Lionel Messi has proved that he is the ultimate team player after being named as the world's best playmaker of the last decade.
The Barcelona talisman is in elite company but was comfortably judged to have been the most productive creator over the last 10 years according to data compiled by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
Every year, the IFFHS gives out an award for the best playmaker using statistics to determine a winner on a points system.
This system – which gives 20 points to first place, 19 points to second and so on and so forth – has accumulated each player's yearly total between 2011 and 2020 to help crown the best 20 playmakers, with Messi winning by a clear margin.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner, who picked up the best playmaker award in 2015, 2017 and 2019, managed to accrue an impressive 174 points during the nine-year period, with ex-Barca team-mate Andres Iniesta the closest player to him on 127 points.
Luka Modric, who became the only player to break Messi's and Cristiano Ronaldo's stranglehold of the Ballon d'Or trophy in 2018, claimed the final podium place with 113 points.
It meant that Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, who is comfortably considered the Premier League's best creator, finished in fourth and 10 points adrift of the Croatian.
Toni Kroos completed the top five while his Real Madrid team-mate, Eden Hazard, claimed sixth position, having enjoyed his best years with Chelsea.
Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil finished in an impressive eighth place ahead of the likes of David Silva (13th) and Christian Eriksen (16th), who he has been in direct competition as a playmaker during the last decade.
While Ronaldo is set to break goalscoring records once again very soon, the Portuguese talisman failed to break into the top 10 and could only finish 12th on the list – a point behind Xavi, who retired in 2019.
Yaya Toure, Andrea Pirlo and Bastian Schweinsteiger are other players who retired in the last decade but still made the top 20.
TOP 20 PLAYMAKERS OF THE DECADE
Lionel Messi – 174 points
Andres Iniesta – 127 points
Luka Modric – 113 points
Kevin De Bruyne – 103 points
Toni Kroos – 90 points
Eden Hazard – 77 points
Neymar – 71 points
Mesut Ozil – 69 points
Andrea Pirlo – 63 points
Yaya Toure – 60 points
Xavi Hernandez – 55 points
Cristiano Ronaldo – 54 points
David Silva – 52 points
James Rodriguez – 42 points
Bastian Schweinsteiger – 40 points
Christian Eriksen – 38 points
Riyad Mahrez – 38 points
Paul Pogba – 35 points
Thiago Alcantara – 33 points
Isco – 25 points
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