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Top 10 Players with the Most Assists in History

In football, scoring goals might grab the headlines, but the architects of those goals, the players who craft the assists, are just as crucial to a team’s success. These playmakers, often operating as attacking midfielders or wingers, have redefined team dynamics, especially in modern formations that might forgo traditional strikers in favor of more fluid attacking roles like the “false nine” or “Trequartista.”

However, tallying assists isn’t as straightforward as it seems, as different sources may have varying definitions of what constitutes an assist. Typically, according to Opta, an assist is awarded for the final touch leading directly to a goal, excluding actions that lead to own goals, directly taken free-kicks, direct corner goals, and penalties.

Let’s explore the football legends who have turned the art of the assist into a formidable part of their legacy, using the stringent Opta criteria to ensure consistency:

1. Ferenc Puskás (404 assists) – The Hungarian icon not only dazzled with his scoring prowess but also with his ability to set up his teammates, topping the assist charts historically with 404 assists across 719 appearances.

2. Lionel Messi (372 assists) – The Argentine wizard’s name is synonymous with footballing excellence, both for his goal-scoring records and his assist tally, which stands at 361 and counting, as he continues to ply his trade in MLS.

3. Pelé (369 assists) – Brazil’s jewel, Pelé, combined his scoring talent with a keen eye for delivering the perfect pass, amassing 369 assists and solidifying his place as a football great.

4. Alex de Souza (363 assists) – Perhaps a surprising entry for some, the Brazilian maestro Alex de Souza demonstrated his playmaking skills extensively in both Brazilian and Turkish leagues, crafting 363 assists in his decorated career.

5. Johann Cruyff (358 assists) – Known for his revolutionary influence on the game, Dutch master Johan Cruyff combined technical skill with unparalleled vision to provide 358 assists.

6. Luis Figo (283 assists) – The Portuguese winger dazzled on the flanks with his dribbling and precise crossing, contributing 283 assists over his illustrious career.

7. Ryan Giggs (277 assists) – Manchester United’s loyal servant, Giggs used his pace and crossing ability to record 277 assists, a testament to his longevity and skill.

8. Angel Di Maria (263 assists) – Often underrated due to the star-studded lineups he has been part of, Di Maria’s knack for setting up goals is undeniable, with 263 assists to his name.

9. David Beckham (259 assists) – Beckham’s right foot became legendary for free kicks and crosses that led directly to goals, accumulating 259 assists across competitive club football.

10. Neymar (253 assists) – A blend of flair and precision defines Neymar’s style, who has so far notched up 253 assists and continues to perform at the top level in the Saudi Pro League.

Other footballers with the most assists in football history are: Cristiano Ronaldo (250), Kevin De Bruyne (249), Mesut Özil (233), Cesc Fàbregas (233), Thomas Müller (237), and Dušan Tadić (235).

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