Top 10 Players With the Most Assists In the 21st Century

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 29.11.2023.


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An assist makes two people happy. With that sound logic in regard to teamwork, these top 10 players with the most assists in the 21st century made a loooot of people happy! Of course, the phrase counts only people on the pitch, but football fans around the globe enjoyed the maestros below in action. Being at the centre and showcasing the essence of football: playing like a team.

We’re taking a look at the players with the most assists who played in the 21st century alone. Hence, we won’t feature David Beckham, as he did get 225 club assists and 42 international ones, which would rank him quite high. Yet Becks started playing in the early 1990s.

While you might be able to get who is the number one assist king in the 21st century, everyone will be astounded by the actual difference between him and the second-ranked player.

But also, don’t be surprised if you don’t find a player you thought must be a lock for such a list of top assist-makers in football. We’ll address the notable exceptions below.

We are looking at all assists made in senior football, for both clubs and country!

#10 Cesc Fabregas - 250 assists

Cesc Fabregas

Even though he was regarded on an echelon below his midfield compatriots maestros Xavi and Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas finished his career with a lot more assists than those two legends. While also playing both harder competition than those two, staying in Europe throughout, and playing for weaker sides than the Barca duo. Making 36 assists for his country, and then 214 total playing for Arsenal (95), Chelsea (58), Barcelona (50), Monaco (9), and Como (2). With 3.3 matches passing between each Fabregas assist on average, the Spaniard retired after a long career.

#9 Neymar - 252 assists

Neymar

The youngest man on this list, and hence the question quickly arises: where would Neymar place on the list of top 10 players with the most assists in the 21st century had he avoided injuries? And some parties. The Brazilian also moved away from European football pretty young for such a decision, now representing Al-Hilal after Santos, Paris Saint-Germain, and Barcelona. Recording 193 assists for them - 77 for PSG, 76 for the Spanish side, and 37 for his first club in Brazil. Al-Hilal so far got three assists from Ney. But Neymar made a massive amount of assists for Brazil too, 59. Overall, in 631 total games, he has the second-best ratio of the men on this list at 2.5 matches needed for an assist.

#8 Mesut Ozil - 262 assists

Mesut Ozil

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Mesut Ozil misses out on the top five spot of players with the most assists in the 21st century. Even though he is regarded by most as the assist maestro, it's mostly due to the fact that he is a player who visibly enjoyed passing more than scoring. With somewhat of an earlier retirement with Germany, Ozil recorded "just" 40 assists in 92 games for the national team. Playing for Arsenal, Real, Werder Bremen, Schalke, Fenerbahce, and Baskasehir, Ozil recorded 222 assists! He ended his career with an average of an assist every 2.8 matches.

#7 Dusan Tadic - 276 assists

Dusan Tadic

Looking back at his career, it seems that Dusan Tadic could've had an even bigger impact had he made some more sensible transfers. Or, the way people in his circle said, if at Southampton, Graziano Pele was more interested in training than in partying. But Tadic still has this massive bragging right of being one of the most notable assist kings in the sport. With 40 assists made on international duty with Serbia, 112 with Ajax, 35 at Southampton, and overall 119 in Eredivisie with Groningen, Twente, and the Amsterdam club, Tadic earned his spot. He made valid returns in his native club Vojvodina, and his current Fenerbahce. Averaging his career out, Tadic made an assist every 2.8 matches.

#6 Cristiano Ronaldo - 280 assists

Cristiano Ronaldo

The ultimate goalscorer himself. While his critics usually deny that Cristiano Ronaldo has assist skills, the numbers don't lie. With CR7's drive, we can see him increasing his tally and rising on the list of top 10 players with the most assists. Most likely finishing his career having breached the 300 mark. Of course, Ronaldo started as a traditional winger and didn't turn into a fully focused goalscoring machine until he reached Madrid. But he collected 131 assists at Real too, had 64 for United, 22 for Juventus, six for Sporting, and 11 so far for Al-Nassr. With 46 assists in 205 matches for Portugal! Averaged out, Ronaldo makes an assist every 4.2 matches he plays in.

