CM Soccer Position Explained

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What is the role of the central midfielder or cm in soccer? The central midfielder is one of the most important soccer positions because this player has a 360 degree view of the field and they are able to see everything.

There is a popular phrase that goes “The team that wins the midfield wins the game” and this is because the midfield is the heart and literal center of the team responsible for connecting the defensive line with the offensive line.

In this blog we will talk about the different types of central midfielders, the key responsibilities, and, attributes needed to succeed in this position.

CM Soccer Position

Image by Fancy Crave

Different Types of Players in the Midfield

The midfield is made up of different types of players, wide midfielders and three different types of central midfielders, and what type of midfielders are used are going to depend on the formation and tactics a team uses. .

If you want to get more specific each position also has slightly different roles. For example the central midfield (CM) can play as a deep lying playmaker or a box to box midfielder.

CM Soccer Position

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Key Responsibilities of Central Midfielders

The central midfielders are like puppet masters or conductors of an orchestra, controlling the game with technical skills,, intelligence, and lightning-fast decisions.

Here are some of the main responsibilities of a central midfielder (CM).

Control the Game

One of the main roles of the central midfielder is to control the speed and tempo of the game, since they are the ones in the middle of everything. Whatever team wins the midfield has the higher chance of winning the game.

This is because when you control the midfield you get to slow the game down, or speed the game up, as you please which is why you need central midfielders who have a well rounded skill set, understand the game, and have the stamina and key attributes required for this position.

Bridge Defense and Offense

One job that goes along with controlling the speed and tempo of the game is combining the defense and the offense. As a central midfielder you need to be well rounded in all skills related to defense and offense, but you also need to be able to link up your defensive players like center backs and full backs with the strikers and wingers.

Play the Ball Forward

As a central midfielder you also have to play the ball forward as much as possible, which requires scanning a lot and having positional awareness. Oftentimes you will have to play the ball back since it is usually the safer option, but to win games you need to take the ball forward to get the ball in the back of the other team’s goal.

Defensive Responsibilities

Although a CM is not as defensive as a CDM they must also be able to provide defensive cover especially depending on the formation being used.

Create scoring opportunities

On the opposite end of defensive duties we have offensive duties. As a central midfielder it is not only important to create goal scoring opportunities for your teammates, but also to create shooting opportunities for yourself.

CM Soccer PositionKey Attributes of the Center Midfielder in Soccer

Now that you know some of the key responsibilities, let’s talk about the key attributes needed to be an elite central midfielder.

  • Excellent technical skill
  • Well rounded level ball skills
  • Good vision
  • Can participate in the defense and attack
  • Able to play all types of passes
    • Long passes
    • Short passes
    • Through balls
    • Progressive passes
    • Crosses
  • Be able to play with both feet
    • Non-dominant foot and stronger foot

CM Soccer Position Image by Source

Best Central Midfielders to Analyze

The world of football is full of amazing midfielders to analyze and learn from. Here is a list of some of the best professional central midfielders in history, active, retired, and some who have turned into coaches.

  • Iniesta- Retired
  • Xavi- Barcelona Manager
  • Pep Guardiola- Manchester City Manager
  • Modric- Real Madrid
  • Toni Kroos- Real Madrid
  • Jude Bellingham- Real Madrid
  • Pedri- Barcelona
  • Frankie De Jong- Barcelona
  • Kevin De Bryune- Manchester City
  • Enzo Fernandez- Chelsea
  • Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United
  • Joshua Kimmich- Bayern Munchen

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality.

What are the playing positions of the central midfield?

  • Wide players: Left midfielder (LM) and Right midfielder (RM)
  • The central midfielder (CM)
  • The central attacking midfielder (CAM)
  • The central defensive midfielder (CDM)

Within these positions there are also other roles such as:

  • Holding midfielders
  • Box to box midfielders
  • Deep lying playmakers

What is the difference between central midfielders, defensive midfielders, and attacking midfielders?

All of these center midfielders play right in the center of the midfield, as their names imply, however they each have slightly different roles. There is no saying which is the most important position of the midfield because they are all valuable and can each shine more than other positions depending on what formation their teams use.

Who is the most recent central midfielder to win the ballon d’or?

The most recent midfielder to win the ballon d’or is Luka Modric in 2018 for his amazing season with Real Madrid and with Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


In conclusion, the centre midfielder is one of the most important positions of the beautiful game and oftentimes these players are the most technically skilled players which give them the name of “maestros.”

In this blog I explained the different types of midfielders, the key attributes needed to succeed in these positions, and provided you with a list of the most elite soccer midfielders to analyze and learn from.

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