Europe’s top 10 dribblers, 2018-19: Messi, Reine-Adélaïde, Sancho, Hazard…

Quick Reads

The league tables across Europe are approaching or have passed the halfway point – and it appears Ligue 1 is the place to be if you enjoy seeing players dribble.

With the first five months of the season now completed, the tables have taken shape nicely, and it looks like we’re in for a few title races.

Here are the players to have played a minimum of 900 minutes who’ve completed the most dribbles per 90 minutes in those five leagues so far…

Lionel Messi – 4.6

No surprises here – unless you were involved in the Ballon d’Or voting process. Messi is averaging the most dribbles in Europe with 4.6 successful dribbles (from 7.2 attempts) per 90 minutes for Barcelona in La Liga, and typically he’s providing an end product, too.

He’s contributed 16 goals and 10 assists from his 1321 minutes domestically, not to mention that ridiculous pass against Getafe.

Allan Saint-Maximin – 4.5

Having won Nice’s Young Player of the Year award in his first season at the club, Saint-Maximin was linked with clubs including West Ham over the summer, but he remained at the Allianz Riviera and has maintained his form so far this campaign.

Playing predominantly as a centre-forward, the 21-year-old has been attempting a hefty 8.1 dribbles per 90 minutes and come away with the ball 4.5 times.

He has a couple of assists and three goals to his name, too.

Neymar – 4.5

The Brazil international has scored 11 goals and assisted five more in 12 appearances in Ligue 1 so far this season, helping PSG to go unbeaten in their opening 17 matches.

He has completed an average of 4.5 dribbles per 90 minutes from those appearances – rainbow flicks included – from 7.4 attempts.

Youcef Atal – 4.2

The Nice right-back has completed more dribbles per 90 minutes than any other defender in Europe to have at least 900 minutes under their belt this season.

The Algerian may not have contributed a great deal in terms of goals (one) or assists (none) in Ligue 1, but he’s certainly helping Nice get up the pitch, attempting 8 dribbles per 90 minutes and completing 4.2 of them.

Marcus Thuram – 3.9

The son of World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, Marcus impressed in his first Ligue 1 season with Guingamp after stepping up from Ligue 2 Sochaux last summer, and he has been in fine form this campaign, too.

The left winger, 21, has completed 3.9 of 5.1 dribbles per 90 minutes so far this season and has scored an impressive seven goals from the left wing.

Unfortunately, things aren’t looking so good for Guingamp who owe half of their goals scored to Thuram, leaving them unsurprisingly rock bottom.

Jadon Sancho – 3.7

Following a move to Borussia Dortmund back in August 2017, Sancho showed glimpses of his class in his first Bundesliga season but only managed 12 appearances.

This season has been a different story as Sancho has quickly established himself as one of the world’s hottest young talents, boasting an impressive average of 3.7 successful dribbles per 90 minutes from an attempted 5.8.

His return isn’t too shabby either with six goals and seven assists to his name.

Jeff Reine-Adélaïde – 3.4

After failing to make the grade at Arsenal, Reine-Adélaïde joined Angers on a permanent basis deal over the summer after spending last season on loan with the Ligue 1 side.

Still only 20, he will want to prove the Gunners were wrong to let him go and is doing himself no harm so far, completing an average of 3.4 dribbles from 6 attempts per 90 minutes, though he has contributed only one assist and no goals.

Ousmane Dembélé – 3.3 

Having been plagued by injuries in his first season with Barcelona, Dembélé is coming close to looking like a man worth his hefty £135.5m price tag.

This season his dribbles per 90 minutes average out at 3.3 per 90 minutes from an attempted 5.3. His seven goals and three assists have given Barca a helping hand in establishing a five-point lead over Atlético Madrid.

READ: Ousmane Dembélé is finally hitting his stride at Barcelona and we’re excited

Eden Hazard – 3.2

Having finished second on this list in 2017-18, a change of manager at Chelsea clearly hasn’t affected Hazard’s freedom to get on the ball and run with it.

Chelsea’s main man has attempted an average of 6.1 dribbles per 90 minutes and has completed 3.2 of them.

The Belgian has contributed ten goals and nine assists from his 1586 minutes in the Premier League this season, meaning he is well on his way to his best return in a Chelsea shirt.

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

Giannelli Imbula – 3.2

He might not be able to do it on a Tuesday night in Stoke, but Imbula’s doing alright elsewhere if he’s making this list.

The midfielder, who now plays for Rayo Vallecano, has averaged 3.2 successful dribbles per 90 minutes which is all the more impressive as he only attempts 4.1. Things aren’t looking so good for his club, though, who sit in the bottom three.

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