Passing may be the essence of the beautiful game, but nothing is quite as exciting as watching a world-class footballer go past defenders with immense individual skill.
But with so many incredible attacking talents around Europe, who have been the best dribblers so far this campaign? Thanks to WhoScored.com, GMF brings you the five best players in Europe based on average successful dribbles per game this season.
5. Daniel Caligiuri, Freiburg | 3.5
Leading the Freiburg charge for Champions League qualification, the German midfielder has arguably been the best player for the Mage Solar Stadion outfit this term.
The 25-year-old bundle of energy has been crucial to Christian Streich’s side, chasing up the down the left flank contributing to attack and defence in equal measure.
But aside from his overall contribution to his team, the tireless worker has made this list for his brilliant individual ability on the ball.
Caligiuri has successfully dribbled past his marker on 91 occasions already this season and his sparkling form suggests he will keep defenders guessing for a while yet.
4. Jonathan Biabiany, Parma | 3.7
The Frenchman has down exceptionally well to feature in this list as his struggling Parma side currently sit 11th in Serie A.
Biabiany is a versatile forward capable of playing out wide on either flank or through the middle.
The 24-year-old has predominantly featured on the right side of a 4-3-3 formation this season where he can exploit isolated full-backs with his blistering pace and elegant close control.
The 106 successful dribble tally of the former Inter winger emphasises the threat he poses with his supreme athleticism and ball control.
3. Lionel Messi, Barcelona | 3.8
It may come as a surprise that the alleged greatest player on the planet is not higher up this list, but perhaps his deployment in the central striking role has slightly limited his dribbling opportunities.
Few, if any, players in the history of football can match the Argentine for close control and acceleration. Opposing sides have tried everything possible to nullify his unrivalled individual threat, but Messi still manages to cut defences apart more often than not.
The 25-year-old has notched 111 successful dribbles so far this campaign, a miniature accolade compared to his plethora of records.
2. Diego, Wolfsburg | 4.1
A player with enough quality to walk into any starting XI, Diego has been the undisputed shining star for a struggling Wolfsburg side this term.
The Brazilian has missed only two games in the Bundesliga this season, and his importance to ‘Die Wolfe’ is underlined by his position atop both the goal and assist charts for the club.
The 28-year-old has also completed 116 dribbles so far, providing the foundation for many of the goals scored by his teammates or himself.
1. Franck Ribéry, Bayern Munich | 4.5
Ahead of numerous other top-class players including his Bayern buddy Arjen Robben, Ribéry stamps his authority as Europe’s most dangerous one-on-one dribbler this season.
The blend of raw pace, deceptive power, faultless control and incredible balance is an extremely difficult combination to defend against, and unfortunately for the rest of the Bundesliga the Bayern winger excels in each of those areas.
Although the Frenchman has completed a smaller total of dribbles compared to Messi and Diego, he is ranked higher because his tally of 108 is also allied with a higher average success rate.
Are you surprised the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale didn’t make the cut? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
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