Europe’s top 10 chance creators, 2018-19: Depay, Payet, Messi, Hazard

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Two Chelsea players and a former Manchester United player are among the most creative players in Europe’s big five leagues so far this season.

The Premier League has two representatives in the top 10, but Serie A is top of the list with four.

Across Europe’s big five leagues, here are the players who’ve spent at least 900 minutes on the pitch and completed the most key passes per 90 minutes.

10. Hakan Çalhanoğlu – 3

The Milan attacking midfielder is best known for his ability to belt a free-kick into the top corner. But while he is yet to score in the league this term, he’s still been one of the most creative players in Serie A.

He’s been bettered by one of his team-mates though…

READ: Hakan Çalhanoğlu, a free-kick master and another Milan No.10 to idolise

9. Suso – 3.1

Since leaving Liverpool, Suso has thrived in Italy for AC Milan where he looks on his way to having the best season of his career thus far.

He’s created eight goals so far and added four himself.

8. Naïm Sliti – 3.1

Unfortunately for Sliti, his team Dijon aren’t performing quite as well as he is, finding themselves in the relegation places.

His impressive key passes have only resulted in four assists this season which is perhaps a reflection more on his team than himself.

7. Eden Hazard – 3.2

“I don’t know if I’ve played better (than I am at the minute),” Hazard told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s win at Southampton in October. “I’m just playing good football because we are playing good football.”

Hazard’s key passes for the most part are creating goals, with the Belgian leading the way for assists in the Premier League.

READ: Nine of Eden Hazard’s most memorable moments for Chelsea

6. Willian – 3.3

Perhaps a surprise name as the most creative player in the Premier League, or even in a Chelsea shirt, Willian is averaging 3.3 key passes in England’s top flight this term.

Chelsea are probably glad they didn’t sell the winger to Manchester United in the summer.

5. Alejandro Gómez – 3.3

Atalanta’s captain has been a key man yet again for them this season and is among great company in the top five.

Never forget when he fooled Inter boss Luciano Spalletti into preparing a substitution after he told the gaffer that Miranda was injured.

4. Memphis Depay – 3.5

After a tricky time at Manchester United, Depay has rediscovered the form which earned him such a high-profile move to Old Trafford with Lyon.

He scored just seven times in his two seasons at Old Trafford but bagged an impressive 19 goals and 13 assists for Lyon in Ligue 1 last term.

The 24-year-old has already registered five goals and seven assists in 18 Ligue 1 appearances in 2018-19.

3. Luis Alberto – 3.6

If you’d have told Liverpool fans that Luis Alberto would have amounted to anything, they probably wouldn’t have believed you.

The Spaniard is doing well with Lazio, though, averaging 3.6 key passes per 90 minutes.

Despite being one of the top three creators in Europe, he’s struggled to be as effective in the final third compared to last season when he picked up 11 goals and 14 assists.

2. Lionel Messi – 3.6

As Xavi says of Messi in the new documentary on Barcelona, Take the Ball, Pass the Ball: “He’s better than you with his right foot, left foot and his head. He’s better at defending and attacking. He’s faster. Better at dribbling, better at passing.”

READ: Lionel Messi and the kind of assist we’ll only truly appreciate when he’s gone

1. Dimitri Payet – 4.4

Not only is Payet the most prolific creative player in Europe, he remains West Ham’s most creative player since the 2016-17 season, which he left halfway through.

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