The art of goalscoring is widely regarded as the hardest to master in the footballing world, but players from Arsenal, Barcelona and Real Madrid among others have provided assists so good that we’re still struggling to comprehend them.
Whether they be sumptuous dribbles, awe-inspiring passes or flashes of magical skill that make you wonder whether the player in question was taught by Albus Dumbledore, some assists have stuck in the collective memory.
We’ve identified 12 such moments that completely outshone their goals and picked our jaws off the floor for long enough to compile this piece.
OSIMHEN WITH A SPECTACULAR ASSIST!
The game in Naples has come to life, with 3⃣ goals in 7⃣ minutes! pic.twitter.com/tYCrAE98sd
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) December 16, 2023
Former Planet Football writer and Nottingham Forest fan Daniel Storey declared Gibbs White “the most talented player I’ve seen at the City Ground since Pierre Van Hooijdonk”.
We’re not going to quibble with that after his absolutely filthy flick for Danilo in Forest’s vital 4-3 victory over Southampton.
Poetry 😍 pic.twitter.com/JjpSWFe3KX
— Nottingham Forest (@NFFC) May 9, 2023
Stop what you're doing and watch this Alexander Isak dribble 🤤 pic.twitter.com/Kdq8E09fzo
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) April 27, 2023
Diego Maradona hated AC Milan with a passion, but we’d like to imagine him perching on a cloud and nodding admiringly at Leao’s ridiculous dribble that ousted Napoli from the Champions League.
With more extravagant hip movements than a salsa dancer, the Portugal international tore the Napoli defence to shreds and added a few zeros to his future price tag before laying the ball on a silver platter for Olivier Giroud.
Giroud wasn't going to miss that one!
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) April 18, 2023
Where do we begin?
Messi has mastered the defence-undressing pass during his glittering career, often seeing angles so outlandish that mere mortals would be sectioned for suggesting them out loud.
But, with a gun to our head, we’re choosing Messi’s ragdolling of Josko Gvardiol before assisting Julian Alvarez during last year’s World Cup semi-final.
The humiliation was so complete that it’s easy to forget that many considered Gvardiol the best defender of the tournament beforehand. Jesus.
On this day 3 months ago, Lionel Messi got the assist of the World Cup vs. Croatia as Argentina won. 🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/UTXt9dbVM3
— Mundo Albiceleste ⭐🌟⭐🇦🇷 (@MundoAlbicelest) March 13, 2023
Zidane with the original no look pass pic.twitter.com/swOVV4jeCB
— 90s Footballers (@90sPlayers) January 16, 2023
Bergkamp was the footballer’s footballer, with team-mates happy to let him do whatever was neccesary in the pursuit of immortality.
And when the results were as good as this, it’s hard to argue with their stance…
Despite frequently appearing more disinterested than a teenager at a family gathering, Ozil was often three steps ahead of his contemporaries and contributed some of the most X-rated assists in footballing history.
This effort, a backheel against a demoralised Ajax in 2010, should be illegal to show children such is its filth content.
Guardiola has become the leading manager of his generation by building teams focused on passing and technique that leave opponents whimpering and begging for mercy long before the final whistle.
But we don’t often see long passes – calling this a ‘long ball’ would be as disingenuous as calling McDonald’s haute cuisine – that he executed during a Champions League match against Monaco in 1993.
If he’d missed this, Hristo Stoichkov should’ve been banished from the game forever. Happily, his finish matched Guardiola’s vision.
— Project Football (@ProjectFootball) January 27, 2023
The Leeds fan in the Planet Football office mentions this jaw-dropping assist on a daily basis; we can hardly blame him…
Word is that the ghost of Henning Berg remains at Old Trafford to this day, having been murdered by Redondo in one of the most memorable nutmegging’s in post-dinosaur times.
Having crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s, Raul ran off celebrating in the opposite direction when he should’ve bowed down and kissed Redondo’s feet.
It’s 23 years since this rotten, rancid, Fernando Redondo filth at Old Trafford.
Poor old Henning Berg. He had to go home and gave his family after this…
— A Funny Old Game (@sid_lambert) April 19, 2023
Rooney was sensational at Manchester United, but never produced anything as Hollywood as this; the mad scarper to stop an opposition counter-attack, an inch-perfect tackle and a long-range pass lighter than a Victoria Sponge that practically begged Luciano Acosta to nod it home.
Wayne Rooney is already a DC United legend for this sequence alone. pic.twitter.com/9ACrkE9Din
— Sam Kulp (@kulp_sam) July 11, 2022