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Modric, Xavi, Pirlo and the top 20 central midfielders in history

Xavi Luka Modric Andrea PirloGetty/Goal

We chose our list based on a player's overall quality for both club and country, trophies won, big-game performances, consistency and longevity.

We only included players who generally featured and excelled regularly in either a two-man or three-man central midfield. Midfielders who mostly played further up the pitch were not considered.

Therefore, the likes of Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane and Zico were not selected by our writers, Carlo Garganese and Mark Doyle.