The complete again revolution hasn’t merely been restricted to the best facet of the pitch. Though, that’s the place lots of the tagged revolutionaries strut their stuff.
Being deployed at left again was as soon as an insult; it’s the place you’d doubtless see the worst participant on the crew try and impress should you strolled all the way down to your native taking part in fields on a Sunday morning. It was a place that no person needed to play.
Nevertheless, the fast evolution of the game within the twenty first century has morphed the left again place right into a fascinating one. It’s an extremely demanding perform with modern-day tactical obsessives attempting their utmost to complicate the position as a lot as they will. Thanks, Pep.
However their work has caused a brand new breed of left again and we’re now blessed with a myriad of stars in that place.
Rating the highest 25 left backs on the planet is not any straightforward activity, however right here’s our try at doing precisely that.
This may increasingly come as a little bit of a shock, however our rating begins with Brighton new boy Pervis Estupinan.
The left again made a reputation for himself whereas out on mortgage at Osasuna in La Liga in the course of the COVID-hit 2019/20 marketing campaign. Estupinan assisted 5 occasions within the league that season as his exact supply and proactive defensive model turned revered in Spain.
The Ecuadorian is an extremely energetic full again who excels in all phases of play. He’s a superb dribbler and proved whereas taking part in within the Champions League with Villarreal that he can carry out to a borderline elite degree in high-pressure moments.
Estupinan has all of the makings of an distinctive wing again, and there’s little question Roberto De Zerbi will maximise his potential on the Amex.
Philipp Max is one among Europe’s most efficient left backs from an attacking sense, however the truth that he not competes in one of many continent’s premier divisions has undoubtedly broken his inventory.
Max starred within the Bundesliga with Augsburg – registering 12 assists in 2017/18 and 14 objective contributions in 2019/20 – earlier than he opted to affix PSV in 2020.
Max scored 5 occasions and added 13 assists in his debut Eredivisie marketing campaign, however has struggled with minor knocks extra just lately.
Joakim Maehle was one of many protagonists in Denmark’s unforgettable Euro 2020 journey and anybody would assume the Dane is among the many world’s finest at his place if his worldwide type was something to go by.
Maehle is distinctly gifted and his ability set, which incorporates astute off-the-ball motion, supreme athleticism and an infectious tenacity, seems tailored for Gian Piero Gasperini’s high-octane system at Atalanta.
Nevertheless, Maehle is but to hit the heights he so typically reaches for the nationwide crew in Bergamo.
Bullish Argentine Marcos Acuna has been a staple at Sevilla for the previous three years. He has executed an apt job of changing Sergio Reguilon, who starred throughout his mortgage spell in Seville, with out matching the Spaniard’s spectacular output in the course of the 2019/20 marketing campaign.
Acuna’s comparatively small attacking output is considerably of a shock on condition that he broke onto the scene in Argentina with Racing Membership as a left-sided midfielder.
Nonetheless, the Argentine is a bodily strong defender who’s one among Sevilla’s major ball-progressors in possession. He’s a sound technician who can play in tight areas, whereas he’s additionally adept at taking part in over longer distances. Acuna can break up defensive strains together with his passes and bypass opponents together with his dribbling.
Total, Acuna’s a high quality left again and among the finest that La Liga has to supply.
Julian Nagelsmann coaxed each ounce of potential out of Jesse Pinkm– sorry, Angelino throughout his stint at RB Leipzig. The Spaniard had struggled to settle after becoming a member of Manchester Metropolis in 2013 earlier than he arrived in Saxony seven years afterward an preliminary mortgage.
The once-outcasted Spaniard thrived in Nagelsmann’s proactive and vertical three-back system which allowed him to perform as a wing again. This allowed Angelino’s forward-thinking instincts to manifest as he scored 4 occasions and added 4 assists in his first full Bundesliga marketing campaign.
He continued to be productive following Nagelsmann’s departure, however he’s since made the change to Hoffenheim. Angelino’s attacking abilities see him make this listing as a result of he leaves lots to be desired going the opposite method.
