Soccer Players With The Number 6 (Midfield Greats)

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Defensive midfield enforcers, who protect the backline and aid switch from defense to attack, wear the number 6. Many famous football “stoppers” have worn this number, from Roy Keane to Claude Makelele. More complete midfielders with defensive and offense ability have worn number 6. This page features some of the best number 6 players and their roles and styles on the pitch.

Players wearing the number 6 have been defensive rocks, deep-lying playmakers, or box-to-box workhorses. This collection includes midfielders who shaped the game, from Italian icon Gattuso to Pirlo’s graceful passing, from South American destroyers like Mascherano to goalscorers like Matthäus. Their achievements show how different midfield archetypes may wear the number 6 shirt. We take a look at:

  • Life and talent in soccer
  • Milestones at different clubs and internationally
  • Personal recognition and accolades

Be sure to dive in and learn how remarkable the legends who have donned the number six are.

The Best Soccer Players With Number 6

The best ever midfielders to play the game of soccer, this list of players with the number 6 has a range of tacklers, passers, and goal creators. From the past and present, this selection of players will enhance your knowledge.

Bobby Moore

Robert Frederick Chelsea Moore, OBE, is a celebrated soccer player in England, his home country, and worldwide. Having been awarded the OBE, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame for his impact on soccer.


  • Date of Birth: April 12, 1941
  • Nationality: English
  • Teams Played for:
    • West Ham United: 1958-1974
    • Fulham FC: 1974-1977
  • Positions Played: Centre-Back
  • Trophies Won:
  • Other Significant Achievements:
    • Inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame: 2002
    • Awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire): 1967
    • Named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1966
    • Voted FWA Footballer of the Year: 1964, 1965
    • Named in the PFA Team of the Year: 1970, 1975
    • Awarded the Football League 100 Legends: 1973
Bobby Moore statue Wembley
Bobby Moore statue Wembley Stadium

In his career, he mostly played for West Ham. He had a 16-year stint at West Ham, captaining the team for ten years. At the young age of 23, he became England’s national team captain. He led them to win the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

At West Ham, he won the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup. He was also the FWA Footballer of the Year and four-time West Ham Player of the Year. To celebrate his massive contribution to the club, in 2008, West Ham retired his number 6 shirt.

Apart from the OBE and the Hall of Fame induction, he has also been the 1966 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, on the BBC list of the 100 Greatest Britons, and named in the World Team of the 20th Century.

Bobby Moore, The Legend [Skills & Goals]

He is truly a national icon. He even has a bronze statue at the entrance of the Wembley Stadium.

Xavi Hernandez

The Prince of Asturias Awardee, Xavier Hernandez Creus, is also the second most decorated Spanish soccer player of all time. His passing ability, vision, ball retention, and positioning made him one of the greatest midfielders of all time.


  • Date of Birth: January 25, 1980
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Teams Played for:
    • FC Barcelona: 1998-2015
    • Al-Sadd SC: 2015-2019
  • Positions Played: Midfielder
  • Trophies Won:
    • La Liga: 1998-1999, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2012-2013, 2014-2015
    • Copa del Rey: 2008-2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2015
    • Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
    • UEFA Champions League: 2005-2006, 2008-2009, 2010-2011
    • FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011
    • UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011
  • Other Significant Achievements:
    • FIFA World Cup: 2010
    • UEFA European Championship: 2008, 2012
    • Olympic Games: 2000 (silver)
    • FIFA World Player of the Year: 2010 (3rd place)
    • UEFA Best Player in Europe Award: 2011 (3rd place)
    • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2008, 2012
    • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2010
    • UEFA Team of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
    • La Liga Best Midfielder: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
    • UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament: 2008
    • FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball: 2010
    • FIFA World Cup Silver Boot: 2010
    • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2010
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Esteghlal vs. Sadd 7th February 2017 03
Esteghlal vs. Sadd 7th February 2017 03

He won eight La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles with Barcelona in his club career. He later moved to Al Sadd, where he won four more trophies. He is also among a few players who have made over 1000 professional career appearances.

In these appearances, he has been third in FIFA World Player of the Year, third in the FIFA Ballon d’Or award twice, and a runner-up for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. In addition to these recognitions, he was the IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker four times. In addition, he was included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI six times.

Furthermore, he was named to the UEFA Team of the Year five times. He was also named to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020. Making 133 appearances for his country, he was part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup team. He also played for France in the UEFA Euro in 2008 and 2012 and won.

The Elegance of Xavi Hernandez

Xavi Hernandez is currently the manager for his former club, Barcelona.

Franco Baresi

Franchino Baresi is a one-club man. He spent his 20-year career at AC Milan. While at the club, he was captain for 15 seasons.


