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Premier League assist kings: De Bruyne can lay claim to being all-time great


Kevin De Bruyne joined an elite group of Premier League legends at the weekend when the Manchester City midfielder provided an assist in Saturday’s 2-1 win over West Ham United.

The Belgium international provided the raking pass for Ruben Dias to head home in the 30th minute, thus chalking up his 77th assist in the English top flight.

That sent De Bruyne into the all-time top 10 Premier League assist makers, rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names to have plied their trade in the division.

De Bruyne already equalled the Premier League single-season record for assists (20) last term, tying the record set during the 2002-03 campaign by Arsenal icon Thierry Henry (who notched up a total of 74 assists from his eight years with the Gunners). You wouldn’t bet against De Bruyne beating that mark before he hangs up his boots.

In fact, you could argue that the 29-year-old is already the greatest creative force that the Premier League has ever seen despite only joining City in 2015. Here’s a look at the other names that grace the top 10, and how De Bruyne compares with them in terms of creativity and productivity.

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10. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Total: 77 assists in 175 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.44
Single-season high: 20 assists in 2019-20

Not content with being the co-holder of the single-season record (20 assists), De Bruyne’s phenomenal assist-to-game ratio (0.44) also means that he is by some distance the most productive provider in the Premier League Top 10. He’s known as “The Assist King” at the Etihad and honestly there can be little wonder why.

Total: 80 assists in 265 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.3
Single-season high: 15 assists in 1999-00

It’s a mark of Beckham’s famous crossing ability that he only played in eight full Premier League seasons and yet is still a fixture in the division’s all-time top 10 assist makers. Starting with five assists in 33 appearances in his debut season (1995-96) for United, the England midfielder reached double figures in four consecutive campaigns between 1997-98 and 2000-01 before leaving for Real Madrid in the summer of 2003.

Total: 85 assists in 555 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.15
Single-season high: 12 assists in 2009-10

Two decades on from his Premier League debut, as a teenager for Leeds in 2001-02, and Milner is showing no real signs of slowing down even at the age of 35. Still a vital utility player, the veteran midfielder has racked up 25 assists since joining Liverpool in 2015-16. He also holds the single-season assist record in the Champions League with his nine during the Reds’ run to the 2017-18 final.

7. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Total: 92 assists in 504 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.18
Single-season high: 13 assists in 2013-14

Gerrard spent 17 seasons at his boyhood club after making his debut in 1998-99. The former England captain laid on a consistent stream of assists in that time, but his record season tally of 13 actually came during the penultimate campaign (2013-14) before he made an emotional departure from Anfield to see out his career in MLS.

Total: 93 assists in 309 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.3
Single-season high: 15 assists in 2011-12

One of only four active players in the top 10, Silva spent his prime years with City during which he earned the nickname “El Mago” (“The Magician”) due to his exceptionally intricate and precise passing. The Spanish playmaker put his considerable skills to good use, playing an integral role in four title wins over the course of his 11 seasons at the Etihad.

5. Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)

Total: 94 assists in 315 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.3
Single-season high: 13 in 1998-99

One of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League, Bergkamp spent 11 seasons with Arsenal and served up an array of classy assists from the outset, beginning with eight in his debut season (1995-96).

4. Frank Lampard (West Ham, Chelsea, Manchester City)

Total: 102 assists in 609 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.17
Single-season high: 18 assists in 2004-05

A true all-rounder, attacking midfielder Lampard was famed for his prolific goal-scoring exploits from midfield. However, he also successfully registered at least one assist in every Premier League season between 1997-98, during his formative years at West Ham, and 2014-15, his final swansong season at Manchester City. Of course, most of them came during his glorious 13 years as a Chelsea player.

Total: 103 assists in 491 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.21
Single-season high: 11 assists in 2006-07 and 2010-11

Despite being deployed as a striker for the majority of his career, Rooney also did a neat sideline in creating goals for other players. Only 10 of Rooney’s total assist tally came during the two stints with Everton that bookended his Premier League career, with the other 93 coming over the course of 11 seasons with United.

Total: 111 assists in 350 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.32
Single-season high: 18 assists in 2014-15

Fabregas enjoyed success with two of the Premier League’s biggest teams, registering 70 assists in seven seasons with Arsenal and 41 with Chelsea. The Spanish string-puller’s best season tally of 18 assists came during his maiden campaign with the Blues, having returned to the Premier League from Barcelona.

1. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)

Total: 162 assists in 632 appearances
Assist-per-game ratio: 0.25
Single-season high: 13 assists in 1993-94

United legend Giggs is the only player to have featured in each of the first 22 seasons of the Premier League, from 1992-93 right through to his retirement in May 2014 at the age of 40. The Welsh winger bowed out with an impressive assist-per-game ratio of 0.26 having still managed to register two assists in 12 appearances in his final campaign as a veteran pro. Along the way, there were plenty of magical moments.





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