Assisting a goal is just as important as scoring it.
Ask any striker in world football and they’ll wax lyrical about the midfield geniuses behind them who setup the goals they score week in week out.
Of course, there are a selection of strikers who have also chipped in with a more than healthy number of assists throughout their careers.
In fact, there are five players considered to be ‘out-and-out strikers’ who feature in the top 25 assist makers this century, which you can view below.
Some of the statistics on show are mighty impressive and there are no prizes for guessing who is number one…
All data sourced from Transfermarkt.
25. Karim Benzema
The striker who can do it all. Benzema’s ability to assist, as well as score a shed load of goals, are reasons why he’ll go down as one of Real Madrid’s greatest ever.
24. David Beckham
That right foot was so deadly. Beckham’s best season in terms of assists came in 1999/2000, where he notched 15 in the Premier League alone with Manchester United.
Wherever the Brazilian has played during his journeyman career, goals and assists have followed. In the 2015/16 season with Zenit, Hulk registered 19 assists in just 29 league games.
22. Wayne Rooney
Like Benzema, Rooney is the definition of a ‘complete forward’. Rooney’s highest total of assists in a Premier League season (13) came in 2007/08.
21. Eden Hazard
A creative genius. While at Lille during the 2011/12 season, Hazard recorded 18 assists – and 20 goals – in just 38 Ligue 1 games, remarkable stuff.
20. Andres Iniesta
Iniesta’s game was about so much more than goals and assists. That being said, the Barcelona icon’s output as a creator was still pretty impressive.
19. Dusan Tadic
Put some respect on Tadic’s name! The Serbian forward notched 15 assists in just 25 games during the 2019/20 Eredivisie season.
18. Dries Mertens
One of the most underrated players of the modern era. The versatile forward has hit double figures for assists in four different seasons – once with Utrecht, twice with PSV and once with Napoli.
17. Thierry Henry
Far more than just a serial goal scorer. Henry’s tally of 20 assists in the 2002/03 Premier League season is still a division record!
The Brazilian averages 0.38 assists per game played, which is the joint-second best ratio on this list. Neymar hit double figures for assists in three different seasons with Barcelona.
15. Arjen Robben
Robben never had a standout season in terms of assists, but the Dutchman’s record is remarkably consistent. Imagine how many he’d have to his name without injuries…
14. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan’s assist record is stellar. Five times in his club career, the enigmatic Swede hit double figures, including 15 in 33 games for PSG during the 2013/14 Ligue 1 season.
13. David Silva
A playmaking genius. Arguably Manchester City’s greatest ever player, with the illusive Spaniard reaching double figures for assists in five different seasons in English football.
12. Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne is level with his midfield partner-in-crime, but in far less games. The Belgian’s record of 0.38 assists per game is level with Neymar in second place.
11. Andrey Arshavin
A somewhat misunderstood genius. Arshavin’s time at Arsenal was mixed, to say the least, but he was in a league of his own at Zenit, notching 106 assists in 374 games for the Russian club.
10. Steffen Hofmann
You may be asking; who? Well, Hofmann is far from a household name around the world, but he certainly is one in Vienna. The German midfielder scored 128 goals and assisted 208 in 540 games for Rapid Vienna. Amazingly, 25 assists came in just one Austrian Bundesliga season back in 2007/08.
9. Thomas Muller
Muller recently equalled the Bundesliga record for most assists in a single season, creating 21 goals in 33 games for Bayern Munich. Not bad, Thomas, not bad.
8. Franck Ribery
Ribery also notched 21 assists in a single Bundesliga campaign back in 2011/12, with the Frenchman hitting double figures for Bayern in six separate seasons.
No player on this list has ever delivered more assists in a single season in one of Europe’s top five leagues than Xavi. In 2008/09, the Spaniard supplied 22 goals for his Barcelona colleagues, outrageous.
6. Cesc Fabregas
A man born to assist. Fabregas has hit double-figures for assists in nine seasons during his career, including 19 in the 2014/15 campaign with Chelsea.
5. Angel Di Maria
Even during his tumultuous season with United, Di Maria managed 11 assists in 27 Premier League games, some effort that.
4. Mesut Ozil
Will we ever see him in an Arsenal shirt again? Who knows. His career may be petering out, but Ozil’s stats speak for himself, with the German’s record of 0.39 assists per game the best on this list.
3. Luis Suarez
Remember when we mentioned the phrase ‘complete forward’ earlier? Well, this guy epitomises just that. An out-and-out striker should not have 250+ assists to their name, freakish numbers.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo’s assist record is criminally underrated. Yes, he may not be as much of a ‘team player’ as some, but the stats simply do not lie.
1. Lionel Messi
The assist king! In 12 – yes, TWELVE – of his La Liga campaigns with Barcelona, Messi’s assist tally has been in double-figures. There aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to describe this guy.
GIVEMESPORT’S Danny Ryan says…
Messi’s volume of assists and the consistency with which he has recorded them is what sets him apart from the other greats of the game, in my opinion.
However, Ronaldo’s assist record is something which needs to be respected more in the never-ending ‘Messi vs Ronaldo’ debates down the pub.
Yes, the guy is never going to be threading balls through the eye-of-a-needle like his eternal rival, but he still assists a goal on average every four games.
Most playmakers on the planet would kill to be that prolific creatively and only a few in the top 25 are superior to Ronaldo in this aspect.
Also, a special shoutout to the ‘out-and-out strikers’ in Benzema, Rooney, Henry, Zlatan and Suarez who have cracked the top 25, some achievement that.
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