It is often stated that a game is won and lost in the middle of the park. It is crucial to have the right players playing in midfield roles — be it a holding midfielder, a box-to-box midfielder, or an attacking midfielder.
Regardless of the position, some stand out from the rest. The following list explores the list of players who have impressed in midfield roles during their time in the ISL.
Also Read – Top 10 ISL forwards of all time
Ahmed Jahouh has been a rock of a defensive midfielder for any team that he has represented. Having moved to Mumbai City FC from FC Goa, he has become a crucial component in their midfield. So far, Jahouh has spent four seasons in the ISL and is set to enter his fifth season with Mumbai City FC.
The former Morocco international contributes going forward as well; his twelve assists and a solitary ISL goal suggest that he is more than just a player who sits down and breaks up play. His reliability and his minutes in the ISL earn him a spot amongst the all-time best midfielders in the league.
The FC Goa man is probably in conversation for the best midfielder in the ISL today. Alongside Jahouh, the Spaniard is one of the most reliable players to deploy in midfield. Bedia has spent four seasons in the ISL so far, of which all have been spent in the orange of FC Goa.
Bedia is a goal threat as well; he can contribute by chipping in with goals from midfield. He has registered nine goals in the ISL so far and has provided twelve assists for his teammates. In a team with Coro, most of Bedia’s work does go unnoticed, but his importance will be highlighted in the 2021/22 season.
Hugo Boumous is a French footballer who has been a part of the ISL since 2017. In his four seasons in the league, he has spent most of his time with FC Goa, a season with Mumbai City FC, and has joined ATK Mohun Bagan for the 2021/22 campaign.
Boumous is an attacking midfielder who loves to venture forward and get into the box to score goals for his side. He has scored twenty-one goals to go with his twenty-four assists in the ISL so far.
In the season-opener, Boumous started in style by scoring a brace against Kerala Blasters FC.
Rowlin Borges is undoubtedly an imposing presence in any midfield. The India international has spent five seasons in the ISL and is set to move into his sixth with Mumbai City FC. Of his five seasons in the league, three he spent with NorthEast United.
Borges has incredible pass accuracy for midfielders in the ISL, with a reliable 80%. Given his height, he loves to break play and can also hurdle for teams looking to play long. He also chips in with the odd goal for his side and has registered eight goals in his ISL career thus far.
Brandon Fernandes is yet another player who earned his spot in the Indian national team due to his impeccable performances in the ISL. He started his ISL career with Mumbai City FC but shone particularly after his move to FC Goa.
Brandon generally plays in the attacking midfield role, where he loves to find his teammates and occasionally find the back of the net. He has registered a total of eighteen assists and has scored five times in the ISL.
Today, Brandon is a vital member of the FC Goa side, and the team look to him to provide those incisive passes into the strikers’ feet.
Also Read – Top 10 players to look forward to in ISL 2021-22
The former BFC player played a pivotal role in the middle of the park for the Blues during his four-year stay at the club. Paartalu generally played in the defensive midfield role and was a fine passer of the ball.
He was quite a dynamic player as well. When called upon, Paartalu slotted in as a centre-back as well. He was always a threat in the box given his towering figure and was extremely good at putting away goals with his head. He scored nine times in the ISL and assisted his teammates on eight occasions, mostly from corners or long throws.
Anirudh Thapa, although young, has earned his place in this list as a result of consistent performances in the ISL. The deep-lying playmaker has spent five seasons with Chennaiyin FC and has been one of the first names on the team sheet in most games.
Thapa also broke into the Indian national side because of his impressive performances for Chennaiyin FC. He has contributed by scoring five goals and assisting his teammates on nine occasions in terms of numbers. He moves into yet another season with Chennaiyin, and the club will be hoping he continues his consistent performances for the club.
Dimas Delgado, the Spanish magician, had a largely successful four-year stint with the Blues, as a result of which he has forced his name onto this list. The Spaniard played mainly as a box-to-box midfielder and got himself into positions where he could find his teammate and keep things ticking for the BFC.
Dimas was mainly well known for his ability to make defence-splitting passes. He delivered to the expectations of the Blues’ fans by picking up fourteen assists and four goals during his time in the ISL.
Federico Gallego has found himself on this list because of his performances in recent years for NorthEast United. The Uruguayan entered the ISL three seasons ago and has since represented United throughout his time in India.
Gallego is another who has stacked up his numbers so far In the ISL. He has scored nine times in the league and has registered twelve assists so far — numbers that suggest his attacking nature in the middle of the park.
Although the ISL has decided to reduce the number of foreign-player inclusions for the 2021/22 season, Gallego will still seamlessly appear on the team sheet for NorthEast United.
Also Read – Top 10 ISL Players
Probably one of the trickiest midfielders to deal with, many teams would tell you that they hated playing against Raphael Augusto. The midfielder spent five seasons in the ISL, which included a short stint at Bengaluru FC while spending most of his ISL career at Chennaiyin FC, where people took notice of him.
The 30-year-old Brazilian was a nightmare to play against because of his tricks and flicks. He could be deployed on the wings as well, given that he had tidy feet and a knack for dribbling smoothly. In total, he registered six goals and seven assists during his ISL spell, and easily goes down as one of the best midfielders to have ever played in the ISL.