In our quest to provide the latest profiles on stand-out players across global leagues we’ve finally come across the niche market of the top 10 best left-backs in the world.
From the Bundesliga to the Premier League and the French Ligue 1, football is being taken by storm by these modern left-backs cum full-backs with pace, vision, and attacking nouse.
The same way in which the top 10 right-backs are doing, as the game has changed, so have the players who have transitioned from a more conservative style of play.
Fortunately, we’ve taken a look at the best left-backs for you to enjoy, including the latest statistics, player information, and predictions for the season ahead.
First things first…
10) Benjamin Mendy
Bringing up the rear of our top 10 best left-backs is none other than Benjamin Mendy.
True, the Frenchman has spent a large part of his Manchester City career on the sidelines, with hamstring injuries and cruciate anterior ligament tears keeping him out of the action.
But the performances we have seen Mendy produce in a blue shirt prove exactly why he has the potential and capability to be one of the world’s best left-backs under Pep Guardiola’s careful tutelage.
The 25-year-old is an absolute powerhouse down the left flanks, blessed with speed and strength, but is also able to pick out passes further up the pitch.
A more admirable quality he possesses, and perhaps the one that attracted Guardiola’s attention, is his calm and composed manner of defending.
Mendy very rarely dives into tackles and uses his positional awareness and physicality to manage opposition attackers. Pair this with his natural dribbling abilities and it’s pretty clear why he has the aptitude to progress even further with City.
9) Lucas Digne
To be fair to Barcelona, they have had an abundance of top full back talent in recent years, but even so, their decision to let Lucas Digne go still looks a rash one.
The Frenchman is extremely popular on the blue half of Merseyside and it’s very easy to see why.
Since moving to Everton, the 25-year-old has been a revelation and has seemingly come on another leap under current Toffees’ boss Carlo Ancelotti who has transformed Digne into one of the best left backs in the world right now.
Digne, a World Cup winner, is a marauding full-back who has become a main attacking point for Everton, providing goals and assists on a regular basis as Everton march towards a spot in the European places for next season.
Strong in defence and equally at home with the ball at his feet, his crossing ability is one of his strongest points as is his positional play, making him the complete left back.
8) Faouzi Ghoulam
We kick off our eight with undoubtedly the least well-known player in our top 10 best left-backs listings.
Perhaps it’ll be more surprising to know that Faouzi Ghoulam has been impressive for a number of years now in France with Saint-Etienne. But having made the move to Naples, the left-back is now receiving the attention and plaudit he deserves.
Despite being dealt with serious injuries over the last few years – a fractured kneecap and a serious sprain to his knee ligaments which led to surgery – Ghoulam is magnificent down the left-hand side of the pitch.
Quick, tireless and a terrific crosser of the ball, at full fitness, the 28-year-old is a force to be reckoned with. Both his speed and technical abilities, which also involves a ruthless long throw, make him a powerful tool on the counter.
True, he hasn’t been as prolific in the early stages of this season.
But beating the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Yacine Brahimi to be named as the 2017 Algerian Footballer of the Year, certainly proves his worth.
7) Felipe Luis
Seventh on the list of top 10 best left-backs in the world is a more experienced head in Felipe Luis.
The Brazilian had a spell in the Premier League with Chelsea which didn’t go as planned. Yet, under Atletico Madrid, the left-back has slotted in perfectly in Diego Simeone’s setup. And he has shown just as much worth this season too.
Luis’ understanding of football and intelligence of play makes him a tough nut to crack for opposing wingers, and were it not for a horrific back injury in 2010, he would certainly be starting ahead of Marcelo in the Brazil squad.
As most things in the La Liga go, playing outside of the top two – Barcelona and Real Madrid – means that the 34-year-old has been overlooked. But even in this late stage of his career, Luis continues to prove his worth down the left flanks of the Wanda Metropolitano.
6) Alex Grimaldo
Grimaldo wagers in sixth place having impressed in the left-back position throughout last season for Benfica.
The Spaniard has unfortunately been on the wrong end of plenty of injuries in the last few years that have seriously impacted his potential.
Yet the skills Grimaldo already possesses makes him the prime candidate to thrive on the left flank.
From pace in wide positions to technical prowess during dead-ball situations, it’s very clear that the Encarnados have a real gem in their grasp. And none more so evident than in the early stages of the season.
And the progression he has already shown in the last few years in making the left-back position his own proves that he is well worth in keeping at the Estádio da Luz.
5) David Alaba
The Austrian is still wagering as one of the best left-backs in the world, despite the many injuries and setbacks he’s had to face.
