15 best midfielders at Euro 2024

15 best midfielders at Euro 2024
15 best midfielders at Euro 2024

Europe's best are gathering in Germany this summer with 24 nations hopeful of triumphing at Euro 2024.

An overwhelming amount of football is set to be consumed, especially with the Copa America working in tandem, and gives those at the very top of the game another opportunity to showcase their talent at the highest possible level.

The Euros will see stout defenders and prolific goalscorers duel it out at both ends of the pitch as well as flying full-backs and enigmatic wingers down the flanks, but arguably the most important players of all are the conductors in the middle of the park.

From suave controllers to exuberant playmakers, 90min's best midfielders ranking covers a broad range of midfield profiles. Here's the top 15 competing at Euro 2024.

Didier Deschamps appreciates midfield functionality - hence why Adrien Rabiot has racked up a filthy number of caps - but he also can't help but hide his admiration for the do-it-all Camavinga.

The young midfielder hasn't quite set the world alight at Real Madrid, but displays such as what he produced in the recent Champions League final depict a player who's heading, as Harry Redknapp would say, "right to the very top!"

A cool, calm, and collected midfield operator, Camavinga combines relentless tenacity with slick possession play and is a contributor in all phases.

14. Luka Modric

The old-timer's still got some juice left in him yet, although Euro 2024 will surely be Modric's last big day out for the national team.

Modric has starred time and time again on the grandest stage for Croatia, with his exploits at the 2018 World Cup ensuring he broke the Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'Or duopoly.

The veteran midfielder has seen his minutes dwindle considerably at Real Madrid over the past 18 months, but Modric never ceases to flash his vintage brilliance. The big occasion seems to coax the very best out of the 38-year-old, and he'll be able to hang with superstars more than a decade his junior this summer.

13. Hakan Calhanoglu

The Turkish international was once nothing more than a luxury playmaker during his time at Milan, but a switch across the Derby della Madonnina divide has been the making of Calhanoglu.

While still capable of the spectacular from range, the former number ten has evolved into a controller at the base of midfield - taking the mantle from Marcelo Brozovic, another playmaker turned dictator.

His evolution under Simone Inzaghi has helped Calhanoglu emerge as one of Serie A's finest, and the 30-year-old is bound to show off his new and improved self to an international audience in Germany this summer.

12. Nicolo Barella

While Calhanoglu operates as Inter's technically proficient controller at the base of midfield, Barella's role has refused to deviate from his debut season at San Siro under Antonio Conte.

The impetuous Italian is still the dogged runner from his Cagliari days. He'll never cease in the middle of the park, and his box surges are a nightmare to track.

Barella relishes the battle, and we've seen his creative instincts develop leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. While slight in stature, Barella's determination and vigour more than compensate. He's rough around the edges, but he's key to Italy's hopes having starred at Euro 2020.

11. Pedri

Pedri hadn't suited up for the national team since the 2022 World Cup before Spain's pre-Euro 2024 warm-up fixtures.

The midfielder has been hit by multiple injury setbacks since he dazzled at Euro 2020, where he claimed Young Player of the Tournament honours. That 2020/21 campaign took it out of Pedri, who has since sustained seven muscle injuries and failed to find his most potent groove.

Nevertheless, the Spaniard remains a special talent who combines the very best of Xavi and Andres Iniesta. His magic heading into the tournament suggests Pedri is fresh and ready to shine on the big stage again.

10. Florian Wirtz

If you're looking for a breakthrough talent, look no further than Florian Wirtz.

The German international was one of Europe's standout performers last season as he inspired Bayer Leverkusen to an unbeaten Bundesliga season and the domestic double. Wirtz registered a whopping 38 goal contributions from 49 games.

The 21-year-old has bounced back in some style from an ACL tear, and now he's poised to star for his country at a home Euros. Wirtz is a half-space machine, and the system Julian Nagelsmann is attempting to install should get the very best out of the crafty creator with an eye for goal.

9. Declan Rice

Rice has been a near-ubiquitous figure for England since Euro 2020, but the upcoming tournament may be the Arsenal man's biggest to date.

While Rice previously had a consistent midfield partner alongside him, questions surround his companion at Euro 2024 with Kalvin Phillips' form drastically subsiding.

The former West Ham United skipper has a major role to play for Gareth Southgate this summer, and he heads into the tournament off the back of an excellent debut season with the Gunners having joined for £105m last summer.

You just can't ignore the numbers. Fernandes was Portugal's talisman in qualifying, and this certainly isn't a nation devoid of superstar talent.

