The top 10 dribblers in European football since Opta records began


Who's the best dribbler in world football?

We're inclined to think that Lionel Messi would be the most popular reply and when you consider all his remarkable solo goals for Barcelona, it's hard to protest against the Argentine's greatness.

It's an answer corroborated by the folks at EA Sports, who have awarded Messi an unchallenged rating of 96 in FIFA 20 ahead of the likes of Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling.

However, it would be incredibly naive to suggest the debate is as closed-book as that and you don't need to be one of the best players in the world to be in contention.

Sure, the likes of Neymar and Eden Hazard are some of the best in the business for dribbling and the sport in general, but Hatem Ben Arfa is perhaps one of the finest examples to the contrary.

Who's the king of dribbling?

Through all the twists and turns of the Frenchman's career, the one thing you could guarantee from him was exceptional dribbling and the uncanny knack to breeze past opposing defenders.

But matters of opinion are never going to settle the debate alone and Opta statistics, the most exhaustive bank of football data, are the closest we'll come to an objective answer.

Which is pretty lucky when, per Squawka, all the dribbling data from Europe's top five leagues have been crunched since Opta records began in 2006/07.


Top 10 dribblers

The top 10 players have been ranked on the number of take-ons they've executed, while a percentage has also been provided to indicate their consistency. Check out the results down below.

10. Neymar – 734 take-ons completed (50.2%)


9. Roberto Firmino – 736 take-ons completed (56.8%)

Brazil v Colombia

8. Andres Iniesta – 739 take-ons completed (60.9%)

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga

7. Hatem Ben Arfa – 770 take-ons completed (50.6%)


6. Joaquin – 798 take-ons completed (50.9%)

Bologna FC v SS Lazio - Serie A

5. Cristiano Ronaldo – 816 take-ons completed (44%)


4. Sergio Aguero – 832 take-ons completed (46.6%)


3. Franck Ribery – 939 take-ons completed (47.9%)

Real Madrid's midfielder Xabi Alonso (L)

2. Eden Hazard – 1,220 take-ons completed (57.1%)


1. Lionel Messi – 1,880 take-ons completed (57.2%)


So, there you have it, the statistics back up the suspicions: Messi is the dribbler to rule them all.

The Barcelona superstar has completed more than double the amount of take-ons as his eternal rival Ronaldo, who also harbours a far inferior success rate by 13.2%.

Hazard slots himself nicely into second place and while the Real Madrid man is miles behind the gold medal, he can proudly lay claim to a similar percentage to Messi's. 


Aguero is surprisingly the highest rated current Premier League player, although Liverpool fans should give a round of applause to Firmino for ousting his compatriot Neymar.

And while there'll never be a definitive list of the world's best dribblers, Messi fans can feel pretty confident that it doesn't get much more accurate than over 12 year's worth of statistics.

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