Nottingham Forest produced a little bit of a coup to signal Atletico Madrid left again Renan Lodi on mortgage in the summertime of 2022.
Lodi carried out on the highest degree for Atleti and his efficiency in opposition to Manchester United at Outdated Trafford within the Champions League final season garnered loads of plaudits.
Admittedly, he has suffered from consistency points over the previous two years after he starred throughout his debut season in La Liga. Lodi’s a diligent and proactive defender who likes to contribute with the ball and he’s now most likely higher suited to a wing again position.
He is proven his attacking high quality early in his mortgage spell with Forest as they appear to keep away from relegation.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s idiosyncratic system acquired the perfect out of the highly effective Robin Gosens. Swift rotations and interchanges meant the German left wing again typically discovered himself behind the opposition’s defence and his output in Bergamo was staggering because of this.
Gosens contributed to 32 Serie A targets over two seasons between 2019 and 2021 as La Dea established themselves as Europe’s supreme entertainers. Atalanta’s demise coincided with the German’s damage woes, and he’s since moved to Inter.
Ivan Perisic’s stellar type meant he not often featured for the Nerazzurri, however he’ll absolutely play an enormous position for Simone Inzaghi’s facet shifting ahead.
There was a degree the place Sergio Reguilon was thought-about among the many best left backs. The slight Spaniard’s inventory was at an all-time excessive off the again of Sevilla’s spectacular Europa League triumph in 2020 and his Tottenham profession began off on the best foot.
Reguilon was amongst Spurs’ finest performers beneath Jose Mourinho and his power down the left flank meant he was well-liked among the many Lilywhite trustworthy.
Nevertheless, the appointment of Antonio Conte altered Reguilon’s fortunes in north London. Whereas he has loads of admirable attributes, his indecisiveness and inefficiency within the remaining third are distinct downsides. And given his lack of stature, he’s actually not your typical Conte wing again.
Ryan Sessegnon and Ivan Perisic have since usurped Reguilon within the depth chart, however there’s little question the Spaniard can thrive in the best system and atmosphere.
When Luke Shaw latched onto Kieran Trippier’s teasing supply to open the scoring within the Euro 2020 remaining, it was the fruits of the left again’s spectacular resurgence having beforehand been written off at a membership degree.
Shaw’s majestic Euros had come off the again of an excellent season – arguably his finest – at Manchester United and he was regarded by many on the time as one of many world’s finest left backs.
Nevertheless, Shaw’s fortunes have as soon as once more taken a flip. His type took a slide and accidents hampered his 2021/22 marketing campaign. The left again has began properly beneath new boss Erik ten Hag, however there’s loads of work to be executed but.
David Raum is a relentless provider of targets.
Following an outstanding marketing campaign with Greuther Furth within the German second tier, Raum would get pleasure from an assist-laden season with Hoffenheim earlier than once more shifting to RB Leipzig.
Raum is a flexible defender who can perform in quite a lot of programs, however he’s undoubtedly at his simplest when he’s given the liberty to advance into the ultimate third.
He’s among the finest attacking left backs on the planet, however he does have a few defensive drawbacks, together with his capacity in one-v-one conditions.
Marc Cucurella’s rise from Jose Bordelas’ workhorse at Getafe to £60m defender has been swift. The Spaniard excelled as a centre again, full again, and wing again for Graham Potter at Brighton and his stellar type satisfied Chelsea to pay a mammoth charge for his companies this summer time.
Cucurella, briefly, is a pest. He’s so powerful to play in opposition to. Not solely is he tenacious out of possession, however he’s so artful on the ball, too. The Barcelona academy graduate bypasses strain for enjoyable and it’s straightforward to see why Pep Guardiola was intent on signing him earlier than Chelsea swooped.
He’s acquired an amazing head of hair, too, opposite to what Cristian Romero thinks.
Accidents have disrupted Kieran Tierney’s spell at Arsenal, however there’s little question he’s one of many world’s finest left backs when match and firing.
The flying Scotsman was as soon as Arsenal’s major artistic supply beneath Mikel Arteta earlier than the Gunners diversified their work within the remaining third.
