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Ranking the five footballers with most assists this century

Who are the best creators of the modern era? We’ve looked at the five footballers to have registered the most assists since the turn of the century.

European football has been home to some fantastic creative talents across the last two decades, players capable of carving out chances and splitting defences with moments of invention.

Here are the five names to have provided the most assists since 2000.

Luis Suarez – 246

Luis Suarez is most recognised as one of the greatest goalscorers of the modern era, but the forward has also been one of the game’s most prolific providers.

Suarez has ended campaigns as the leading scorer in the Netherlands, England and Spain during a decorated career in Europe, one which has seen the Uruguayan claim five league titles, the Champions League and six domestic cups among his honours.

A selfless centre-forward, he has reached 10+ assists in a league campaign on eight occasions. Suarez ended as the Eredivisie’s leading assist provider in three consecutive campaigns at Ajax, including a career-best return of 17 during the 2009/10 season.

Arguably the Uruguayan’s greatest individual season came at Barcelona in 2015/16, as Suarez scored 59 goals in all competitions – including 40 in La Liga alone to win the Pichichi Trophy – and provided 16 league assists. He averaged a goal or assist every 56.25 minutes in La Liga that season.

Neymar – 248

Neymar is another name that combines creativity with cutting edge and starred alongside the aforementioned Suarez at Barcelona.

The Brazilian has provided 248 assists in his career to date, reaching 10+ in four league campaigns since leaving Santos for Europe.

Neymar’s most productive season for assists in Europe came during his debut campaign at Paris Saint-Germain, having completed a £198m world-record move to Ligue 1. He scored 19 goals and laid on 13 assists despite featuring just 20 times in the league, registering an assist every 137 minutes on average.

Arguably Neymar’s most famous assist came during Barcelona’s 6-1 win over PSG in 2017. Having already scored twice just moments earlier, the Brazilian found Sergi Roberto with a fine pass as the Catalans overturned a 4-0 defeat from the first leg to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Angel Di Maria – 260

Angel Di Maria has been an underrated part of several successful sides, with the winger having won major trophies with club and country.

The fleet-footed wide-man has won league titles in Portugal, Spain and France and has led the league for assists in each of those divisions.

Arguably his most consistent period came at Paris Saint-Germain, where Di Maria broke the Ligue 1 record for assists in a campaign (18) in 2015/16. Just two players – Dimitri Payet and Jérôme Rothen – have ever provided more assists in France’s top division.

He also ranks third all-time for Champions League assists with 38, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (42) and Lionel Messi (40).

Kevin De Bruyne – 281

Kevin De Bruyne’s creative qualities have seen the midfielder cement a reputation as one of the best players of his generation.

The Belgium international’s breakthrough came in the Bundesliga as De Bruyne won the division’s Player of the Year award in 2014/15, having led the league for assists at Wolfsburg.

A big-money move to Manchester City followed and De Bruyne has since racked up the assists at a phenomenal rate. He has led the Premier League for assists on four occasions and created a joint-record 20 goals during the 2019/20 season.

Last season he became just the fifth player to reach 100 assists in the Premier League, reaching a century in just 237 games. Comfortably the fastest footballer to achieve the feat, he surpassed Cesc Fabregas’ record by 56 games.

Lionel Messi – 357

Lionel Messi is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition with 357 assists since the turn of the century.

Messi, for many, is the greatest talent the game has seen and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has set new standards for both goals and guile. Messi holds the record for most goals in La Liga (474) and boasts the most official recorded assists in football history.

The Argentina international has reached 10+ assists in a league campaign on a staggering 12 occasions and holds the record for most assists in a single La Liga season, having created 21 goals in 2019/10. That season saw Messi become just the second player to reach 20+ goals and 20+ assists in a season in one of Europe’s top five leagues, after Thierry Henry for Arsenal in 2002/03.

A genius.

Read – Ranking the five players with most penalty goals in football history

Read Also – Five Premier League youngsters to watch out for in 2023/24

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