Achieving the most assists in Europe is no easy task, but the departure of Lionel Messi may make the challenge slightly more doable for the top football stars on the continent.
Messi’s exit from Paris Saint-Germain to Inter Miami in MLS means the Argentina star, who has been one of the best creative players in Europe’s top five leagues for more than a decade, is no longer part of this competition.
However, Messi did finish on a high in the European Assists King award.
Messi set the all-time record for La Liga assists (192) during his time with Barcelona and remained one of Europe’s most creative players at PSG.
Assists are a more variable statistic than goals, so there is a chance a surprise contender emerges once the season begins.
The 2023/24 European Assist King award will be won by the player who provides the most assists in the top five European leagues – the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.
There are no coefficients or scales used for these leagues – just ranking the most goals created by each player in the top-five leagues condensed into a single table.
We will also track the players who produce the most assists in each of those five divisions individually and this page will be updated with the latest standings throughout the campaign.
Who has the most assists in Europe?
Leroy Sane is the player with the most assists in Europe for the 2023/24 season.
Mohamed Salah and Ollie Watkins are not far behind him at the top of the assist rankings.
Xavi Simons, Kieran Trippier, Marcus Thuram and Pedro Neto are in a large group of players tied on seven in the chasing pack just three assists off the lead, with the Wolves star retaining that position despite missing two months of the season through injury.
Thomas Muller, Bukayo Saka, Toni Kroos and West Ham’s James Ward-Prowse all have six assists each to sit just four off the pace being set by the leader.
Harry Kane is among a large group of players tied with five assists each with the likes of Manchester City winger Jeremy Doku, Chris Fuhrich and Diego Rico.
Takumi Minamino and Caio Henrique are some of the other players who feature prominently in the latest European Assists King award standings, with their respective tallies for goals created being six short of Sane.
European Assists King 2023/24
Salah and Neto impressed in the same Premier League game, as Liverpool won 3-1 at Wolves in September.
Liverpool star Salah set up two goals in the contest at Molineux, while Neto created the opener scored by his team-mate Hwang Hee-chan.
Salah has also created goals against Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Man City so far this season, on top of registering a goal created in both the home and away league matches against Newcastle.
Neto had two in the same game in Wolves’ 3-2 loss at Crystal Palace in September and remains in a prominent position despite suffering an injury that ruled him out from October 28 until December 30.
Saka, meanwhile, moved up to six assists for the season by creating a goal in Arsenal‘s dramatic 4-3 win over Luton Town.
Doku propelled himself towards the top of the standings by becoming the youngest player to record four assists in a single Premier League game when Man City defeated Bournemouth 6-1 in November.
As Spurs try to cope with the departure of Kane, they will be reliant on Maddison’s contribution both as a scorer and a goal creator in 2023/24. He set up two more goals in Spurs’ thrilling 2-2 derby draw at Arsenal and got his latest assist against Luton Town before being sidelined by injury.
Inter star Thuram has assists in seven separate matches, including setting up one of the goals for Lautaro Martinez in the striker’ stunning four-goal haul against Salernitana in September.
Fuhrich, meanwhile, had two assists when Stuttgart beat Bochum 5-0 in August and has added to that in a recent Bundesliga surge.
Simons, who is on loan at RB Leipzig from PSG, led the way for much of the season in Germany. He had two assists in the 5-1 win over Stuttgart in the second week of the season and has kicked on from there, including having another two goals created as his team thrashed Cologne 6-0 in October.
Kane’s latest assist for Bayern Munich, his fifth overall, came against Darmstadt, though it was his goalscoring exploits in that game which grabbed the headlines as he scored a brilliant hat-trick.
He has since been overtaken by Sane, who had consecutive two-assist games in the Bundesliga against Borussia Dortmund and Heidenheim during the month of November. Sane racked up his eighth assist of the campaign as Bayern beat Stuttgart 3-0 prior to the winter break. He then hit the ground running in his first game back, becoming the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to hit double figures for assists with two goals created in his side’s 3-0 home win over Hoffenheim on January 12.
