Revealed: Messi second in top 10 dribblers in Europe this season
With the international break affording a pause for reflection from club football, it’s a chance to take stock of some of the top statistical performers this season so far. Here we take a look at those players that get bums off seats, or sofas in the current climate, with their dribbling prowess, counting down the top 10 across Europe’s top five leagues so far
10. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Having recently brought up 100 Ligue 1 goals at the age of just 22, it’s not just his strike rate that Mbappe is renowned for. The France star puts his electric pace to good use to beat a man too, with 72 successful dribbles thus far at a rate of 3.5 per 90. Nevertheless, the PSG forward doesn’t always pick and choose his moments wisely, with a success rate of just 50.3 per cent comfortably the lowest of the top ten.
9. Jeremy Doku (Rennes)
Mbappe isn’t the only young forward frightening Ligue 1 full-backs, with Doku enjoying an impressive debut season in France since joining Rennes from Anderlecht. His end product needs work but at just 18, there’s plenty of time to improve, but there’s no denying his dribbling ability having completed 75 at a rate of 3.7 per 90. Moreover, a success rate of 63.6 per cent is strong, and already vastly superior to that of the aforementioned PSG star.
8. Junior Messias (Crotone)
Another player enjoying his first season in one of Europe’s top five leagues, while Doku is just a teenager, Messias is very much late to the party at 29. He only became a professional footballer in 2018 but helped Crotone to promotion last season and while they look set for a swift return to Serie B, the Brazilian has stood out. He’s scored seven times but it’s his dribbling from the front that has caught the eye, completing 78 (2.9 per 90) at a very respectable 62.4 per cent success rate.
7. Romain Faivre (Brest)
Believed to be on the radar of a number of clubs across the continent, France U21 international Faivre has been the shining light for Ligue 1 outfit Brest. The 22-year-old has had a direct hand in nine goals and been a nuisance for opposing defenders all season, completing 79 dribbles (3 per 90) at an excellent 69.3 per cent success rate.
6. Ludovic Blas (Nantes)
Improving with every season, versatile 23-year-old Blas is enjoying the best goalscoring campaign of his career, with seven goals, and his dribbling continues to progress too. An average of 3.4 dribbles per 90 and total of 80 are both career highs, while a success rate of 62.5 per cent is not to be sniffed at either. With Nantes currently occupying a place in the relegation zone, should they succumb to the drop, Blas will surely be first out of the door.
5. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Fulham)
Having returned to Fulham following a fine loan spell with Villarreal, it’s fair to say Anguissa has made a better fist of things in England’s top-flight than he was able to first time around. The 25-year-old’s driving runs from midfield have been a staple in Fulham matches thus far, though Scott Parker has rotated the Cameroon international in recent times, opting for more defensive solidity. Despite that, Anguissa has completed 82 dribbles (3.5 per 90) at a very strong 67.2 per cent success rate.
4. Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese)
Strongly linked with a move to Leeds last summer, De Paul stayed in Italy and may well do so next season, though surely not with Udinese. He’s wanted by some of Serie A’s strongest sides, along with a number of Premier League suitors, and it isn’t hard to see why. A cut above his teammates, The Argentina international has created more big chances than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues and completed more dribbles than any other player in Italy’s top-flight, with 92 (3.4 per 90) at a superb 70.8 per cent success rate.
3. Javi Galan (Huesca)
The third player of ten playing in one of Europe’s top five leagues for the first time, Galan was promoted with Huesca last season and has taken to La Liga in impressive fashion. Indeed, while his club foot the table in Spain’s top tier, left-back Galan has been a real threat going forward, with impressive delivery to back up his remarkable dribbling numbers. A total of 93 dribbles is far and away the highest of any defender in Europe and has come at a truly sensational 80.2 per cent success rate.
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
At the age of 33, some were questioning whether Messi was past his peerless peak early in the campaign but since the turn of the year in particular the Barcelona star has been at his majestic best. Indeed, 23 goals and eight assists are pretty astonishing league returns for a player labelled by some as being on the decline, while his mesmeric dribbling remains just that. A total of 113 has come at a rate of 4.6 per 90 has come at a solid 62.1 per cent success rate.
1. Adama Traore (Wolves)
There’s no doubt that Traore’s output has been disappointing this season and without partner in crime Raul Jimenez to aim for, his end product has diminished. Nevertheless, the aspect of his game for which he is most renowned remains unparalleled in Europe. A total of 118 dribbles have come at an astounding rate of 5.4 per 90, whilst boasting a success rate of 70.2 per cent. The baby oil plays its part, but the Spain international is simply too hot to handle for most that dare to try.