Regardless of his damage woes, Tierney stays a strong athlete who likes to maraud up and down the left flank. The Scot is an efficient overlapper who can ship quite a lot of crosses into the field. His output in north London hasn’t been staggering, however his efficacy has been distinct.
Tierney’s availability – or lack thereof – means he doesn’t fairly break our prime ten left backs, however his expertise and work ethic imply he’s actually knocking on the door.
Leandro Spinazzola performed such a key position in Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph regardless of selecting up a devastating Achilles damage within the Azzurri’s quarter-final overcome Belgium.
The overlapping runs of the flying left again have been essential to Roberto Mancini’s possession construction, and his fame soared within the aftermath of the match as Italy finally prevailed.
There are fears he gained’t fairly be as harmful as he was pre-injury, however he is nonetheless constructing his method again to the highest beneath Jose Mourinho at Roma.
There aren’t many full backs as dynamic as Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro. The diminutive Portugal worldwide is so enjoyable to observe.
Compared to his contemporaries, Guerreiro stands out together with his environment friendly work within the remaining third however he’s additionally an distinctive ball-carrier. He’s the epitome of a modern-day full again together with his positivity in possession essential in guaranteeing Dortmund rise up the pitch.
Whereas there are bodily shortcomings, Guerreiro boasts the defensive nous to make sure such drawbacks are minimised. He’s a shrewd defender, however it’s his stellar attacking work that helps him into our prime ten left backs on the planet.
Questions have been raised over Ben Chilwell’s viability as a £50m full again when Chelsea signed him from Leicester in 2020. His senior profession had began brightly on the King Energy, however there’s little question that the Blues have been taking an enormous monetary threat.
Nevertheless, he shortly took to life in west London and his sport was taken to a different degree after Thomas Tuchel changed Frank Lampard as Chelsea boss in January 2021.
The England worldwide loves a niggle, nevertheless, and appears to run right into a health concern every time he builds up some momentum.
David Alaba this, Marcelo that. No. Jordi Alba was the left again of the 2010s. Though, we’re open to debate.
Alba’s type has continued into the brand new decade and amid a tumultuous interval for Barcelona, each on and off the sphere, the diminutive Spaniard has been a mannequin of consistency.
His attacking output stays very good and final season was the best of his complete La Liga profession as he notched 12 objective contributions. Alba continues to wreak havoc on the overlap and his capacity to make the best resolution within the remaining third is unerringly spectacular.
Jose Gaya is a type of guys who has lengthy been revered and he typically crops up in rankings similar to this.
The Spaniard has been a constant performer amid a tumultuous interval for Valencia and if it wasn’t for the perpetual brilliance of Jordi Alba, he actually would’ve earned extra caps for the nationwide crew.
Gaya is revered for his attacking prowess and his power down the left is infectious. He’s been Valencia’s finest participant for fairly a while now and has served as their skipper since Dani Parejo’s 2020 departure.
There was a time when Mario Rui summed up all the pieces unsuitable with Napoli. Nevertheless, he is changed into an important attacking presence down the left, forming a enjoyable partnership with speedster Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Napoli typically assault down the left and Rui may be counted on for defensive resilience and good supply from out extensive.
Underrated for therefore lengthy, it lastly appears like Oleksandr Zinchenko is garnering the plaudits he deserves. The Ukraine worldwide stars for the nationwide crew as a midfielder, however the overwhelming majority of supporters regard Zinchenko as an archetypal Pep Guardiola inverted full-back.
He carried out such a fancy perform to an extremely excessive normal on the Etihad as he perpetually performed an unsung position in Metropolis’s 4 Premier League title wins.
His arrival at Arsenal has arguably thrust Zinchenko extra into the limelight and his impression in north London has been instant. He’s a frontrunner on the sphere, whereas many regard him as one of many most interesting technicians within the sport.
