Europe’s top 10 dribblers, 2021-22: Neymar, Mbappe, Traore & more

Quick Reads
Neymar UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on November 24, 2021

What better thing is there in football than a perfectly pulled-off dribble?

From an impossible situation trapped in the corner by three players, a player can pull off a great escape and leave with the ball at the feet.

There are dribblers that are all about speed, others that are all about tricks and the best of the best who combine both to dazzle defenders.

All are a wonder to watch but looking deeper than just the basic eye test, who are the best dribblers in Europe?

We’ve crunched the numbers to find out, and found the top 10 players in Europe’s top five leagues with the most successful dribbles per 90 minutes.

To qualify for the list a player must have played at least 500 minutes, so apologies to Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze who misses out on the top 10 at the time of writing by 74 minutes, despite his 4.9 successful dribbles per 90.

10. Kylian Mbappe- 3.6 per 90

It’s surprising that Mbappe, generally regarded as one of the best dribblers in the world, finds himself just sneaking into the list at number 10.

France’s golden boy is a pleasure to watch at full flow and baffles defenders, but sometimes his speed is even too much for himself and the ball can occasionally get caught in his feet.

His low position could probably be somewhat attributed to the fact he has had to play some tough matches in the Champions League as well.

9. Jeremie Boga- 3.7 per 90

Ivorian winger Boga has had a long road to becoming one of Europe’s best dribblers, but he has cemented himself as such at Sassuolo.

Last season he also made this list, albeit further up in fifth place. That consistency has caused Atalanta to pull the trigger and splash a club-record fee on the 25-year-old this January.

8. Renato Sanches- 3.8 per 90

Sanches is a testament to the fact that people are far too quick to label young players as flops these days.

The Golden Boy winner has excelled since leaving Bayern, and his position on this list highlights the adaptability he offers in midfield that helped spearhead Lille to the Ligue 1 title.

He is a joy to watch evading opposition midfielders. A move to a European giant is no doubt pending: this time, he will be ready.

7. Nico Williams- 3.8 per 90

Sanches will feel hard done by to be pipped to seventh by young Williams, but the fact the Basque man has sustained the same average in more appearances and over 100 more minutes means he deserves this spot.

Williams is the younger brother of Inaki Williams and together with his more senior brother, he carries the Basque flag with Athletic Club de Bilbao.

Given some more time, there’s every chance Williams will be lining up alongside his brother almost every match. A serious talent, and one you should keep an eye on.

6. Neymar – 4.0 per 90

It’s no surprise the Brazilian is here. One of the finest dribblers in the game… although not in the top 5 based on stats.

READ MORE: Four years of Neymar at PSG: Has the world-record transfer been a success?

5. Alphonso Davies – 4.3 per 90

The Canadian wingback is a versatile, exciting, and flair-filled player who it is no surprise to find on this list.

He struggled to hit the same heights he did in the 2019-20 treble campaign for Bayern last season but has recaptured the form that made him a vital part of Hansi Flick’s historic team.

Oh, and he’s still just 21.

4. Sofian Kiyine – 4.4 per 90

Belgian midfielder Kiyine is on loan at Venezia from Lazio and has had a good season for the Serie A outfit so far.

He has hit a rich vein of form and might be one to keep an eye on next season when he returns to his parent club.

3. Allan Saint-Maximin – 4.4 per 90

The joy Allan Saint-Maximin brings defies stats… and yet this one very clearly backs him up as one of the best dribblers in the world.

Despite playing in one of the toughest leagues in the world for one of its current worse teams, the Frenchman spearheads Newcastle’s counter-attacks with his mazy, unending runs.

They operate as an unorthodox manner of holding up the ball as well when he turns back on himself whilst evading defenders to wait for his teammates.

A true scholar of the dribble, he beats out Kiyine purely based on having more appearances and more minutes than the former.

2. Kamaldeen Sulemana – 4.8 per 90

Ghanian Sulemana is perhaps the next wonderkid coming out of Ligue 1.

The 4.8 dribbles he pulls off per match tell the story of an exciting and dynamic winger who is the jewel of Rennes.

He came through the Right to Dream and FC Nordsjælland pathway, leaving the Danish side last summer to become a regular in France.

1. Adama Traore – 7 per 90

Say what you want, but his place as Europe’s current best dribbler is not all down to the baby oil (although that can’t hurt).

His seven successful dribbles per 90 means he stands alone as the outright No. 1 in this list.

It gets even more impressive when you consider that he has a dribbling success rate of 80.5%.

READ: Traore’s terrifying first touch was the act of a chaos agent Tottenham need


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