What is Dribbler in Football: Best Football Dribbler

Dribbler in Football

Apart from scoring goals, there are three critical factors in a football game –  passing, tackling, and dribbling. This article will focus on football dribbling. Dribbling is the art of moving the ball past your opponent without allowing them to tackle you. It is a technique that requires prolonged practice and perseverance to master. The best dribbler in football possesses exceptional ball control, speed, and creativity, making them a nightmare for the opposition to handle.

In this article, we will explore what dribbler in football mean and delve into the 20 best dribblers in the game. Although there isn’t any official ranking system for the best dribbler, we have taken FIFA 2022 player stats to determine the best dribblers in football.

Dribbler in football – what is it?

Dribbling is essentially carrying the ball with your feet. It is an act in which the player should keep the ball in their possession until they have defeated the opponent. So, it requires a player’s skills and a bag of tricks to stay away, dodge those interferences or tackles, and advance the ball to his teammates.

Balance, speed, endurance, body control, and agility are some essential factors in improving dribbling in football. So, to be the best dribbler in football, a player needs to have great footwork and control over the ball. Also, the player’s ability to change directions quickly is crucial.

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Types of Dribbling in football

There are many types of dribbling in football. Each has a specific key characteristic, so no two are the same. The balls passed by critical passes or shots represent the most important dribbler in football.

Type of dribbling in football

Here are some variations of dribbling:

  1. The cut: You use the cut move to move the ball to the side when coming face-to-face with your opponent. Use the outside of either foot to kick the ball to the side. You can continue dribbling, passing, or making a shot on goal after kicking.
  2. Low dribble: As the name suggests, low dribble keeps the ball bouncing low nearest to the floor. You extend your hands and keep bouncing the ball low to stop the opponent from intruding.
  3. Pressure-avoiding dribble: A quick ball flick that gives you a few extra seconds to execute a pass is a pressure-avoiding dribble.
  4. Change of pace dribble: This is a kind of dribble in football where you trick your opponent into thinking that you will stop passing the ball with your feet. To execute this dribble, you need to slow down your pace, and just when your opponent gets trapped into the trick, you increase your pace quickly.
  5. Outside Step-Over: This is again a kind of dribble in football where you trick your opponent into believing that you will drag the ball with you to continue forwards by giving them the side view. What do you actually do? Well, you drag the ball back with your other foot.
  6. La Croqueta: This is a side-to-side kick with the ball. The dribble is done by doing small jumps on each side and kicking with your feet sideways.

Dribbler in football – 20 Best Dribblers in Football

Dribble in football is crucial, and an expert dribbler is invaluable to a team. We have listed the 20 best dribblers in football based on the FIFA 2022 ranking.

Here are the best dribblers in football in 2022:

  1. Lionel Messi
  2. Neymar JR
  3. Kylian Mbappe
  4. Bernardo Silva
  5. Jadon Sancho
  6. Marco Verratti
  7. Paolo Dybala
  8. Riyad Mahrez
  9. Lorenzo Insigne
  10. Mohd. Salah
  11. Thiago Alcantara
  12. Sadio Mané
  13. Roberto Firmino
  14. Dries Mertens
  15. Kingsley Coman
  16. Philipe Coutinho
  17. Frenkie De Jong
  18. Mateo Kovacic
  19. Een Hazard
  20. Jack Grealish

DRI (Dribbling) notes agility, ball control, and balance.

Lionel Messi – 95 DRI  

Our first entry to the list of best dribblers in football is the seven-time Ballon D’or winner, Lionel Messi. The Argentine is the best dribbler in football by a margin, and no footballer controls the ball like him.

Moreover, he has a unique dribbling ability that excites viewers. He doesn’t let the ball get away too far, as if it were glued to his foot. Messi doesn’t use flashy skills like other footballers, but his rapid change of pace is enough to dislodge defenders.

