Soccer Attacking Midfielder: The Heart of the Modern Soccer Team

Andrew Kovacs

Soccer Attacking Midfielder

The soccer attacking midfielder is one of the most important positions in modern soccer. These players are responsible for linking the midfield and the attack, creating chances for their teammates, and scoring goals. They are typically gifted with excellent passing, dribbling, and vision skills.

In today’s game, attacking midfielders are often called “playmakers.” They are the ones who dictate the tempo of the game and create opportunities for their teammates. Some of the best-attacking midfielders in the world include Kevin De Bruyne, Luka Modric, and Lionel Messi.

These players are essential to the success of any team. They are the ones who make the difference between winning and losing. If you are a fan of soccer, then you know the importance of the attacking midfielder. They are the heart of the modern soccer team. Let’s find out more about them.

What Is Soccer Attacking Midfielder?

An attacking midfielder, also known as a playmaker or central midfielder, is a position in soccer that focuses on creating goal-scoring opportunities for the team. This player operates in the central area of the field, typically between the midfield and the forward line.

The attacking midfielder’s primary role is to link the defense and the attack by distributing the ball effectively and orchestrating the team’s offensive plays. 

They are responsible for dictating the tempo of the game, initiating attacks, and providing key passes to set up goal-scoring opportunities for their teammates.

Attacking midfielders are known for their vision, creativity, and technical skills. They often possess excellent ball control, passing ability, and dribbling skills, allowing them to navigate through tight spaces and unlock defenses. 

They are also expected to have good shooting ability and contribute to goals themselves. Some notable examples of attacking midfielders in soccer history include Lionel Messi, Kevin De Bruyne, Luka Modric, and Zinedine Zidane.

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of Attacking Midfielder?

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of Attacking Midfielder

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The roles and responsibilities of an attacking midfielder in soccer can vary depending on the team’s tactics and the coach’s instructions. However, here are some common roles and responsibilities associated with the position:


The attacking midfielder is often the team’s primary playmaker. They are responsible for creating goal-scoring opportunities by delivering accurate and incisive passes to their teammates. 

They need to have excellent vision and awareness to spot openings in the opposition’s defense and exploit them with their passes.

Linking Defense and Attack

The attacking midfielder acts as a bridge between the defensive and offensive lines. They receive the ball from the defenders or deeper midfielders and initiate attacks by carrying the ball forward or distributing it to the forwards.

They need to have good positional awareness to find space and receive the ball in dangerous areas.

Goal Scoring

While the primary focus is on creating chances for others, attacking midfielders are also expected to contribute with goals themselves. They should have good shooting technique and the ability to score from various positions on the field. 

Attacking midfielders often make late runs into the box to get on the end of crosses or through balls.

Dribbling and Ball Control

Attacking midfielders should have excellent dribbling skills to navigate through tight spaces and beat opponents. They need to be comfortable with the ball at their feet and have the ability to maintain possession under pressure. Their dribbling skills allow them to create space for themselves and their teammates.

Tactical Discipline

While attacking midfielders have the freedom to roam and create, they also need to be tactically disciplined. They should understand their defensive responsibilities and contribute to the team’s defensive efforts by pressing opponents, tracking back, and closing down passing lanes.

Communication and Leadership

Attacking midfielders often act as on-field leaders, directing the team’s attacking movements and coordinating with their teammates. They need to communicate effectively, provide instructions, and make quick decisions to exploit the opposition’s weaknesses.

It’s important to note that the specific roles and responsibilities of an attacking midfielder can vary depending on the team’s style of play and the coach’s preferences.

How to Play as an Attacking Midfielder?

How to Play as an Attacking Midfielder

Source: football-espana

Playing as an attacking midfielder in soccer requires a combination of technical skills, tactical awareness, and creativity. Here are some tips to help you excel in this position:

Master Your Technical Skills

Develop a strong first touch, passing accuracy, and ball control. Work on your dribbling, shooting, and ability to play both short and long passes effectively.

Understand the Role

As an attacking midfielder, your primary responsibility is to create goal-scoring opportunities for your team. You’ll need to link up with both the forwards and midfielders, providing key passes, through balls, and assists.


Position yourself between the opposition’s midfield and defensive lines, finding pockets of space to receive the ball. This allows you to exploit gaps and create chances for your team.

Vision and Awareness

Develop good vision and awareness of your surroundings. Scan the field constantly to identify passing options, movement of teammates, and potential attacking opportunities.

Passing and Through Balls

As an attacking midfielder, your passing ability is crucial. Look for opportunities to play incisive through balls to split the defense and create scoring chances for your teammates.

