Players with the Most Assists in Football History
Football is a lot of things everybody agrees that goals are perhaps the most important part of it. So, it is no surprise that goalscorers are the ones who have ambled away with most of the plaudits. However, those who facilitate goalscoring are just as important.
Some of the greatest footballers of all time are playmakers and they usually upend defenses with their quick thinking and technical precision.
Regarding the players with the most assists in football history, statistics are quite impressive and it’s not difficult to guess who the number one is!
There are a selection of strikers who have also chipped in with a noticeable number of assists throughout their careers.
Messi, 33, has played 866 games since the year 2000 and has an impressive 319 assists to his name. He is ahead of Juventus hitman Cristiano Ronaldo, who has assisted 258 goals and Suarez, who has created 256 goals for his teammates since 2000. The Uruguayan international has created 256 goals since 2000.
Messi's volume of assists and the consistency with which he has recorded them is what sets him apart from the others on the list.
On the other hand, Ronaldo's assist record is something which needs to be respected more in the never-ending 'Messi vs Ronaldo' debates.
Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria, Cesc Fabregas, and Xavi are placed fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.
In terms of assists-per-game, Ozil came out on top with an average of 0.39. While De Bruyne, who is 12th on the above list, and Neymar (16th) followed close behind on 0.38.
Some players have even dedicated themselves to supplying assists instead of goals. Kevin De Bruyne and Mesut Ozil, arguably two of the best playmakers of the last decade, have both stated they prefer to create. But that doesn’t always mean you have to give up the goals.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have proven that, with the pair bagging the most assists since 2000. Luis Suarez hasn’t fared badly either in a solid third-place.
Here, we take a look at the top players with the most assists in the football history:
Kevin De Bruyne, Arjen Robben, Eden Hazard and David Beckham also earned a spot among the players with the MOST assists in football history.
Karim Benzema – 176
Benzema has been described as an "immensely talented striker" who is strong and powerful and a potent finisher.
Benzema's ability to assist and scoring a load of goals are all reasons why he is one of Real Madrid's greatest ever. He is among the players with the MOST assists in football history.
He is an atypical number 9 who is usually deployed as a center forward, and can operate as an out-and-out striker. Benzema is also capable of playing in several other offensive positions, and has been used on the wing, or even behind the main striker as a number 10 or deep-lying forward.
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David Beckham - 176 (less matches than Benzema)
David Robert Joseph Beckham, born 2 May 1975, is an English former professional footballer, the current president and co-owner of Inter Miami CF and co-owner of Salford City.
Beckham's best season in terms of assists came in 1999/2000, where he notched 15 in the Premier League alone with Manchester United.
Throughout his career, Beckham was considered one of the best and most recognizable players of his generation, as well as one of the greatest free-kick exponents of all time.
Beckham was predominantly right-footed, and his range of passing, vision, crossing ability and bending free-kicks enabled him to create chances for teammates or score goals, attributes that saw him excel as a right winger despite his lack of significant pace.
Hulk – 178
Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, born 25 July 1986, known as Hulk, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for Shanghai SIPG as a forward. He can also play as a winger.
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.
In May 2012, he was voted the Player of the Month for April for a record sixth time, and he added 11 assists.
Wayne Rooney – 179
Wayne Mark Rooney, born 24 October 1985, is an English professional footballer and captain for Championship club Derby County.
He has played much of his career as a forward, and he has also been used in various midfield roles. Widely considered to be one of the best players of his generation, Rooney is the record goalscorer for both the England national team and Manchester United.
According to many football fans, Rooney is the definition of a perfect forward. Rooney's highest total of assists in a Premier League season (13) came in 2007/08. He is among the players with the MOST assists in football history.
Rooney is a creative forward who combines technical skill with strength and physicality. He is a versatile attacker, capable of playing anywhere along the front line, but his preferred role is a striker.
Eden Hazard – 181
Eden Michael Hazard, born 7 January 1991, is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a winger or attacking midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and captains the Belgium national team.