  • Date of Birth: May 8, 1960
  • Nationality: Italian
  • Teams Played for:
    • AC Milan: 1977-1997
  • Positions Played: Defender
  • Trophies Won:
    • Serie A: 1978-1979, 1987-1988, 1991-1992, 1992-1993, 1993-1994
    • Coppa Italia: 1976-1977, 1978-1979, 1982-1983, 1989-1990, 1991-1992, 1992-1993
    • Supercoppa Italiana: 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994
    • European Cup/UEFA Champions League: 1988-1989, 1989-1990, 1993-1994
    • UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1989-1990
    • UEFA Super Cup: 1989, 1990, 1994
    • Intercontinental Cup: 1989, 1990
  • Other Significant Achievements:
    • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1990
    • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 1980
    • Serie A Team of the Year: 1984-1985, 1985-1986, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1988-1989, 1989-1990, 1990-1991, 1991-1992, 1992-1993, 1993-1994
    • UEFA Team of the Year: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993
    • AC Milan Hall of Fame: 2014
Franco Baresi no. 6 going for the ball before Romario no. 11 Brazil v Italy 1994 FIFA World Cup Final Paolo Maldini no. 5 and Roberto Mussi no. 8 observe. ○ Soccer Blade
Franco Baresi (no. 6) going for the ball before Romário (no. 11), Brazil v Italy, 1994 FIFA World Cup Final; Paolo Maldini (no. 5) and Roberto Mussi (no. 8) observe. – Image by  Campioni Rossoneri

He became one of the greatest defenders in history during his 20-year career, and AC Milan retired his number 6 shirt in 1997. Pele named Baresi among the 125 greatest living soccer players in 2004, and later in 2013, he entered the Italian Football Hall of Fame. In addition, he was 19th on World Soccer Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century.

Serie A 1979 80 AC Milan v Inter Milan Giuseppe and Franco Baresi
Serie A 1979 80 AC Milan v Inter Milan Giuseppe and Franco Baresi

While playing for AC Milan, he won three UEFA Champions League titles, six Serie A trophies, four Suppercoppa Italiana titles, two European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups. Baresi also shone in international soccer tournaments. He played for Italy in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cup, 1980 and 1988 UEFA European Championships, and the 1984 Olympics.

Franco Baresi Was Incredible...Heroic Defending (RARE)

He is currently the youth team coach for Italy.

Paul Pogba

To secure the win for France in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Paul Labile Pogba scored the final goal. Pogba is an outstanding midfielder currently playing for Manchester United and his home country, France.


  • Date of Birth: March 15, 1993
  • Nationality: French
  • Teams Played for:
    • Manchester United: 2011-2012, 2016-2022
    • Juventus: 2012-2016
  • Positions Played: Midfielder
  • Trophies Won:
    • World Cup: 2018
    • Italian Serie A: 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016
    • Coppa Italia: 2014-2015, 2015-2016
    • Supercoppa Italiana: 2013, 2015
    • UEFA Europa League: 2016-2017
    • UEFA Nations League: 2020-2021
  • Other Significant Achievements:
    • FIFA/FIFPro World XI: 2015
    • Golden Boy: 2013
    • World Cup Best Young Player: 2014
    • Player of the Year of the Europa League: 2017
    • Bravo Award: 2014
    • Serie A Team of the Year: 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016
    • UEFA Team of the Year: 2015
    • Premier League Team of the Year: 2018-2019
    • U-20 World Cup Golden Ball: 2013
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Pogba playing for Manchester United v Leeds United 14 August 2021
Pogba playing for Manchester United v Leeds United 14 August 2021

He was captain of the under 20 France team that won the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. As a result, he was awarded Best Player of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. After starting his career at Le Havre, a Ligue 1 club, Pogba moved to Manchester United, but he did not make sufficient appearances. He then opted to move to Juventus, where his career took off.

While in Italy, he helped Juventus take home four consecutive Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia titles, and two Suppercoppa Italiana titles. Pogba was now a player to take note of. He was awarded the Golden Boy award in 2013 and the Bravo Award in 2015. Furthermore, he was named in the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year and the 2015 FIFA FIFAPro World XI.

Paul Pogba - The Most Skillful Midfielder

His star shone internationally, too, being awarded the Best Young Player Award at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He also played for France at the UEFA Euro 2016, where they were second, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where they won.                                            


Jorge Resurreccion Merodio is the Spanish midfielder popularly known as Koke. Koke is a one-club man, playing for Atletico Madrid, which he captains. He also plays for Spain, his national team.


  • Date of Birth: January 8, 1992
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Teams Played for:
    • Atlético Madrid: 2009-
  • Positions Played: Midfielder
  • Trophies Won:
    • La Liga: 2013-2014
    • Copa del Rey: 2012-2013
    • UEFA Europa League: 2011-2012, 2017-2018
    • UEFA Super Cup: 2010, 2012, 2018
  • Other Significant Achievements:
    • UEFA European Championship: 2012
    • UEFA European Under-21 Championship: 2013
    • La Liga Team of the Season: 2013-2014, 2015-2016
    • UEFA European Under-21 Championship Team of the Tournament: 2013
    • UEFA La Liga Midfielder of the Season: 2015-2016
Madrid Spain November 12 2023 League match between Atletico de Madrid and Villareal at the Metropolitano. Football game. Professional players ○ Soccer Blade

Having played in the Spanish under-21 team, which won the 2013 European Championship, Koke joined the seniors in the same year and has gone ahead to play for his country at two World Cups and two European Championships. Koke has made over 500 appearances for Atletico Madrid. They have won two La Liga titles, two Europa League titles, two UEFA Super Cup trophies, and a runner-up at two UEFA Championships League tournaments.

