Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar: Who has the most assists in each year of the 21st century?

Lionel Messi & Neymar are both known for their ability to assist goals

No player in Europe's top five leagues has recorded more assists in 2021 than Eintracht Frankfurt star, Filip Kostic.

During his 21 appearances for the Bundesliga club this year, the Serbian flyer has directly contributed to 16 of the goals scored by his teammates.

That's a pretty astonishing record and if he can maintain that kind of creative form, Kostic will join the list of legendary figures who have recorded the most assists throughout a calendar year in the 21st century.

Using the ever-reliable Transfermarkt, we've worked out the leading assister from a team playing in one of Europe's top five leagues in every completed year from 2000 onwards.

A few familiar faces crop up on multiple occasions...

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2000 | Luis Figo (Barcelona/Real Madrid) - 25 assists

Games played: 48

2001 | Luis Figo (Real Madrid) - 20 assists

Games played: 53

2002 | Luis Figo (Real Madrid) - 20 assists

Games played: 20

Figo at Real Madrid

2003 | Thierry Henry (Arsenal) - 28 assists

Games played: 51

2004 | Deco (Porto/Barcelona) - 23 assists

Games played: 48

2005 | Ronaldinho (Barcelona) - 24 assists

Games played: 44

Ronaldinho with Barcelona

2006 | Juninho (Lyon) - 24 assists

Games played: 44

2007 | Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) - 20 assists

Games played: 50

2008 | Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 18 assists

Games played: 40

Messi in 2008 with Barcelona

2009 | Mesut Ozil (Werder Bremen) - 28 assists

Games played: 41

2010 | Mesut Ozil (Werder Bremen/Real Madrid) - 23 assists

Games played: 46

2011 | Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 29 assists

Games played: 54

Messi in 2011

2012 | Eden Hazard (Lille/Chelsea) - 30 assists

Games played: 52

2013 | Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid/Arsenal) - 25 assists

Games played: 51

2014 | Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) - 25 assists

Games played: 48

Ronaldo with Real Madrid

2015 | Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg/Manchester City) - 28 assists

Games played: 54

2016 | Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 28 assists

Games played: 51

2017 | Neymar (Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain) - 27 assists

Games played: 47

Neymar with PSG

2018 | Luis Suarez (Barcelona) - 27 assists

Games played: 50

2019 | Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - 23 assists

Games played: 47

2020 | Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 26 assists

Games played: 44

Messi in 2020

Figo, Ronaldo, Ozil, Messi and De Bruyne are the five players to finish top of the pile in multiple years this century.

However, no member of that quartet can lay claim to being the man with the most assists in a single year since the turn of the millennium.

That accolade belongs to Hazard, who's record of 30 for Lille and Chelsea in 2012 is going to be a tough one to break.

Although if Kostic keeps assisting at the rate he currently is for Frankfurt in 2021, Hazard's record may finally be equalled or surpassed.

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