it all look so easy, and can sometimes go unnoticed, but he's an outstanding player and there's a good reason why Cristiano Ronaldo was the only outfield Real player to play more games than him last season.

Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates after scoring their first goalModric celebrates after scoring an incredible volley at Euro 2016

Toni Kroos

A teammate of Modric's at the Bernabeu, Toni Kroos is a world class deep-lying playmaker. Coming deep to collect the ball, threading passes and keeping a top quality Madrid team ticking over, he's a huge player for Real. 

An absolute bargain at less than £25 million from Bayern Munich, Kroos is only 26 but is already firmly established as one of the finest midfield players on the planet.

Mesut Özil

Another German, and another player who could play through balls in his sleep. The assist king, Mesut Özil is quite simply a man without peer when it comes to creating goals. 

He has more assists than any other player in Europe over the last half decade, and continued that tradition last season, with a magnificent 19 assists in 35 Premier League games, and 8 goals in all competitions. 


Arsenal's Mesut Ozil in actionArsenal's Mesut Ozil is the best assister in Europe

Kevin De Bruyne

Now a cross-city rival of Pogba's, Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is also an exceptional player. He showed on multiple occasions last season why Man City spent so heavily to acquire his talents from Wolfsburg.

De Bruyne scored 16 goals in all competitions for Man City last term, the same tally he managed in his last season in Germany. Aged 25, the Belgian can still grow as a player and become even more complete.

N'Golo Kante

Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy may have been making the headlines in Leicester's incredible title success last season, but it was N'Golo Kante that many footballing aficionados were doffing their hats to. 

His relentless tracking back, tackling and intercepting made him an absolute menace to come up against, and he even managed the same number of assists as Yaya Toure & Aaron Ramsey.

West Ham United's Dimitri Payet in action with Chelsea's N'Golo KanteN'Golo Kante joined Chelsea from Leicester this summer

Thomas Muller

Our last candidate for the mantle of midfield superiority is a slightly different type of player. Thomas Muller is not technically as gifted as the likes of Ozil or De Bruyne, and in terms of physique, he is a million miles away from Pogba or Kante.

Yet, he is almightily effective. Arguably the most effective midfield player on this list. He scored an incredible 32 goals last season, taking his career total to 169, and whilst he is occasionally deputised as a forward, he is undeniably most naturally a midfielder. 

Tell us what you think. Who is the best midfielder in the world right now?

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