·18 September 2023
·18 September 2023
Lionel Messi and Neymar may be playing their football away from the spotlight nowadays, but a new generation of exciting players have emerged to take their place as the dribble kings of European football.
A perfectly executed dribble arguably remains the most thrilling sight in football and there are some sensationally talented ballers that possess the ability to have the opposition left regularly eating their dust.
Ranked by the total number of successful dribbles completed, here are the 10 dribblers across Europe’s five major leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A and Bundesliga) so far in 2023-24. If two players are tied, we’ve put them in order of who has the superior dribbles-per-minute ratio.
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The Senegal international was outstanding as he helped fire Sheffield United to promotion last term, and Blades’ loss is proving Marseille’s gain.
Ndiaye is yet to open his Ligue 1 account for Les Olympiens, but he notched an assist on his debut and has registered 13 successful dribbles. That’s all the while being used relatively sparingly by Marcelino, under whom he’s yet to complete 90 minutes.
Manchester United have made a poor start to the 2023-24 campaign, losing three of their first five matches for the first time in the Premier League era, while star man Rashford has even faced pelters for being too greedy and not laying off the ball in dangerous areas.
The fact remains that the England international remains one of Erik ten Hag’s brightest sparks, deservedly one of the first names on the teamsheet. Rashford has one goal and one assist for a dysfunctional side and has often been their most dangerous player going forward, having notched 14 successful dribbles to date.
One thing that struck us while watching Wolves in their gallant defeats to Manchester United and Liverpool is that they appear to have replaced Adama Traore with Cunha.
The Brazilian forward is a different profile of player to Traore, occupying more central areas, but he shares an uncanny knack of looking unstoppable with the ball at his feet before leaving a lot to be desired with his finishing and decision-making in the final third.
Still, with 14 dribbles completed, Cunha looks like he can be a real asset for Gary O’Neil’s side. And he’ll be a hell of a player if he can improve on his end product.
Perhaps the next big thing out of the Red Bull system, Diakite joined Reims from Salzburg in the summer and he’s quickly making a name for himself in Ligue 1.
Only the man that tops this list has completed more dribbles in the French top flight than the 19-year-old Ivory Coast international.
The kid can shoot, too.
Anyone that’s kept an eye on these kind of stats will know that Dembele has consistently ranked among Europe’s top dribblers in recent years – and it’s no surprise that remains the case after swapping Barcelona for PSG.
However, Dembele’s success rate of 14 dribbles completed of 34 attempted (41%) is the lowest rate of any player in this list.
Part of a core of Spurs players that look unrecognisable since the arrival of Ange Postecoglou, Bissouma has arguably been the club’s standout player this season after failing to make any kind of impact under Antonio Conte last term.
The Malian looks like his old Brighton self, a wonderfully dynamic presence in the heart of midfield. He actually boasts the best success rate (71%) of any player in this list in terms of dribbles, and also demonstrated his exceptional footwork while away on international duty earlier this month.
Following in the footsteps of Brian Montenegro as one of our favourite real-life footballers that sounds like a Football Manager regen, Granada’s Bryan Zaragoza is a player worth keeping an eye out for.
The lesser-known 22-year-old has burst onto the scene in La Liga this year after coming up through Granada’s academy and helping them get promoted last term. He’s an exciting young player and has completed 50% (15 of 30) of his total attempted dribbles.
Those who regularly watched the Germany international for Manchester City won’t be surprised to see him feature here.
There’s an argument that Sane has never quite reached the world-class level he once looked destined to, but he’s nevertheless an absolute wizard out on the wing with the ball at his feet for Bayern Munich.
Now working under Thomas Tuchel and lining up alongside Harry Kane, it wouldn’t be a shock if this is the year that Sane really tears it up for the Bavarians.
One of the most watchable players in the Premier League right now, Crystal Palace boast a true dribble king. Eze has completed 20 of 29 attempted dribbles (68%) and is an absolute nightmare for opposition full-backs.
He’s well worth his recent England call-ups and his ability to drive past defenders offers another dimension among the bounty of attacking riches Gareth Southgate has at his disposal.
If Cherki picks up the ball, you can be absolutely certain he’s going to drive at the opposition. Not only does the Lyon winger boast the most successful dribbles in Europe’s top leagues this season, he’s also responsible for the most dribbles attempted in total – 44, which is 10 more than any other player.
Lyon’s 20-year-old rising star is also top for the most unsuccessful dribbles (23), for which he edges ahead of Dembele (20), Raheem Sterling (20) and Kaoru Mitoma (18).