De Bruyne, Scholes, Beckham: Who is Premier League’s greatest ever passer?

  • Rob Swan

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is the greatest passer in Premier League history, according to Jamie Redknapp.

The former Liverpool and England midfielder believes De Bruyne, who produced a virtuoso display in City’s 2-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday, now sits at the very top of the list.

“We’ve spoken before about the Premier League’s best strikers, but when it comes to the league’s best ever passers, Kevin De Bruyne is the best the Premier League has ever seen,” Redknapp told Sky Sports. “I’ve never seen anyone like him. The weight of the ball, the killer-ball passes, the precision, is just phenomenal.

“All great players look like they have more time than everyone else on the pitch. His football IQ is so high with the way he spots the pass, analyses it and then his ability to execute it is just phenomenal. Everything looks so easy for him. He’s probably already given his Easter Eggs out, he’s so far ahead of everyone else!

“He’s just so good. I think he’s the best – I’ve never seen a better passer of the ball than him. He can hit a 30-yard pass like Scholes, he can play those little passes like the great exponents of it such as Xabi Alonso, but he just sees it so easy. What a player.”


But is De Bruyne really the greatest passer in Premier League history? The Belgium international certainly faces stiff competition for the title from a host of legendary names.

We’ve had a go at ranking the top 15 passers in Premier League history…

15. Eric Cantona

Manchester United icon Eric Cantona produced some wonderful assists during his five years as a Premier League player. The Frenchman had the ability to both caress and blast the ball.


14. Mesut Ozil

A gifted but inconsistent playmaker, Mesut Ozil divided opinion during his seven seasons with Arsenal. But when the German hit top gear, he would invariably pull the strings thanks to his wonderful array of passes.


13. Frank Lampard

One of only four players to register over 100 Premier League assists, Frank Lampard was much more than just a goalscoring midfielder.


12. Santi Cazorla

A joy to watch, the permanently-smiling Santi Cazorla had the unusual ability to execute stunning passes with both his right and left feet.


11. Ryan Giggs

No player in Premier League history has more assists than Man United legend Ryan Giggs (162). The Welsh wizard, despite his extraordinary records, is bizarrely underrated by some football fans.


10. Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas is next on the list of most assists during the Premier League era. The Spaniard assisted a combined 111 league goals with Arsenal and Chelsea.


9. Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick tended to keep things very simple in midfield, but picking the right option time and time again is much easier said than done. The Englishman undoubtedly deserves his place in this top 10.


8. Luka Modric

Luka Modric has obviously enjoyed the best years of his career at Real Madrid, but let’s not forget that the Croatian midfielder was also a sublime player for Tottenham. His world-class passing ability was clear for all to see between 2008-2012.


7. Steven Gerrard

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard was accused of looking for the ‘Hollywood pass’ too often during his 17 seasons in the Premier League. However, there were many, many times when he’d nail those 50-yard diagonals.


6. Dennis Bergkamp

One of the most gifted footballers of the Premier League era, Arsenal hero Dennis Bergkamp had the ability to spot passes nobody else could see.


5. David Silva

One of Manchester City’s greatest ever players – if not *the* greatest – David Silva was a master of creating space in between the lines and then threading perfectly weighted passes through to Sergio Aguero and co. upfront.


4. David Beckham

Arguably the best crosser and free-kick taker of the Premier League era, David Beckham was also a world-class passer of the ball.


3. Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso, who played for Liverpool between 2004-2009, takes third place on our list of the Premier League’s greatest ever passers. Whether it was a simple short pass or a raking 40-yard ball, Alonso could do it all.


2. Paul Scholes

A genius with the ball at his feet, many football fans will argue that Paul Scholes should be number one on this list – and that’s a perfectly fair opinion to hold. The Man Utd legend would dictate the tempo of Premier League matches thanks to his sumptuous range of passing.


1. Kevin De Bruyne

But we have to agree with Redknapp. De Bruyne is the best passer we’ve seen during the Premier League era. Everything the Belgian does on the pitch is executed with such precision.

The 29-year-old isn’t miles ahead of Scholes and Alonso, but he has done enough over the past six seasons to take top spot.

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