A goal machine, by all means, Messi’s xG (expected goal) stands at an impressive 11.4, and he completes an incredible 2.7 dribbles per 90 for Ligue 1 2022. Learn about who will win the Ballon D’or award in 2022

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Neymar Jr. – 94 DRI

The second on the list of best dribblers in football is Neymar. We knew his name when he emerged as a tricky dribbler who toyed with opponent defenses.

Neymar knows what to do with the ball and how to do it. We have witnessed his skills and tricks with the ball, humiliating defenders. He has tremendous control over the ball and a deft touch.

Neymar’s combination with Lionel Messi and Suarez formed the famous MSN that ruled over the football scene for years. He has developed a strong partnership at PSG with Kylian Mbappé and Messi.

Neymar’s xG (expected goal) stands at an impressive 10.9, and he completes an incredible 2.8 dribbles per 90 for Ligue 1 2022.

Kylian Mbappé – 92 DRI

The top three on our list are all PSG players. First is the wonder kid Kylian Mbappé. There is no arguing that Mbappé is undoubtedly among the elite players and dribblers in the world. 

His blistering pace is second to none. Mbappé showed excellent speed and trickery on France’s road to winning the FIFA World Cup 2018

Kylian has been compared to Thierry Henry for his tremendous talent for quickly getting away from defenders. With his acceleration, he can wrong-foot the defense at will.

Kylian’s xG (expected goal) stands at an impressive 26.4, and he completes an incredible 3.3 dribbles per 90 for Ligue 1 2022.

Bernardo Silva – 91 DRI

Next on our list is the Portuguese and Manchester City playmaker Bernardo Silva. A natural at carrying and controlling the football, Bernardo’s movement with the ball is a treat to the eyes.

He mainly thrives on complex scenarios. Silva uses quick feet to escape defenders and fast body moves to displace the defense.

Playing under Pep Guardiola’s passing philosophy, Bernardo still manages to rack up 1.7 successful dribbles per 90, with his xG and xA (expected assists) at 0.24 and 0.13, respectively (Premier League 2022).

Jadon Sancho – 91 DRI

Jadon Sancho is at No. 5 on our list of the top 20 best dribblers in football. At 20, Sancho has already been at the summit of praise by experts. The football fraternity admires his lateral movement, ball-carrying, and controlling abilities.

Sancho can eliminate defenders with quick body feints and rapid changes of speed. He has already created seven chances this season, operating at both flanks.

The Manchester United winger completes 2.2 successful dribbles per 90, with xG and xA at 0.19 and 0.17, respectively.(Premier League 2022)The young lad is already a world-class talent and a regular member of the Three Lions.

Marco Verratti – 91 DRI

At only 5′5″ and having a low center of gravity, Marco Verratti is a force to reckon with. His trickery and swift movement with the ball help him dominate the midfield. His dribbling percentage is at a whopping 80.7% this season.

The Italian midfielder was a key member of Italy’s UEFA Euro victory and produced top-quality displays every time he stepped onto the field.

Playing as a defensive midfielder, Verratti can penetrate defenses with excellent through ball. Moreover, he can carry the ball, too, transforming defense into attack.

Verratti still manages to rack up 2.1 successful dribbles per 90, with his xG and xA (expected assists) at 0.03 and 0.17, respectively (Ligue 2022).

Paolo Dybala – 90 DRI

Before leaving Juventus, Dybala had an outstanding season with the Old Lady. However, his recent transfer to Jose Mourinho’s Roma has triggered the best of Paolo yet.

Playing at right-wing of Roma’s front three, Dybala is racking up tremendous numbers in Series A. His expected goals per 90 are at 0.52, and his expected assists per 90 are at 0.27 (as of 20th October 2022).

One of the best dribblers in football, Dybala completes 1.4 successful dribbles per 90. The most striking feature of his dribbling is his flare and quick turning to humiliate opponent defenses.

