The world of football is becoming increasingly technical, with several clubs now relying on statistical data to sign players.
Key metrics such as efficiency in front of goal, a player's ability to create chances and dribble past opponents play an integral role in their decision-making process. These qualities are of utmost importance while signing forward-minded players as defenders are judged by a whole other set of metrics.
Dribbling remains an essential aspect of the game and any player that can glide across the pitch like a gazelle is a huge asset for his side. This comes to the fore particularly when a team wants to beat the opposition's press or excel in transition and hit the opposition on the counter-attack.
On that note, let's take a look at five players with the best dribble success rate across Europe last season (2021-22).
#5 Santiago Comesana | Rayo Vallecano - 75%
Few will have heard of Santiago Comesana as he remains an underrated talent. He also played for a Rayo Vallecano side that did not receive enough credit for their achievements last season.
A creative hub for the Andoni Iraola-led side, Comesana played a hugely influential role in defensive midfield for Vallecano last season. The versatile Spaniard also deputized in a number of positions during the last campaign, thereby providing tactical flexibility.
A lot of this was possible due to his sensational ability to drift past players with relative ease and with a lot of composure. A valuable cog in the Vallecano midfield line, Comesana managed a dribble success rate of 75% last season, the third-best in La Liga.
If he continues to pull off such performances, it might not be long before a mid-table side or a top club can snap him up.
#4 Adrien Rabiot | Juventus - 77.2%
Adrien Rabiot has blown hot & cold since leaving Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and joining Juventus in 2019 on a free transfer. The Italian ace has suffered a number of injuries, courtesy of which he has not been able to bring consistency into his game.
Despite all of this, Rabiot is still a hugely talented player and can turn games on their head on his day. Gliding past opponents is one of his best qualities in the center of the pitch, a feature that made him stand out in PSG's midfield a few years ago. The 27-year-old, who is excellent with both feet, wriggles past players with a lot of panache.
Moreover, his awareness on the pitch also helped him secure a 77.2% dribble success rate in Serie A last season. While these numbers may not have helped Juventus all that much, it is proof that Rabiot is still a useful asset to his side.
#3 Adama Traore | Wolverhampton Wanderers and Barcelona - 78.1%
Adama Traore is one of the few players in world football who does nearly everything right apart from providing the end product.
Wolverhampton Wanderers eventually realized the same last season and loaned him out to Barcelona for the second half of the campaign. Traore could only manage two assists in 11 La Liga appearances. But it was still better production than the one goal he managed in 20 Premier League games during the first half of the 2021-22 season.
However, there is a lot more to his game than just these statistics as his ball progression and work in transitions was splendid. Given that he is one of the fastest players in the game, Traore can accelerate away from opponents quite easily.
Add his strength and technical skill to that and you have a player who can dribble past defenders and get his side on the front foot in a matter of seconds. It came as no shock then that Traore managed a dribble success rate of 78.1% last season despite playing less than 2000 minutes combined for both his club sides.
#2 Marco Verratti | Paris Saint-Germain - 80.7%
Marco Verratti is aging like a fine wine at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as the Italy international is still the midfield general at the club.
Armed with an astute awareness and understanding of space, Verratti's short stature and intelligence in tight spaces help him get past players comfortably. The 29-year-old ace also does not shy away from taking on the best defenders and rolling them on their backside with his technical ability.
Despite not being the quickest player on the pitch, Verratti excels at keeping the ball at his feet under pressure. Additionally, he does not fret about taking on multiple players, courtesy of which he managed a 80.7% dribble success rate last season.
#1 Frenkie De Jong | Barcelona - 85%
Frenkie de Jong's future at Barcelona is filled with uncertainty and the Dutch star could be on his way to Manchester United. But the Blaugrana might need to think twice before offloading one of the best technical players at the club.
An AFC Ajax academy product, De Jong is at his best when he comes deep to collect the ball before accelerating and beating the first line of the opposition press. Although he has not done a lot of that during his time at the Nou Camp, he is also adept at getting past players in the final third of the pitch.
Much of this is made possible by his silky first touch, skill and ability to start-and-stop while running to trick defenders.
It enabled De Jong to secure a dribble success rate of 85% last season, which was by far the best across Europe. While Barcelona are likely to let him go, Erik Ten Hag needs to tap into his former player's immense potential if they manage to get him to Old Trafford this summer.
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