The 20 Most Underrated Midfielders Of All Time

Football has its heroes, legends, and role models, but what about the football player who doesn’t quite make a list? I am referring to the unsung heroes and the underdogs of the game.

There’s not much to say about midfielders other than they are the heart and soul of any soccer team. Sure, there are superstars like Ronaldo, Messi, or Kane, but they need the midfield to set them up.

This list highlights some of the lesser-known midfielders who have made significant contributions to their national team. I’m not saying that these players are the best or even the most significant to the sport’s history, but they made a difference to their clubs and teams. This article will look at ten underrated midfielders who had their career moments.

The Most Underrated Midfielders Of All Time

Here are 20 of the most underrated Midfielder of All Time.

Name CountryPosition
David SilvaSpainMidfielder
Michale BallackGermanyMidfielder
Sergio BusquetSpainDefensive Midfielder
Dimitri PayetFranceAttacking Midfielder
Roman RiquelmeArgentinaAttacking Midfielder
Bastian SchweinsteigerGermanyMidfielder
Michael CarrickEnglandMidfielder
Tim CahillAustraliaAttacking Midfielder
Stefan EffenbergGermanyCentral Midfielder
Clarence SeedorfNetherlandsMidfielder
Xabi AlonsoSpainMidfielder
Osvaldo ArdilesArgentinaCentral Midfielder
Frank LampardEnglandMidfielder
Fernando RedondoArgentinaDefensive Midfielder
Patric VieiraFranceMidfielder
Gerhard HanappiAustriaMidfielder
Luca ModricCroatiaMidfielder
Steven GerrardEnglandMidfielder
Lothar MatthaeusGermanyMidfielder, Sweeper

1. David Silva

David Silva
Full NameDavid Josué Jiménez Silva
Date Of Birth8 January 1986 (Age 36)
CountryArguineguín, Spain
Football ClubsManchester City, Real Sociedad, Valencia
Achievement2010 World Cup Winner, Copa Del Rey, Premier League
Date Of Death
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)

Silva was born in Elche in 1986. At an early age, he was already a keen player of the game. He made his first team debut with Elche CF at the age of seven, becoming the youngest player ever to play for the club. At eleven, he moved to Villarreal. He helped them win the Spanish Cup that year. He is such an underrated midfielder in World football.

By his early teens, he was in the Spain U-16 team and made his debut with the Spain U-17 side. After playing for Elche and Villarreal, he joined Manchester City. Since his debut with Manchester City in 2004, he has been very successful. David Silva scored more than a hundred goals for Manchester City. In 2011, Manchester City won the Premier League championship.

At Manchester City, David Silva played in both the right and left positions, although he started out as a left back. In 2011, he signed a new contract with Manchester City. He has been one of the players to have an important impact on Manchester City.

David Silva is nicknamed “Little Bird” because of his ability to glide in the game. He helped the team gain the Championship, the FA Cup, and the League Cup. He was named the second-best midfielder in England that year. His contract with Manchester City was renewed in 2014.

2. Michale Ballack

Michale Ballack
Full NameMichael Ballack
Date Of Birth26 September 1976 (Age 46)
CountryGörlitz, East Germany
Football ClubsBayern Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, Chelsea
AchievementWorld Cup Winner
Date Of Death
Height1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

Ballack is an underrated midfielder who was born in 1976. He grew up supporting the local team, FC Nürnberg. He started playing football when he was five years old. In 1989, he joined 1. FSV Mainz 05.

His performances earned him his first cap when Germany played against Italy in the World Cup qualifying match on 2 June 1994. He played only seven matches in his career. He retired in 2004 after having played in the Bundesliga. He went on to join Werder Bremen.

In 2000, he helped Chelsea win the FA Youth Cup with the young team. That year, he played in ten league games for the club, and the following season, he started in 13 of 15 league games.

3. Sergio Busquet

Sergio Busquet
Full NameSergio Busquets Burgos
Date Of Birth16 July 1988 (Age 34)
CountrySabadell, Spain
Football ClubsBarcelona
Achievement2010 World Cup Winner, 8 La Liga, 7 Copa Del Rey, 3 Champions League
Date Of Death
Height1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
PositionDefensive midfielder

Sergio is a most underrated midfielder who plays for the Barcelona football team. He is a Spanish footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for the Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona. 

In his career, he has won four La Liga titles, one UEFA Cup title, one Supercopa de España title, three Copa del Rey titles, three UEFA Supercup titles, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup with Spain.

