15 Of The Best Defense-Splitting Passes You'll Ever See

There’s nothing quite like watching an entire defense get dissected by one immaculate ball.

There are only a handful of players on the planet who can consistently alter games with their combination of vision, creativity and passing technique, but it should come as no surprise that they all ply their trade at Europe’s most feared attacking sides: Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic, PSG’s Neymar and Marco Verratti, Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara and James Rodriguez. 

In one all-seeing moment, these footballers can unlock even the most rigid of “two banks of four” and quickly turn a defensive tactical masterclass into nothing more than “shit hanging from a stick.” 

Great individual goals on the dribble or from 30 yards out are always special, but there’s a very particular thrill in seeing one pass effectively take an entire defensive unit out of the play entirely.  

Especially when there’s a little sauce on it, like this recent João Cancelo during Juventus’ 3-1 win over Cagliari.  

Here are some other standout moments featuring the world’s best creative talents taking apart elite defenses. This is by no means a complete list or a ranking, so we apologize in advance for omitting some beauties. 

15 Best Defense-Splitting Passes You'll Ever See

James Rodriguez with the assist of the 2018 World Cup.

Benjamin Pavard with sorcery. 

Andres Iniesta somehow manages to get the perfect weight on a pass he has to smash.

Paul Pogba with some Classico Tomato Sauce.

This is Marco Reus. He's some player.

Filth from Steven Gerrard.

Miralem Pjanic insanity.

Mesut Ozil with a kind of technique that's never been seen before.

Paul Scholes.

Outside of the foot technique: 99.

Show your kids Guti.

We're including this Zlatan pass because we're obligated to. 

De Bruyne? Not human.

It's Messi.

Let's finish with some Cesc. 

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