Lionel Messi has again proved beyond all doubts that he is the ultimate team player after being named as the world’s best playmaker of the last decade.
Although the Barcelona talisman is in elite company, he was comfortably judged to have been the most productive creator over the last 10 years, according to data compiled by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
Every year, the IFFHS gives out an award for the best playmaker using statistics to determine a winner on a points system. This system – which gives 20 points to first place, 19 points to second and etcetera – has accumulated each player’s yearly total between 2011 and 2020 to help crown the best 20 playmakers, with Messi winning by a substantially clear margin.
Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, also the recipient for the best playmaker award in 2015, 2017 and 2019, accrued an impressive 174 points during the nine-year period, with ex-Barca team-mate Andres Iniesta the closest player to him on 127 points.
Luka Modric, who has the distinction of being the only player to break Messi’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s stranglehold on the Ballon d’Or trophy in 2018, claimed the final podium place of third with 113 points.
Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, who is considered the Premier League’s best creative playmaker, only finished in fourth and 10 points adrift of Modric.
Toni Kroos made the top five while his Real Madrid team-mate, Eden Hazard, emerged sixth, having enjoyed his best years with Chelsea.
Surprisingly Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil secured eighth place honors ahead of the David Silva (13th) and Christian Eriksen (16th), who he has been in direct competition with as a playmaker during the last decade.
And while he is expected to continue impressing with his goalscoring feats, Portuguese talisman Ronaldo failed to break into the top 10 and could only finish 12th on the list – a point behind Xavi, who retired in 2019.
Yaya Toure, Andrea Pirlo and Bastian Schweinsteiger are other players who retired in the last decade but still made the top 20.