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Ranking the best dribblers in Europe's top five leagues this season

FC Barcelona v Granada CF - La Liga
FC Barcelona v Granada CF - La Liga
ANALYST
Modified 18 Feb 2020
Top 5 / Top 10
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Football is about joy. It's about dribbling. I favour every idea that makes the game beautiful. Every good idea has to last. - Ronaldinho

Dribbling has always been a skill that has entertained the audience since the inception of football. Players with flair and craft have ended up as fan favourites wherever they have been throughout their career.

Apart from the entertainment value, the ability to dribble and take on players turns out to be highly significant in the games when the team yearns for some inspiration on the pitch. While the team is devoid of ideas in attacking third, managers and other players often look up to the best dribbler in their team for a moment of magic that gets the crowd going and put the opponent team on back-foot.

Here are three such players who have excelled in the art of dribbling and have been a constant threat to the opposition with their fancy footwork.


1. Adama Traore - Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League

Adama Traore has established himself as one of the complete players this season after failing to provide the end product in previous seasons. With 136 completed dribbles so far, he leads the successful dribbles chart across Europe's top five leagues. The Spaniard has a similar success rate to Lionel Messi with 74%, having attempted a total of 183 dribbles.

Traore has registered four goals and seven assists in the league and his link-up play with Jimenez has been the key to Wolves' resurgence after a fairly poor start to the season. Unstoppable speed and strong physical structure of the Wolves winger makes him hard to be marked.

His incredible turn of pace and ability to deliver the crosses with both feet often draws more than one opposition player towards him, which in turn creates space for other players to make runs. Traore, who is only 24, is on the radar of several top clubs in Europe and a summer move is increasingly likely owing to his remarkable performances this season.

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2. Wilfried Zaha - Crystal Palace

Everton FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Everton FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

45% of Crystal Palace's attacks this season has come from the left side and hence it is no surprise to see Wilfried Zaha in this list. Known for his fancy skill moves and incredible pace, Zaha has completed 123 dribbles so far in the league while averaging 4.7 successful dribbles per game.

The Ivorian has always been asked to do the majority of the work on his own and has been offered very little support during the Eagles' attacks. This contributes to his low success rate of 62% while attempting a total of 197 dribbles, which is the highest across the top five leagues in Europe.

Despite these impressive stats, Crystal Palace have scored the least number of goals in the league and find themselves in 14th position in the league standings. Apart from Jordan Ayew and Zaha, none of their players have contributed enough in the final third.

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Roy Hodgson would want all of his attacking options to step up during this crucial phase of the league since a six-point gap is never safe for survival in Premier League at this stage


3. Lionel Messi - FC Barcelona

Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga
Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Hailed as one of the best players ever to grace the football pitch, Lionel Messi continues to entertain his fans with his dribbling skill. Despite missing few games through injury, the Argentinian leads the successful dribbles chart in Spain with 105 completed dribbles so far this season.

While attempting 141 dribbles, he has been dispossessed only 36 times and has an impressive success rate of 74%. Apart from these splendid dribbling stats, Messi has 51 key passes to his name and leads the assists list by creating 12 goals.

Barcelona have hugely relied on Messi this season since several players have failed to deliver consistent performances. He has been pivotal for their victories so far and has played an influential role in the majority of their attacks in the final third.

The Argentine must continue to put on these impressive displays to ensure that the Spanish giants stay in the hunt for the league title and also the Champions League, which they last won five years ago.


Published 18 Feb 2020, 19:48 IST
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