Koke 2021 ● Jorge Resurrección Merodio ● Amazing Skills Show | HD

Thiago Alcantara

Thiago’s surname is not foreign in soccer arenas, as he is the oldest child of former soccer player Lomar do Nascimento Mazinho. His full name is Thiago Alcantara do Nascimento.


  • Date of Birth: April 11, 1991
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Teams Played for:
    • Barcelona: 2008-2013
    • Bayern Munich: 2013-2020
    • Liverpool: 2020-present
  • Positions Played: Central Midfielder
  • Trophies Won:
    • La Liga: 2008-2009, 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013
    • Bundesliga: 2013-2014, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018
    • UEFA Champions League: 2008-2009, 2011-2012, 2013-2014, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018
    • UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    • FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2013, 2015
  • Other Significant Achievements:
    • UEFA European Championship: 2012, 2016
    • FIFA World Cup: 2014, 2018
    • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2012, 2016
LONDON ENGLAND FEBRUARY 26 2020 Thiago Alcantara do Nascimento of Bayern pictured during the 201920 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 game between Chelsea FC and Bayern Munich at Stamford Bridge ○ Soccer Blade
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26, 2020: Thiago Alcantara do Nascimento of Bayern pictured during the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 game between Chelsea FC and Bayern Munich at Stamford Bridge.

Coming from a soccer family, he joined Barcelona at 14. Later in 2009, he joined the main team. Thiago won four La Liga titles, a UEFA Champions League title, and a FIFA Club World Cup trophy with Barcelona. To keep his fire burning, he moved to Bayern Munich, where his winning streak even gained momentum. In Bayern Munich, Thiago won seven Bundesliga titles in a row and a UEFA Champions League.

He started at the under-19 team and under-21 teams back in his home country. Soon he moved to play with the big boys and appeared for Spain in the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 and 2020 UEFA Euro Cup. As a central midfielder, he currently plays for Liverpool, an English Premier League club.

Matthias Sammer

The last soccer stint that Matthias Sammer was as Sporting Director of Bayern Munich. He previously has been the manager of Borussia Dortmund, where he won the Bundesliga.

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  • Date of Birth: September 5, 1967
  • Nationality: German
  • Teams Played for:
    • Dynamo Dresden: 1985-1990
    • VfB Stuttgart: 1990-1992
    • Inter Milan: 1992-1993
    • Borussia Dortmund: 1993-1998
  • Positions Played: Sweeper, Central Midfield, Defensive Midfield
  • Trophies Won:
    • Bundesliga: 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 2001-2002
    • DFB-Pokal: 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 2001-2002
    • UEFA Champions League: 1996-1997
    • UEFA European Championship: 1996
  • Other Significant Achievements:
    • Ballon d’Or: 1996
    • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 1996
    • FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament: 1998

As a player, he started as a defensive midfielder but later in his career became a sweeper. Playing with Borussia Dortmund, he won the Bundesliga and the DFL Supercup twice each, the UEFA Champions League, and the Intercontinental Cup. In 1996, he won the European Soccer Player of the Year award. The same year, while playing for his country, Germany, he was named the UEFA Euro tournament’s best player. He also won the Ballon d’Or.

Matthias Sammer, Iron Matthias [Goals & Skills]

Josef Masopust

Being regarded among the greatest midfielders of all time, Josef Masopust was named by Pele in 2004 among the top 125 greatest living soccer players.


  • Date of Birth: February 9, 1931
  • Nationality: Czech
  • Teams Played for:
    • FK Teplice
    • Dukla Prague
  • Positions Played: Midfielder
  • Trophies Won:
    • European Footballer of the Year: 1962
  • Other Significant Achievements:
    • Named Czech Republic’s Golden Player by the Football Association of the Czech Republic
    • Named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers
    • Inducted into the UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 1962

His country, Czechoslovakia, also selected him as the Golden Player, the most outstanding player in the past half century, to celebrate UEFA’s Jubilee in 2003. Masopust has received 63 caps for his country and has scored ten goals. He captained the team that reached the 1962 FIFA World Cup final. He was also named European Soccer Player of the year in 1962.

Josef Masopust, The Czech Knight [Skills & Goals]

This list indicates that midfielders have played both defensively and offensively in the number 6 shirt. These players show how versatile and specialized the number 6 can be, breaking up play, launching moves from deep, and scoring goals. Their contributions were crucial to top championship teams, from Italian metronomes to South American destroyers.

The number 6 is linked with ball-winning midfielders, but it also indicates playmaking and scoring from the middle. The style of players wearing this number has evolved with the game. However, the number 6 still represents engine room leaders in defense, passing, or energy. Future midfielders will inherit it.

Soccer Analyst and Publisher at Soccer Blade | Soccer Blade | + posts

Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.

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