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
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
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.