His style of play is the type of central midfielder who works very well alongside a striker in a 4-0-midfielder system. In such systems, Busquets has the ability to move forward at pace and press the opposing midfielder into the backline, allowing him to receive possession near the opposing penalty box. 

Busquets is able to pass accurately and on time while also showing a good range of passing in his own half of the pitch. He also has the skill to provide support to a winger who wants to receive the ball in behind the defense or to a striker in the final third. He was named the FIFPro World Midfielder of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

4. Dimitri Payet

Dimitri Payet
Full NameDimitri Payet
Date Of Birth29 March 1987 (Age 35)
CountrySaint-Pierre, Réunion, France
Football ClubsNantes, Lille, Marseille, West Ham United
Achievement2016 Euro Runners Up
Date Of Death
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
PositionAttacking Midfielder

Payet is a French footballer who plays for West Ham United in the Premier League. He was born in 1987 in Lyon. He is a left-footed attacking midfielder and is known for his quick pace and dribbling ability. He was an underrated midfielder despite a brilliant career.

He began his career with Saint-Etienne in the Championnat National. In 2010, he moved to Marseille and later became the captain of the club. Payet helped Marseille to win the Coupe de France in 2013. He signed for West Ham United in July 2013. His debut season for West Ham was a successful one.

He was the top scorer in the English Premier League and the leading goalscorer in the Europa League. After playing in the European Under 21 Championships, Payet signed a new five-year deal with West Ham in June 2014. He was a member of the French national team. He played 23 international matches and scored five goals.

Payet started his first match for France in August 2011. He scored his first international goal in a match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was a part of the French team that reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Euro 2012.

5. Roman Riquelme

Roman Riquelme
Full NameJuan Román Riquelme
Date Of Birth24 June 1978 (Age 44)
CountrySan Fernando, Argentina
Football ClubsBoca Juniors, Barcelona, Villareal
Achievement2016 Euro Runners Up
Date Of Death
Height1.82 m (5 ft 11+12 in)
PositionAttacking Midfielder

Riquelme is one of the greats of Argentinean football. He has represented his country on numerous occasions. His playing style is very fast, and he has played with several different clubs. During his time in Barcelona, he was a very important member of the team. He was a versatile footballer but remained an underrated midfielder.

Riquelme made his international debut against the Netherlands in 1998. Since then, he has been a regular in Argentina’s squads. The midfielder had a short career in the United States before returning to Europe and signing for Manchester United.

Riquelme came to England as part of the United States team. This was back in 1999. He spent three years in the United States, including a spell at MLS club New England Revolution, before joining La Liga club Deportivo de La Coruña in 2004. He left the Spanish side in 2007 and signed for another club in Europe, Atlético Madrid.

Riquelme has made over 50 appearances for Argentina. He scored 11 goals and won the Copa América with Argentina in 2007. He played in all three matches of the tournament and scored two goals. After three seasons at Atlético, he joined Boca Juniors in 2011. He won a total of five trophies while he was at Atlético.

6. Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger
Full NameBastian Schweinsteiger
Date Of Birth1 August 1984 (Age 38)
CountryKolbermoor, West Germany
Football ClubsBayern Munich, Manchester United
Achievement2014 World Cup Winner
Date Of Death
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

Bastian was the captain of Manchester United between 2009-2011. He was born in 1984. The midfielder has been a key member of the team since his debut in 2005. Before becoming a footballer, he played for FC Bayern Munich from 2002-2005. He made over 150 appearances and scored 21 goals for the German side. One of the most underrated midfielders of all time.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Bastian Schweinsteiger in 2009, where he played for four years. During this time, he made over 140 appearances and won the Premier League title twice. The midfielder helped the Bavarians win three league titles. In the summer of 2011, Bastian signed for Manchester United.

Since his arrival at Old Trafford, Schweinsteiger has been a key player, with his experience and leadership guiding the team on the field. He has been a major player for the club, playing for Manchester United in all competitions. He is currently the vice-captain of Manchester United.

7. Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick
Full NameMichael Carrick
Date Of Birth28 July 1981 (Age 41)
CountryWallsend, England
Football ClubsTottenham Hotspur, Manchester United
AchievementPremier League and Champions League Winner
Date Of Death
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)

Carrick has been at Manchester United since he was ten years old. He started off in the youth academy before eventually being named one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s first signings in 1993. Although he wasn’t as successful in the Premier League as he was previously with the club, he earned over 50 caps for his country. He has since retired and currently works as a pundit.

Carrick didn’t exactly start off the way he finished; he made a big impact in the middle of the park for his club and earned the reputation of being a classy midfielder.

