Best Passers in Football History

Wed 04 November 2020 | 14:30

A look at the Best Passers in Football History from Dutch mastermind of passing, Johan Cruyff to many great Brazilians like Ronaldinho and Pele.

Asides from scoring goals, passing is the most entertaining part of a football game for many football fans. Many great players in the history of the game have confessed that the joy of a perfect assist is far greater than scoring goals.

Many of the best teams in the history of football achieved great success with their possession-based tactics. The likes of


under Cruyff and Guardiola and 1970 Brazil national team consisted of players with high passing qualities.

The best players in football history have had one thing in common with each other, which is excellent passing abilities. Some like David Beckham and

Andre Pirlo

were specialist in sending long passes while others like Xavi and Iniesta were known for their perfect through passes.

One thing seems certain in football. Whether you are a fan of the possession-based or the counter attacking systems, passing has increasingly become an integral part of modern football. So it is very interesting to look back at the history of the beautiful game and see which players can be considered as the Best Passers in Football History.

The top 15 of Best Passers in Football History

In the following article we present you with an entertaining list of the top 15 of the Best Passers in Football History including the likes of Xavi and Iniesta who upgraded the art of passing to a new level to the likes of Beckham and Pirlo who were known as the passing specialists on the field.

Michel Platini

MicheI Platini was one of the

Best Passers in Football History

. The French midfielder maestro was an expert in passing and set pieces. Platini was the main force behind France's success in international tournaments and he guided his national team to 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup glory.

Platini is one of the few players who have won three Ballon d'Or and more amazing is the fact that he won them consequently. He spent most of his playing career at


, scoring 312 goals in 580 appearances for the Old Lady.

Johan Cruyff

The Godfather of passing systems, Johan Cruyff was among the pioneers of modern football. He regularly experimented with new systems to gain an advantage over his rivals and believed in team play above all.

Cruyff's main idea was that the team with the ball always has an advantage over its rivals. For keeping the ball in the game, the players has to pass the ball a lot. Cruyff was the one who came up with the idea of using strikers as the first line of defense and the goalkeeper as the first line of attack. His possession-based tactics influenced modern football more than any other figure and including him in the list of Best Passers in Football History seems like a must.

Frank Lampard

There is no doubt that Frank Lampard is among the Best Passers in Football History. As a player, Lampard bossed the midfield line and dictated the tempo of the game whenever he was on the field. His vision of the game and pinpoint passes were truly legendary.

An excellent shooter as well, Lampard won many awards in his highly successful career. He could even win


its second ever World Cup was it nor for his famous disallowed goal against Germany in the 2006 world cup - which paved the way for the introduction of VAR into football.

 Lampard has started his managerial career at his old club, Chelsea and his team plays exactly like he used to play, by being brilliant in passing and fearless in front of the goal.

Pep Guardiola

No football fan can deny that

Pep Guardiola

is among the

Greatest Passers in soccer history

. As a player, he was a key member of Johan Cruyff's Barcelona Dream Team which dominated football with their highly effective passing system.

As a coach, Guardiola modernized Cruyff's philosophy of the game into a new system of total football. In his first experience as a coach, he led Barcelona to the only sextuple in the history of football and went on to win 14 trophies in just 4 seasons.

Pep has stayed true to his preferred passing system and his teams always consists of some of the most gifted passers in the world.

David Beckham

David Beckham was as famous for his scientifically accurate long passes as he was for his amazing looks! The enigmatic midfielder first shone in the famous

Manchester United

's Class of 92 as he and his fellow graduates grew up to win everything for the Red Devils.

Beckham later moved to Real Madrid in the famous Galacticos era and had successful spells with Los Angeles Galaxy and Paris Saint Germaine as well. Wherever he played, the strikers were guaranteed many assists. Beckham played 581 Games in his career, scoring many goals and more importantly providing 176 assists for his team mates.

Andrea Pirlo

For those fortunate enough to see his magic, Andrea Pirlo's vision on the pitch as well as his passing ability and creativity were delightful to watch. He won all kinds of trophies with

AC Milan

and Juventus as well as the 2006 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team.

Pirlo worked with many great coaches during his career and all those coaches acknowledged his intelligence and wide range of passes. The current Everton manager, Carlo Ancelotti once famously said that Pirlo is miles ahead of any other midfielder when it comes to sending the best and most accurate passes in dangerous situations.

Pirlo is currently experimenting his first coaching experience at Juventus and is keen to show the world that he as much of a good coach as he was a player.


Barcelona's engine during Pep Guardiola's historic spell, Xavi was an excellent passer and a genius midfielder. His ability to dictate the tempo of the game was out of worldly and his through passes were heavenly.

Xavi was so good at controlling the midfield line with his passing abilities that he was nicknamed "the metronome". A perfect example of a midfielder in Cruyff's footballing philosophy, Xavi formed one of the best midfielder dues alongside his team mate, Andres Iniesta. Now as a manager of


, he is trying to upgrade the possession-based tactics of Total Football.