Monaco‘s Caio was the first player across Europe’s top five leagues to reach four assists in the race to be named the most creative player on the continent. He racked up 17 assists in Ligue 1 over the previous two seasons and made a fast start this time around too, including setting up two goals in Monaco’s 3-0 win over Lens.
Earlier in the season it was Alphonso Davies who had the most assists in Europe’s top five leagues after making an impressive opening to the campaign for Bayern, setting up two goals in the German champions’ 4-0 win at Werder Bremen to start the new Bundesliga season.
The Canada player followed that up in Bayern’s first home match, creating a goal for Kane as Thomas Tuchel’s men recorded a 3-1 victory, but has not had an assist since.
As for ex-Liverpool attacking midfielder Minamino, he made a superb start for Monaco. The Japan international has scored five goals and added four assists in Ligue 1, but has been less productive of late and will now play in the Asian Cup.
On Matchday 2 in England, new West Ham signing Ward-Prowse had two assists in a big win over Chelsea and later moved on to three goals created after setting up a strike at Luton. He was briefly overtaken by team-mate Vladimir Coufal, but bounced back with a two-assist game against Nottingham Forest before his most recent goal created in his team’s shock win at Arsenal on December 28.
In-form Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt is level with the likes of Victor Boniface and Florian Wirtz on seven assists going into the latest round of action in Europe’s top five leagues.
Most Assists in Europe: Previous Winners
The title for most assists in Europe was shared by three players last season. Lionel Messi (PSG), Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) and Antoine Griezmann (Atletico) all registered 16 assists to share the crown.
Of the other divisions, Dortmund star Raphael Guerreiro finished on top of the Bundesliga assists charts with 12 goals created. That meant he finished in a tie with Premier League duo Mohamed Salah and Leandro Trossard for fourth place overall.
Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had the most assists in Serie A with 10.
Thomas Müller and Kylian Mbappe shared the European Assists King award in the 2021/22 season with a sensational 18 goals created each, beating Messi (14) into third place.
Salah (13) was again in a tie for fourth position overall that year after registering the most Premier League assists, while Domenico Berardi and Ousmane Dembele (both 13) came out on top in Serie A and La Liga respectively.
Muller was named the European Assists King outright in each of the previous two seasons (2019/20 and 2020/21), as he recorded 40 assists across those campaigns in the Bundesliga.
The Bayern star finished five assists clear of joint runners-up Harry Kane and Filip Kostic in 2020/21, with 19 goals created in total.
Iago Aspas (13) had the most assists in La Liga that season, while Ruslan Malinovskiy and Memphis Depay (both 12) topped the assist charts in Serie A and Ligue 1 respectively.
Muller’s first crown came when he had 21 assists to only just beat Messi, who had 20 in La Liga 2019/20 for Barcelona. De Bruyne was another to narrowly miss out after he also set up 20 goals and topped the Premier League charts.
The award for most creative player in Europe in 2018/19 went to Eden Hazard. He had 15 assists for Chelsea, meaning he narrowly beat Jadon Sancho (14) and Ryan Fraser (14) to the award.
De Bruyne had the most assists in Europe during 2017/18. He created 16 goals for his Man City team-mates to claim the title. Leroy Sane (15), Dimitri Payet (14) and Luis Alberto (14) all narrowly missed out.
|Messi (PSG), De Bruyne (Man City), Griezmann (Atletico): All Shared
|Müller (Bayern), Mbappe (PSG): Both shared
|Thomas Müller (Bayern)
|Thomas Müller (Bayern)
|Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
|Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
What is an assist?
An assist in football is usually credited to the player who plays the final pass or cross before a goal is scored. A player may receive recognition for creating a goal by being awarded an assist even if the pass or touch they have made to set up the goalscorer is unintentional.
There can be slight differences in how assists are recorded and allocated depending on the criteria of each official competition. For example, if a player’s pass towards a goalscorer takes a deflection on its way to the intended target, an assist is often not credited. A player who wins a penalty that is then scored does not usually get an assist either.
As well as being a recognised official statistic, assists are often important in fantasy football games and betting markets.