Creating a goal-scoring chance is just as important as scoring a goal. Ask any forward in the game and they’ll acknowledge that their goal records wouldn’t be the same without the creative geniuses who provide them with the opportunity to score goals. However, midfielders aren’t the only ones who create goal-scoring opportunities. There have been many strikers who are well known for creating goals as much as they are known for scoring them. Here we take a look at the 5 players with the most assists since the year 2000.
Games: 950 Assists: 230
One of Spain and Barcelona’s most prolific passer, an industrious face who constituted to the successful formulation of Tiki-taka football, Xavi claims the seventh spot in the list. Known for his dexterity to thread perfectly-weighed passes in the strides of an advancing forward, he was one of Spain’s most efficient midfielder.
With 505 games for the Catalonians, Xavi went on to net 58 goals and strung a whopping 230 assists that saw him becoming one of the most coveted midfielders of his era. From crashing out to a fortunate South Korea in the 2002 FIFA World Cup to propelling Spain to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Spanish maestro savoured it all.
6. Cesc Fabregas
Games: 800 Assists: 234
Falling one short of the Argentine sensation, Di Maria, Fabregas managed to square off 234 goals for his co-players in a span of the glittering career that was bestrewn over several illustrious clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona.
Slowly rising through the ranks with his brand of extraordinary passing football, Fabregas lifted himself to the headlines with some stupendous outings for the Catalans.
With a lion’s share of his career being spent at Camp Nou and Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard kissed the height of his football dexterity for the English blues. Playing 138 games at the Bridge, Fabregas netted 15 goals and threaded in countless passes and cross that helped Chelsea roar even in the most mutable occasions.
5. Angel Di Maria
Games: 695 Assists: 235
Di Maria’s career has taken him all the way from Argentina to Europe, playing for some of the continents best clubs along the way. Starting out in Rosario CA in Argentina, he moved to Portugal to play for Benfica in 2007. After playing 117 games for the club, he moved to Real Madrid in 2010 where he won the La Liga and Champions League in 190 appearances before moving to Manchester United at the end of the 2014 campaign.
Although he only spent one season in England, he still managed to provide 11 assists in just 27 appearances in the Premier League. He moved to France in 2015 to play for Paris Saint-Germain, where he has scored 80 goals and provided 90 assists in 217 appearances and continues to be an integral part of the team.
4. Mesut Özil
Games: 653 Assists: 253
While at the moment Özil can’t be seen to get into the Arsenal team, he has still been one of the most creative players in the 21st century. Starting out in the FC Schalke youth system, Özil’s career has seen him represent some of the biggest clubs in Germany, Spain, and England.
He won La Liga in 2011 with Real Madrid before moving to Arsenal in 2013. He holds the record for 2nd most assists in the Premier League campaign with 19 in 15/16. In 2014, he won the World Cup with Germany and has won the German Player of the Year award a record 5 times.
3. Luis Suarez
Games: 713 Assists: 256
While Suarez is most widely known for his finishing prowess, his record of 250+ assists makes him all the more important to his teams. While he first made a name for himself in Europe playing for Ajax, it was during his time in England with Liverpool that he established himself as one of the most deadly strikers in the world.
He earned himself a move to Barcelona at the end of the 2013/14 campaign, where he has won the La Liga 4 times and the Champions League in 2015.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Games: 1008 Assists: 258
Arguably the most potent goal scorer of his generation, Ronaldo has also provided his fair share of assists. Beginning his career with Sporting CP in Portugal before moving to Manchester United in 2003, Ronaldo quickly established himself as one of the best players in the world.
In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid for a world-record transfer fee, where he scored 450 goals and provided 133 assists. He moved to Juventus in 2018, where he continues to be just as potent in front of goal.
1. Lionel Messi
Games: 866 Assists: 319
Messi is the assist king. He’s reached double figures for assists in 12 of his La Liga campaigns with Barcelona and is the only player in La Liga to ever record 20+ goals and 20+ assists in a single campaign.
As well as being the top scorer in La Liga history, he also holds the record for the most assists in the competition history.