The Manchester United skipper recorded 13 goal contributions in ten qualifiers and heads into Euro 2024 in tremendous form.

He's a roaming creator, but one which suits this Portugal team. Their sturdy midfield balance offers him plenty of licence to wreak havoc all across the pitch, and his ability to pick out and execute the killer pass in transition should prove crucial this summer.

7. Antoine Griezmann

Following an indifferent spell at Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann's majestic form upon returning to Atletico Madrid has gone a long way to restoring his lofty reputation.

His performances for the national team have undoubtedly helped, too.

Griezmann has evolved considerably from the off-the-cuff goalscorer who enjoyed a productive Euro 2016, with the Atleti star taking on a new and mature role for Deschamps in recent years.

The iteration of Griezmann we saw in Qatar 18 months ago was perhaps the best we've seen, with the diminutive playmaker functioning as an #8 in a role not too dissimilar to what Bernardo Silva often performs for Pep Guardiola.

He operates as the linker; the glue to France's work in possession.

6. Phil Foden

While Kevin De Bruyne shone in patches after returning from injury, last season's title-winning City felt like Phil Foden's team.

2023/24 was the best campaign of the Englishman's career as he secured PFA Player of the Year honours off the back of a 27-goal contribution season in the top flight. Foden came up with the goods in the clutch, too, but now's the time for the 24-year-old to sparkle for the Three Lions.

Foden is yet to convince for England, but his talent is so overwhelming that it's surely only a matter of time before he takes over a major tournament.

5. Jamal Musiala

2023/24 was a fairly subdued campaign for Jamal Musiala, who burst into life for seemingly fleeting spells. The gazelle-like playmaker still recorded 16 Bundesliga goal contributions, but only two of these arrived against teams that finished in the top five.

Thus, much of his good work went unnoticed.

Still, there's scope for the masterful Musiala to dominate on home soil this summer. Like Wirtz, he should benefit from Nagelsmann's emphasis on between-the-lines creation, with no player or team yet to find the antidote for Musiala's genius work in tight spaces. There's nobody better at worming their way out of seemingly inescapable holes.

In a familiar environment at this summer Euros, it could be Musiala's time.

4. Kevin De Bruyne

There's a feeling that Kevin De Bruyne's international career is winding down. Who knows, this might be his last major international tournament for Belgium.

The Manchester City dynamo represents one of a few remnants from the Red Devils' 'Golden Generation' that couldn't quite get over the line.

Still, De Bruyne remains a prominent figure for new manager Domenico Tedesco, and although he missed a big chunk of 2023/24 through injury, the 32-year-old was able to produce a litany of big moments down the stretch as City claimed their fourth-straight Premier League title.

3. Toni Kroos

There's no doubt that Toni Kroos will leave us wanting a whole lot more by the time he hangs up his 11Pros at the end of the tournament.

His club career fittingly concluded with silverware, and Kroos is unlikely to bow out with a whimper this summer having come out of international retirement.

The sultry controller will play the game at his own pace right up until he completes his final pass, and he has a big role to play for Nagelsmann's dynamic and vertical Germany.

Kroos' work in 2023/24 has to be regarded as one of the supreme midfielder's best, and victory in Berlin on 14 July would be the ultimate example of departing the game on a high.

2. Jude Bellingham

Discourse surrounding Jude Bellingham was rife throughout 2023/24, and understandably so.

The 20-year-old took to life at Real Madrid like a salmon to freshwater. It was a breeze. The Englishman's impact at the Bernabeu was nothing short of remarkable, with Carlo Ancelotti getting the best out of Bellingham as a box-crasher who worked in close harmony with Madrid's split strikers.

He's already achieved superstardom, and having flashed his brilliance at the 2022 World Cup, Bellingham is well-placed to dominate at Euro 2024 for an England side not shy of marvels in attacking areas.

1. Rodri

The man that doesn't lose... did actually lose to conclude the 2023/24 season, but the point still stands. Rodri very, very rarely loses football matches, and very few would argue that Manchester City's lynchpin isn't the best at what he does in the sport.

What he does, however, is hard to pinpoint because there's a lot to take in. He can orchestrate the build-up, resist pressure, up the tempo amid periods of sustained pressure, service the playmakers ahead of him, and score goals himself. Rodri does it all. There's not a more complete footballer on the planet.

Pep Guardiola's security blanket complements his work in possession with a rounded profile without the ball, too. Rodri's an instinctive defender who reads the game superbly and is canny enough to avoid yellow cards at will.

He's what your dad might call a "proper player".