Known for his creativity, speed, dribbling and passing, Hazard is considered one of the best players in the world.
While at Lille during the 2011/12 season, Hazard recorded 18 assists - and 20 goals - in just 38 Ligue 1 games, remarkable stuff.
Hazard primarily plays as either an attacking midfielder or a winger and has been credited as being possibly the outstanding talent in Europe right now.
Andres Iniesta - 182
Andrés Iniesta Luján, born 11 May 1984, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder and is the captain of Japanese club Vissel Kobe.
He spent most of his career at Barcelona, where he served as the captain for three seasons. Iniesta is widely considered to be one of the best players of his generation and one of the greatest midfielders of all time.
Iniesta's game was about so much more than goals and assists. The Barcelona icon's output as a creator was astonishing.
Iniesta originally started as a defensive midfielder, but his balance, ball control, and agility in close spaces, allied with his skill and flair on the ball, saw him make progress as an attacking midfielder.
Dusan Tadic – 185
Dusan Tadic, born 20 November 1988, is a Serbian professional footballer who plays for and captains Dutch club Ajax and the Serbia national team.
The Serbian forward notched 15 assists in just 25 games during the 2019/20 Eredivisie season.
Tadic was one of Serbia's most influential players during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifications, scoring four goals and helping them win their group.
In 2018, he was selected in the 23-man squad for the final tournament, playing all three group stage matches.
Dries Mertens – 188
Dries Mertens, born 6 May 1987, nicknamed Ciro, is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a striker or winger for Italian club Napoli and the Belgium national team. Mertens is Napoli's all time top goalscorer.
Mertens is one of the most underrated players of the modern era. The versatile forward hit double figures for assists in four different seasons - once with Utrecht, twice with PSV and once with Napoli.
Mertens is a fast, creative, and agile player who possesses good technique and dribbling skills, which enables him to get past opponents when in possession of the ball.
Thierry Henry – 190
Thierry Daniel Henry, born 17 August 1977, is a French professional football coach and former player who is currently the manager of Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact.
Henry was 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!
Henry played up front as a striker during his youth, but he spent his time at Monaco and Juventus playing on the wing.
After joining Arsenal in 1999, Arsenal’s role was changed by Wenger, switching Henry to his childhood position, often pairing him with Dutch veteran Dennis Bergkamp.
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Neymar - 190 (less matches than Henry)
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, born 5 February 1992, known as Neymar, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. He is widely considered as one of the best players in the world.
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. He is considered as one of the footballers who have provided the most assists ever in football history.
Neymar primarily plays as either a central striker, second striker, winger, or occasionally as an attacking midfielder, and has been described as "a true phenomenon."
Arjen Robben – 193
Arjen Robben, born 23 January 1984, is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a winger for Eredivisie club Groningen.
Robben is known for his dribbling skills, speed, ball control, and long-range shots. He is regarded as one of the best players of his generation and one of the best wingers in the world.
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.
Robben has been regarded as one of the best wingers in the world. He was able to take on and beat defenders at the drop of a hat, according to many reporters!
Usually deployed on the right wing, Robben often cuts inside on his left foot to move to a more central attacking position, and uses his speed and dribbling skills to take on defenders until he finds the space to make an attempt on goal.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 196
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.
Ibrahimović has been described by reporters as being "good in the air, quick, tall, strong and agile, he plays well with his back to goal and boasts some of the best finishing, vision, passing and ball control around.
As a versatile and well-rounded footballer, from a tactical standpoint, Ibrahimović is capable of playing anywhere along the front line, due to his ability to both create and score goals for his team, although he is most often deployed as a striker, due to his composure and eye for goal.
David Silva – 200
David Josué Jiménez Silva, born 8 January 1986, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for La Liga club Real Sociedad.
Silva plays mainly as a central or an attacking midfielder but can also play as a winger or second striker. He is predominantly a left-footed player and his passing ability and possession-retaining qualities have earned him the nicknames "Merlin" and "El Mago" from his teammates and fans.
