Europe’s top 10 dribblers, 2020-21: Neymar, Mbappe, Messi & more

Quick Reads

Dribbles are one of the more seductive elements of football, but which players have made the most this season?

There’s nothing quite like watching a player take the ball past multiple defenders before unleashing an unstoppable cross or shot. With moves straight out of a Nike ad, many of the world’s finest players welcome the opportunity to showcase their ability.

Filtering out any players that have played fewer than 500 minutes so far this season, we’ve collated the top 10 players from Europe’s big five leagues to make the most successful dribbles per 90 minutes in 2020-21.

10. Kylian Mbappe – 3.7 per 90

Considered by many to be the heir to Messi’s crown, Mbappe has scored 16 goals in Ligue 1 this season – only Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Andre Silva have more in Europe’s top five leagues.

While demonstrating plenty of success with his dribbles, the World Cup winner isn’t always effective – he’s registered 57 unsuccessful dribbles in Ligue 1, the most of any player in the major leagues.

9. Josip Ilicic – 3.9 per 90

Not only is the Atalanta maestro adept with the ball at his feet, as these numbers demonstrate, but he’s also a brilliant passer, among Europe’s top chance creators too

The 33-year-old is a man of many talents.

8. Amine Harit – 4.0 per 90

Morocco international Amine Harit isn’t one of the star names on this list, especially at destined-for-relegation Schalke, which arguably makes his dribbling ability all the more impressive.

It’s been a season to forget, with just one win, but Harit shone in it, scoring and registering a trio of assists, all for 19-year-old American Matthew Hoppe in a 4-0 thrashing of Hoffenheim.

If When Schalke go down, expect there to be no shortage of suitors.

7. Hatem Ben Arfa – 4.1 per 90

One of those Premier League players ‘the streets will never forget’, Ben Arfa is evidence that class remains permanent.

The 33-year-old is turning out for Bordeaux these days, registering two goals and four assists in Ligue 1, averaging of 4.1 successful dribbles across his 15 appearances to date.

Still the same player we remember, then.

READ: Hatem Ben Arfa scored two goals of a lifetime in three months at Newcastle

6. Alberto Perea – 4.1 per 90

One of the stand-out players for newly-promoted Cadiz, formerly of Barcelona B, Alberto Perea is enjoying his first campaign as a La Liga regular.

In particular, he put in a brilliant performance in a 2-1 win over Barcelona in December, which included him robbing Lionel Messi of the ball, beating three men in his own half and setting off a dangerous counter-attack.

5. Jeremie Boga – 4.7 per 90

Sassuolo’s star man has established himself as quite the player since escaping Chelsea’s loan army in 2018.

Serie A’s dribble king could soon be moving to a bigger club in the coming years. Watch this space.

4. Lionel Messi – 4.8 per 90

Even at 33, there’s no stopping Lionel Messi.

His average might not be the highest, but with 85 successful dribbles in total, he’s registered more than anyone else. The Barcelona icon has also attempted 136 dribbles – 20 more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues.

With an average of 4.8 successful dribbles per game this season, alongside 13 goals in La Liga, statistics show that even an unsettled Messi is still the among the very best footballers in the world.

READ: Lionel Messi took all of three minutes & one dummy to remind us he’s a genius

=2. Allan Saint-Maximin – 5.3 per 90

Saint-Maximin often seems like a law unto himself and his high placing here would seem to confirm this perception. Newcastle and fans of fun in general desperately missed him while he was out with coronavirus.

Providing creativity in a stodgy Newcastle team, the winger achieves an average of 5.3 successful dribbles per game and could well be destined for one of Europe’s elite clubs in the future.

READ: Newcastle’s signing of ASM’s brickie mate is straight from a ‘Goal!’ script

=2. Adama Traore – 5.3 per 90

Ever since his days in Barcelona’s La Masia academy, Adama Traore caught the eye for his elite-level dribbling skills, something that he’s certainly maintained at Molineux.

Absolutely terrifying to defenders when running at them, the Wolves winger hasn’t quite been able to kick on and add more end product as many tipped him to this season. Remarkably he’s yet to register a single goal or assist in 2020-21. 

1. Neymar – 5.9 per 90

No surprises here, given Neymar’s been averaging these kind of numbers for quite some time.

Defenders might feel like they’ve got no choice but to hack at his shins, but that has never dampened the Brazilian’s enthusiasm and confidence. He might be one of the most divisive players around, but we can’t help but admire that.

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