Riyad Mahrez – 90 DRI

One of the leading men in Leicester City’s Premier League triumph, Riyad Mahrez, is undoubtedly one of the best dribblers in football. Riyad’s lightly built stature, quick feet, and ability to keep the ball close to his feet while dribbling is still a dream for many.

Pep Guardiola has praised the Algerian winger for his excellent dribbling skills. Currently playing his trade at Manchester City, Mahrez has been in and out of the team, but his dribbling prowess and ability to get out of tricky areas are a treat to the eye.

Lorenzo Insigne – 90 DRI

The Italian winger had an incredible Euro 2020, where we all witnessed his excellent ball control and dribbling abilities. Operating on Italy’s left flank, Insigne played a pivotal role in Italy’s victory in UEFA Euro 2020.

He created a stunning 13 chances throughout the tournament. Also, his dribbling was immaculate while playing for Napoli in the 2021-22 season. 1.6 successful dribbles per 90 with an xG of 0.60 proves his ability as one of the best dribblers in football.

Mohd. Salah – 90 DRI

Salah has been a force to reckon with on Liverpool’s right flank. The Egyptian speedster is clearly one of the best dribblers in football. His 1.7 successful dribbles per 90 don’t justify his ability on the ball (Premier League 2022).

Salah has been breaking all records in the Premier League for the past two seasons with his agile movements and fantastic left foot. He is also a goal machine, although his scoring has been limited by good service this season. Yet an xG of 0.45 and an xA of 0.21 (as of 28th October 2022) is undoubtedly good.

Thiago Alcantara – 90 DRI

He is easily one of the best midfielders around at present. A suffering Liverpool team felt Thiago Alcantara’s absence at the start of the 2022-23 campaign. However, after his injury, he recently returned to play and has started producing impressive numbers.

Thiago is a trickster. With short and sharp movements, he easily penetrates the opposition’s defence. His wide range of passing abilities makes him one of the best passers in the game.

The former Bayern Munich playmaker’s dribbling abilities are fantastic. With a dribble percentage of 62.5% (as of 28th October 2022), there is no denying the fact that Thiago is among the best dribblers in football. The Liverpool playmaker completes 1.2 successful dribbles per 90 minutes.

Sadio Mané – 89 DRI

The former Liverpool man is one of the paciest dribblers in football. His quick feet and burst acceleration are second to none. Sadio Mane’s latest move to Bayern Munich has been great. The Senegalese forward has already scored four times in the Bundesliga.

With a dribble percentage of 56.7% (Bundesliga 2022-2023) Mane is undoubtedly giving a hard time to Bundesliga defenders. Mane completes 2.0 successful dribbles per 90, with an xG (Expected Goals) rating of an impressive 0.54.

Roberto Firmino – 89 DRI

Firmino has been in great form this season, scoring goals for fun. He might not be the spring chicken he used to be, but “Bobby” Firmino still has those tricks up his sleeves. Agility, body feints, accelerating runs, what doesn’t Firmnio have?

Playing as the central striker in Liverpool’s 4-3-3 formation, Firmino doesn’t get enough dribbling opportunities. However, he compensates for that by dropping to midfield and helping his teammates—Firmnio’s fast turns and feint skills are still a nightmare to the Premier League defenders.

Dries Mertens – 88 DRI

At 35 years old, Dries Mertens may be over his prime, but his transfer to a new league has changed his game entirely. 

Playing for Galatasary, Mertens harbours a 0.18 xA and an astounding 1.2 dribble per game (as of 28th October 2022). Mertens flourishes on one-on-ones, giving defenders a tumble with his pacey movements before cutting it to the strong right foot. However, with an xG (expected goals) of 0.48, Mertens is yet to find the back of the net this season (data from Super Lig 2022-2023).

Kingsley Coman – 88 DRI

Coman has always been a mainstay in Bayern Munich’s first eleven. And that’s for a reason: His slim build and incredible ability to provide for strikers make Coman the player he is today.

