The battle to be crowned European Assists King for the 2021/22 season has reached its conclusion and there is a familiar face and a new rival at the top of the leaderboard.
Thomas Müller has been the man to beat over recent years, impressively being named the continent’s top creative player for the previous two straight seasons despite the Bundesliga having only 34 games rather than the 38 of many other major leagues.
Müller therefore headed into this season as one of the top candidates to produce the most assists in Europe.
There are no coefficients or scales used for these leagues – just ranking the most goals created by each player in the top-five leagues condensed into a single table.
We will also track the players who produce the most assists in each of those five divisions individually, so stay tuned to this page for the latest standings throughout the campaign.
MOST ASSISTS IN EUROPE 2021/22
Thomas Müller and Kylian Mbappe have finished level in the race to be crowned the most creative player in Europe after both players totalled 18 assists in the final standings.
Müller and PSG star Mbappe had the most assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season, meaning the award is shared and the Bayern forward gets a historic third straight European Assists King title.
The 32-year-old’s numbers slowed in the second half of the Bundesliga campaign but he did add one more crucial assist to his total as champions Bayern finished the year with a 2-2 draw against Wolfsburg.
Experienced attacker Müller led the standings for much of the season but his closest rivals chipped away at the gap.
And when Bayern finished their league matches earlier due to the shorter top-flight season in Germany, he faced a nervous wait to see if Mbappe would move past him.
But he broke that streak when he recorded an assist as Bayern beat rivals Dortmund 3-1 to clinch Bundesliga title on April 23 and the goal created against Wolfsburg on May 14 kept him in with a chance.
Müller has incredibly racked up assists totals of 21, 19 and 18 in the last three seasons.
This year, through, he had a formidable rival in the shape of PSG forward Mbappe, who surged in the second half of the season to eliminate the big lead Müller had built.
With 18 assists in Ligue 1, World Cup winner Mbappe more than doubled his total for last season and registered the best creative tally of his career to date.
World Cup winner Mbappe had two assists, as well as a goal, when PSG thrashed Montpellier 4-0 in the penultimate game of the season, bouncing back from the 2-2 draw with Troyes, which was a rare outing without a goal involvement.
With Bayern finished for the season, PSG still had one game to play against Metz, and Mbappe – after the news broke he was signing a new contract with the club – scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 win, but crucially for these standings did not create a goal.
Still, with 28 goals and 18 assists from 35 league games, Mbappe can reflect on a remarkable campaign and he looks poised to challenge regularly in these standings over the years ahead. Few would bet against him adding to this first triumph.
Behind the leading two, Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Ousmane Dembele, Domenico Berardi, Marco Reus and Christopher Nkunku were all five assists adrift on 13 and battling for a place on the podium going into the last matchday.
Messi then set up a goal in PSG’s win over Metz to move onto 14 and claim outright possession of third place, giving the French side two of the top three players in the standings.
While he struggled to score goals at a prolific rate in France this year, Messi has continued his career trend of being a superb creator.
In-form RB Leipzig star Nkunku finishes in a five-way tie for fourth spot after creating a goal in the 1-0 win at Leverkusen on April 17. He racked up four assists last month.
He was top of the English top-flight standings for both goals (22) and assists (13) after an impressive campaign, even though his momentum slowed slightly during the final weeks of the season.
Berardi recorded the most assists in Serie A this season and has added three assists in his last five games to finish the season strongly for Sassuolo.
Alexander-Arnold, Moussa Diaby, Karim Benzema and Benjamin Bourigeaud all ended up on 12 assists.
They were joined on that total by Inter duo Hakan Calhanoglu and Nicolo Barella, who both set up goals in the 3-0 win over Sampdoria on the final day.
There is then an impressive group with 11 assists that includes Muller’s Bayern team-mate Joshua Kimmich.
Salah’s Liverpool colleague Andrew Robertson and Vinicius Junior were among a group of players who reached 10 assists in 2021/22.
2021/22 European Assist Kings
Who had the most assists in previous seasons?
2018/19: Eden Hazard, Chelsea (15 assists)
2017/18: Kevin De Bruyne, Man City (16 assists)
Muller’s first crown came when he had 21 assists to only just beat Lionel Messi, who had 20 in La Liga 2019/20 for Barcelona. Kevin De Bruyne was another to narrowly miss out after he also set up 20 goals and topped the Premier League charts.
The award for most creative player in Europe in 2018/19 went to Eden Hazard. He had 15 assists for Chelsea, meaning he narrowly beat Jadon Sancho (14) and Ryan Fraser (14) to the award.
De Bruyne had the most assists in Europe during 2017/18. He created 16 goals for his Man City team-mates. Leroy Sane (15), Dimitri Payet (14) and Luis Alberto (14) all narrowly missed out.
What is an assist?
An assist in football is usually credited to the player who plays the final pass or cross before a goal is scored. A player may receive recognition for creating a goal by being awarded an assist even if the pass or touch they have made to set up the goalscorer is unintentional.
There can be slight differences in how assists are recorded and allocated depending on the criteria of each official competition. For example, if a player’s pass towards a goalscorer takes a deflection on its way to the intended target, an assist is often not credited. A player who wins a penalty that is then scored does not usually get an assist either.
As well as a recognised official statistic, assists are often important in fantasy football games and betting markets.