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Europe's 10 most creative players revealed with Bukayo Saka and Lionel Messi included

Dan Hargraves

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Europe's 10 most creative players revealed with Bukayo Saka and Lionel Messi included

Data has emerged revealing the ten-most creative footballers across Europe's top-five leagues this season and, surprisingly, Lionel Messi is not first.

The 35-year-old has enjoyed a much more successful second season with Paris Saint-Germain this term compared to his first, scoring 21 goals and providing 20 assists in 41 appearances for the Ligue 1 winners. However, this campaign will be the Argentine's last in Paris with his contract set to expire this summer.

Messi is still undoubtedly one of, if not the best, players in Europe, but who were the other nine players that made Europe's top ten for creativity this term?

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Planet Football has collected the data and ranked the top ten based on shot-creating actions defined on football data website FBref as, “The two offensive actions directly leading to a shot, such as passes, take-ons and drawing fouls.”

Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann came tenth with 158 shot-creating actions in what was a slightly disappointing campaign for Atletico, crashing out of the Champions League at the group stage but have secured their place in Europe's elite competition for next season.

In joint eighth are Arsenal's Bukayo Saka and Stade Rennais' Benjamin Bourigeuad with 161 each. The former has been a revelation in the Premier League this term with 14 goals and 11 assists in the English top-flight as the Gunners battled Manchester City for the title, falling just short.

As for Bourigeuad, the 29-year-old has 15 goal involvement in Ligue 1 to help put his side in contention of European qualification.

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Saka's teammate Martin Ødegaard is level with Borussia Mönchengladbach winger Jonas Hofmann with 163. The Norwegian has also been instrumental in Arsenal's success this term with the the Gunners captain scoring 15 goals and providing eight assists.

As we enter the top-five, Lille's Remy Cabella's 174 shot creating actions has the Frenchman fifth with 17 goal involvements in the French top-flight.

Meanwhile, arguably to some surprise, Manchester City ace Kevin De Bruyne doesn't make the top-three with the Belgian's 176 actions being the fourth highest tally. However, the 31-year-old can once again hold his head high for a significant contribution to yet another Premier League title success for City, scoring seven and providing 18 assists.

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Taking the bronze medal is another player who plays his trade in England with Newcastle United right-back Kieran Trippier registering 178 actions. The Englishman has been the Three Lions' standout attacking full-back this season, averaging 4.79 shots created per game.

Second place goes to Messi with 189, who will remember the campaign fondly, not necessarily for his achievements at club level but for winning the World Cup with Argentina.

Arguably to some surprise, first place is taken by Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes who provided a whopping 219 shot-creating actions over the course of the season.

The Portuguese can be forgiven for scoring just eight goals this term with the 28-year-old creating an average of five shots per game.

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Additionally, the midfielder could also end the season with two trophies, having won the League Cup in February and taking on Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday afternoon.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Bukayo Saka, Lionel Messi, Kieran Trippier, Bruno Fernandes, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United

Dan Hargraves
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