The role of a holding midfielder is often understated.
To succeed in this area, positional discipline and effective reading of play are two key qualities required.
Often central to the success of a side, the holding midfielder does not often receive the same respect and fanfare saved for those in attacking positions.
But the talent in this position is clear to see, highlighted in our top ten rankings below.
10: Denis Zakaria- Borussia Monchengladbach
The Swiss international has been attracting interest from a number of top clubs courtesy of his impressive displays in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Zakaria averaged 2.1 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game in the Bundesliga last term, alongside 2.0 successful dribbles and 38 passes with an 86.7% success rate.
Footballing icon Lothar Matthaus delivered a glowing review of the 24-year-old, stating: " I’m glad that Gladbach have found another pearl. At his age, I was earning my first stripes for Borussia. He reminds me of Toni Kroos at that age.”
9: Wilfred Ndidi- Leicester City
It's no coincidence that Leicester City's continued rise has occurred with Ndidi at the club.
The Nigerian midfielder has established himself as one of the best in this position since arriving in the Premier League from Genk in 2017.
A trusted figure in Brendan Rodgers' side, Ndidi has proved invaluable for the Foxes and a key component of their success.
8: Sergio Busquets- Barcelona
At 32 years of age, Serio Busquets is approaching the latter stages of his career.
The influence of Busquets on Barcelona has been profound, resulting in their great success as a club in the last decade.
Busquets' durability has been one of his key assets, having featured in 30 plus La Liga matches for seven consecutive campaigns.
Although Lionel Messi has stolen all the headlines over the years at Barcelona, Busquets has often been one of the team's unsung heroes.
7: Fernandinho- Manchester City
An inspired piece of transfer business by Manchester City.
Fernandinho will go down as one of the best servants to the club alongside the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
During his peak years, the Brazilian was unplayable. A master at breaking up play and commanding the midfield area, the Brazilian was a regular under Manuel Pellegrini and remained part of Pep Guardiola's plans.
One of his finest performances came in a game that ultimately won City the 2018/19 Premier League title, as he put in a man-of-the-match display in a 2-1 win over title rivals Liverpool in January 2019.
At 35, he is still an effective option in midfield and is closing in on a fourth Premier League title with the Sky Blues.
6: Rodri- Manchester City
Fernandinho's long-term successor.
Rodri endured a difficult first season in the Premier League with the Citizens but has responded in style this campaign.
The Spaniard has won over his critics, developing into a key player for Guardiola.
With Kevin De Bruyne tied down to a new contract, Phil Foden with his best years ahead of him, Rodri is the final piece to the club's long-term sustainable midfield.
5: Thomas Partey- Arsenal
A shrewd acquisition for the Gunners, Thomas Partey has demonstrated just why he was in such high demand at Atletico Madrid.
The Ghanaian developed his reputation in the Spanish capital for Diego Simeone's side, where he proved effective cover in the centre of the pitch.
Partey often rose to the occasion in matches of great significance, most notably in Atletico's two-legged Champions League triumph versus Liverpool last season.
He has adapted well to the demands of the Premier League and will be needed by Mikel Arteta as the Gunners look to advance as a team.
4: N'Golo Kante- Chelsea
A two-time Premier League winner, Kante has been of the league's standout performers in recent years.
His role in Leicester's 2015/16 title win was clear to see, as he provided the license for others such as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez to wreak havoc in attack.
The Frenchman featured in 35 matches in first season with the Blues as he won back-to-back titles.
Kante's form dipped when utilised in a different position by Maurizio Sarri, but he has looked back to his best in recent weeks.
3: Fabinho- Liverpool
A supreme talent.
Fabinho has been a world-class addition to Liverpool since joining from Monaco in 2018, and is one of the reasons why the Reds slowly turned into title challengers.
The Brazilian had already demonstrated his ability during Monaco's 2016/17 title win, as well as the club's remarkable run in the Champions League that season.
Fabinho's physical presence is unrivalled and makes him an undoubted asset to the Liverpool team.
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2: Casemiro- Real Madrid
Casemiro is one of the surviving members of Real Madrid's most successful periods.
The 29-year-old featured heavily for Los Blancos along their way to achieving European dominance, which saw the club lift three consecutive Champions League titles.
While a number of players from that side have moved on, the Brazilian has remained and continues to issue reminders of his class.
Casemiro shone in Madrid's 3-1 win over Liverpool in their recent Champions League meeting, shutting down the attacking advances of the Reds' midfield.
1: Joshua Kimmich- Bayern Munich
Top spot has to go to Joshua Kimmich.
Though only 26, the German has already developed into the world's best holding midfielder.
Versatile by nature, Kimmich has also shone in other areas of the pitch such as full-back.
His technical ability is frightening, though he is equally as capable of nullifying opponents on turnovers in possession.
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