Ajax FC captain Dusan Tadic broke Lionel Messi’s record to finish 2021 with the most assists in a calendar year. The 33-year-old chalked an impressive 37 assists in 2021, surpassing Messi’s tally of 36 assists that the former Barcelona star had recorded in 2011.

Tadic, who has 12 assists in 18 Eredivisie games this season, had a chance of extending the number further as Ajax had two more games remaining in 2021 - away to Feyenoord and at home to Fortuna Sittard - but the club captain could only muster a goal out of these games. His last assist came in Ajax’s 1-2 defeat against AZ Alkmaar on December 12.

Tadic’s tally of 37 assists, however, is quite controversial, to say the least. According to Sofa Score, Tadic has 35 assists in the calendar year of 2021 and that the two extra assists came in club friendlies, which is not the standard measurement of counting records.

For Messi, he had set the record while playing for Barcelona in 2011. In that year, the Argentina captain had won the UEFA Champions League and LaLiga while recording 36 assists.

Meanwhile, in the same year where Tadic surpassed Messi, Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller set the record of his own. The 32-year-old registered an impressive 30 assists in 2021 as he continued to defy his critics.

The fourth in the list of most assists in a calendar year is Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel di Maria. In 2011, the former Real Madrid stalwart flourished with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema as he finished the year with 23 assists.

Former Arsenal captain Thierry Henry completes the top five list with a record of 23 assists that he had recorded in 2003. Meanwhile, the most surprising entrant on the list is Eintracht Frankfurt's Filip Kostic. The 29-year-old versatile winger finished 2021 with 22 assists.

Most assists in a calendar year: Know the list

Player Year Assists
Dusan Tadic 2021 37
Lionel Messi 2011 36
Thomas Muller 2021 30
Angel di Maria 2011 23
Thierry Henry 2003 23
Filip Kostic 2021 22
Mesut Ozil 2015 21

Featured photo: AFP / Olaf Kraak