Assists are a relatively new phenomena.
They’ve always existed, of course.
But people only really started to care about them in the 2000s — when OPTA and others started keeping track.
While it’s unquestionably good that the contribution of playmakers is widely recognised, part of us still reveres the old-school goal-hoarders who couldn’t give a toss about assists.
And so, allow us to present the top scorers in each of Europe’s top five leagues who are yet to provide a single assist this season (league only)…
Here’s something to feed the bad first touch narrative.
Romelu Lukaku has scored 12 league goals this campaign but is yet to set up a team-mate.
The hulking Belgian provided seven league assists last season (very respectable) but he’s struggled this term.
Shout out to Sadio Mane here, who has scored 17 Prem goals but has surprisingly only assisted once.
We did a similar feature to this last season and Cristhian Stuani’s name popped up then too.
The Uruguay international has been prolific since trading Middlesbrough for Girona and occupying the centre-forward position.
He’s really embraced the classically selfish nature of the role.
Last season he finished with 21 league goals and no assists and he’s on for something similar this campaign with 16 goals and a big goose egg in the assist column.
Excellent commitment to the brand.
The league’s top scorer and the league’s top assist provider are the the same person — Lionel Messi, you may have heard of him?
Paco Alcacer’s super-sub exploits have been a feature of Borussia Dortmund’s title challenge.
The former Barcelona forward has scored 14 goals despite starting just eight games.
With minimal playing time to work with he has wisely disregarded assists in favour of an impressive minutes-per-goal ratio.
Robert Lewandowski is enjoying a rare charitable season having provided seven assists so far, the same as his last two full seasons combined.
Arkadiusz Milik stuck his hand up with 15 goals and one assists but he was blown out the water by his compatriot.
Krzysztof Piatek has scored more goals (19) than anyone in Europe’s top five leagues without a league assist to their name.
It’s a statistic that fits the emerging star’s reputation, one of a traditional No9 who cares about little more than feasting on as many goals as possible.
In an age of false 9s, it’s good to see a 23-year-old hungry for Golden Boots.
We had to dig deep into the stats to find a Ligue 1 goalscorer who hadn’t provided at least one assist this season.
But when we did find one, it was a familiar name — Mario Balotelli.
The enigmatic Italian famously only registered one assist in 54 Premier League games with Man City.
To say it was an important one is an understatement: “Manchester City are still alive here. Balotelli. Agueroooooooooooo! I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again.”
Super Mario has scored five goals in eight games for Marseille since leaving Nice after ten goalless appearances at the start of the season.
Importantly though, he has stayed true to his nature and not got near an assist.