One of the most attractive aspects of football in the modern game is witnessing great players dribble past opponents while leaving them embarrassed. It brings joy to us fans, and ultimately makes that team or player popular; considering they don't lose the ball half the time. If this is the case, it seems that for tournaments and teams to get more fans and popularity it would be simple, go and buy exciting dribbling players! It might be entertaining, but will it be effective? To outline the teams, tournaments, and players that have stood out on dribbling for the 2011 season, a research was conducted using (powered by Opta) to pin point the best of each category.


Dribbling Masters of Europe


Total league dribbles show which leagues are more adventurous and to a certain extend more unpredictable. This seems plausible for the Bundesliga, as recently the league champions have been surprises and it is very unpredictable to guess the outcomes in Germany. If it wasn’t for the powerhouses of Real Madrid and Barcelona, one could say La Liga would be a very scattered and "full of surprise" tournament. Every team under second place in La Liga is unpredictable, and it has been like that for years. Lique 1, Premier League, and Serie A complete the list in that order. It is no surprise seeing Serie A last as the league does not promote the play of wingers and the leagues slow tempo means there are more people to beat at the back.


Successful team dribbles game (STD/G) is the average successful dribbles a team completes for each match. The biggest surprise he is that Barcelona are not sitting on top. It is Hamburg that can be crowned as Europe’s best dribbling team with 15.1 STD/G. Hamburg have used the 4-4-2 formation for the majority of the season and both their wingers have an average of 2.7 successful dribbles per game. Barcelona, in second place, had 14.7 STD/G, and they are the only domestic league champions that feature in this top 10 list. Ten teams in the top 20 are from the Bundesliga, and underdogs such as Mainz, Nurnberg, and Hoffenheim made the top 10.  The only other teams that won their domestic leagues that are on this list are Borussia Dortmund (18th) and Lille (20th), this is a small indication that there are more important factors that are effective for title pushes, except in La Liga of course.


Successful player dribbles per game (SPD/G) is the average successful dribbles a player completes for each match. Finally an obvious fact, Lionel Messi can be crowned as Europe’s best dribbler! His statistics for SPD/G are astonishing as he averages 5.6 SPD/G. This statistic becomes more impressive when looking at the average of the top 20 players for SPD/G, just above 3.0, which is higher than it should be considering Messi’s 5.6 avg. which brings the total average up. Marko Marin from Werder Bremen is second on this list, and despite his team’s unsuccessful year, Bremen can boast that they have a future star at their helm. Charles N’Zogbia of Wigan is no big surprise either as he has been very impressive in the Premier League this season, including getting a France call up and netting on his competitive debut, which was a rather fortuitous deflection. Perhaps the dark house in this list is Lvo Llicevic from Kaiserslautern. He features in 7th place with 3.0 SPD/G, and is the main “unknown” player the top 10 list. Ivo is predominately and left sided winger with the ability to play in the right flank, he scored 5 goals and assisted 6. At 24 years of age he has his future ahead of him and it would not be surprising to see the name of “Ivo Llicevic” flooding the transfer rumours after this article gets published (smiles). Hamburg wingers Pitropia and Elia also feature, as do transfer headliners Pastore, Hazard, and Nani.


In conclusion, these top 20 teams and players are great to watch, and everybody loves players that dribble with flair, technique, and pace. How important and effective is it? Well in this research, only Barcelona and Messi (best player in rankings) defy the results. The results are, that the majority of the best dribbling teams, and players on this list did not win anything in the past season. Of course, Barcelona is the main exception here but it is an exception that is universally and accepted the whole world.