Ranking the Top 5 Players With Most Assists Registered in Single Calendar Year

Ranking the Top 5 Players With Most Assists Registered in Single Calendar Year

Isaac Darko
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
  • Many have expressed widespread appreciation for scoring goals
  • But those football stars who are making them are often not recognized
  • Here are five players with the most assists in a single calendar year

While goals receive widespread acclaim, those crafting them are frequently overlooked.

The exquisite brilliance, visionary acumen, and precision exhibited by playmakers have consistently treated us to remarkable assists on a daily basis.

Lionel Messi, Dusan Tadic
These celebrated players have etched their names in the record books with astonishing assist numbers. Photos by John McGeady/Peter Rufi
Source: Getty Images

Despite their contributions, these celebrated players have etched their names in the record books with astonishing assist numbers.

Sports Brief delves into the list of the top 5 players who achieved the most assists in a single calendar year.

5. Thierry Henry (2003, 31 Assists)

The sole invincibles in the annals of the Premier League, Arsenal embarked on an extraordinary streak of 49 consecutive undefeated games during the 2003-04 period.

Henry, not only the top goal-scorer for the Gunners in that duration, also contributed 31 assists in that calendar year across all competitions. Henry played a pivotal role in Arsenal's exceptionally triumphant campaign, alongside the likes of Dennis Bergkamp,

Freddie Ljunberg, Robert Pires, and Patrick Vieira. Together, they ensured that Arsenal became the first team in over a century to navigate an entire domestic season without a defeat, ultimately securing the league title in the process.

4. Lionel Messi (2016, 31 Assists)

Certainly the greatest player of all time, Neymar fell short of surpassing his count of 31 assists in that particular calendar year. Messi, on the other hand, notched up an impressive record with 59 goals and 31 assists to his name, boasting an average of 90 minutes per goal.

What truly astonishes is that he only required an average of 59 minutes to contribute to a goal.

Throughout that season, Messi made 51 appearances for Barcelona, registering 25 assists, while the remaining 6 assists were earned while playing for La Albiceleste.

3. Dusan Tadic (2019, 34 Assists)

Establishing himself as the unquestioned assist king of the Eredivisie, Dusan Tadic has long left behind his less prolific days at Southampton. Acknowledged as the premier player outside Europe's top five leagues, Tadic delivered a standout performance in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, boasting 10 assists to his name.

The Serbian playmaker-turned-forward guided Ajax to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League that year, overcoming formidable opponents like Real Madrid and Juventus. With a total of 34 assists in that single calendar year, he claimed the title of the top assister in Europe for that season.

2. Lionel Messi (2011, 37 Assists)

If he could achieve the remarkable feat of scoring 91 goals in a single calendar year, it's quite plausible that making 36 assists in the same timeframe is a breeze for this diminutive magician from Rosario.

Throughout that calendar year, spanning 70 appearances, he contributed 28 assists for the Blaugranas in 57 appearances. The remaining 9 assists were delivered while playing for Argentina, where he also netted 4 goals.

1. Dusan Tadic (2021, 38 Assists)

It is very rare that you will hear Messi’s record being broken in any aspect of a football field. Dusan Tadic capped off his previous best performance of 34 assists two seasons later. Helping the Dutch outfit Ajax to another domestic glory by clinching the Eredivisie.

Tadic had the honour of being awarded Dutch Footballer of the Year that season. Having initially played out all wide, occasionally alternating with the number 10 position, Erik Ten Hag also deployed him as a false nine at times.

It worked wonderfully and that has been the Amsterdammers’ blueprint in Europe and the domestic league since then.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)