The Top Passers in Football

Masterful Playmakers: The Top Passers of Football

Passing is an art, which needs composure, vision, and character. While it may seem to be the basics of the game, these players show the versatility involved in the skill adding their personal touch.

Here are the best passers of the modern game.

10. Marco Verratti

Marco Verratti (Credits: Goal)

Marco Verratti has left his mark on the last decade in midfield for Paris Saint-Germain. The quantity does not damage the quality of the passes, having an accuracy of 90%.

Over the last ten seasons, the Italian has mostly ranked number one in both passes in the opponent’s half (9,942) and average successful passes per game in the Ligue 1.

Verratti has averaged an impressive 35 such passes per game, in 247 Ligue 1 matches.

9. Thiago Alcântara

Thiago Alcântara (Credits: Getty)

Thiago’s game is just not for the stats but much more. According to UEFA data, the Spaniard attempted 65 medium or long passes and completed every single one. Even though, He played at least three passes to every single Bayern Munich player, much more like the heartbeat of a team that pumped blood and the ball around the pitch in the group stage match which Bayern won 7-2 against Tottenham in the group stage.

The most remarkable aspect of Thiago’s passing performance was against Barcelona where he had a 96% accuracy, with 59 of the 75 directed towards attack.

This proves why Thiago was in a class of his own in the 2020 treble-winning season for Bayern Munich.

8. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes (Credits: Getty)

Erik Ten Hag is all praise for Bruno Fernandes calling him a ‘passing genius’. An unusual statistic follows the Portuguese as passing choice is all about risk and reward. This makes the Manchester United captain a creative force who plays without fear of losing the ball. In the early 2023/24 season he was the only Premier League player to complete 100 passes with a completion ratio of 70 percent. This means Bruno is trying passes that are more difficult than those attempted by any other players. He may not be trying to hit a static mark but his recipients of the passes are the highest in the Premier League.

7. Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen (Credits: Manchester United)

As a playmaker, Eriksen can do more damage with his passing than dribbling. Since Eriksen’s introduction to the team in the 2022/23 season his passes to dangerous areas inside the opposition half have been pin-pont, averaging 47 passes per 90 minutes with an 81.3% passing accuracy rate. Although including 8.36 passes to the final third and 1.94 passes to the penalty box per 90 minutes his impact is a big positive for the Red Devils, as they have to develop on this creativity for the coming seasons.

6. Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Credits: Getty)

The local boy became one of the Premier League’s most creative players with the ball excelling in assists through early crosses and set-piece deliveries. His eye for passing range, honed during his development as a midfielder in Liverpool’s youth academy, has made him a key player for Liverpool since the 2017–18 season maintaining an 80% passing completion rate with an average of 70.1 passes per match domestically.

The recent UEFA EURO 2024 qualifiers, saw him average an 85.5% passing accuracy, completing 240 out of 281 passes as per reports while in the UEFA Europa League for the 2023/2024 season, his passing accuracy was 82.2%, with 216 successful passes out of 265 attempts

5. Luka Modrić

Luka Modrić (Credits: Getty)

Luka Modrić is a diminutive yet technically gifted midfielder who dictates the tempo of the match by controlling possession from the center of the pitch. Renowned for his quick passing and long-range shots, often executed with trivial technique, his composure to find a player anywhere on the field is just exceptional. His passing accuracy in La Liga has typically ranged between 88% to 92% which just shows the effects of his signature passes like the outside of the foot, through Ball, and long range.

4. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Credits: Sky Sports)

As his career progressed with age, his dribbles waned off so Messi began to control the game from deeper areas of the pitch, evolving into one of the greatest passers and playmakers of the game. This strategy helped to cover less ground by conserving his energy for short bursts of speed, as he enhanced his efficiency and movement with time.

Through that period his accuracy was around 85-90%, with a success rate in key passes and assists often exceeding 80%. Messi maintained a passing accuracy of approximately 88% in Barcelona, while creative goal-scoring opportunities were around 83%.

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3. Dani Parejo

Dani Parejo (Credits: Sky Sports)

Renowned for his composure and vision in midfield, Parejo orchestrates the game with his exceptional passing ability. The deep-lying playmaker role gives him the freedom to distribute the ball accurately over long and short distances.

The Spaniard boasts an impressive passing accuracy, with a success rate consistently around the 90% mark. He achieved a passing accuracy of 89.3%, completing approximately 69 out of 77 passes per game in the 2022/23 season making him one of the most reliable passers in football.

2. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne (Credits: Getty)

Although he is not blessed with significant physical strength, pace, or ability in the air, Kevin De Bruyne is an elegant player on the ball with good distribution skills, while his positional sense, tactical intelligence, movement, and direct style of play. All these make him one of the top passers in the beautiful game.

For Machester City, his game style has been more toward the upper half, giving him the freedom to deliver balls from anywhere. His unusual methods to provide assists are something not part of the notebook style as he creates a niche for himself.

The Belgian demonstrates remarkable passing accuracy, boasting a success rate of 85% and in recent seasons, completing an impressive average of 60 out of 69 passes per game.

1. Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos (Credits: Getty)

Exceptional distribution and accuracy with both feet, coupled with his outstanding technique added with vision on the field is what Toni Kroos is known for. His ability to read the game allows him to dictate play from midfield, with his precise passing, crossing, and deliveries from set-pieces. Over time, the German transitioned from a more advanced midfield position to a deeper role, showcasing his adaptability as a player. These attributes make him the best passer of this generation.

In recent seasons, his success rate has been around 93%, with a significant number of successful passes per game, often having 80 out of 85 attempts. This exceptional precision got him the nickname ‘The Sniper’.

As he announced his retirement after the EURO 2024, the German and Real Madrid legend will surely be missed.

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