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5 Players with most nutmegs in Europe this season (2020/21)

Paris Saint-Germain v FC Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 3: Leg Two
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 3: Leg Two
Sai Teja
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Football has seen some jaw-dropping entertainers on the pitch over the years. Players who bring supporters to the edge of their seats and create a sense of excitement with their flair and panache.

Many players treat some of the biggest stages the sport has to offer as their own personal backyard, pulling off outrageous skills to bamboozle their opponents. Brazilian great Ronaldinho is an excellent example of such players as he pulled off stunning elasticos, rainbow flicks, and other skill moves at will. He was the true embodiment of 'Jogo Bonito.'

One such skill on the pitch is being able to nutmeg an opponent on the pitch, i.e. passing the ball from between a player's legs. It's such an elegant skill to pull off and it is utterly embarrassing for the players on the receiving end. Ronaldinho was a master at nutmegs, and so are the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi.

Nutmegs have long been part of the repertoire of flair players across the globe. Luis Suarez once famously nutmegged David Luiz twice to score two goals in a 3-1 victory in Paris back in 2015 and is often viewed as one of the most skilled players at pulling them off. He's earned himself a banner at Anfield that read, 'Luis Suarez could nutmeg a mermaid.'

Here, we take a look at five players with the highest number of nutmegs completed across the top five leagues of European football.


#5 Piotr Zielinski | SSC Napoli | 13

AS Roma v SSC Napoli - Serie A
AS Roma v SSC Napoli - Serie A

Serie A star Piotr Zielinski kicks off this list with 13 nutmegs completed across his 27 starts and four substitute appearances for Gennaro Gattuso's side. The Pole has played a huge role for Napoli over the course of the campaign, operating in a more advanced midfield position from which he's scored six goals and set up a further eight.

Zielinski has, so far, attempted 3.1 dribbles per 90 for the Partonopei in Serie A, while completing two of them. His dribbling ability allows him to beat players and set up his teammates from great positions as the Pole also boasts the highest number of goal creating actions in the league with 21.


=#2 Kylian Mbappe | Paris Saint-Germain | 14

FC Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One
FC Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One

Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe is one of three players to have clocked 14 nutmegs across the top five leagues in Europe. The French superstar is one of the most feared forwards in world football, and has racked up a staggering 37 goals along with ten assists across 43 games. Eight of those goals were scored in the UEFA Champions League, including a four-goal haul against Barcelona.

It doesn't come as much of a surprise to see Mbappe this high up the list as he's regarded as one of the best dribbles on the ball in world football. The French striker averages 7.4 take-ons per 90 and completes 3.5, and has dribbled past players 95 (!) times this season — more than anyone in Ligue 1. He also ranks first for carries into the penalty area, highlighting how dangerous he is in the final third.


Also read: 5 Transfers that dramatically changed the fortunes of a club

=#2 Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund | 14

RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga
RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

The next player on the list is Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund, who has run riot in the Bundesliga since the start of the 2018/19 campaign. Although he's been far from his best in terms of end product this season, one thing that hasn't changed from previous seasons is his dribbling ability. Sancho averages 3.8 successful take-ons per 90 out of an attempted 7.1 per 90 this season.

He's dribbled past more players than anyone in the Bundesliga over the last two years and ranks third this season (84). Sancho ranks first for carries into the final third this season (75), while only his teammate Raphael Guerreiro has more carries into the penalty box (233) than the Englishman's 215. Sancho has racked up a career-best 14 nutmegs to go with his six goals and nine assists in the league.


=#2 Neymar | Paris Saint-Germain | 14

Paris Saint-Germain v FC Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 3: Leg Two
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 3: Leg Two

Neymar has long been regarded as the most skilful player in the world and possibly one of the best this century. The Brazilian is simply unstoppable in full flow and manages to wriggle himself out of the tightest of situations with an audacious skill move. This season has been no different as Neymar has played fewer league games than anyone on this list and still averages one nutmeg per game.

The 29-year-old attempts more take-ons than anyone on this list, with a staggering 10.6 per 90, completing 6.3 of them in Ligue 1. Despite playing just 14 league games — during which he's racked up six goals, and three assists — only four players in France have dribbled past players on more occasions than Neymar's 82. The world's most expensive football is truly a joy to watch on the pitch.


#1 Marcus Rashford | Manchester United | 20

Manchester United v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Manchester United v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round

Manchester United superstar Marcus Rashford ended the 2019/20 campaign with more nutmegs than any player in Europe (13), with a handful of players, including Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies and Liverpool's Diogo Jota coming in next with 12. This year, Rashford has taken it up by a notch as he's 'megged' an opposition player 20 times, at least six more than anyone in the top five leagues.

The English winger has been sensational in 2020/21, registering 20 goals and 13 assists across all competitions (ten and eight in the league, respectively). Only Jack Grealish (75) has carried the ball into the penalty area on more occasions than Rashford (56) in the league, and only Adama Traore (151) has dribbled past a player more times than the 23-year-old (88). Rashford averages just under three successful take-ons a game and is the nutmeg king of Europe with 20.


Also read: 5 Best Premier League players outside the traditional top 6 clubs

Edited by Sai Teja
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