Best Defensive Midfielders in FIFA 20

Ever since the emergence of Claude Makélélé for both Chelsea and Real Madrid, the role of the defensive midfielder changed forever. No longer just an accessory in front of the central defenders to help them get the ball away, defensive midfielders are now required to be deep lying playmakers who not only end opposition attacks but begin their own. This Makélélé role as it is now referred to, requires the defensive midfielder to break up attacks, hold the shape of the team (often by short passing and holding the ball), start attacks and occasionally hit a bolt from the blue. Check out our list of the best defensive midfielders (CDM) the latest version of EA Sports FIFA 20 below:

10. Fabinho (Liverpool: CDM)

25-year-old Fabinho stands at 6’2” and has already played for Real Madrid, AS Monaco and Liverpool. Fabinho moved to Liverpool last season for €45M and despite initially struggling to get into the starting XI, he is now amongst the first names on the team sheet. Possessing superb reactions and composure, Fabinho has made himself indispensable to Champions League holders Liverpool. With a goal and an assist in 11 appearances, Fabinho will be looking to help Liverpool end their Premier League drought this season. Rated at 86 overall in FIFA 20, he has an overall potential rating of 89. His notable attributes include: penalties (91), interceptions (88), standing tackle (87), sliding tackle (85), stamina (88) and aggression (85). In FIFA 20, Fabinho has a release clause of €97.2M.

9. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain: CB, CDM)

While primarily a Centre Back for PSG, Marquinhos in recent seasons has proven to be more than just a defender and has stepped up into midfield as and when required. The 25-year-old Brazilian stands at 6’0” and has played over 200 games for PSG. Able to play as both a Centre Defender and a Defensive Midfielder, Marquinhos possesses great versatility, composure and experience. A regular fixture in the starting XI, he has so far made 11 appearances this season getting 1 goal. Rated at 86 on FIFA, with an overall potential of 90, notable attributes include: composure (86), interceptions (86), defensive awareness (86), Standing tackle (87), sliding tackle (87) and jumping (89). Marquinhos has a release clause of €99.1M in FIFA 20.

8. Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona: CM, CDM)

Frenkie de Jong is the youngest player on this list at only 22. The 5’11” Dutchman is however considered one of the brightest and best young players in the world and he continues to show why. Able to play as a  defensive midfielder and also in a slightly more advanced position, Frenkie got his move to Barcelona (€75M) in the summer after inspiring Ajax to the Dutch League and Cup as well as impressing in their run to the Champions League semi finals. Already looking the part at FC Barcelona, he has a goal and an assist in 12 appearances. Rated at 86 on FIFA 20, de Jong has an overall potential of 92 and his notable statistics include: vision (86), short passing (90), long passing (86), ball control (89), dribbling (88) and composure (90). Dutchman de Jong has a minimum fee release clause of €135M and with his young age could be the backbone of your career mode midfield for years to come.

7. Fernandinho (Manchester City: CDM)

Now aged 34, Fernandinho becomes the third Brazilian on this list. Playing under Pep Guardiola, Fernandinho’s importance has grown with every passing game. Although no longer playing as many games as he used to (Rodri has been signed to eventually replace him), Fernandinho has made 8 appearances in the English Premier League so far this season. Rated at 87 on FIFA (that’s his overall potential too), Fernandinho’s notable statistics include: reactions (89), interceptions (89), defensive awareness (87), standing tackle (86) and aggression (87). Despite his advancing years, he could be a good short-term pick-up in FIFA 20 and has a release clause of €36.1M.

6. Thiago Alcântara (FC Bayern München: CM, CAM, CDM)

Thiago will forever be the one that got away for FC Barcelona. The 28-year-old Spaniard moved to FC Bayern in the 2013/14 season for a bargain €25M and has never looked back. A serial winner at Bayern, Thiago has become a mainstay in midfield under several different managers. His ability to pick a pass may be unrivalled in the Bundesliga and he has made 9 league appearances so far this season. Rated at 87 on FIFA 20, which is also his overall potential, Thiago’s notable attributes include a 5-star dribbling rating, short passing (90), long passing (87), agility (91), balance (88), ball control (91) and dribbling (90). Thiago Alcântara has a release clause of €82.5M in the latest release of the game.

5. Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain: CM, CDM)

Italian Marco Verratti has been a mainstay of the PSG midfield whenever fit since his move to the French Champions in the 2012/13 season. Having grown from an exciting young prospect to one of the finest defensive midfielders in the world, Verrati is highly regarded both for PSG and Italy. Having so far made 10 appearances in the league providing 2 assists, Verratti is keen to help PSG end their Champions League hoodoo. Rated at 87 on FIFA with an overall potential of 89, Verratti’s game is based upon vision (88), short passing (90), long passing (89), agility (91), balance (94), ball control (89), dribbling (90) and composure (95). Verratti has a release clause of €115.5M.

4. Casemiro (Real Madrid: CDM)

Rounding off the Brazilians on this list is 27-year-old Casemiro, who has been absolutely vital in Real Madrid’s amazing feat of three back to back Champions League titles. The 6’1” footballer provides the necessary grit to a midfield with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. One of the first names on the team sheet for Zinedine Zidane, Casemiro has 12 appearances so far this season with a goal and an assist. Rated at 88, with an overall potential rating of 90, his notable attributes include: shot power (88), standing tackle (87), sliding tackle (86), stamina (89), strength (90) and aggression (91). Casemiro has a release clause of €133.9M in the latest version of the game.

3. Paul Pogba (Manchester United: CM, CDM)

Despite a few tumultuous years, Paul Pogba is one of the best midfielders in the world (in real life and in the game too). Constantly linked with a move away from Old Trafford, Paul Pogba has the ability to change the game with a few moves. More known for his attacking game, recent seasons have seen his defensive game rise to the fore. The 26-year-old World Cup winner with France stands at 6’3”. Having so far made 5 appearances where he provided 2 assists, an ankle injury has disrupted his season and kept him out for most of it. Pogba is rated at 88 in FIFA 20, with a potential of 91 and 5-star skill moves, his notable attributes include: shot power (90), vision (88), short passing (86), long passing (90), ball control (90), dribbling (87) and strength (89). If you want to prise him away from Old Trafford in your save, you’ll need to break the bank, as he doesn’t come cheap with a release clause of €143.2M.

2. Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona: CDM, CM)

Sergio Busquets has been amongst the top defensive midfielders in the game for eons. Having lifted every title with FC Barcelona, the 30-year-old Spaniard is a vital cog in the way both his club and country play. He has even been referred to as a Makélélé who can pass. Despite finding his playing time limited this season, Busquets is still a professional and can be relied upon to get the job done, and this is evident in his goal and 2 assists in 10 appearances so far this season. In FIFA 20, Busquets has an overall rating of 89 (his overall potential too) and his notable stats include: vision (86), short passing (89), reactions (87), ball control (88), composure (93), interceptions (89), defensive awareness (90) and standing tackle (86). Sergio Busquets has a release clause of €112.8M.

1. N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea: CDM, CM)

28-year-old N’Golo Kanté burst on the scene after arriving from SM Caen and helping Leicester record the greatest Premier league shock in the history. A move to Chelsea would follow and with it another Premier League title, a Europa League, an FA Cup and a World Cup with France. Kanté is considered one of the most likeable players and the respect he generates from opposition players, teammates and fans alike is brilliant to see. Despite an injury blighted start to the season Kanté has 2 goals in 5 appearances.  Rated at 89 on FIFA 20, with an overall potential of 90, Kanté’s game is based on short passing (86), balance (92), interceptions (92), defensive awareness (90), standing tackle (91), sliding tackle (85), stamina (97) and aggression (90). His stats read like the perfect CDM and his release clause of €130.4M is indicative of this. However, Kanté has his feet firmly placed on the ground and is not getting carried away with his FIFA rating as the best player at Chelsea.

Summary: Best Defensive Midfielders (CDM) in FIFA 20

Name Club Position Age Overall rating Potential rating
N. Kanté Chelsea CDM CM 28 89 90
Sergio Busquets FC Barcelona CDM CM 30 89 89
P. Pogba Manchester United CM CDM 26 88 91
Casemiro Real Madrid CDM 27 88 90
M. Verratti Paris Saint-Germain CM CDM 26 87 89
Thiago FC Bayern München CM CAM CDM 28 87 87
Fernandinho Manchester City CDM 34 87 87
F. de Jong FC Barcelona CM CDM 22 86 92
Marquinhos Paris Saint-Germain CB CDM 25 86 90
Fabinho Liverpool CDM 25 86 89


Defensive midfielders remain vital to the game and every top team in world soccer requires one who can break down attacks, help hold the shape of their team without having to worry too much about being caught on the break, and if they can come up with the occasional goal every now and then, then that helps too. In FIFA 20, all the best defensive midfielders are about to hit their prime, so it’s a great time to recruit a top class CDM to boss your midfield for years to come.