Football is a lot of things but I guess we can all agree that goals are perhaps the most important part of it. It is then no surprise that goalscorers are the ones who have ambled away with most of the plaudits. However, just as important are the ones who facilitate the scoring of one.
Some of the greatest footballers of all time are playmakers. The ones that can upend defences with their quick thinking and technical precision. The ones who the goalscorers sprint across to bless with an embrace after they poke the ball home.
Here, we take a look at the top 10 players with most assists in the 21st century.
#10 Stefen Hoffman- 208 assists
Stefen Hoffman is perhaps the least known player on the list. That perhaps has a lot to do with how he has not played at the most popular clubs in the world. The attacking midfielder, however, started his career at Bayern Munich.
He joined Rapid Wien, commonly known as Rapid Vienna in 2002. He then left the club in 2005 only to return back within a year. Following his comeback, Hoffman kicked on at Rapid Vienna for the next 12 years till his retirement.
The attacking midfielder racked up 208 assists from 609 games for club and country and was also the Austrian footballer of the year on 2 occasions; in 2004 and 2009.
The diminutive midfielder holds a rare distinction in so far as he has never been sent off in his career that almost spanned two decades. The right footed midfielder used to find the net quite frequently as well, scoring 151 goals in his career for both club and country.
#9 Thomas Müller- 224 assists
Thomas Müller is a name the streets will never forget. Müller's playing style is deceptive more than it is flattering or easy on the eye. However, the fact that he is one of the best technicians in the modern game is unquestionable.
A World Cup winner with Germany, Thomas Müller equalled the record for most assists in a single Bundesliga season. He set up 21 goals in 33 games this season for Bayern Munich in addition to scoring 8 goals.
He has been playing for Bayern since the beginning of his career and despite being constantly linked with a move away owing to the steady and relentless stream of attention that he gathers, he continues to be loyal to the Bavarians.
#8 Franck Ribery- 228 assists
The fleet footed Ribery who is notorious for sending defenders tumbling with so much as a drop of a shoulder is undoubtedly one of the footballing greats of our times. The Bayern Munich legend, who is in the twilight of his career, now plays for Serie A outfit Fiorentina.
He has stacked up a whopping 228 assists till now in his career and continues to perform at the highest level. Ribery formed an incomparable partnership with fellow winger Arjen Robben and helped Bayern Munich dominate European football for a short while in the past decade.
The 37-year-old former French international started his professional career with French club Boulogne and had brief spells at Olympique Ales, Brest, Metz, Galatasaray and Marseille before joining Bayern Munich in 2007 and spending the next 12 years of his career with the Bavarians.