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Messi, Neymar, Hazard: Stats reveal the world’s best dribblers since 2009

Lionel Messi could dribble his way out of a phone box that he’d been locked in with five world-class defenders while handcuffed and wearing flip-flops.

Say what you like about his standing in the GOAT debate, but you’d have to be the most cynical football fan of all time if you don’t feel at least a little bit giddy when Messi dribbles at full speed.

Yes, you could well throw the book at him whenever his mazy runs don’t end up in a goal or assist, but sometimes that simply doesn’t matter and the sheer spectacle of football is what provides the joy.

The magic of Messi

And that’s why so many of Messi’s biggest fans are drawn to the way he plays the game, barely caring what the final score might be or how many goals he scores, but just unabashedly focusing on the entertainment factor.

It’s the whole argument that Messi is the greatest player of all time for simply having a certain je ne sais quoi that transcends Twitter threads, fan arguments and Ballon d’Or totals.

However, before we go down a flowery and poetic rabbit hole of what it is that makes Messi special, let’s try and ground it in the statistics because even the most seemingly unquantifiable things are always quantifiable to an extent in the world of football.

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