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High flying players in European football so far

It’s not just scorers who deserve praise for their effectiveness in front of goal. Here, we look at the top five assist makers in Europe’s top leagues.

Although the likes of Harry Kane, Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi have emerged as Europe’s top goalscorers in the first-half of the 2017-18 season, they cannot take all the glory.

Behind every great finisher is a great provider, after all, and the continent’s most prolific sides are well stocked in that area.

And with the European campaigns around the halfway mark, we look at those who have proved most effective in setting up their team-mates to score so far in our list of top assist makers across the top five leagues.

1. Neymar | PSG | 9 assists

The €222 million star was signed to lead PSG to the top of European football and the early signs are positive. He has been integral to Unai Emery’s side since his arrival from Barcelona and has been the star of Ligue 1 so far. While Edinson Cavani leads the way in terms of goals, Neymar is a big provider with nine assists to go along with his 11 strikes in the league, creating 54 chances too.

2. Kevin De Bruyne | Manchester City | 9 assists

The undisputed hero for this season’s Premier League favourites, the Belgian star keeps everything ticking in attack with his incredible creative abilities. His assist tally of nine is mightily impressive, especially when factoring in the six goals he has scored, but De Bruyne arguably deserves even more for the incredible delivery of his incisive passes.

3. Pione Sisto | Celta Vigo | 9 assists

The Denmark international surprised many when he chose Celta Vigo as his destination upon leaving Midtjylland in the summer despite reported interest from some of Europe’s biggest sides. However, the 22-year-old winger has been vindicated for his decision as he has been sublime in La Liga, getting nine assists in only 17 appearances. If he continues at this rate, the continent’s powerhouses will be back in for him before long.

4. Philipp Max | Augsburg | 9 assists

Despite usually lining up at left-back for Augsburg, the 24-year-old has been a prolific creator in the Bundesliga this term. Of the 49 chances he has created this campaign, nine have been finished off by team-mates — an awesome return for a team sitting ninth in the table.

5. Kylian Mbappe | PSG | 8 assists

He will become the most expensive teenager in history when his loan deal with Paris Saint-Germain becomes permanent at the end of the season for around €180 million and it already looks like a wise purchase from the capital club. Mbappe has slotted in perfectly alongside Neymar and Edinson Cavani, assisting eight times and scoring just as many in 15 games in Ligue 1.

6.Leroy Sane | Manchester City | 8 assists

The 21-year-old has already bettered his debut season in Manchester City colours, having assisted eight league goals for Pep Guardiola’s team. The Germany international looked like a star in the making at Schalke and is living up to that billing in England, becoming more effective in front of goal as well, netting six times.

7. David Silva | Manchester City | 8 assists

The classy Spaniard is one of many flourishing at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola this term and is having one of his best seasons in the Premier League, having set up eight goals in 18 matches, putting the finishing touches on five for himself, too.

8. Antonio Candreva | Inter | 8 assists

Inter are looking bright once again and the Italy international winger has had his say in their campaign. A pure creator for the Nerazzurri, he has eight assists to his name from 18 matches — the highest in the league so far. Furthermore, no player in any of Europe’s top five divisions has made more opportunities for team-mates than he has.

9. Ciro Immobile | Lazio | 7 assists

A return to Italy has proved the perfect move for the striker, who struggled to make an impact at Borussia Dortmund before joining Lazio in the summer.

He has been lethal at times in this campaign, however, but not just in front of goal. As well as the 16 he has scored in the Italian league, Immobile has set up team-mates seven times despite only making 18 chances, demonstrating just how effective he has been.

10. Florian Thauvin | Marseille | 7 assists

After last season’s fifth-place finish in Ligue 1, Marseille are hoping to push into the European places this term and are in a good position at the turn of the year, sitting three points behind second-place Monaco.

Thauvin has been pivotal to their excellent form, having notched seven assists in the French top flight, while only Neymar and Dimitri Payet have created more chances. He has also contributed eight goals.

11. Lionel Messi | Barcelona | 6 assists

Messi may have lost out to Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2017 Ballon d’Or battle, but the Argentine is still king of La Liga and has set up six goals in the Spanish top flight to go along with his 15 goals.

12. Dries Mertens | Napoli | 6 assists

Napoli’s star man once again this season, as well as their top scorer with 10 goals, he is their number one assist maker this term with six as he spearheads the attack for the Serie A leaders.

It was no surprise when the Belgium international was named among the nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or and he will be pivotal to Maurizio Sarri’s side as they fight for pole position with Juventus.

13 Ivan Perisic | Inter | 6 assists

Despite reports the winger wanted to leave Inter for Manchester United, he has shown he remains committed to the Serie A side since renewing his contract.

They are finally competing with Juventus and Roma this season and the Croatia international has been one of their most productive players. Their second top scorer behind Mauro Icardi, no player has Nerazzurri star has registered more than his six assists in 18 games.

14. Philippe Coutinho | Liverpool | 6 assists

The Brazilian continues to be linked to a move to Barcelona, but he has remained a productive star for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool throughout the season. Although Mohamed Salah has received most attention for his impressive tally since joining from Roma in the summer, Coutinho is still the star man as he keeps setting up team-mates as well as chipping in with goals of his own.

Coutinho has six assists from the 38 chances he has created in the Premier League in the first half of the season, adding seven strikes too.

15. Luis Alberto | Lazio | 6 assists

The Spaniard was instrumental in Lazio’s excellent start to the season as he emerged as a consistent creator after playing a limited role for the Serie A side last term.

Alberto has set up six and scored five in 17 Serie A games this term, most of which came during their excellent start to the season. He has proven less effective in recent weeks, which has coincided with a dip in form for the capital club as they dropped to fifth.

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