Live graphic shows top players with the most assists at different ages

FC Barcelona v Arsenal FC - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

Top-level players aren’t just judged on the number of goals they score these days, they’re also judged on the number of goals they provide for teammates.

Assists are now bigger business than ever before - thanks largely to things like fantasy football - and some players even earn bonuses if they set up a goal in a competitive game.

While the vast majority of footballers would still prefer to be the person who scores the goal, rather than the one who provides it, there are a few who genuinely take more pleasure in setting goals up.

Take Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil, for example.

Back in August 2015, he told the Guardian: “My aim is to help the team and I’ll do all I can to achieve that. In truth I’m more the sort of player who doesn’t really go for goal, I tend to look for my team-mates and think, ‘Can I play this pass?’.”

Selfless players like Ozil are dream teammates for strikers who live to score goals.

But where does Ozil rank among European football’s other elite players when it comes to assists?

Well, YouTuber FDOR has produced another excellent live graphic which features 10 top-level assist kings and compared their stats at the same age.

It makes for fascinating viewing and you can watch it here…

By the age of 20, Cristiano Ronaldo was the player who boasted the most assists, ahead of Cesc Fabregas and Karim Benzema.

Fabregas then overtakes Ronaldo and remains out in front until the age of 21 years and four months, when Ozil storms out in front.

Arsenal FC v Leicester City - Premier League

Remarkably, the German playmaker remains out in front until the age of 30, having registered an extraordinary 253 career assists during his illustrious career.

However, it’s not Ozil who finishes out in front by the time the live graphic ends.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi - surprise, surprise - finishes on top with 279 career assists.

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However, it should be noted that Messi is one year and four months older than Ozil.

Here are the final standings…

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Perhaps the biggest surprise is the number of assists Ronaldo has to his name.

Although he’s older than Messi, Ozil and Luis Suarez, to find himself third on the list with 247 assists is pretty good going for a player often accused of being selfish.

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