Dribbling is a quintessential part of football and nifty dribblers have always held a special place in the hearts of football fans. Dribbling is not merely limited to carrying the ball around as getting past defenders and taking them out of the equation is also an important part of football. Football teams benefit from having skillful dribblers on their side.
When teams sit deep inside their own halves to defend and look to hit the opposition on the counter, skillful dribblers can often make a difference. They can navigate tight spaces courtesy of their deft touches, agility and burst of pace and break down such defenses.
Skillful dribblers are some of the most admired players in the world of football. Without further ado, let's take a look at five of the best dribblers in world football at the moment.
#5 Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Manchester City)
Riyad Mahrez is one of the most exciting wingers to have graced the Premier League in recent times. The Algeria international first made waves at Leicester City, playing a starring role in the Foxes' incredible Premier League triumph in the 2015-16 season.
He was roped in by Manchester City subsequently and even now, Mahrez continues to terrorize defenses with his dribbling skills and agility. The left-footed winger loves to drop his shoulder and send defenders the wrong way before barging into the box and testing the goalkeeper.
Mahrez uses his low center of gravity and nimble touches on the ball to keep defenders guessing. He also executes all of this with the grace of a gazelle and it's a joy to watch him play down the right wing for Manchester City.
#4 Ousmane Dembele (France/Barcelona)
What makes Ousmane Dembele unique is the fact that he is not only a great dribbler but also that he is excellent at it with both feet. The Frenchman is one of the most exciting attackers in Europe right now and is one of the most dangerous players a defender can come up against in the final third.
Dembele is deceptively fast and his burst of pace is further aided by his long strides, which makes him almost impossible to catch up with once he beats a defender.
The 25-year-old's end product is also of a very high quality and he is about as unpredictable as forwards get thanks to his ability to dribble with both feet.
#3 Lionel Messi (Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain)
Throughout his career, Lionel Messi has mesmerized us with his dribbling skills. He is not as flashy as the rest of the players on this list in the sense that you rarely ever see Messi do even a step over. But Messi makes it look as though the ball is glued to his boots the way he runs around with it.
The ball is hardly ever more than a foot away from his cleats whenever he is in possession of it. He times his nimble touches on the ball to perfection and waits for defenders to commit to a tackle before dragging it away from them and rushing away.
Messi continues to be one of the best dribblers in the game despite being 35-years-old. The record seven-time Ballon d'Or winner continues to be a nightmare to defend against despite having lost a yard of pace in recent years.
#2 Vinicius Jr. (Brazil/Real Madrid)
Vinicius Jr. has oodles of flair and the kind of streestsmarts that we've come to associate with Brazilian footballers. After being recognized as a mercurial winger who was capable of producing flashes of genius, Vinicius stepped it up last season for Real Madrid.
He improved his end product massively and also doubled down on his dribbling ability. The Brazil international is an elusive presence on the football pitch with his swift turns and silky skills. He is also an extremely enterprising attacker who is always looking to take defenders on and beat them.
Vinicius adopts a very direct approach in the attacking third, taking the ball and driving into the box and forcing defenders to backpedal regularly. He has a wide array of tricks up his sleeve and is a menacing presence in and around the penalty area.
#1 Neymar Jr. (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)
Neymar Jr. is one of the most skillful dribblers in the history of football. The 30-year-old first burst onto the scene by virtue of his incredible ability to beat defenders with his innovative dribbling ability.
The Brazilian forward is constantly looking to take defenders on and beat them. He is so good with the ball at his feet that no matter how tight a space he gets trapped in, he finds a way to wriggle out of it without conceding possession.
Neymar's skillset is replete with flicks and tricks like roulettes, rainbows, chops, croquetas and flip-flaps and is one of the most entertaining players to watch.