He was considered a vital member of the United team during the Champions League winning season of 1999/2000. Carrick is still playing for the club but has taken on a lesser role since the arrival of Jose Mourinho. His future seems to be in doubt, though.

8. Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill
Full NameTimothy Filiga Cahill
Date Of Birth6 December 1979 (Age 43)
CountrySydney, New South Wales, Australia
Football ClubsSydney FC, Everton, New York Red Bulls
AchievementScored Most World Cup Goals by Australian
Date Of Death
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
PositionAttacking Midfielder

Tim is an Australian soccer player who is known for his great technique. He is one of Australia’s top football players. He played at the international level as well as for Sydney FC. He is one of the most underrated midfielders of all time.

Tim Cahill was born in 1979 in Westmead, New South Wales, Australia. He became famous as the captain of the Australian national football team. He scored in two World Cup games. Cahill grew up playing football at the local level.

His skill soon attracted the attention of a number of big-name coaches in Australia. He moved to England to play for Millwall in 2003. He was not a regular with the first team. That changed when he signed with Southampton for £600,000 in 2005. He became a regular in the first team, making over 100 appearances for the club. Cahill transferred to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 and enjoyed great success at the club, scoring 26 goals. His spell with Spurs ended when he signed for Everton in 2010.

He has been a regular for the Toffees since then. Tim Cahill has a career record of 86 goals in 603 appearances. He is currently an Australian international and plays for his country.

9. Stefan Effenberg

Stefan Effenberg
Full NameStefan Effenberg
Date Of Birth2 August 1968 (Age 54)
CountryHamburg, West Germany
Football ClubsBayern Munich, Fiorentina, Al- Arabi
Date Of Death
Height1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
PositionCentral Midfielder

Underrated midfielder Stefan is a former German professional footballer who played as a midfielder. He was born in 1968 in Hamburg. He is the son of Hanns Effenberg, and his mother is Christel (née Weber). He started his career with Hertha BSC but only stayed for one season. He also played for 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Karlsruher SC, Hamburger SV and Werder Bremen.

In 1994, he was part of the German squad that won the UEFA Euro 1996 tournament. That same year, he won the Bundesliga with Hertha BSC. His career ended in 2002 due to injury. In 2003, he was awarded the Goldene Medaille by the German Football Association (DFB) for his service to the DFB. His nickname was Der Tiger.

10. Clarence Seedorf

Clarence Seedorf
Full NameClarence Clyde Seedorf
Date Of Birth1 April 1976 (Age 46)
CountryParamaribo, Suriname
Football ClubsSampdoria, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Ac Milan
Achievement3 Champions League
Date Of Death
Height1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)

Clarence played for one of the greatest clubs in the world, Real Madrid, between 1996 and 2003. As a midfielder, he started over 130 games for the Spanish giants. He was a key member of the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 La Liga champion squads. During his career at the Bernabeu, he also made three appearances for the Spain national team.

In 2001, he captained Real Madrid to the Champions League title. He retired in 2008 after being named to the UEFA Team of the Year in 2003, 2004, and 2006. He had a very impressive record at the World Cup. In the 2002 edition, Seedorf played in all five matches for his country.

In 2006, he made two appearances, including the final match against Italy. Despite his successes, Seedorf is still not widely recognized as the greatest central midfielder in the history of the game. With his marvelous talent, he was underrated in world football.

11. Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso
Full NameXabier Alonso Olano
Date Of Birth25 November 1981 (Age 41)
CountryTolosa, Spain
Football ClubsLiverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich
AchievementLa Liga, Bundesliga, Champions League Winner
Date Of Death
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

Xabi is a Spanish midfielder who plays for the current club, Real Madrid. He was born in 1981. He started his career with Atletico de Madrid and played there for four seasons. In 1998, he transferred to Real Madrid and stayed there for eleven seasons. He is an underrated Midfielder in world football.

Alonso has also played for the team Liverpool. He has been a member of the Spanish national team since 1999. He has represented Spain in two World Cups. He has been one of the best midfielders in the Premier League in recent years.

Alonso’s career began in Atletico’s youth academy. He joined the first team in 1995 and made his debut in the UEFA Champions League against Panathinaikos.

12. Osvaldo Ardiles

Osvaldo Ardiles
Full NameOsvaldo César Ardiles
Date Of Birth3 August 1952 (Age 70)
CountryCórdoba, Argentina
Football ClubsTottenham Hotspur, PSG
Achievement1978 World Cup Winner
Date Of Death
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
PositionCentral Midfielder

Osvaldo was born in 1952 in Argentina. He began his career playing for Estudiantes de La Plata at a very young age. He played with his hometown team for 12 years until they were relegated from the Primera Division (First Division) in 1985. Since that time, he has represented the River Plate, Newell’s Old Boys, Barcelona, and Parma.