The French winger is an outstanding dribbler too. With 2.3 successful dribblers per 90 minutes, Coman ranks in the top 10 successful dribblers in the Bundesliga every season.

Philipe Coutinho – 88 DRI

We are all familiar with this Brazilian wizard. After a somewhat miserable stay at Camp Nou, Coutinho returned to the Premier League to become the best. Under the management of former teammate Steven Gerrad, Philipe Coutinho has slowly come back to his best.

The 0.17 xG and 0.06 xA (as of 28th October 2022, Premier League) may not be the best of forms, but his dribbling skills are still praiseworthy. Coutinho is one of the most agile dribblers in football. His fast movements and quick acceleration are enough to leave defenders behind. He completes almost 60% of his attempted dribbles successfully per game.

Frenkie De Jong – 88 DRI

Next on our list is Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong. De Jong was the best dribbler in football in the top five European leagues last season, with a dribble success rate of 71.4% (as of 28th October 2022, LaLiga)

The key factors in the Netherlands ace’s game are rapid movements and precision. Frenkie De Jong racks up unbelievable stats per game with his contributions in defence and attack. 

Along with Gavi and Pedri, De Jong is the engine room in Barcelona’s midfield, steadily returning to where they were in the Messi era.

Mateo Kovacic – 88 DRI

One of the marquee players of Croatia’s golden generation, Mateo Kovacic, is the real deal in the midfield. The 28-year-old Chelsea midfielder has an incisive eye for a pass. However, this 5’10” central midfielder is one of the most underrated dribblers in football. 

The Chelsea #8 is an excellent ball carrier. He easily brushes off tackles and uses his long legs to dummy opponents. Playing deep in the midfield, Kovacic attempts regular dribbles to get out of trouble, with his dribble percentage being 74.5%

The current managerial change at Chelsea has limited his game time a bit. But it is only a matter of time before they return to their midfield maestro.

Een Hazard – 88 DRI

The Belgian talisman was one of the crown jewels of the Chelsea team that lifted the UEFA Europa League in 2019. Later, he was transferred to Real Madrid, where we still wait to see the best of him.

Hazard is one of the best dribblers in football. His flair and ability to carry the ball are a nightmare for defenders. Hazard’s low center of gravity helps him control the ball like no other. Moreover, his shoulder feint skills, coupled with his step-overs, are excellent to watch.

Suffering from a long-term injury, Eden Hazard had a disrupted start to his life in Spain’s capital. However, he has already won silverware, playing a secondary role at the Bernabéu.

Jack Grealish – 88 DRI

England’s Jack Grealish is the first entry on our list of the best dribblers in football. His $100 million transfer from Aston Villa to Premier League Champions, Manchester City, speaks volumes. Tremendous ball control and body-checking ability have made Grealish one of the finest dribblers in football. 

His body feints and quick movements made him the most-fouled player in the Premier League in the 2021-22 session. England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, noticed his ball control and dribbling ability, who handed him his first call-up to the national team in the UEFA Nations League against Denmark.

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Dribbler in Football – Key Takeaway

So, there you have it! In-depth analysis of the best dribblers in football currently playing. We, as fans, do not only cherish goals in a game. We also get up from our seats when we witness an incredible dribble.

Footballers are full of tricks and skills. But using it in a difficult situation or producing a moment of magic with their feet is all we fans want to witness!

All of the mentioned footballers can create such magical moments, and we hope to witness them soon!

Dribbler in football – FAQs

What is dribbling in football?

Dribbling is carrying the ball with your feet without letting your opponent dispossess you.

Is Ronaldo a dribbler?

Yes. Cristiano Ronaldo has a bag full of tricks. Moreover, according to the GOAT index, he is ranked no. 1 on the list of the greatest football player of all time

Who is the god of football?

Pele is regarded as the God of football. Read this article to know why Pele is the god of football

How many players are there in football?

There are 11 players in football and the team is divided into three sections – Defense, Offense, and Midfield. Learn about the role of each football player here.

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