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.
Kevin De Bruyne - 200 (less matches than Silva)
Kevin De Bruyne, born 28 June 1991, is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City, where he is vice-captain, and the Belgian national team.
De Bruyne is widely considered to be one of the best players in the world and has often been described as a talented footballer.
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. He is also considered one of the footballers who have provided the most assists ever in football history.
Andrey Arshavin – 201
Andrey Sergeyevich Arshavin, born 29 May 1981, is a Russian former professional footballer who played as a forward or midfielder.
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.
Steffen Hofmann – 208
Steffen Hofmann, born 9 September 1980 in Würzburg, is a retired German footballer, playing most of his career for SK Rapid Wien of the Austrian Bundesliga. He played as an attacking midfielder.
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, his 25 assists came in just one Austrian Bundesliga season back in 2007/08.
Stefen Hoffman is perhaps the least known player on the list. That perhaps has a lot to do with how he has not played at the most popular clubs in the world. The attacking midfielder, however, started his career at Bayern Munich.
He joined Rapid Wien, commonly known as Rapid Vienna in 2002. He then left the club in 2005 only to return back within a year. Following his comeback, Hoffman kicked on at Rapid Vienna for the next 12 years till his retirement.
The attacking midfielder racked up 208 assists from 609 games for club and country and was also the Austrian footballer of the year on 2 occasions; in 2004 and 2009.
The diminutive midfielder holds a rare distinction in so far as he has never been sent off in his career that almost spanned two decades. The right footed midfielder used to find the net quite frequently as well, scoring 151 goals in his career for both club and country.
Thomas Muller – 224
Thomas Muller, born 13 September 1989, is a German professional footballer who plays for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and the Germany national team.
A versatile player, Muller plays as a midfielder or forward, and has been deployed in a variety of attacking roles – as an attacking midfielder, second striker, and center forward and on either wing.
Thomas Müller is a name the streets will never forget. Müller's playing style is deceptive more than it is flattering or easy on the eye. However, the fact that he is one of the best technicians in the modern game is unquestionable.
A World Cup winner with Germany, Thomas Müller equaled the record for most assists in a single Bundesliga season. He set up 21 goals in 33 games this season for Bayern Munich in addition to scoring 8 goals. He is among the footballers who have provided the most assists ever in football history.
He has been playing for Bayern since the beginning of his career and despite being constantly linked with a move away owing to the steady and relentless stream of attention that he gathers, he continues to be loyal to the Bavarians.
Franck Ribery – 228
Franck Henry Pierre Ribery, born 7 April 1983, is a French professional footballer who plays for Serie A club Fiorentina. He primarily plays as a winger, preferably on the left side, and is known for his pace, energy, skill, and precise passing.
Ribery is undoubtedly one of the footballing greats of all time. The Bayern Munich legend, who is in the twilight of his career, now plays for Serie A outfit Fiorentina.
Ribery has stacked up a whopping 228 assists till now in his career and continues to perform at the highest level. Ribery formed an incomparable partnership with fellow winger Arjen Robben and helped Bayern Munich dominate European football for a short while in the past decade.
The 37-year-old former French international started his professional career with French club Boulogne and had brief spells at Olympique Ales, Brest, Metz, Galatasaray and Marseille before joining Bayern Munich in 2007 and spending the next 12 years of his career with the Bavarians.
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 to be rightly listed as the football players with most assists of all time.
Xavi – 230
Xavier Hernández Creus, born 25 January 1980, nicknamed Xavi, is a Spanish football manager and former player who is the manager of Qatar Stars League football club Al Sadd.
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. Arguably the best central midfielder of the 21st century and part of the best international team since the turn of the millennium, Xavi's presence on this list could be done with quite soon but his presence in the hall of fame shall be eternal.
Such is his legacy that you couldn't fathom any side dominating oppositions just as well as a team without Xavi in central midfield.
The Spanish legend racked up 22 assists in the 2008/09 season for Barcelona and it is a record that hasn't been broken till now to be among the football players with most assists of all time.
