Brozovic, Milinkovic-Savic or Tonali: Who Is the Top Serie A Midfielder?

After witnessing one of the most thrilling campaigns in recent memory, the Cult of Calcio is paying homage to the best performers in every playing position. In the third installment, we pick the best midfielder in Serie A this season, and truth to be told, the choice is anything but easy.

First, we’ll mention the five most deserving candidates in alphabetic order while presenting their respective cases. Then, we’ll give the final verdict.

Marcelo Brozovic (Inter)

We kickstart with a true heavyweight. Alongside Hakan Calhanoglu and Nicolò Barella, the Croatian was a part of the strongest midfield unit in the league. But while the Turk and the Italian both deserve a mention, Marcelo Brozovic proved to be the most indispensable member of the Nerazzurri squad.

The deep-lying playmaker is simply the best Regista in the Serie A as he’s the one who dictates the play for Simone Inzaghi’s men, controls the tempo of the match and allows the team to safely bring the ball from the back before launching attacks.

While the other candidates on the list have more impressive stats than his two goals and one assist, his importance to Inter’s cause goes well beyond the numbers, and it’s suffice to mention that his team picked a single point in the three matches played in his absence between February and March.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio)

From one major contender to another. If the numbers don’t do Brozovic justice, then Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a whole different case. Despite playing as a central midfielder, the Serbian completed an astonishing achievement by hitting double figures in terms of goals and assists registered in Serie A.

After seven years at Lazio, the 27-year-old has reached the peak of his powers, and sometimes it appears as if he’s operating on a different level from the rest of the field. Blessed with an imposing physique and exquisite technical skills, he is the epitome of a complete midfielder.

His stunning plays and assists lent a hand for Ciro Immobile in path towards the Capocannoniere award, but did he do enough to warrant the recognition of being the best midfielder in Serie A?

Mario Pasalic (Atalanta)

Unfortunately for Atalanta, the team as whole was a spiral downwards this season. However, this description doesn’t apply to Mario Pasalic who displayed signs of great improvement this season, and thus, he becomes the second Croatian and third Balkan to appear on the list.

Although he wasn’t always a regular starter, the former Milan and Chelsea man ended the season as his club’s top scorer with 13 goals, ahead of the likes of Luis Muriel, Duvan Zapata and Ruslan Malinovskyi. Moreover, his tally earns him the symbolic title of the best goal-scorer among Serie A midfielders.

Not bad for a player who has often been overlooked in favor of others throughout his playing career.

Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)

Unfortunately for Lorenzo Pellegrini, his career continues to be plagued by injuries. The Italian was forced to sit out the finals of Euro 2020 due a knock, and this season, his momentum was repeatedly derailed by various injuries.

Nevertheless, the Roma captain remains one of the finest talents in his generation and his importance to the his side’s cause can be understated at times, with the media mostly focusing on flashier stars, the likes of Tammy Abraham and Nicolò Zaniolo.

With skills, precisions, talent and a great dedication to the cause, the former Sassuolo man is arguably the most complete Serie A player in his position, and his fabulous display against Lazio in the second Derby della Capitale this season summarizes his unique skillset.

Sandro Tonali (Milan)

Following an underwhelming first season at the San Siro, some were willing to throw the towel on Sandro Tonali. But not Stefano Pioli. The manager confirmed the young man’s spot in the squad and maintained trust in his talent, and was greatly rewarded for it.

With Ismael Bennacer dealing with injury concerns as well as ups and downs in terms of form, and Franck Kessié apparently having his mind elsewhere at times, it was the former Brescia Golden Boy who rose to the occasion and became the bona fide leader in the middle of the park.

The 22-year-old proved that he’s willing to get his hands dirty whenever needed, while stepping up to the plate in Milan’s most dire moments of the season. For instance, his last-gasp winner against Lazio completely turned the tide in the Rossoneri’s favor, while his brace against at Verona sealed a vital come-from-behind victory late in the season.

An artist and a soldier. Is there anything Tonali can’t do?


Well, this surely is a tight one. But with all due respect to Pasalic and Pellegrini, the other three have significantly stronger claims. The Atalanta man provided the goals but could do little to halt his team’s regression. As for the Roma captain, he would have had a more solid argument had he managed to play on a more regular basis and produce an additional numbers of a stellar performances. Perhaps he’ll do so next term.

Which brings us to the all powerful trio of Brozovic, Milinkovic-Savic and Tonali.

While the Italian surely displayed great signs of improvement and might well be a legend in the making, he still needs to sharpen his game further and add new skills to his arsenal before claiming the throne as the best midfielder in Serie A. After all, he’s still 22, and the others candidates weren’t any better at that age.

So at the end of the day, it comes down to Balkan Derby between two absolute greats.

As we mentioned before, Inter proved that they can’t cope without Brozovic running the show in the middle of the park. However, we must remember that the Croatian has some fabulous company whether in midfield or in other areas around the pitch. On the other hand, Milinkovic-Savic has great teammates himself (Immobile, Luis Alberto…), but it’s incomparable to Inter’s bunch.

So the fact that the Serbian managed to score 11 Serie A goals and provide as many assists while playing with a solid but unspectacular squad sums up the extraordinary abilities of Claudio Lotito’s greatest asset.

While both men would be deserving winner, Milinkovic-Savic edges Brozovic, at least in our most humble opinion.