He was one of the most influential figures in Argentinian football. He won numerous trophies with the teams he has played for. Most importantly, he won two Copas del Mundo, a UEFA Champions League, and a FIFA World Cup.

In 1998, he left Barcelona and joined Boca Juniors. He won the Clausura title with the club and helped them reach the final of the Copa Libertadores. He then returned to Argentina to join River Plate. He played with River Plate for four seasons. During that time, he won 2 championships with them. He also won the Supercopa.

13. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard
Full NameFrank James Lampard
Date Of Birth20 June 1978 (Age 44)
CountryRomford, England
Football ClubsChelsea, Manchester City
Achievement3 Premier League, 1 Champions League
Date Of Death
Height6 ft

Lampard has been playing for Chelsea since his debut in 2002. He is a Chelsea legend and was very underrated by football pundits. He has played in two Champions League finals. He scored the winning goal against Liverpool in the 2003/2004 season.

Lampard has represented England in six major tournaments and has won 26 caps for his country. He is a fan favorite at Stamford Bridge and a crowd favorite wherever he goes. He is the second-highest goal scorer for Chelsea after Didier Drogba. He is one of the most successful midfielders to have played the game.

14. Gerson

Full NameGérson de Oliveira Nunes
Date Of Birth11 January 1941 (Age 81)
CountryNiteroi, Brazil
Football ClubsFlamengo, Sao Paulo
AchievementWorld Cup Winner
Date Of Death
Height1.72 m

Gerson is an example of a very underrated player. Gerson had a lot of talent. He was a hardworking midfielder. His passing skills were exceptional, and he could score beautiful goals. The one thing he lacked was size.

He wasn’t big, but he was very talented. Gerson played for many years at his best. He became a regular starter and a key figure in Vasco da Gama. His career started with the Brazilian team. He was a midfielder for most of his career, playing for Vasco da Gama. He scored several goals and assisted several others.

15. Fernando Redondo

Fernando Redondo
Full NameFernando Carlos Redondo Neri
Date Of Birth6 June 1969 (Age 53)
CountryAdrogué, Argentina
Football ClubsReal Madrid, Milan
Achievement1993 Copa America Champion
Date Of Death
Height1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
PositionDefensive Midfielder

Redondo was a midfielder who played for several top clubs. His ability and dedication were rewarded when he helped Inter Milan win the UEFA Cup. He played in four consecutive UEFA Champions League finals with Inter, starting in 1987. He was the team captain and made the all-star team for seven consecutive seasons.

Redondo was born in 1969. He began playing soccer as a youngster in his hometown, starting out at Atlético de Madrid. After moving to Atlético de Madrid, Redondo soon became one of the club’s star players.

He was loaned to Barcelona for a year, then returned to Atlético de Madrid, where he stayed for six years. He moved to Real Madrid for the next three years, helping them win two European championships. He later played for Valencia, Sevilla, Paris Saint-Germain, and Juventus.

16. Patric Vieira

 Patric Vieira
Full NamePatrick Vieira
Date Of Birth23 June 1976 (Age 46)
CountryDakar, Senegal
Football ClubsArsenal, Juventus, Mancity
Achievement3 Premier League, 1 FA Cup
Date Of Death
Height1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)

Vieira is a creative midfielder, playing the game with intelligence. He’s quick, he’s aggressive, he’s good on the ball, and he’s good at finding space and scoring goals. He was a bit slow in the first season of his career, but since then, he has become an expert at the English game. He became the team captain, a role he has held for a few seasons.

He’s a very vocal leader and a real mentor for the younger players. He’s always looking to pass the ball to the striker or to his wingers and strikers. His greatest qualities are his speed and stamina. He’s a constant threat in the opposition box and is good at getting the ball past the keeper.

17. Gerhard Hanappi

Gerhard Hanappi
Full NameGerhard Hanappi
Date Of Birth16 February 1929
CountryVienna, Austria
Football ClubsRapid Wein
Achievement7 Austria Championship Title
Date Of Death23 August 1980 (Aged 51)
Place Of DeathVienna, Austria
Height169 cm (5 ft 7 in)

Gerhard was a talented but underrated player, but he wasn’t given a fair chance because of his lack of height. He started out with Fortuna Dusseldorf and went on to play for Bayern Munich, where he played for the last two years of his career.

