Lionel Messi crowned as the best playmaker of the last decade… but who else makes the top 20?

Tom Petrini Leicester City FC

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.

Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has been named as the best playmaker of the last decade

Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has been named as the best playmaker of the last decade

Andres Iniesta was second in the top 20 list for best playmakers from 2011 to 2020

2018's Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric finished third in the rankings

Andres Iniesta (left) and Luka Modric (right) made up the podium places in the top 20 list

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. 

Cristiano Ronaldo didn't make the top 10 but finished ahead of the likes of David Silva and Xavi

Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t make the top 10 but finished ahead of the likes of David Silva and Xavi 


  1. Lionel Messi – 174 points
  2. Andres Iniesta – 127 points
  3. Luka Modric – 113 points
  4. Kevin De Bruyne – 103 points
  5. Toni Kroos – 90 points
  6. Eden Hazard – 77 points
  7. Neymar – 71 points
  8. Mesut Ozil – 69 points
  9. Andrea Pirlo – 63 points
  10. Yaya Toure – 60 points
  11. Xavi Hernandez – 55 points
  12. Cristiano Ronaldo – 54 points
  13. David Silva – 52 points
  14. James Rodriguez – 42 points
  15. Bastian Schweinsteiger – 40 points
  16. Christian Eriksen – 38 points
  17. Riyad Mahrez – 38 points
  18. Paul Pogba – 35 points
  19. Thiago Alcantara – 33 points
  20. Isco – 25 points