Ronaldo, Messi, Muller: The Champions League XI with the most assists in its history

  • Kobe Tong

Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest player in Champions League history.

Regardless of where you rank the Manchester United superstar in the GOAT debate more generally, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to argue that he’s not the top dog in UEFA’s flagship competition.

Ronaldo has lifted the trophy more than any other player since its 1992 branding – including four triumphs in five seasons with Real Madrid – while also scoring the most goals in finals during that period.

Ronaldo’s creative brilliance

In fact, not only is the Portuguese icon the all-time top goalscorer in the Champions League, but he has also delivered more assists than any other player across the tournament’s modern era.

While Ronaldo’s goalscoring exploits are no secret to anybody, it really goes to show just how complete of a footballer he truly is when he also boasts the status of being the competition’s greatest ever creator.

According to UEFA’s official statistics, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner can lay claim to no less than 42 assists on the continental stage, which is six more than his eternal rival Lionel Messi.

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Who is this former Champions League centre-back?

Champions League assists

The Paris Saint-Germain star might have a stronger reputation for his playmaking skills and ability to lay on assists, but even his creative genius can’t quite topple Ronaldo in his favourite competition of all.

Nevertheless, Messi’s second-place finish still means that he takes pride of place alongside Ronaldo in the Champions League XI to have produced the most assists in its history.

And we say that because the data gurus over at Transfermarkt have crunched the numbers this week to find out which players in each position have laid on the most Champions League assists since 1992.

Football Soccer – Barcelona v Real Madrid – Spanish La Liga Santander- Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona, Spain – 3/12/16. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in action during the “Clasico”. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN – Tags: SOCCER SPORT)

XI with the most Champions League assists

In other words, the creative magic from Messi and Ronaldo at the top end of the pitch are complimented by the avalanche of assists coming from the most creative goalkeeper, right-back, midfielders and so on.

All in all, it makes for the dream XI that any goalscorer would want to break into, so be sure to check out the stunning line-up with the most assists in Champions League history down below:

GK: Manuel Neuer – 1 assist

Soccer Football – Champions League – Group E – Bayern Munich v Dynamo Kyiv – Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany – September 29, 2021 Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer shakes hands with Joshua Kimmich after the match REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

RB: Dani Alves – 23 assists

CB: Pepe – 5 assists

CB: David Alaba – 17 assists

Soccer Football – Champions League – Group D – Sheriff Tiraspol v Real Madrid – Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena, Tiraspol, Moldova – November 24, 2021 Real Madrid’s David Alaba celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

LB: Marcelo – 24 assists

CM: Xavi – 30 assists

CM: Thomas Muller – 26 assists

CM: Andres Iniesta – 29 assists

Football Soccer – FC Barcelona v Arsenal – UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg – The Nou Camp, Barcelona, Spain – 15/16 – 16/3/16 Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

RW: Lionel Messi – 36 assists

ST: Cristiano Ronaldo – 42 assists

LW: Angel Di Maria – 35 assists

Soccer Football – Champions League – Semi Final First Leg – Paris St Germain v Manchester City – Parc des Princes, Paris, France – April 28, 2021 Paris St Germain’s Angel Di Maria during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Assists, assists everywhere

With a staggering 268 assists between them, it’s fair to say that the Champions League’s most creative line-up would carve out big chance after big chance with their eyes closed.

And while it’s perhaps not surprising in the slightest to see Xavi and Iniesta pulling the strings in midfield, you’ve got to tip your hat to Di Maria with the data once again illustrating his underrated status.

Real Madrid fans will remember his masterclass in the 2014 final all too vividly, but most fans might be surprised to see him just seven assists behind Ronaldo with the potential to overtake him in the coming seasons.

Football – Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League Final – Estadio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal – 24/5/14 Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria celebrates with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Carl Recine Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Meanwhile, one can’t help thinking that Alisson Becker or Ederson will fancy their chances of becoming the first Champions League goalkeeper to amass multiple assists ahead of Neuer.

So, rest assured that there’s most certainly room for chopping and changing in the assists XI over the coming years, but there’s no denying that it’s a pretty staggering team regardless of any statistics behind it.

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