Europe’s top 10 chance creators in 2022-23: Messi, KDB, Saka & more

Quick Reads
Lionel Messi of Paris Saint Germain warming up during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and RC Lens at Parc des Princes on April 15, 2023 in Paris, France.

Players from the likes of PSG, Manchester United and Arsenal have all been amongst the best chance creators in Europe’s top five leagues this season.

It will come as no surprise to learn that Lionel Messi ranks above the rest of the competition at the top of the pile. The PSG superstar has produced 167 shot-creating actions in the league alone this season.

With 30 goal contributions in 27 Ligue 1 appearances, Messi has been back to his playmaking best. His relationship with Kylian Mbappe has only been enhanced this year and the pair have dominated their domestic competition.

However, Kevin De Bruyne is only one shot-creating action behind Messi this season. The 31-year-old has formed a formidable partnership with Erling Haaland this year which has every back-line in Europe on edge.

De Bruyne is at his playmaking best when he is given a license to roam and Pep Guardiola has given him just that this year. With 16 assists to show for his league campaign, this already ranks as one of his best-ever seasons.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Bruno Fernandes and Kieran Trippier also make the top five. Fernandes has taken on more responsibility under Erik ten Hag and he has played a key role in their improvement this term.

Arsenal duo Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard aren’t far behind either with over 140 shot-creating actions each. The Gunners have scored 78 goals this season, which is only second to Man City in the Premier League.

Elsewhere in Europe, Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior ranks as one of the best creators in the business right now. The Brazilian is like lightning in a bottle with his electric flair.

Along with being one of the best chance creators, Vinicius is also by far and away the most fouled player in Europe. Having been fouled 113 times this season, Carlo Ancelotti discussed the impact it has on the Brazilian.

“The truth is that the players kick him lots, it’s obvious. Maradona or Pele were also kicked a lot, unfortunately. Our luck is that Vinicius has a strong physique and is capable of enduring [those challenges],” the Real Madrid manager told Diario AS.

“We have that concern, it’s quite normal. He tries to beat his man one-on-one a lot, he dribbles… and the only way to preserve this type of player, not just Vinicius, but all players, is justice. Only that can prevent something bad from happening.”

When he is able to isolate a defender in a wide area, he is usually able to leave them in the dust. It’s no surprise to see his inclusion into the top 10 chance creators in Europe.

We’ve collected the data and have ranked the top 10 players in Europe’s top five leagues by how many shot-creating actions they have produced this season in their respective leagues.

1. Lionel Messi – 167 shot-creating actions
2. Kevin De Bruyne – 166 shot-creating actions
3. Bruno Fernandes – 165 shot-creating actions
4. Vinicius Junior – 153 shot-creating actions
5. Kieran Trippier – 152 shot-creating actions
6. Remy Cabella – 150 shot-creating actions
7. Martin Odegaard – 146 shot-creating actions
8. Bukayo Saka – 143 shot-creating actions
9. Dominik Szoboszlai – 139 shot-creating actions
10. Branco van den Boomen – 137 shot-creating actions

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