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Top 10 Most Intelligent Footballers in the Game

Updated on August 30, 2016
Santi Cazorla
Santi Cazorla

10. Santi Cazorla

Position: Central Attacking Midfielder / Winger

Team: Arsenal

FC Nationality: Spanish

Known for: Talismanic Playmaking

Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla is one of the most feared attacking midfielders in the Premier League. This guy literally made a fool out of Bastian Schweinsteiger (one of the greatest midfielders at the moment) at a home match this season against Manchester United, which they won 3-0. Needless to say, Premier League managers have a reason to worry about whenever they play against this person because you never know what kind of creativity is evolving in this guy’s head as the game keeps on unfolding. He comes at the 10th spot in the countdown.

Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil

9. Mesut Ozil

Position: Central Attacking Midfielder / Right Midfield

Team: Arsenal FC

Nationality: German

Known for: Talismanic Playmaking / judging the game quickly

A lot of goals that Germany has scored in this World Cup and the Euro 2012 Cup were primarily orchestrated by Mesut Ozil. Although many Arsenal fans might blame him to be a lazy midfielder, statistics show that he’s among the top players with the highest contribution to the game. Mesut Ozil himself doesn’t work very hard in matches, but rather he lets his brain do all the working and his legs simply execute the plan worked out by his grey matter.

Juan Mata
Juan Mata

8. Juan Mata

Position: Central Midfielder / Right Midfield

Team: Manchester United FC

Nationality: Spanish

Known for: Playmaking / goal scoring abilities

Another Spaniard in our countdown (but from the redder part of Manchester) is Juan Mata who is pretty much like Manchester United’s David Silva. Mata has been in sensational form since March this year and United fans would be hoping that he continues this fabulous run of form through the entire season. Mata’s sensational goals and passes has flooded YouTube since the past couple of months and sales of Man Utd jerseys with his name has increased considerably this year.

David Silva
David Silva

7. David Silva

Position: Central Attacking Midfielder

Team: Manchester City

Nationality: Spanish

Known for: Playmaking abilities and scoring goals

We all know about the kind of player David Silva is and how important he is for Manchester City. David Silva is not only a very cunning midfielder who knows when and who to pass the ball; he’s also a calm and potentially lethal finisher as well. There are strikers in the Premier League who have less finishing capabilities when compared to him. If only Silva had the ability to pass as accurately as Fabregas, he would have been the all-round midfielder, which is so hard to find in the modern football.

Luka Modric
Luka Modric

6. Luka Modric

Position: Central Midfielder / Winger

Team: Real Madrid CF

Nationality: Croatian

Known for: Playmaking

Luka Modric is perhaps one of the best European playmakers in the world at the moment and he was a vital member of the Tottenham squad. Not everyone can become a Real Madrid player. You need to have a certain style and class into your football and Luka Modric has tons of these both into his game. In his best days, he can single handedly rip apart any defence through his passes. He comes at the 6th spot in our countdown.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

5. Lionel Messi

Position: Central Forward / Right Winger

Team: FC Barcelona

Nationality: Argentinian

Known for: Playmaking / dribbling / free kicks / goal scoring abilities

Do I actually have to make it clear why he is in the countdown? Lionel Messi’s intelligence and instant decision making skills have been spot-on through his entire career. He can make a fool out of any defender almost effortlessly and sometimes, the defenders can’t take that insult lightly and end up fouling him. He has thousands of tricks up his sleeve and in an honest evaluation, we found Messi to be actually much smarter in football.

Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas

4. Cesc Fabregas

Position: Central Midfielder

Team: Chelsea FC

Nationality: Spanish

Known for: Passing skills

The Spanish playmaker has won the hearts of millions of Premier League fans by his passing abilities and by his ability to quickly judge the position of all players around him. This helps him to make the perfect pass at almost all situations. This is exactly why Arsenal decided to buy him in the first place. Fabregas might not be in his best form right now, but we all know that he’s one of the smartest footballers around the world. He might not score goals very often, but if there’s a goal scored by Chelsea, you automatically infer that Fabregas was involved somehow in the build-up.

Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta

3. Andres Iniesta

Position: Central Midfielder / Left Midfield

Team: FC Barcelona

Nationality: Spanish

Known for: Playmaking / Tikki-Taka maestro

Now that Xavi has retired, the entire burden of midfield gameplay of Barcelona is being governed by this Spanish attacking maestro. Iniesta has the ability to split the defence into two parts and pierce a pass through them, and there has been countless such instances in his Barcelona career when this ability of his has led to some vital goals in the season. He is more of an assister over a goal scorer but in the modern game, a club can pay millions of dollars for such a playmaker. No questions asked.

Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo

2. Andrea Pirlo

Position: Central Midfielder

Team: Juventus FC

Nationality: Italian

Known for: Playmaking / Free kick abilities

I present to you the Italian Maestro Midfielder, and certainly the most intelligent footballer of all time: Andrea Pirlo. Almost each and every goal that Italy has created had a vital role played by Pirlo. It’s nothing but god’s gift to football. The accuracy of his passes, the execution, the distribution capabilities etc. are simply textbook-ly executed! This is exactly why even at 34 years of age; we still regard Pirlo as one of the best midfielders present today. As we come to know of it, Arturo Vidal has learnt quite a bit from this Italian and also the promising Paul Pobga, too.

Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez

1. Xavi Hernandez

Position: Central Midfielder

Team: FC Barcelona

Nationality: Spanish

Known for: Playmaking / Inch perfect passing

There are some players who score, some who create and some who defend the goals. But very few are such players present in the modern world who just love to pass around the ball. The world will always miss a player like Xavi. He was the best playmaker and passer that Spain has ever had in their squad. He could predict the game even before it happened before his own eyes and could immediately know the position of all the players around him.

Who do you think is the smartest player in Europe?

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An honorary mention to Paul Scholes, Eric Cantona, Beckenbauer, Pele, Maradona, Carles Puyol and Cruyff

( down there )

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Paul ScholesEric CantonaBeckenbauerPeleMaradonaPuyolCruyff
Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes
Eric Cantona
Eric Cantona
Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer
Pele
Pele
Maradona
Maradona
Puyol
Puyol
Cruyff
Cruyff

If you have any question or things to share, you are pleased to leave it in the comment section down below. Please feel free to leave a rating for this Hub. Thank you very much!

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