But with his vision and instinct in the attacking third to couple world-class defending, there are very few in the game that does it better than Alaba.
And we’ve already seen glimpses of that in the early stages of the season. Lo and behold:
Indeed, Alaba has received praise from all over the world for his performances, but this from Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic sums it up:
‘Alaba has worked his way through injuries and still remains one of the best players in the Bundesliga. There are not many like him’.
Arguably the best thing about his skills is that he is able to combine with the attackers and provide them with goalscoring chances. Indeed, the connection that the 27-year-old had with Franck Ribery down the left was one that led to many goals.
And who could forget the magical left-foot he possesses cutting in from that same flank? Alaba’s free-kicks and volleys on that side of the pitch are a thing of real beauty, and there aren’t many who’ll contest his inclusion in this particular list.
And with Joshua Kimmich on the right flank, Bayern seems to have their fullbacks in order.
4) Jordi Alba
Alba wagers in at fifth position in the top 10 best left-backs listings, and rightly so. His inclusion in the side on the left flank allows Lionel Messi to linkup and either score or provide assists for others.
As a responsive left-footer, the Spaniard is naturally attack-minded – none more so evident than in the early stages of the current season.
Whenever Messi begins his darting runs forward, Alba springs into action on the left-hand side, always eager to join in. With his blistering pace, it’s even easier for the 28-year-old to switch from defence to attack, and vice versa.
Through Alba’s presence, Messi always finds it easy to use the left flank when cutting in to shoot or delivering crosses, undoubtedly making him one of the best in his position, and cementing his place in our top 10 best left-back listings.
3) Alex Sandro
Following suit is Juventus’, Alex Sandro.
The Old Lady already possesses a strong defensive line, featuring Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and Matthijs de Ligt protecting Gianluigi Buffon – one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
. Yet operating on the left flank, Sandro is key to maintaining the seamless transition between Juve’s disciplined defending and striking counters.
And none more so evident than in the early stages of the season:
True, the Brazilian did come off from the bench a lot more often in the past few seasons, but his comfortability within that role makes him one of the best in the left-back business.
With a faultless technical proficiency and speed in wide positions, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Dybala have certainly found it easier to score in the box.
Spearheading the top 10 best left-backs listings is a man who’s done it all with Real Madrid – Marcelo.
Nicknamed ‘El Loco’ by his teammates, he has claimed multiple La Liga titles, Champions League trophy’s galore, Copa Del Ray glory and much more at the Bernabeu.
And yet it’s his performances and his take on the left-back position that will remain as an imprint on the face of football, not the wealth of medals he possesses.
Indeed, Marcelo loved to get forward on all account, providing himself on the overlap, and cutting in to deliver directly into the box. Over the years, countless crosses from his left-foot have found the head of Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema, such was the importance of his inclusion in the team, especially during the 2017/18 season.
As a creative force operating on the left-flank, Marcelo’s potential attacking ability was akin to that of a number 10, allowing him to rack up the assists over the seasons.
The Brazilian’s technical ability and pace also meant he was just as adept in his own defensive third.
If there was ever any need of cover or tracking back, the 31-year-old would be found blitzing it back towards the back four.
Indeed, it’s the kind of performances he’s displayed in the early stages of this season, despite his team struggling of late.
A legend in the left-back role, but more so to football than just the Los Blancos faithful.
1) Andy Robertson
Claiming the silver medal in our top 10 best left-backs list is a player who’s emerged from the third division of Scottish football to the heady heights of European glory.
Yes, it’s Andy Robertson.
The Liverpool man has had a rapid rise to prominence after Jurgen Klopp snapped up him up from Hull City in 2013 for an absolute steal of eight million pounds. Six years on and he’s played in two Champions League finals in two years, with one medal to his name.
Robbo was at his peak for the Reds last season, playing a massive role in their run to both the Champions League final and the title chase, with special mention to his performance in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Barcelona.
His energy, pressing, and all-round desire to produce the best possible performance at all times is akin to that of someone who’s had to lift themselves from the darkest of tunnels and is now basking in the light.
The player in question had this to say about his rise to success:
‘I’ve worked my b****cks off to get where I am, and by doing that, I’ve been able to make the most of whatever talent I have’.
A fitting trophy that the Scotsman deserves considering that alongside his fellow partner in crime – Trent Alexander-Arnold – he racked up the greatest number of assists by a defender in the history of the Premier League last season.
At the young age of 26, the Sottish international has plenty more to provide for Liverpool in the left-back role, and he’ll only get better as the years go by.