Every football player thinks that the position they play in is the toughest.
The actual hardest position to succeed in is as a striker, but there is a legitimate argument that the attacking midfielder is pushing it close.
Think about it. Goals are the most valuable currency in our game. It’s a hard ask, but it’s still a simple remit for a forward. The number ten has a wider array of responsibilities to excel at.
They have to be playmakers, they have to be goal scorers, they have to play between the lines but make late runs into the box, and nowadays they’re expected to press and press and press – they’re the Swiss army knives of football players.
And that’s why world class attacking midfielders deserve recognition.
But what is ‘world class’?
We at 90min have been trying to nail down a definition using special stats and metrics.
Let’s get into our top 5 AMs on the planet.
Well, 4 for now. But read to the bottom to learn how to get involved.
All statistics are provided by StatsPerform over the period of January 1, 2021 to November 30, 2021 (inclusive of domestic and continental cup competitions).
Games played: 33
Minutes played: 2556
Chances created: 80
Shots on target: 30
Shot conversion rate: 12.2
Minutes per goal: 232
Making the switch from the left forward rankings over to the attacking midfield position is professional showboater and part-time goalscorer Neymar.
It’s been a rough year by his standards. Paris Saint-Germain were pipped to the Ligue 1 title by Lille, Man City thrashed them in the semi-finals of the Champions League, and Neymar’s Brazil lost to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the final of Copa America.
So why is he still a lock on this list? Because he will still always make something happen as long as he is on the pitch.
Games played: 54
Minutes played: 4328
Chances created: 129
Shots on target: 53
Shot conversion rate: 12.0%
Minutes per goal: 240
Another year of putting Manchester United on his back and carrying them for long stretches at a time hasn’t yielded any silverware for Bruno Fernandes yet, but at least he’s retained his spot on the podium for #W2WC21. And that’s the real quiz.
The Portuguese maestro has a transformative impact on any game he plays for the Red Devils – his stats above are just ridiculous.
With Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of him and an actual coach in the dugout, it won’t be long until Fernandes tastes tangible glory at Old Trafford.
Games played: 45
Minutes played: 3594
Chances created: 124
Shots on target: 29
Shot conversion rate: 17.1%
Minutes per goal: 300
The Thomas Muller of the 2020s loves two things – destroying Barcelona, and finding new ways to reinvent himself as a player.
Mr Raumdeuter is now one of Europe’s most prolific creators (I mean…just look at those stats) and is the perfect sidekick in attack to goalscoring extraordinaire Robert Lewandowski.
Now a ten-time champion of Germany, Muller is ageing like a fine wine and showing no signs of slowing down.
Games played: 37
Minutes played: 2547
Chances created: 87
Shots on target: 29
Shot conversion rate: 12.6%
Minutes per goal: 232
In terms of games played and minutes spent on the grass, this has been one of Kevin De Bruyne’s quieter years.
But he’s more than made up for it in an intangible sense, leading Man City to another Premier League title and ousting stiff competition to win the PFA Player of the Year award for a second successive season – becoming just the third player after Thierry Henry and Ronaldo to win it in back-to-back years.
Injuries are starting to rock the Belgian’s career, yet every time he steps on the pitch he looks as dangerous as ever, controlling the pace of the match like a game of foosball, tipping the table up and rolling the ball towards the opposition goal at will.
Out of the ten different positions we’ve been ranking, we at 90min found it toughest to decide on the top attacking midfielders.
Which is why we’re going to need your help not once, not twice, but thrice.
First of all, we need you to pick between these three contenders for our fifth and final world class spot…
…and then pick your favourite of these three talented boys.
You can vote for your two finalists above as we whittle six contenders down to two, and you can check back here at 12pm (GMT) to vote again, with that second poll closing at 8pm and your final world class attacking midfielder being selected!
Keep an eye on 90min’s Twitter page throughout the day for updates and content regarding our #W2WC21 picks.