#5 Angel Di Maria - 284 assists

Angel Di Maria

One of the most underrated players in recent times, especially in England where he didn't have the best stint with Manchester United. Yet, even at Old Trafford the Argentinian had a good return of assists - 12 in 32 games. But when combined with the numbers made at PSG, Real Madrid, Benfica, Juventus, and Rosario Central, we get to 255 assists, mostly made at a very high level of the game! Alongside 29 assists for his country in 136 games! Overall, Di Maria played in 867 games so far, and made an assist every third time he stepped on the pitch when averaged out.

#4 Kevin De Bruyne - 286 assists

Kevin De Bruyne

Perhaps the man who can extend his tally the longest out of all of the men who already find themselves in the top 10 players with the most assists. As KDB is only 32, and is able to rack up assists even immediately upon getting back from the infirmary, which is seemingly always. Making his total record of 237 club assists for City, Genk, Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen, and Chelsea amazing on its own. With 49 assists in international football, aiming at Romelu Lukaku most often, De Bruyne is an assist machine in every situation. Overall, he gets a teammate to score every 2.3 matches! Best ratio of all the top 10 players with the most assists in this century!

#3 Luis Suarez - 301 assists

Luis Suarez

El Pistolero was such a sharpshooter that his overall impact on the game gets overlooked. You win a Golden Boot in the era of Cristiano Ronaldo and your best mate, that's the reputation you get. But for every two goals Suarez scored, an assist and change followed. An overall impact of 536 goals in 903 matches, meaning for every goal - 0.56 assists were provided as well. Suarez averaged an assist every third game exactly! With 39 assists delivered for Uruguay, and 262 in club football. He is levelled with the #2 man on the list, yet we gave him the upper stand due to the level of competition he endured. As Suarez did play a lot in the Netherlands, Brazil, and Uruguay.

#2 Thomas Muller - 301 assists

Thomas Muller

Perhaps still the most underrated player of the 21st century. Thomas Muller gets the media attention due to his eccentric fun-loving personality much more than what his footballing exploits warrant. One could make a strong argument for Muller being at least the second-best balanced forward in the game, as he scored 237 goals, and assisted 261 for Bayern. While he scored 45 and assisted 40 goals for Germany! Muller would assist a goal every 2.6 matches overall! Aged 34, it's important to note that Muller made all of his assists at the highest level, playing solely for FCB and his national team. While also enduring several seasons where he wasn't a lock for the starting position. Not to mention that he has the same assist-per-match ratio as the #1 man below.

#1 Lionel Messi - 400 assists

Lionel Messi

Who else? Of course that it is him, but this difference of 100 assists between him on the throne and then Muller and his best friend Suarez is simply staggering! Messi recorded 344 assists in club football alone, which would be enough for the first spot against the combined club and international records of all his esteemed colleagues.

Even more than that, only his Barcelona stats would be enough for the title of having the most assists in football, as he recorded 303 in his favourite club shirt. The Argentinian recorded 56 assists for his country. What sticks out the most is that these are Leo's stats SO FAR. He is still going strong, he is still hungry, and assists will flow as long as he is willing to stand on the football pitch.

Now, as far as some players who barely missed the cut for the top 10 players with the most assists in this century, we start with Franck Ribery who missed out by a single assist - 249! Despite all his injuries.

Then, the mentioned Barca legendary duo: Xavi who got 237 overall and Iniesta who counted to 192 assists, while also playing for a long time in Japan as a major caveat.

Immediately after Xavi we would have Totti with 234 assists, yet he started in the 1992/1993 season. Luis Figo is in a similar predicament with 237 assists made across two centuries.

For 21st-century assist makers, David Silva re-enters the fray with 226 goals made possible by him! Just to remind us how good he was. Little below is Dries Mertens with 221.

Many would expect Karim Benzema to make the cup of the top 10 assists makers in the world due to the narrative that he did a lot for CR7 (he did, it's a team sport), yet Benz recorded 216 assists total. Not playing international football for several years hurt him.


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