Europe’s top 10 dribblers, 2021-22: Traore, Mbappe, Davies & more

What better thing is there in football than a perfectly pulled-off dribble?

From an impossible situation trapped in the corner by three players, a player can pull off a great escape and leave with the ball at their feet.

There are dribblers that are all about speed, others that are all about tricks and the best of the best who combine both to dazzle defenders.

All are a wonder to watch but looking deeper than just the basic eye test, who are the best dribblers in Europe?

We’ve crunched the numbers to find out, and found the top 10 players in Europe’s top five leagues with the most successful dribbles per 90 minutes.

To qualify for the list a player must have played at least 750 minutes and there’s plenty of top talent on our list.

=9. Kylian Mbappe – 3.5 per 90

It’s surprising that Mbappe, generally regarded as one of the best dribblers in the world, finds himself just sneaking into the list at number 10.

France’s golden boy is a pleasure to watch at full flow and baffles defenders, but sometimes his speed is even too much for himself and the ball can occasionally get caught in his feet.

His low position could probably be somewhat attributed to the fact he played some tough matches in the Champions League as well.

=9. Sofiane Boufal – 3.5 per 90

Boufal once scored a Goal of the Decade for Southampton against West Brom back in 2017 and his position on this list makes it clear that he’s remained one of the biggest ballers in European football.

Now playing in Ligue 1 with Angers, Boufal has scored six goals in 25 matches this season and was part of the Morocco squad that’s qualified for the 2022 World Cup.

And just tell us Boufal isn’t destined to pop up with one of the Goals of the Tournament in Qatar.

=7. Oscar Trejo – 3.6 per 90

Trejo is a forward with the Madrid-based side Rayo Vallecano and has thrived during their return to La Liga this season.

The 33-year-old has completed 3.6 dribbles per 90 minutes – and has chipped in with three goals in 18 appearances – as Vallecano have nestled themselves into a comfortable mid-table position.

=7. Nico Williams- 3.6 per 90

Williams is the younger brother of Inaki Williams and together with his more senior brother, he carries the Basque flag with Athletic Club de Bilbao.

Given some more time, there’s every chance Williams will be lining up alongside his brother almost every match. A serious talent, and one you should keep an eye on – as the clip below demonstrates.

6. Sofian Kiyine – 4.2 per 90

Belgian midfielder Kiyine is on loan at Venezia from Lazio and has had a good season for the Serie A outfit so far.

He hit a rich vein of form at the end of 2021 and might be one to keep an eye on next season when he returns to his parent club.

5. Alphonso Davies – 4.3 per 90

The Canadian wingback is a versatile, exciting, and flair-filled player who it is no surprise to find on this list.

He struggled to hit the same heights he did in the 2019-20 treble campaign for Bayern last season but has recaptured the form that made him a vital part of Hansi Flick’s historic team.

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Oh, and he’s still just 21. Scary stuff.

=3. Allan Saint-Maximin – 4.4 per 90

The joy Allan Saint-Maximin brings defies stats… and yet this one very clearly backs him up as one of the best dribblers in the world.

Despite playing in one of the toughest leagues in the world for a struggling side, the Frenchman spearheads Newcastle’s counter-attacks with his mazy, unending runs.

They operate as an unorthodox manner of holding up the ball as well when he turns back on himself whilst evading defenders to wait for his teammates.

A true scholar of the dribble, Saint-Maximin remains one of the most exciting attackers in the Premier League and a true cult hero on Tyneside.

=3. Kamaldeen Sulemana – 4.8 per 90

Ghanian Sulemana is perhaps the next wonderkid coming out of Ligue 1.

The 4.8 dribbles he pulls off per match tell the story of an exciting and dynamic winger who is the jewel of Rennes.

He came through the Right to Dream and FC Nordsjælland pathway, leaving the Danish side last summer to become a regular in France.

2. Samuel Chukwueze – 5 per 90

Chukwueze missed out on the January edition of our list by just 20 minutes – but he’s certainly made up for lost time in the months since.

The Villarreal and Nigeria forward has occasionally struggled with injuries this season but remains an electrifying presence for Unai Emery’s side, with 5 completed dribbles per 90 minutes in La Liga.

He won’t be at this year’s World Cup following Nigeria’s elimination by Ghana but the 22-year-old has helped Villarreal reach the Champions League quarter-final and Chukwueze will surely give Bayern Munich’s defence a thorough examination.

1. Adama Traore – 7 per 90

Say what you want, but his place as Europe’s current best dribbler is not all down to the baby oil (although that can’t hurt).

His seven successful dribbles per 90 means he stands alone as the outright No. 1 in this list – and Traore has looked better than ever since switching to Barcelona in January.

The popular winger has wowed the Camp Nou crowd and has already rubbished the Spanish pundits that claimed his style of play was not very ‘Barca’.

“Adama is a very mature player. He knows when to face up, when to pass and he’s chosen his moments well today,” Barca boss Xavi told reporters after Traore’s star showing in his second debut against Atletico.

“Physically he is an animal, a beast. He is a pure winger and he will help us. He is a great signing for the team. Adama makes the difference. He has power, strength, he dribbles at opponents and he’s solid in defence.”

And, with Xavi doing a stellar rebuilding job, there should be plenty more to come from the Spain international.


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