Andres Iniesta

Xavi's partner in crime in the middle of the pitch, Andres Iniesta is indeed one of the

Best Passers in Football History

. The pale-skin genius was absolutely amazing whenever Barcelona needed him and sending breathtaking final passes was his signature.

Iniesta he had a habit of scoring the most important goals. Like


's world cup winning goal scorer in 2010 and Barcelona's equalizer against Chelsea in the Champions League.

Definitely one of the Best Passers in Football ever, Andres Iniesta was known more for his great dribbling and passing abilities than his goal scoring stats. He was one of the few players who was applauded by Real Madrid diehard fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Francesco Totti

Most certainly one of the

Best Passers in soccer History

, the prince of Roma was famous mostly for his deadly set pieces and great passing abilities. He was one of the most consistent players in the history of football, and certainly one of the most faithful ones.

Totti never achieved what he deserved in terms of trophies with his all-time club,

AS Roma

. But he was fortunate enough to win the ultimate title of football as he won the 2006 World Cup with Italy.

A specialist in all kinds of passes, Totti scored a total of 307 and has provided 183 assists in 785 games for AC Roma and Italy National Team.


Few football fans can argue against the inclusion of Ronaldinho among the best football passers ever in the world. "The Poet of Football" was an expert in sending crucial passes and his signature move, the no-look pass, inspired many players and fans.

Ronaldinho won La Liga, Uefa Champions League and the Ballon D'or with Barcelona as well as the 2002 World Cup with


. He was such a great player that even Real Madrid fans couldn't help to stand and applaud the Brazilian Magician when he terrorized Madrid's defense in Barcelona's famous 3-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu back in 2004.

The Brazilian magician scored a total of 197 goals and provided further 162 assists in 543 games as a playmaker.

Zinedine Zidane

A natural-born winner both as a player and as a manager, Zidane was always the man with the answers on the pitch. His passing style was unique to himself. During his career he registered 171 assists to his name.

As a player, Zidane won all the three most prestigious trophies in his career: the Champions League, the World Cup and the Ballon d'Or. He is also the only manager in the history of football to win three back-to-back Uefa Champions League, a feat he accomplished with his old-time club,

Real Madrid


Zidane scored a total of 125 goals in 680 Games in his career. He was indeed one of the

top passers in soccer of all time


Cristiano Ronaldo

Not appreciated enough for his passing abilities as much as his goal scoring gifts and incredible physic, CR7 is one of the Greatest Passers in soccer history.



has pace, technique, power, and unbelievable jumping power all in one package. Ronaldo and his eternal rival, Lionel Messi are probably two of the most complete and consistent players in football history.

At 35, Ronaldo seems strong as ever and keeps breaking records every season. Many of his haters would point out his many tap-ins and penalty goals, but what stats don't lie and his 258 assists in 1008 games shows why he should be considered among the Best Passers in Football History.

Lionel Messi

The Argentinian magician is one of the most complete players ever to grace the football field. He has broken many records and apart from his heading, has no weak point in his game.


started his career as a right back and later performed as a false nine. In recent years he has been used more as a playmaker by Barcelona coaches. His passing range is so complete that no one can argue against him being in the list of best Passers in football history.

Apart from being the only player to have won six Ballon Do'rs and Six Golden Shoes, he also holds the record for most assists in 21st century with 324 assists in 892 games.


Pele is truly the best in many of the footballing categories. The Brazilian magician achieved everything in football and many of his records, like winning the world cup three times and scoring more than a thousand goals are yet to be beaten.

Pele is most known for scoring more than a thousand goal during his career, but he was also one of the

best football passers ever in the world


Pele's best games were arguably at the 1970 world cup, where he put magical performances game after game and won his record third world cup. His most memorable pass was his assist to Carlos Alberto as the defender scored Brazil's fourth goal against


in the final.

Diego Maradona

One of the top passers in soccer of all time, EL Diego reached a god-like status in


after guiding his homeland to World Cup glory in 1986 by scoring 5 goals and bossing the field in every game. Although Maradona did not score against Germany in the final, it was his heavenly through pass to Borruchaga which lead to Argentine third goal.

Maradona linked up defense with attack like never seen before. He was so tactically intelligent that he didn't need any tactics! He single-handedly guided Napoli to the Serie A title and was exceptional for some other big clubs like Barcelona and Boca Juniors as well.

One of the best passers in soccer History, Diego Maradona scored 310 goals and provided 175 assists in 590 games during his career.

Honorary Mentions:

Many great players have graced the field with their passing arts and it is impossible to choose 20 of them. The following players are some of the

Best Passers in Football ever

whom we did not include in our list, but not mentioning them would be a crime against the beautiful game.

Roberto Baggio, Michael Laudrup, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Socrates, Gheorghe Hagi, Carlos Valderrama, Didi, Zico,

Ronald Koeman

, Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard, Clarence Seedorf, Xabi Alonso, Dennis Bergkamp, Luis Figo, Paul Scholes and Guti

So here it was! SportMob's list on the Best Passers in Football History. Which player you like best? Who should have been in the list? And who's the best of them all? Let us know in the comments.

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