As the manager of Qatar Stars League team Al Sadd, Xavi's dream is to return to Barcelona as the head coach of the Cules. He registered a whopping 91% pass accuracy rate at the 2010 World Cup that Spain won and was named in the World Cup all-star team.
Xavi is also the first player to set up a goal each in two consecutive Euro Cup finals. A product of the famed La Masia academy, he has played a club record 700 games for Barcelona and is the recipient of IFHSS World Best Playmaker award 4 times- in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Cesc Fabregas – 234
Francesc "Cesc" Fàbregas Soler, born 4 May 1987, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Ligue 1 club Monaco.
Fabregas has hit double-figures for assists in nine seasons during his career, including 19 in the 2014/15 campaign with Chelsea. He is among the football players with most assists ever.
Yet another product of La Masia and a constant presence in a couple of the most entertaining sides in world football, Cesc Fabregas was an assist machine over the course of his career where he represented clubs like Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea.
Fabregas has racked up more than 10 assists in 9 seasons and even registered 19 assists in a single season for Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side that won the Premier League in the 2014/15 season.
Though his much awaited return to Barcelona did not exactly meet the heights expected, he still had a memorable time at the club and there is no denying that he has had a stellar career.
Fabregas was also the player that assisted Iniesta's World Cup final goal against Netherlands, which ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides on the night.
Angel Di Maria – 235
Angel Fabian Di Maria, born 14 February 1988, is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for French Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Argentina national team. He can play as either a winger or attacking midfielder.
Even during his tumultuous season with United, Di Maria managed 11 assists in 27 Premier League games, some effort that. He is among the football players with most assists ever in leagues and in the world.
Real Madrid's best player in the 2013/14 season was sold to Manchester United in the summer doesn't make much sense in any respect except the economical one.
After initially thriving in the Premier League, the Argentine international seemed to have lost his mojo and exited Manchester United the following summer.
Even in that season, Di Maria picked up 11 assists from 27. Subsequently, it didn't take him much time to gain his mojo back after finding his feet in Ligue 1 playing alongside some of the world's finest players at Paris Saint-Germain.
Di Maria is an exceptional player who has transitioned to a more centrally attacking role in the later years after being a menacing presence in the wing in the early part of his career. He has scored 8 goals and set up 14 this season in Ligue 1 for the French champions.
Mesut Ozil – 253
He is renowned for his technical skills and creativity; due to his agility, finesse and versatility as an attacking midfielder.
Ozil’s 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.
The Ozil assisting memes couldn't possibly have missed any football enthusiasts in the era of social media. Yet another regret of Real Madrid's, Ozil was forced to call it a day on his burgeoning Real Madrid career due to some baffling top level management decisions.
One man's loss is another man's gain and it was Premier League club Arsenal that benefited from providing a nest for one of the best playmakers of this generation. The 31-year-old German World Cup winner is one of the best attacking midfielders of the 21st century and his stats are a testament to that.
Though he has faded of late, Ozil has had an outstanding career. His assist rate of 0.39 is the best among all the other players who have made it to this list. He is among the football players with most assists ever.
Luis Suarez – 256
Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz, born 24 January 1987, is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Atlético Madrid and the Uruguay national team.
Luis Suarez is easily one of the three best strikers of the last decade and alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr., he formed the most deadly attacking trio of the 21st century at Barcelona.
An absolutely lethal finisher, Suarez is also a great all-round technician as evidenced by his place on this distinguished podium.
An out-and-out striker should not have 250+ assists to their name, impressive numbers, but he is the third on the list of the players with the MOST assists in football history.
Suarez has registered a whopping 256 assists for both club and country over the course of his career which is outrageous for a striker. He is undoubtedly one of those players who is deserving of the tag of complete forward.
Suarez is tricky, can beat a defender in the blink of an eye and packs a mean strike in his right foot and is one of the reasons why Barcelona's domination in Europe extended into the 2nd decade of the 21st century.