Ivan Perisic has Antonio Conte to thank for his evolution into one of many world’s most interesting left wing backs. Initially unconvinced by Perisic’s suitability to his 3-5-2 system at Inter, Conte oversaw Perisic’s mortgage to Bayern Munich for the 2019/20 season.
Returning as a champion of Europe, the Croat emerged as a maybe unlikely however nonetheless essential a part of Conte’s Scudetto-winning Nerazzurri outfit in 2020/21. The wing again whisperer labored his magic as soon as extra with Perisic because the Croatian worldwide notched 9 Serie A objective contributions.
Perisic has since re-united with Conte at Spurs and his impression in north London may take the Lilywhites to the subsequent degree.
After starring in Ligue 1 with Lyon, Mendy departed for Actual Madrid in 2019 and made a right away impression. With stalwart Marcelo on the decline, the Frenchman was signed to be the majestic Brazilian’s long-term successor on the Bernabeu.
He has actually proven that he’s able to performing on the very highest degree and he’s had a hand in two La Liga title wins in addition to Los Blancos’ most up-to-date Champions League triumph.
Mendy has nearly gone beneath the radar for Actual previously couple of years together with his home minutes restricted by accidents. However he’s stepped up when it has mattered most, and his well-rounded ability set means he’s one of the full left backs on the planet.
Is it too early to put Nuno Mendes above the likes of Mendy and Alba? We don’t assume so. He’s that good.
Like Achraf Hakimi, younger Mendes endured a fairly turbulent debut marketing campaign in Paris as he was typically deployed in a flat again 4 by Mauricio Pochettino. The Portuguese worldwide had excelled as a wing again at Sporting CP, and he’s began the 2022/23 marketing campaign off brilliantly with Christophe Galtier switching to a again three.
Regardless of his youth, Mendes is a two-time league champion in two totally different nations, and he has all of the makings of a celebrity. He’s as explosive as they arrive, and his pinpoint crossing capacity means his output ought to explode this season with Galtier giving Mendes extra of an opportunity to showcase his majestic offensive repertoire.
He’s relentless down the left flank and he’ll actually complement PSG’s star-studded entrance line together with his marauding runs and astute decision-making.
Whereas his stellar contemporaries have typically peaked and troughed lately, Liverpool’s Andy Robertson has been as constant as they arrive.
Signed from Hull for a modest charge in 2017, Robertson has gone on to determine himself as one of many protagonists in a facet that has gained each the Premier League and Champions League previously three years.
Robertson has notched double-digit help hauls in three Premier League seasons and he performs a vital position in guaranteeing the Reds are in a position to suffocate and dominate opponents, which they so typically do.
As Bayern Munich have been topped champions of Europe in 2020, Alphonso Davies was on prime of the world with many concerning the likeable Canadian as the perfect left again on the planet.
Nevertheless, Davies’ rise was delivered to a shuddering halt earlier this 12 months as he was identified with myocarditis following problems with COVID-19. He’s again now, although, and he’s trying to reclaim his standing because the world’s premier left again.
He stands out in nearly each statistical class. He relentlessly contributes within the remaining third, aids Bayern’s capacity to progress the ball down the left, and he can dominate defensively.
Davies is bodily imposing and one of many quickest gamers in world soccer. His restoration operating is one thing to behold.
6’0 tall and constructed like a brick you already know what, Theo Hernandez is at present probably the most harmful left again in world soccer. The Frenchman, who flashed his expertise whereas at Actual Sociedad, has blossomed right into a borderline celebrity at AC Milan.
Theo loves to interrupt ahead from defence and he’s, with out query, probably the most proficient ball-carrier amongst gamers at his place in world soccer – simply try his objective in opposition to Atalanta final season amid Milan’s Scudetto cost.
The left again has solid a lethal dynamic with Rafael Leao down the Rossoneri’s left and the pair have been completely pivotal to their title success in 2021/22. Theo can assault on the within and outdoors, with the sheer energy he possesses typically sufficient to overwhelm opponents.
Whereas many would argue that Robertson is probably the most full left again on the planet, Theo’s scintillating type over the previous 18 months simply can’t be missed. He’s the perfect left again on the planet.