CIES study names Lionel Messi as the best dribbler in Europe so far this season


Lionel Messi has been crowned the best dribbler in Europe's top five leagues.

It seems the Barcelona star is topping every set of statistics right now, leading the race for the European Golden Shoe and pulling clear of Eden Hazard in the assists charts.

Even in his thirties now, Messi is showing no signs of stopping and must be considered the best player in the world on current form.

What's made his recent performances so impressive is his quality across a number of attributes, with many calling him one of the greatest passers of all time aside from his usual goal-scoring exploits.

It's remarkable that Messi is able to score as much as he does, despite often dropping to deeper positions and spraying passes to the likes of Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Best dribblers in Europe

Yet the news that the CIES Football Observatory - calling upon statistics from OptaPro - have found that Messi is the top dog in terms of dribbling, will raise fewer eyebrows.

Football fans have become accustomed to seeing Messi slalom his way through innumerable tackles and nobody can stop him when it comes to minutes played her successful dribble.

The study has called upon the top 50 dribblers from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.


Messi is the best dribbler in Europe

Nevertheless, Messi's eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo is nowhere to be seen and his exact placing remains unknown, despite his reputation for pacy runs and step-overs.

Ronaldo has been a huge success since joining Juventus, don't be mistaken, but it seems his dribbling prowess has declined in recent years and particularly as far as its frequency is concerned.

But who comes the closest to dethroning Messi? The top ten and notable others can be seen down below:

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 19.2 minutes 

2. Allan Saint-Maximin (Nice) - 19.8

3. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) - 21.0

4. Naim Sliti (Dijon) - 21.4

5. Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona) - 21.7

6. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) - 24.1

7. Marcus Thuram (Guingamp) - 24.2

8. Jeff Reine-Adelaide (Angers) - 24.7

9. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) - 25.6

10. Angel Correra (Atletico Madrid) - 27.1

Selected others: Paul Dybala (13th), Philippe Coutinho (16th), Raheem Sterling (18th), Kylian Mbappe (29th), Willian (31st) and Paul Pogba (33rd).

Interestingly, when it comes to the overall success rates, the leading contenders are actually Hazard, Gianelli Imbula and Mateo Kovacic but they don't shape up in terms of regularity. 


Messi comes out on top in that department and still boasts a handsome success rate of 67%, beating the majority of the continent's 50 best dribblers.

Both him and Saint-Maximin hold a sizeable advantage over their rivals, while Coutinho and Dembele join their teammate in the upper echelons of close-control.

As for Ronaldo's location, your guess is as good as our's but 51st is the best he can hope for.

Who do you think is the best dribbler in Europe? Have your say in the comments section below.

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