Five of the Best: Assist providers in Europe
Andres Iniesta, Steven Gerrard and Juan Mata feature amongst the best providers in Europe
It seems these days as though it is the goal scorers who get all the credit.
Indeed, the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have made finding the back of the net such an art that football fans have seemingly become obsessed over which record the pair will smash next and forgotten the rest.
But what about those poor creative souls who lay it on a plate for their high-profile team--mates to lash it home and take all the glory?
Well, GMF thinks it's about time those playmakers who run the game and make all others around them look good by shining the spotlight on the top five assist-makers in Europe. All statistics courtesy of WhoScored and are taken from league fixtures only.
1. Andres Iniesta, Barcelona
16 games, 12 assists
It should come as no surprise that Lionel Messi's team-mate Andres Iniesta is at the top of the pile; not only is he officially they best player in Europe, Messi is not exactly known for spurning chances when they are laid on for him.
Iniesta has a remarkable 12 assists in 16 La Liga games for Barcelona this term. Outside of Ronaldo and Messi, the diminutive Spaniard is undoubtedly the best player in the world.
2. Merek Hamsik, Napoli
23 games, 11 assists
Another who can feed one of the greatest forwards in Europe at the moment, Hamsik and Edinson Cavani combined have become a lethal combination at Napoli.
With fellow trouble-maker Ezequiel Lavezzi leaving Naples to sign for Paris Saint-Germain last summer, Hamsik has stepped up and become his side's main source of goal assists.
3. Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona
20 games, 9 assists
Another Barcelona player in the top three, Cesc Fabrgeas' all-round game is certainly starting to shine through for the Catalan club.
Fabregas is also Barcelona's second highest scorer this season in La Liga (admittedly a long way back from Messi) with six goals to his name, while 9 assists from 18 starts is hardly a bad return now, is it?
4. Juan Mata, Chelsea
23 games, 9 assists
This is becoming something of a recurring theme now, isn't it? Another Spaniard features in our list, although this time it's one who is plying his trade in the Premier League.
Juan Mata has been in sensational form for Chelsea this season and has looked good while the Blues consistently scratch around for form and a manager the fans actually like.
Chelsea's player of the season last time round, Mata with is ten league goals and nine assists is surely destined to pick up that title once more this year.
5. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal
23 games, 9 assists
Podolski has endured a successful start to his career in the Premier League with Arsenal, although at times his consistency has been called into question.
The German though has been quietly going about his business from a wide-left position, scoring some pretty good goals as well as nine assists. Finishes just below Mata by virtue of starting more league games for his nine assists.
The Best of the Rest….
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool - 25 games, 9 assists
Borja Valero, Fiorentina - 23 games, 8 assists
Dimitri Payet, Lille - 23 games, 8 assists
Francesco Totti, Roma - 21 games, 8 assists
Lionel Messi, Barcelona - 22 games, 8 assists