Paris Saint-Germain booked their place in a first ever Champions League final with a comfortable last four victory over RB Leipzig this week, the highlight of their 3-0 victory an outrageous piece of skill from the irrepressible Neymar.
The Brazil international produced a masterful flick to assist teammate Angel Di Maria in Lisbon, a wondrous piece of skill that saw the forward continue his brilliant goal and assist record in Europe’s premier competition.
No player has provided more than the 28-year-old’s 24 assists since his debut in the Champions League seven years ago, but how does the Brazilian compare to the competition’s most prolific goal creators since data was first recorded during the 2003/04 season?
Here are the six players with the most Champions League assists:
Dani Alves – 25
In an era where forward-thinking full-backs have never been more popular, one man stands clear as the best of his generation when it comes to rampaging runs down the right-flank.
Dani Alves sits as the most decorated footballer of all-time following a career that has seen him represent some of European football’s genuine superpowers, the best period of which came in the colours of Barcelona.
The Brazil international lifted the Champions League on three occasions with the Spanish giants, working brilliantly in telepathic tandem with Lionel Messi down the right-hand side.
His eight seasons at Barcelona saw Alves rack up an incredible 103 assists in all competitions, a phenomenal total for a player who pioneered the role of a modern full-back, his creativity and thrust bringing a new dimension to a side regarded by many as the best club team of all time.
Alves later had short spells with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, returning to his native Brazil with Sao Paulo having amassed 25 assists throughout his Champions League career.
Andres Iniesta – 26
Sitting slightly ahead of his former teammate is midfield maestro Andres Iniesta, amongst the key facets of that all-conquering Barcelona side of the modern era.
Iniesta was an integral part of a Barcelona side which won four Champions League trophies between 2006 and 2015, a player’s player who glided across the turf and past opposition challenges with effortless ease.
The former Spain international was a gifted genius when in possession of the ball, his ability to dribble in tight spaces and find perfectly-weighted passes marking him out as one of the best midfielders to have graced the game.
Iniesta’s touch, vision and awareness saw him regularly orchestrate spellbinding passages of possession in the colours of the Catalan club, providing 26 Champions League assists during a career spent largely at the pinnacle of European football.
Angel Di Maria – 27
Amongst the chief creators on the Champions League stage over the past decade, Di Maria is amongst the few players on this list still providing goals with great regularity on European nights.
The Argentina international will form part of the Paris Saint-Germain side that are bidding to conquer Europe for the first time in Sunday’s Champions League final, with Di Maria having provided six assists – the most of any player in the competition – throughout the Parisian’s passage to the Lisbon showpiece.
That haul has taken Di Maria’s tally to 27 assists throughout his Champions League career, the 32-year-old having also lifted the trophy during his four-season spell at Real Madrid, helping the Spanish giants to La Decima and a tenth European Cup in 2014.
Only two players have ever created more Champions League goals than Di Maria, who will have his eyes firmly on lifting the famous trophy once more this weekend.
Ryan Giggs – 27
The most decorated player in the history of English football and a player who twice won the Champions League during a record-breaking career at Manchester United, Ryan Giggs was one of Europe’s finest creative talents during his heyday at Old Trafford.
Giggs provided 27 assists in just 71 appearances since data was first collected during the 2003/04 season, his figure the third-highest of any player.
The Welsh winger was a permanent fixture in Sir Alex Ferguson’s ever-changing winning machine during two decades of dominance in the Premier League, his early seasons spent as a flying wide player before using his intelligence to adapt to a creative central role as his speed diminished.
Giggs first won the Champions League as part of a historic treble in 1999, before coming on as a substitute and scoring in the shoot-out as the Red Devils defeated Chelsea in the first ever all-English final nine years later.
Lionel Messi – 33
World football has been largely dominated by two all-time greats in recent years and it comes as little surprise to see Lionel Messi near the front of this list, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner having shone on the Champions League stage for Barcelona.
The Argentine sensation has lifted the trophy on no fewer than four occasions during a glittering one-club career at the Camp Nou, becoming one of just two players to reach a century of Champions League goals and sitting second on the list for most assists since 2003/04.
Messi’s mesmerising talents have been the focal point of a sublime Barcelona side, the forward a player capable of match-winning performances either as a goalscorer or creative force.
There are few superlatives that are yet to be bestowed upon the Barcelona captain, a player who should be enjoyed whilst he still remains at his brilliant best.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 38
Sitting ahead of his long-term footballing adversary is Cristiano Ronaldo, a player who has perhaps made the biggest indelible mark on the history of the Champions League.
No player has ever scored more than the Portuguese’s 130 goals in Europe’s premier competition, whilst he is also the outright leader for assists since the 2003/04 campaign, having provided 38 goals in that time.
Ronaldo has often relished the biggest of occasions and possesses an insatiable desire to be the difference-maker, becoming the first player to win the trophy five times in the Champions League era and the first to ever score in three separate finals.
Ronaldo first won the trophy with Manchester United before a spell of four victories in five seasons at Real Madrid, forming part of the side which became the first to defend the Champions League during an incredible three-peat under Zinedine Zidane.
Regarded by many as the greatest goalscorer of all-time, Ronaldo’s assist record shows few have had more influence when it comes to Europe’s biggest nights.