The battle to be crowned European Assists King for the 2021/22 season has started.
Thomas Müller has set the standard over recent years, impressively being named the continent’s top creative player on two straight occasions despite the Bundesliga having fewer matches than the other major leagues.
He again went into this season as a top candidate to produce the most assists in Europe.
Former winner Kevin De Bruyne and his new Man City team-mate Jack Grealish are also among those expected to feature near the top in our list of the most creative players in Europe, with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes among the Man Utd contenders.
Lionel Messi and Harry Kane have also fared well in the creative charts over recent seasons, though the winner could well be unexpected, with player totals for assists typically less stable than goals on an annual basis.
There are no coefficients or scales used - just ranking the most goals created by each player in the top-five leagues condensed into a single table.
We will also track the players who produce the most assists in each of those five divisions individually, so stay tuned to this page for the latest standings throughout the campaign.
MOST ASSISTS IN EUROPE 2021/22
Manchester United midfielder Pogba did not register an assist in the entertaining 2-1 Premier League win for his side over West Ham on Sunday.
That opened the door to some of his rivals in the race to be the most creative player in Europe to close the impressive gap he had built across the early weeks of the season.
There are now two players within two assists of Pogba at the top of the assist charts.
The France star now has six goals and five assists from just five Primera Division matches in an incredible start to the season.
Nantes forward Moses Simon had two assists in the 4-1 win at Angers to move on to five assists himself, already matching his total from the previous two Ligue 1 seasons.
There are four players with four assists who trail Pogba by three, including Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe joined that group with an assist as PSG just found a way to beat Lyon 2-1 on Sunday.
Two-time defending champion Thomas Muller has made a steady start, having registered two assists in five Bundesliga games so far.
2021/22 European Assist Kings
|Paul Pogba||Man Utd||7|
|Karim Benzema||Real Madrid||5|
|Florian Wirtz||Bayer Leverkusen||4|
|Michail Antonio||West Ham||3|
|Gabriel Jesus||Man City||3|
|Iker Muniain||Athletic Bilbao||3|
Who had the most assists in previous seasons?
2018/19: Eden Hazard, Chelsea (15 assists)
2017/18: Kevin De Bruyne, Man City (16 assists)
Muller’s first crown came when he had 21 assists to only just beat Lionel Messi, who had 20 in La Liga 2019/20 for Barcelona. Kevin De Bruyne was another to narrowly miss out after he also set up 20 goals and topped the Premier League charts.
The award for most creative player in Europe in 2018/19 went to Eden Hazard. He had 15 assists for Chelsea, meaning he narrowly beat Jadon Sancho (14) and Ryan Fraser (14) to the award.
De Bruyne had the most assists in Europe during 2017/18. He created 16 goals for his Man City team-mates. Leroy Sane (15), Dimitri Payet (14) and Luis Alberto (14) all narrowly missed out.
What is an assist?
An assist in football is usually credited to the player who plays the final pass or cross before a goal is scored. A player may receive recognition for creating a goal by being awarded an assist even if the pass or touch they have made to set up the goalscorer is unintentional.
There can be slight differences in how assists are recorded and allocated depending on the criteria of each official competition. For example, if a player’s pass towards a goalscorer takes a deflection on its way to the intended target, an assist is often not credited. A player who wins a penalty that is then scored does not usually get an assist either.
As well as a recognised official statistic, assists are often important in fantasy football games and betting markets.