Barcelona's Lionel Messi is beaten by Eden Hazard and Neymar in list of Europe's best dribblers

Move over, Neymar, there’s a new dribbling king in town.

The Brazilian has long been considered one of the best dribblers in the world – and he still is. But in recent seasons, he’d assumed the crown of the best, full stop, and the stats backed him up. Until now.

Eden Hazard, who’s been building up his own reputation as a skillful players, is the best dribbler in Europe’s top five leagues, according to a study done by the CIES Football Observatory.

Their index takes into account both successful dribbles per 90 minutes and dribbling success rate. Neymar tops Hazard in the first stat, 7.3 to 6.4, but the Chelsea man more than makes up for it with a superior success rate of 75 percent to Neymar’s 62 percent, earning him the status as top dribbler.

Lionel Messi comes in at third, with the rest of the top ten full of some surprising names – and dominated by the Premier League. Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele is tied for fourth – with the highest success rate, 88 percent, in the top five leagues -West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku is seventh and Southampton’s Sofiane Boufale are eighth and ninth.

There are some glaring omissions from the top 10, as well. Manchester United star Paul Pogba isn’t too far back, tied with Watford’s Andre Carillo in 12th, but the likes of Leroy Sane, Alexis Sanchez, and Mohamed Salah are lagging behind in 29th, 33rd, and 43rd, respectively.

Check out the top 10 in the gallery above.

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PSG confirm Neymar has fractured his metatarsal

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Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar suffered a sprained ankle and a fractured metatarsal when he was stretchered off in Sunday’s win over Marseille, the Ligue 1 leaders announced on Monday.

The Brazilian, who signed for PSG in a world-record move from Barcelona last year, is now a serious injury doubt for the Champions League last-16 second leg against Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes on March 6.

PSG trail in the tie after a 3-1 first-leg defeat in Spain, with their hopes of a maiden Champions League title taking a further body blow with the confirmation of Neymar’s injury, although they didn’t specify how long the 26-year-old would be out of action.

“Additional examinations performed today (ultrasound and CT) confirmed an external sprain of the right ankle, but also an associated fissure of the fifth metatarsal,” PSG said in a short statement.

The chances of Neymar returning to fitness in time to face the reigning European champions now appear extremely slim.

He is all but certain to miss Wednesday’s French Cup quarter-final against Marseille and the weekend’s Ligue 1 visit to Troyes, with the Real clash just three days later.

Metatarsal injuries usually take weeks, if not months to recover from.

Just last year, Neymar’s international team-mate Gabriel Jesus was out of action for two months after breaking a metatarsal with Manchester City, and has struggled with further injuries since.

Former England stars David Beckham and Wayne Rooney spent six weeks on the sidelines with metatarsal injuries in the past, with both still arguably being rushed back too soon for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups respectively.

Brazil fans will also be keeping a close eye on Neymar’s fitness, especially after he missed their 2014 World Cup thrashing by Germany with injury.

PSG, who lead the French top flight by a massive 14 points, also said that Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos had picked up a leg muscle problem.

Neymar was stretchered off in anguish towards the end of PSG’s 3-0 victory over their great rivals in the capital, having innocuously rolled his right ankle and flopped to the ground in pain.

With the game already as good as over, the stadium held its breath as he was treated and then carried away, with PSG forced to finish the match with 10 men having made all of their substitutions.

Neymar himself posted a picture on Instagram of his right leg with the ankle and foot heavily bandaged, before later appearing to delete the post. “08:10. Finished for today,” said the caption.

French newspaper Le Parisien had earlier reported that tests on Monday morning had ruled out a “fracture of a serious sprain”.

But the club later confirmed their fans’ worst fears, with the return game against Real just eight days away.

Despite the injury potentially benefiting Madrid, the Spanish side’s coach Zinedine Zidane claimed he hoped Neymar would recover in time to play.

“I’m not happy with the Neymar injury and I hope he can be back for the game. I will never want a rival player to be out injured,” Zidane said at a press conference in the Spanish capital earlier on Monday.

While Neymar was leaving the Parc des Princes on crutches on Sunday, PSG coach Unai Emery insisted he was “optimistic”.

“We will be optimistic. If I had to say today (whether or not he will face Real) I would rather say yes,” said the Spaniard.

But now his team’s hopes of keeping their European dream alive are hanging by a thread, despite the continued presence up front of Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.

PSG have never reached the Champions League final, and lost at the last-16 stage last season after a humiliating 6-1 second-leg thrashing by a Neymar-inspired Barcelona, having won the first game 4-0.

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Griezmann, Lukaku and Asenjo star in Sport360's European team of the week

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Antoine Griezmann (r) scored a hat-trick for Atletico Madrid at Sevilla in La Liga.

After another round of spellbinding action across Europe’s five major leagues, a special group of players rose above the rest.

Footballers made their mark from Real Madrid to Barcelona, and Guingamp to Hertha Berlin.