His stunning goals on one night against Norwich City in the Premier League is the stuff of dreams.
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Cristiano Ronaldo – 258
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM, born 5 February 1985, is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team.
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. He is rightly the second on the list of the players with the MOST assists in football history.
Cristiano Ronaldo's detractors would like to keep reiterating that the Portuguese legend is not a team player. That it is hearsay not based on evidence should be clear to any football fan who has watched him tear apart defences in England, Spain and now, Italy.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest to have ever played the game and after rising to fame at Manchester United, he truly blossomed into one of the greatest of all time at Real Madrid.
Always hungry for challenges and built like no other footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, at the age of 35, continues to be one of the best players in the world. The 5 time Ballon d'Or award winner is currently at Juventus and even there, in a star studded team, he is the best player by a mile.
Lionel Messi – 319
Lionel Andres Messi, born 24 June 1987, is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains both Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team.
In 12 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. He is undoubtedly, the first on the list of the players with the MOST assists in football history.
I guess the gulf in numbers speaks for itself as we greet the man who tops the list. A footballing genius whose unwavering loyalty to Barcelona is a rare and distinguished thing these days has captured the imaginations of all football fans since the day he stepped on to the field at Camp Nou as a teenage understudy to some of the modern day greats like Ronaldinho.
The diminutive Argentine is a wizard like no other and is arguably the best forward of his generation. Lionel Messi is all the things a good attacker needs to be. He has impeccable vision, is perhaps the best dribber in the world and has an eye for goal that constantly causes our jaws to drop in awe.
A 6 time recipient of the Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi has bagged almost all the big honours in the game except for an elusive World Cup.
Up to date, Lionel Messi has provided 264 assists for Barcelona and Argentina combined.
Specifically, 227 for Barca and 37 for Albiceleste. This is a total of 264 assists by the age of 29. In Spanish La Liga only, Messi has given 136 assists so far and he broke Luis Figo’s record of 106 assists in early 2015. So Figo is now the second ever highest assister in La Liga.
It is interesting that Diego Maradona in his whole career provided no more than 30 assists for Argentina, while Leo Messi has given 37 and has at least one year still to play for Argentina National team.
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Lionel Messi is:
- All-time top assist provider in Copa America history (11 assists, since June 22 2016)
- All-time top assist provider in Spanish La Liga history (137 assists, since May 11 2017)
- All-time top assist provider in Spanish El Clasico history, derbies against Real Madrid (13 assists, since March 22 2015)
- All-time top assist provider in FC Barcelona (227 assists, since May 6 2017)
- All-time top assist provider in Argentina National Team (37 assists, since November 16 2016)
- Messi has also delivered 2 assists in Uefa Super Cup, 1 assist in Fifa Club World Cup, 26 assists in Uefa Champions League, 4 assists in Spanish Super Cup, 3 assists in Fifa World Cup and quite many assists in Spanish Copa del Rey and Fifa Qualification World Cup.
Based on the above, stats of which you readers can check for yourselves in worth trusty sites on the internet, it is easy for most people to understand why Lionel Messi is considered the top assist provider (and not only..) in football/soccer history. Adding his completed passes, chances created and key passes we can all realize that we are talking about the greatest playmaker of all time.
Players with the Most Assists in Football History:
- Ryan Giggs - 131
- Wayne Rooney - 104
- Cesc Fabregas - 103
Lionel Messi - 111
Cristiano Ronaldo - 79
Dani Alves - 59
Marek Hamsik - 66
Francesco Totti - 60
- Antonio Cassano - 49
Frank Ribery - 81
Thomas Muller - 74
- Marco Reus - 53
Dimitri Payet - 56
Julien Feret - 49
- Matthieu Valbuena - 48
In UEFA Champions League:
Cristiano Ronaldo - 31
Ryan Giggs - 30
- Lionel Messi - 24
UEFA Europa League:
Borek Dockal - 12
Jose Antonio Reyes - 10
- Fredy Gurain - 10