Since the inception of the UEFA Champions League in 1992, the competition has seen some of the greatest footballers in history grace its pitches. From superstars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to midfield maestros like Xavi and Andres Iniesta, the Champions League has been a stage for the best of the best to showcase their skills. One of the most important roles in football is to create opportunities for your teammates, and there have been some players who have excelled in this department over the years. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at who has the highest assists in Champions League history.
At the top of the list of all-time assist providers in the Champions League is Lionel Messi, with an impressive 35 assists to his name. The Argentine wizard has been a stalwart of Barcelona’s attack for over a decade now, and his ability to pick out his teammates with pinpoint accuracy has been a major factor in their success. Messi’s first assist in the competition came in a 2-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in 2009, and he has been setting up his teammates ever since. His most productive season in terms of assists was the 2018/19 campaign, where he provided seven in 10 appearances.
In second place on the list is Cristiano Ronaldo, another footballing legend who has lit up the Champions League with his goals and assists over the years. Ronaldo has 31 assists to his name, and like Messi, he has been a consistent performer in the competition for well over a decade. The Portuguese forward’s first assist in the tournament actually came against Barcelona, as he set up Wayne Rooney in a 1-0 win over the Spanish giants in 2008. Ronaldo’s most productive season in terms of assists was the 2015/16 campaign, where he provided six in 12 appearances.
Third on the list is Xavi Hernandez, the former Barcelona midfielder who dictated play in the middle of the park for the Catalan giants for many years. Xavi has 27 assists to his name, and his ability to see a pass before anyone else was a key factor in Barcelona’s dominance of European football in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Xavi’s first assist in the competition came in a 2-0 win over Panathinaikos in 2002, and his most productive season in terms of assists was the 2010/11 campaign, where he provided nine in 13 appearances.
In fourth place is Ryan Giggs, the former Manchester United winger who was a key part of their success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Giggs has 22 assists to his name, and his ability to beat defenders and deliver a cross into the box was a major weapon for Manchester United during their dominance of the English and European game. Giggs’ first assist in the competition came in a 3-1 win over Panathinaikos in 1999, and his most productive season in terms of assists was the 2006/07 campaign, where he provided six in 11 appearances.
Fifth on the list is Clarence Seedorf, the former AC Milan midfielder who won the competition four times with three different clubs (Ajax, Real Madrid, and AC Milan). Seedorf has 21 assists to his name, and his ability to control the game from midfield was a key factor in his success in the competition. Seedorf’s first assist in the tournament came in a 5-1 win over APOEL in 1995, and his most productive season in terms of assists was the 2006/07 campaign, where he provided six in eight appearances.
In conclusion, the ability to create chances for your teammates is as important a skill as scoring goals in football, and the players on this list have shown that they are among the very best in the world at it. Lionel Messi’s 35 assists is a remarkable achievement, and he could well extend that lead in the coming years, as could the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Kylian Mbappe, who are both still relatively young and have many years of Champions League football ahead of them. Whatever happens in the future, there is no doubt that these players have left an indelible mark on the competition, and will be remembered as some of the finest footballers ever to grace its pitches.