Here is our selection:


Sergio Asenjo (Villarreal)

This was a day to cherish for the injury prone shot-stopper, his remarkable pair of penalty saves ensuring Villarreal earned a barely deserved 1-0 win in La Liga against Getafe.

Laudable composure and athleticism – plus a degree of luck – were on show to deny Angel Rodriguez and Jorge Molina from 12 yards.

Without him, the Yellow Submarine would have been sunk.


Davide Calabria (AC Milan)

Debut professional goals rarely come with such style.

The youth product sprung Roma’s offside trap and dinked the ball over Brazil goalkeeper Alisson in Milan’s excellent 2-0 Serie A victory in the capital. This effort came at the 42nd time of asking.

In a man-of-the-match display, the Italy under-21 international’s five tackles was the most recorded by Rino Gattuso’s resurgent Champions League-chasers, his two interceptions was only matched by Leonardo Bonucci and his 14 clearances was nine more than Lucas Biglia.


Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan)

Few would have predicted the identity of the goalscorers as Inter got back to winning ways with a 2-0 triumph against Benevento.

Luciano Spalletti’s men made hard work of the promoted side and required both centre-backs to nod in goals.

Skriniar’s opener came during a week in which the coveted Slovakia defender pledged his future to the club for “many years”. This followed strong links to the Manchester giants and Barcelona.


Jordan Torunarigha (Hertha Berlin)

There are not many 20-year-olds who can say they’ve kept a clean sheet against Bayern Munich’s phalanx of fearsome attacking weapons.

The Germany youth international can add his name to this exclusive list after a committed display during Saturday’s goalless draw which denied the runaway Bundesliga leaders a club-record 15th consecutive victory.

Torunarigha led the way for mid-table Hertha with four tackles, five interceptions and eight clearances. The only blot was a pass accuracy of 43.8 per cent as he bombed the ball up from the back.


Theo Hernandez (Real Madrid)

Madrid’s left flank was lethal in the 4-0 dismantling of Alaves – and Hernandez played a big part.

Running out against the side for whom he excelled on loan from Atletico Madrid last term, the 20-year-old provided a constant outlet for Wales superstar Gareth Bale. In his first consecutive La Liga starts since September, he also produced an excellent last-ditch tackle to ensure a clean sheet was saved.

This saw atone for the meek clearance against Leganes in midweek which led to a goal.

26 02 2018 Football formation (1)


Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio)

A remarkable talent is emerging from The Eternal City.

His brace in the 3-0 win at relegation-threatened Sassuolo saw coach Simone Inzaghi predict a “rosy future” for the man valued at €100 million (Dh453.3m). At 22, the Serbia international is also the youngest midfielder to score at least nine goals in the top five European leagues this season.

His first effort was curled home from 20 yards, while he later used his formidable height to nod home soon after the break.


Lucas Deaux (Guingamp)

You wait nearly a year to score, and then two come around at once – this was the scenario for the seasoned defensive midfielder this weekend.

His interventions were twice required to peg back bottom-placed Metz in an entertaining 2-2 draw in Ligue 1. The 29-year-old’s second rose the roof at Stade du Roudourou as he showed unforeseen predatory instincts to follow in a prospective shot from centre-back Christophe Kerbrat in the 86th minute.


Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona)

Barca fans got their first genuine sighting this weekend of what they can expect from the £142m (Dh733.1m) January buy.

Coutinho was superb in the 6-1 thrashing of Girona on the left-hand side of head coach Ernesto Valverde’s 4-4-2 formation. The Brazil playmaker fired in a trademark, missile-guided first La Liga goal from the edge of the penalty box and produced a divine piece of play for ex-Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez’s second just before half-time.


Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

It is little more than three months since the Uruguay striker was being written off as a spent force – how times change.

Suarez ruthlessly plundered a hat-trick against fellow Catalan side Girona, which was his first of the season. He showed poise to immediately level the visitor’s shock opener, his predatory skills on show to finish off assists from Coutinho and fellow new boy Ousmane Dembele.

With 20 goals in 22 top-flight games this term, there is plenty of life in the 31-year-old.


Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)

It feels strange to say it about a striker who moved for £75m (Dh387.2m) last summer and has already made more than 350 career appearances, but this felt like a breakthrough performance.

Lukaku superbly moved the ball between his feet to produce the opener in the 2-1 win against ex-employers Chelsea, before adroitly working space out wide and delivering a perfect cross for England midfielder Jesse Lingard’s winner.

This ended his wait to score for United against a top-six rival.


Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

Atletico Madrid delivered, arguably, the continent’s best performance of the weekend when they won 5-2 at Sevilla and their France forward was at the heart of this display.

Griezmann scored from 20 yards, converted a penalty, set up Spain creator Koke for their fourth and then applied the finish to Saul Niguez’s cut-back for his hat-trick.

His stellar contribution saw him join Lionel Messi as the only La Liga player to reach double figures for goals and assists in 2017/18, plus move on to 150 club career strikes.

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