In football games are decided by the number of goals scored by a team, so naturally, the goalscorers take away all the glory. As crucial as it is to provide the final touch, we should also appreciate the players who create the chances from the middle of the pitch and are, selflessly, happy with providing the assist.
Goalscoring is often termed as an art but without the midfielders pulling the strings behind the finishers and possessing the skills and the presence of mind to deliver a perfectly weighted ball in the final third, even the best in the world might struggle.
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Providing assists is one of the tasks that sounds easy because all that needs to be done is to pass the ball to the striker but unless you're Kevin De Bruyne, finding your teammates in the opposition half day in and day out proves to be a cumbersome task.
Across the top 5 European Leagues, i.e., Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga only a handful of players have breached the 20-assist mark in a season and here we take a look at the players who've accumulated the most assists in a single season in these leagues. (Rank 5 to 1)
5. Alejandro Gomez - Serie A, 16 assists (2019/20)
The player currently having the assists record for a season in the Italian Serie A is Atalanta's captain, Alejandro Gomez. The 32-year-old winger has grabbed 10 or more assists in the last four seasons but posted the best assists stats in the 2019/20 season as he helped La Dea to their best finish in the Italian top-flight.
Though the 2016/17 term was statistically the best season for him, in which he hit double figures in goals (16) and assists (10), his influence last season was crucial as the club finished with the most points in their history and reached the quarter-finals in the Champions League.
4. Ángel Di María - Ligue 1, 18 assists (2015/16)
Ángel Di María is a player who has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world. He rose to fame with Real Madrid where he impressed with his pace, trickery and passing prowess. In his final season with the Los Blancos, the player registered 17 assists in La Liga, while also scoring four times and grabbed five assists in the Champions League as well, helping them secure La Decima.
Even in his ill-fated moved to Manchester United in the 2014/15 season, he managed to bag 10 assists. It was in the following season that he enjoyed the best season of his career, scoring 10 times and racking up a career-best 18 assists in the Ligue 1 for current employers Paris Saint-Germain.
3. Thierry Henry & Kevin De Bruyne - Premier League, 20 assists (2003/04 & 2019/20)
The Premier League is one of the first leagues across Europe to recognise the contributions of playmakers to the modern game and since 2017/18 campaign had introduced The Premier League Playmaker award for the player who creates the most goals for his team.
It will be interesting to know that Thierry Henry, a prolific goalscorer and a four-time winner of the Premier League Golden Boot for Arsenal held the record for most assists in a single season in the English top-flight for roughly two decades, having created 20 goals for his team in the 2002/03 campaign, in which he also scored 24 times.
Kevin De Bruyne equalled Henry's record last season and won his second Playmaker award. The Belgian pass-master has created a name for himself thanks to his unparalleled vision which has also made the Manchester City star become the fastest player to reach a half century of assists in the Premier league.
2. Lionel Messi - La Liga, 21 assists (2019/20)
Lionel Messi has broken almost every goalscoring record in the Spanish La Liga and last season even broke the record for the most assists in a single season set by his former Barcelona team-mate, Xavi Hernandez. He created 21 goals for the Catalans in the 2019/20 campaign while also winning the Pichichi Trophy for a record-seventh time.
The Argentinian has continued to perform at exceptionally high levels despite his advancing age and would be gunning for breaking Pele's record for most goals for a single club before bringing an end to his Barcelona career.
1. Thomas Muller - Bundesliga, 21 assists (2019/20)
The 2019/20 season was a good one for playmakers, as not one but three players broke or equalled the all-time assists record in a season across three leagues. Thomas Muller broke the assist record in the Bundesliga, set in the 2014/15 season by none other than assist-king De Bruyne while playing for Wolfsburg.
The 2014 World Cup winner recorded 21 assists in a fantastic season, as he also found the back of the net eight times, helping Bayern Munich lift the Bundesliga title for a record-extending eighth time.
The self-proclaimed ‘Raumdeuter’ (space interpreter/ instigator/ invader) has scored and assisted more than 100 times in the league for the Bavarians and given that he's signed a contract extension with them, will continue to do so.