The official website for European football

Who are the best central midfielders?

Published: Monday 29 April 2013, 15.00CET
UEFA.com's Matchday Live presenter Rob Daly asks for your input ahead of the semi-final second legs – who are the best central midfielders left in the competition?
by Rob Daly
from London
Published: Monday 29 April 2013, 15.00CET

Who are the best central midfielders?

UEFA.com's Matchday Live presenter Rob Daly asks for your input ahead of the semi-final second legs – who are the best central midfielders left in the competition?

UEFA.com's Matchday Live show this week wants to know who you think are the best central midfielders among the four teams still in the UEFA Champions League.

FC Bayern München, FC Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid CF have some of the best midfield maestros in the game, though it was the Bundesliga sides' central players who dictated the tempo of last week's semi-final first legs.

On Tuesday's show we will see if Jose Mourinho's men can overturn their 4-1 deficit against Dortmund. To do so, it seems likely the trio of Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso and Mesut Özil will need to be reunited having been unsettled by the absence of Ángel Di María in Germany. That meant Özil moved out wide and Luka Modrić assumed the 'No10' role.

Özil and Khedira are particularly important in terms of moving the ball on swifty and smartly in order to exploit the pace of Cristiano Ronaldo and Di María on the counterattack.

Much of the pre-match talk surrounded Dortmund's playmaker Mario Götze, who was unfazed by news of his impending transfer to Bayern. The 20-year-old swept in a wonderful cross for the first of Robert Lewandowski's four goals and, along with Sven Bender and İlkay Gündoğan, had a huge influence on the outcome of the match. Dortmund's ability to press Madrid meant the visitors struggled to use the ball effectively.

©AFP/Getty Images

Javi Martínez has been superb for Bayern

Bayern had similar joy in Munich. With Toni Kroos out injured, Thomas Müller is profiting from a more central role in front of the colossal duo of Javi Martínez and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Schweinsteiger and Martínez have formed a very smart partnership and worked in cohesion throughout to stop the ball getting to Lionel Messi. It was an especially notable display from Martínez, not least considering he was up against a trio of international team-mates who are normally selected ahead of him for Spain.

Can Barcelona really come back from 4-0 down? The general consensus is that they must score early to stand any chance on Wednesday. Regardless of who is picked alongside Messi in attack, it will be the ability of Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández to play their incisive passes that will determine whether those sharp movements into the penalty area are worthwhile.

They are two of the three players who have completed the most passes in the competition this term. Spain's recent dominance on the international stage, along with Barça's on a domestic and continental one, can be largely attributed to their masterly direction. Busquets offers protection and some vision of his own, which is why, for many, they remain the elite midfield group in world football.

But what do you think? Let us know on Twitter who you view as the best central midfielder in the competition by following @ChampionsLeague and using#matchdaylive.

We have full match commentary of the second-leg encounters and exclusive pre-match interviews, as well as expert opinion from Andy Brassell and Paul Saffer. The UEFA Champions League Matchday Live panel show will be on UEFA.com from 19.30CET on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Last updated: 07/04/14 18.52CET

Related information

Player profiles
Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/blogs/blog=ucl_blog_around/postid=1946189.html#who+best+central+midfielders

UEFA.com features

Israel travails no problem for Peretz
  • Israel travails no problem for Peretz
  • Brahimi following in Madjer's Porto footsteps
  • Trenčín winger Simon commanding attention
  • Sheridan taking the heat at APOEL
  • McGregor making his mark back at Celtic
  • Heat of the moment: Commentators' finest hours
  • Pick of the matchday two photos
  • Spain game evokes happy memories for Sweden
  • Košice and Liberec: Tale of the dugouts
  • Atlético's Filipe Luís to fill Cole's boots at Chelsea
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.