For many years, football has been using assists to measure the passing prowess of players on the pitch.
And while passes are almost never the talk of the day, they give shooters that little extra advantage when it comes to scoring goals.
But who has the most assists in football history?
Let’s look at the numbers.
- Born: 24 June 1987
- Current team: Paris Saint-Germain
- Current position: Right Winger
- Number of assists: 316*
One of the best-known figures in the sport, the Argentinian football star, sits atop the list of the players with the most assists in international football history.
The Paris Saint Germain right-winger also has the most assists in a single Copa America tournament (5), the oldest still-running continental football competition.
He holds the record for most career league assists in La Liga (193) and most assists in a season in the league (21), which he made in the 2019/20 season.
On the other hand, Messi’s close friend, Neymar, holds the record for most assists for the national team (51).
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- Born: 13 September 1989
- Current team: Bayern Munich
- Position: Second Striker
- Number of assists: 247*
When it comes to Europe’s football leagues, few football players are as dominant, at least by numbers, like Bayern Munchen’s forward Thomas Müller.
Müller, one of the most prominent players on Germany’s team who has scored a total of 368 goals in his career, has registered 24 league assists in 2021, more than any player in all top five leagues in Europe. What’s even more impressive is that those assists came in just 36 appearances.
Angel Di Maria
- Born: 14 February 1988
- Current team: Juventus
- Position: Right Winger
- Number of assists: 243*
Angel Di Maria is one of the most creative football players to ever step on the pitch and is widely regarded as one of the world’s best wingers of his time.
In addition to winning a La Liga title, and the UEFA Champions League, the Argentinian midfielder has earned more than 120 caps since his international debut for his home country and helped Argentina win the 2021 Copa America by scoring the only goal in the final.
What’s more, Di Maria holds the record for most assists in football history in one season for Paris Saint-Germain, alongside Safet Susic.
- Born: 24 January 1987
- Current team: Nacional
- Position: Centre-Forward
- Number of assists: 240*
The Uruguayan striker is arguably one of the best players and goalscorers in modern football.
He is the all-time leading goalscorer on Uruguay’s team and has won plenty of recognition in leagues across the world, winning three La Liga titles and three Copas the Rey, among other trophies.
Suarez became the first player in La Liga history to lead the league in both goals and assists.
The Atletico Madrid forward is also the all-time top scorer in qualification in Copa Libertadores de América, scoring a total of 29 goals in FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
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- Born: 5 February 1985
- Current team: Manchester United
- Position: Centre-Forward
- Number of assists: 230*
The Portuguese superstar is the top goal scorer in football history and one of the few players who have made over 1000 career appearances on the pitch.
He has played a crucial role in his team and country’s victories on an international level, is well-known for his legendary passes, and has broken many records throughout his long career.
In fact, Ronaldo holds the record for most appearances (183), most goals (140), and most assists in the Champions League (47).
- Born: 7 April 1983
- Current team: retired
- Position: Left Winger
- Number of assists: 224*
The former Bayern Munich legend earned his legendary status during his 12 seasons with the team, where he scored 124 goals and made a total of 182 times in 425 caps.
Ribèry boasts an impressive 157 career goals and a number of Bundesliga trophies under his belt. He also became the first player to have won both the French Player of the Year award and the German award of Footballer of the Year.
- Born: 15 October 1988
- Current team: Istanbul Basaksehir
- Position: Attacking Midfield
- Number of assists: 219*
One of the best playmakers and attacking midfielders in Germany and on an international level, Özil rarely misses an opportunity to create a chance for a goalscoring finish.
The Turkish footballer has played for various big clubs in his career, including Real Madrid, Arsenal, and Werder Bremen, and is famous for his ability to find an attacker from the toughest of angles.
As such, Özil tops the list for most hat-trick assists in football and is on the list of players with the highest number of assists in one season (19) in the Premier League.
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- Born: 4 May 1987
- Current team: Como
- Position: Central Midfield
- Number of assists: 213*
One of the best playmakers in the modern history of football, Fàbregas was a key figure in Spain’s national team in the 2008 and 2012 European Championship, when the team clinched victory, as well as in the 2010 World Cup victory when he passed the ball to Iniesta for the final’s winning goal.
The Spaniard recorded a total of 111 assists in England’s top flight in 350 games and is the second on the list of players with the most assists in the Premier League, trailing behind the Red Devils legend Ryan Giggs (162).
*Number of assists per transfermarkt.co.uk
Assists in football may be underrated (or overrated, depending on whom you ask), but skilful passes are hard to miss and even harder to forget.
When it comes to numbers, Messi, the Paris Saint-Germain newcomer, tops the list for the most assists in football history (and many more for that matter) by a lot, and it’s unlikely that any other player could break his record –at least not in the foreseeable future.