Hanappi has a great vision; he is fast, a very good passer, and good in the air. He is also a very good dribbler. He is also a good goal scorer, scoring 33 goals in his career. Hanappi made many important assists, including one in which he scored a goal, which he scored from 30 yards away.

He also scored six penalties, which is also a good start. His best performance came in the 1982 European Cup Final when he scored a hat trick against Nottingham Forest. He also won the Bundesliga top scorer award in 1979 and 1980. He was named the second most important player in the club after Franz Beckenbauer in 2007.

18. Luca Modric

Luca Modric
Full NameLuka Modrić
Date Of Birth9 September 1985 (Age 37)
CountryZadar, SR Croatia
Football ClubsTottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid
Achievement4 Champions League, 3 La Liga, 1 Ballon D or, 2018 World Cup Runner Up
Height1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)

Modric is the captain of the Croatian national team. He was born in 1985 but grew up in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. In 1998, he signed with the Italian club Juventus. He played for Juventus until 2006. While playing for the club, he was called the best midfielder in Europe and the first choice in midfield for many national teams.

Luca Modric is one of the world’s best soccer players. He left the club in 2006 to join Tottenham Hotspur. In 2010, he moved to Real Madrid. He had the opportunity to play for Real Madrid when he was only 26 years old. In 2011, he was named the UEFA Best Player in the Champions League. He is the captain of the Croatian national team and played as the defensive midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur. He ended his 2022 World Campaign against Argentina with 3-0 defeat.

19. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard
Full NameSteven George Gerrard
Date Of Birth30 May 1980 (Age 42)
CountryWhiston, England
Football ClubsLiverpool, LA Galaxy
AchievementPFA named in 8 times
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)

Gerrard was born in 1980 in West Derby, Liverpool, England. He was raised in Kirkby, Liverpool. He started playing football when he was six years old. At age 9, he joined the local youth team, Everton FC. He attended the Everton FC school, but his heart was with Liverpool.

He was offered a scholarship to the Everton FC Academy but rejected the offer because he wanted to play at Liverpool. While he was still a teenager, Gerrard joined Liverpool FC. He was very much an underrated midfielder in his time. In the summer of 1996, he moved to the Italian club Roma.

His form at the club led him to be scouted by the English club Southampton FC. He signed with the club in January 1998. He helped them to win the FA Cup in 1999 and 2000. He was named the Young Player of the Year in 1999. He also helped them to win the UEFA Cup in 2000. In May 2001, he left the club to join Real Madrid FC.

He was signed for $11 million. He helped them to win the UEFA Champions League in 2003 and 2004. He played there until the end of 2005. He was traded to Milan Calcio in 2006. He won the Italian Supercup that year. He had a spell at AC Milan in 2007. He joined the LA Galaxy in 2008. He played there until 2012.

20. Lothar Matthaeus

Lothar Matthaeus
Full NameLothar Herbert Matthäus
Date Of Birth21 March 1961 (Age 61)
CountryErlangen, West Germany
Football ClubsBorussia Monchengladbach, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan
AchievementWon Uefa Euro1980
Height1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
PositionMidfielder, Sweeper

Lothar was a Midfielder who played for Bayern Munich. He joined the team in 1974 when he was still a teenager. He made his first appearance for the club in 1977. He was a member of the team that won the Champions League and German championships.

He was born in 1961 in Erlangen, West Germany. In his time, he was a totally underrated midfielder in football history. He was a part of the squad that won the European Cup Winners Cup when Bayern Munich beat FC Porto 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid in the final. His performances earned him the right to wear the famous number 4 shirt for the team.

He strongly influenced the team, as he was an important part of their defense. He started out as a center-back, but when he saw that the defenders were getting too many balls, he moved over to midfield.

He scored a goal in the 1979 Intercontinental Cup when Bayern beat Valencia 3-0. His good performance with the team led him to earn the title of FIFPRO World Midfielder of the Year in 1986.


In conclusion, the most underrated midfielders of all time are those who play for teams that are not considered major leagues. These players can be found in lower divisions or leagues and can still be valuable assets to their teams. If you’re a fan of a team that is not in the top division or playoffs, then these players are worth keeping an eye on. Some of these players have great skills and playstyles but have not been given the recognition they deserve. If you are looking for an underrated midfielder, look no further than some of history’s greatest midfielders. Thanks for reading.

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Al Amin Sagor is simply a movie freak who is passionate about writing entertainment content. He loves to watch web series, and movies and write on celebrity gossip or trendy movie news. He also covers media and entertainment news on various online platforms. He is one of the "Jewel" of The News Titan.


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