The Greatest Playmakers Of The Last 15 Years Have Been Named And Ranked
The IFFHS have released their official top 10 playmakers since the start of 2006 - and a trio of Barcelona legends top the list.
Lionel Messi leads the way overall - and it's no surprise. While the Argentine genius is a phenomenal goalscorer, he also boasts incredible vision and passing range - able to drop deep and control a game when it's required.
Second and third on the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) countdown are Messi's long-time teammates Andres Iniesta, then Xavi.
While you can debate the order, it's clear they are two of the greatest playmakers ever. Xavi conducted Barcelona and Spain's midfield, while his fellow World Cup winner Iniesta had the full array of creative gifts, from dribbling to passing.
Luka Modric, the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner and the creative maestro for Real Madrid and Croatia, is fourth. While the man many believe is the Premier League's top playmaker right now - Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne - completes the top five.
The IFFHS define the playmaker as "the player who controls the flow of the team's offensive play, and is often involved in passing moves which lead to goals, through their vision, technique, ball control, creativity and passing ability."
So no wonder the first player to top this list, back in 2006, was Zinedine Zidane. However as Zidane retired that year - and the list is an average of finishing positions over the last 15 years - he doesn't make the top 10.
A pair of German World Cup winners - Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil - finish sixth and seventh. But the player who sneaks into the top 10 may be controversial.
Brazil and PSG star Neymar is in 10th and while he's best known as a forward, he arguably played his best football at Barcelona when he was known as a creative force with an impressive record when it came to assists.
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9. Eden Hazard
8. Andrea Pirlo
7. Mesut Ozil
6. Toni Kroos
5. Kevin De Bruyne
4. Luka Modric
2. Andres Iniesta
1. Lionel Messi
Does this list look right to you or are there other modern playmakers cruelly ignored in this top 10?
Let us know in the comments.
All imagery: PA Images
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