Qatar 2022: Messi, Neymar, Boufal, Leão, Sané: these dribblers will light up the World Cup

Leo Messi (Argentina)

  • Number of dribbles this season :84
  • His success rate : 56%
  • Because he ?

“La Pulga” remains the absolute reference. Even if his game has evolved a lot and no longer has the same liveliness as it did a few years ago, the Argentine continues to cause confusion thanks to a characteristic that he will keep forever: the frequency of pressing. This strength allows him to remain unpredictable for defenders and continue to make a difference in small spaces. No player has attempted more dribbles than him (84) across the top five European leagues. And no one has succeeded more than him (47).

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  • His best dribble : The external hook or the double contact

Hard to decide. With his support frequency, the Argentine has several weapons in small spaces. If double contact is probably his most destructive dribble to take out a player, his outside left hook to open up a shooting angle, when he’s around 18 yards.

Rafael Leão (Portugal), Sofiane Boufal (Morocco), Leo Messi (Argentina), Neymar (Brazil), Leroy Sané (Germany): the dribblers of the 2022 World Cup

Credit: Quentin Guichard

Neymar (Brazil)

  • Number of dribbles this season : 65
  • His success rate : 35.4%
  • Because he ?

The Brazilian has become a true attacking midfielder, in club and even more in selection. But his technical palette is still the richest in the world. This is why he remains the leader of the Auriverde selection in this sector, even in a workforce that is not lacking in specialists (Vinicius Jr, Gabriel Martinelli, Raphinha…). He still vouches for the show having let go of a small part of his imagination for greater efficiency.

  • His best dribble : The hit of the sombrero

Neymar is never as dangerous as when he’s launched. And he can do anything with his feet. His favorite dribble is passing. But his ability to pass sombreros does more damage as he’s evolving into a more axial role. Particularly on the transition phases, where he manages to eliminate a player while changing direction to open the game Florentino Luis, who conceded two in the space of a few minutes during the match between Benfica and PSG, is well placed to talk about it.

When Messi puts a jumper on Neymar

Sofiane Boufal (Morocco)

  • Number of dribbles this season : 60
  • His success rate : 45%
  • Because he ?

The Angevin has long been an exception in the ‘Big Five’, as he competed with the best dribblers on the continent playing at a club struggling to stay in Ligue 1. Paradoxically, he has been somewhat eclipsed in recent weeks, by another Moroccan UFO of the SCO of Angers, Azzedine Ounahi. But due to his status in the selection, his experience, he will be one of the men to watch during this World Cup.

  • His best dribble : The internal hook

What makes Sofiane Boufal so comfortable dribbling is her last touch before passing her face-to-face. The Atlas Lion is able to hook the opposing player just before her intervention, while stationary or in the middle of a race. Visually, it looks simple. In practice, it is not. But the gesture is devilishly effective.

Rafael Leao (Portugal)

  • Number of dribbles this season : 55
  • His success rate : 43.6%
  • Because he ?

Until Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s arrival at Napoli, he was the most spectacular player in Serie A. Technically, the Portuguese stands out, given that he is an excellent setter despite his impressive size (1.88m). With Selecçao das Quinas he has a golden opportunity to seize on the left wing of the attack, in the absence of Diogo Jota. Especially since Fernando Santos’ team will certainly need his qualities to become less predictable on an offensive level.

  • His best dribble : The change of direction

Leão is not the skinniest of the five men on this list. On the other hand, he is certainly the strongest in the sprint. In Milan, the Portuguese often repeats a pattern that allows him to eliminate one or more players before freeing up space. Thanks to the control he manages to have with the outside of his right foot and his power in the first few metres, the former LOSC player has got into the habit of leading his vis-à-vis in one direction, even at the cost of close up… before turning around and starting again in the opposite direction. Not academic. Intense energy. But spectacular and very useful for a player like him.

Leroy Sané (Germany)

  • Number of dribbles this season : 40
  • His success rate : 60%
  • Because he ?

He was a flamboyant winger, he developed into an incisive attacking midfielder. A linesman at City, the German international has seen his role evolve under the orders of Julian Nagelsmann. The Bayern Munich coach uses his technical quality and physical power to trigger attacks. With the Mannschaft he is mainly used to the left of the attack trident but now he manages to be much more vertical. Confused.

  • His best dribble : The pretend

With his speed, the quality of his first touch and his left foot, the German most often makes the difference with his body play, especially when he is called with his back to goal. Thanks to her feints and short passes from him, he quickly finds good passing or shooting angles.

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