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Ranked: European football’s 25 best Central Midfielders

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Midfield legends Xavi and Pirlo

B90M’s Rating Index for Central Midfielders (CMRI)

Now is the time for the midfield engines. Where will Andres Iniesta, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Jordan Henderson, Miralem Pjanic and Claudio Marchisio fall?

The weighting system for the CMRI considers:

Goals, Assists, Key Passes, Passing, Shooting Efficiency, Shooting Accuracy, Foul Ratios, Tackling, Possession Loss, Dribbling and even team possession are all factored into the calculations to produce a ranking that accounts for just about everything a central midfielder does.

There might be surprises that go against the conventional thinking but the CMRI doesn’t lie because of the breadth of statistics that are considered.

First, the numbers 40 to 26 and then our list.

40. Sami Khedira, Index score: 55.88

39. Jeremy Tolisso, Index Score: 56.36

38. Gabi, Index Score: 56.42

37. João Moutinho, Index Score: 57.04

36. Kevin Strootman, Index Score: 57.12

35. Radja Nainggolan, Index Score: 57.14

34. Alessandro Florenzi, Index Score: 57.57

33. Ruben Pardo, Index Score: 57.69

32. Yohan Cabaye, Index Score: 58.17

31. Claudio Marchisio, Index Score: 58.46

30. James Milner, Index Score: 58.72

29. Mark Noble, Index Score: 59.05

28. Adrien Rabiot, Index Score: 59.23

27. Koke, Index Score: 59.41

26. Blaise Matuidi, Index Score: 59.58

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25. Ander Herrera (Manchester United)

Index rating: 59.92

Raw score: 57.60 (28th)

Age: 27

Games: 102

Minutes: 7,255

Goals and Assists: 14 (13)

Strongest category: Interceptions and tackle ratio.

Weakest category: Shot accuracy and possession loss.

Kicking off our top 25 is Manchester United midfielder, Ander Herrera. The Spanish international brings balance to the United midfield with his energy and balanced style of play. Indeed, the Spaniard has a keen understanding of the game, as shown by his versatility to play anywhere in the centre of the park. It is a pity that a player of his ability is denied consistent minutes for his country but that’s the price one pays for daring to be a Spanish midfielder in this era. Still, his importance to the Red Devils must be noted as he has established himself as a player manager Jose Mourinho can rely on.

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