Creativity and Improvisation

Be creative in your play. Use feints, tricks, and quick changes of direction to beat opponents and create space for yourself and your teammates.


Take shots whenever you have a good opportunity. Develop accuracy and power in your shots, and practice shooting from different angles and distances.

Defensive Contribution

While your primary focus is on attacking, don’t neglect your defensive duties. Press the opposition when they have the ball, track back to help your team regain possession, and contribute to the team’s defensive shape.

Communication and Teamwork

Develop good communication skills to coordinate with your teammates. Understand their movements and anticipate their runs to provide accurate passes and create scoring opportunities.

Fitness and Stamina

Attacking midfielders often cover a lot of ground during a game. Work on your fitness levels to ensure you can maintain a high work rate throughout the match.

Remember, playing as an attacking midfielder requires practice, patience, and a willingness to learn from your experiences. Analyze your performances, seek feedback from coaches, and continuously work on improving your skills to become a more effective player in this position.

10 Best Attacking Midfielders of All Time

The list of the 10 best attacking midfielders of all time is subjective and can vary depending on personal opinions. However, here are 10 players who are widely regarded as some of the greatest attacking midfielders in the history of soccer:


The Brazilian legend is considered one of the greatest players of all time. His skill, vision, and goal-scoring ability made him a formidable attacking midfielder.

Diego Maradona

Maradona’s dribbling, creativity, and ability to change games single-handedly earned him a place among the best. He led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup.

Johan Cruyff

The Dutch maestro was known for his elegant style of play, exceptional technique, and tactical intelligence. He played a key role in the success of Ajax and Barcelona.

Michel Platini

The Frenchman was a prolific goal-scorer and playmaker. He won three consecutive Ballon d’Or awards from 1983 to 1985 and led France to victory in the 1984 European Championship.

Zinedine Zidane

Zidane’s elegance, skill, and ability to control games made him one of the best attacking midfielders of his generation. He won numerous titles with Juventus and Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi

While primarily known as a forward, Messi has often played as an attacking midfielder throughout his career. His dribbling, vision, and goal-scoring ability have made him one of the greatest players in history.

Andrés Iniesta

Iniesta’s close control, passing accuracy, and ability to dictate the tempo of the game made him a vital player for both Barcelona and the Spanish national team.


The Brazilian magician was known for his incredible skill, flair, and ability to produce moments of magic on the field. He won numerous titles with Barcelona and AC Milan.

Roberto Baggio

Baggio’s technical ability, creativity, and goal-scoring prowess made him one of the most exciting attacking midfielders of his era. He represented Italy in multiple World Cups.

Ferenc Puskás

Puskás was a Hungarian legend known for his goal-scoring ability and vision. He played a key role in the success of the Hungarian national team in the 1950s and later joined Real Madrid.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are many other great attacking midfielders who have left their mark on the game.


What are the key attributes of a successful attacking midfielder?

A successful attacking midfielder should possess excellent technical skills, such as passing accuracy, ball control, and shooting ability. They should also have good vision, creativity, and the ability to make quick decisions on the field.

How can I improve my passing as an attacking midfielder?

To improve your passing, practice regularly with both short and long passes. Work on your accuracy, weight of the pass, and the ability to play different types of passes, such as through balls and diagonal passes. 

How can I improve my goal-scoring ability as an attacking midfielder?

To improve your goal-scoring ability, work on your shooting technique, both from inside and outside the box. Practice different types of shots, such as volleys, headers, and shots on the run. 

How can I improve my decision-making as an attacking midfielder?

Decision-making can be improved through experience and practice. Study the game, watch professional matches, and analyze the decision-making of top attacking midfielders. Play in different situations and practice making quick decisions under pressure. 

How can I contribute defensively as an attacking midfielder?

While your primary focus is on attacking, it’s important to contribute defensively as well. Press the opposition when they have the ball, track back to help your team regain possession, and communicate with your teammates to maintain defensive shape. 

Final Thoughts

The attacking midfielder is a vital role in modern soccer. These players are responsible for creating chances, scoring goals, and dictating the tempo of the game. They are typically gifted with excellent passing, dribbling, and vision skills.

The soccer attacking midfielder position has evolved over time, but its importance to the team has remained the same. These players are the heart of the modern soccer team, and they are essential to the team’s success.

As the game continues to evolve, the role of the attacking midfielder will continue to change. However, one thing is for sure: these players will always be an important part of the game.

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Andrew Kovacs

I am a Head Boys Soccer Coach at Amherst Regional Public Schools in Massachusetts. I have coached for the past five years and I am currently working on my master's degree in Exercise Science. I coach soccer because I love the game and I enjoy being around the kids. It is rewarding to see them develop their skills and grow as individuals. LinkedIn