5 best passers in Europe this season (2021-22)

We’re no stranger to watching world-class playmakers dictate how a game unfolds with their elite passing ability. We’ve been impressed with some absolute passing masterclasses from Europe’s best this term.

Individual brilliance is appreciated and adored in the world of football, but the fact remains that it takes 11 players to make a team work. Football is a team game. There are several ways to move the ball down the court and the most effective way to do this is to pass it.

There’s no shortage of elite smugglers in Europe right now

Technically gifted players who are blessed with a large amount of game intelligence are crucial for any side. They are the ones who play the line-breaking passes, which help a team break through their opposition.

Every successful team in the history of the sport has had wonderful passers on its side. Even today, there is no shortage of world-class passers in world football.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at Europe’s top five passers this season.


#5 Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool)

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League

Thiago Alcantara had a rather disappointing debut campaign in the Premier League after joining Liverpool in the summer of 2020. However, he has bounced back in glorious fashion this term and changed Liverpool’s style this season.

Over the past year, Thiago has averaged 9.81 progressive passes per 90 minutes. The Spain international is always looking to play assists to help his side get back up the pitch quickly.

The 31-year-old also has an enviable passing range. He is also very quick with his thinking in the middle of the pitch and loves to spray precise diagonal balls at the full-backs. He also boasts an 89.2% success rate in the Premier League and Champions League.

#4 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Villarreal v Liverpool semi-final second leg - UEFA Champions League
Villarreal v Liverpool semi-final second leg – UEFA Champions League

Trent Alexander-Arnold is arguably the best full-back playing ball in Europe right now. The 23-year-old is Liverpool’s chief designer and has played that role to perfection this season.

He has scored two goals and provided 19 assists in 44 appearances in all competitions for the Merseysiders so far this season. Over the past 365 days, he’s averaged 8.07 progressive passes per 90.

Alexander-Arnold is constantly scanning the pitch in front of him for runs and Liverpool’s fast wingers are always looking to run into space when he has the ball. The Englishman is one of Liverpool’s most valuable assets and he continues to play a crucial role in their success.

#3 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

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

Kevin De Bruyne is enjoying another spectacular season. The Belgium international has cemented his status as one of the best attacking midfielders of the modern era over the past few seasons. He has scored 19 goals and provided 13 assists in 43 appearances in all competitions for Manchester City so far this season.

De Bruyne also continues to be one of the most elite passers in the game. Over the past 365 days, he has averaged 6.49 progressive passes per 90.

De Bruyne is what you might call a ‘double threat’. That’s because he’s not only good at playing assists in the build-up, but he’s also capable of producing that killer finishing pass in the final third as well.

#2 Lionel Messi (Paris Saint Germain)

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round of 16 - UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round of 16 – UEFA Champions League

Much has been said about Lionel Messi’s poor goalscoring form this season. However, there can be no complaints regarding his playmaking abilities for Paris Saint-Germain this season. Without Messi operating in the final third, PSG have often seemed out of ideas.

Messi’s vision is exemplary and he can choose his teammates from any angle. Despite playing as a striker, Messi averages 9.44 progressive passes per 90 over the past 365 days.

Messi has scored 11 goals and provided 13 assists in 33 appearances in all competitions for PSG so far this season. The 34-year-old’s ability to dictate play in the final third with his incredible passing skills is almost unmatched.

#1Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Manchester City v Real Madrid Semi-Final 1st Leg - UEFA Champions League
Manchester City v Real Madrid Semi-Final 1st Leg – UEFA Champions League

As they say these days, Luka Modric’s passing is ‘GOATED’. We’ve seen quite a few flashes of his genius this season and we’ve all been simply amazed.

The Croatian midfielder has established himself as one of the greatest midfielders of the modern era. That’s, in large part, thanks to his absolutely ridiculous passing range.

The 36-year-old averages 6.82 progressive passes per 90. He has scored three goals and provided 12 assists in 42 appearances across all competitions for Real Madrid so far this season.

Although he’s good at progressive passing, which risks losing the ball, Modric has an 89.8 success rate in La Liga and the Champions League this season.


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Mary I. Bruner