From the Premier League to the Bundesliga and French Ligue 1, the business of the top 10 best right-backs in a niche one indeed.
Across the different leagues, we’ve been entertained by some of the best in the industry. Whether it’s the more modern style of attacking down the flanks or a conservative way of defending, no two are alike.
So, we’ve taken a look at the best right-backs for you to peruse, including the latest statistics, information, and predictions for the seasons ahead.
Sit back, relax, and dive into our rankings…
10) Ricardo Pereira
Leicester City’s very own brings up the rear in our quest to list and explore the top 10 best right-backs in the world.
Indeed, in Pereira, the Foxes have found a player who is able to contribute to both attack and defence seamlessly down the right flank.
Described by ex-manager Claude Puel as the closest competitor to Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Pereira notched up two goals and six assists in his debut season.
His passing in the attacking third is akin to that of a forward with an average successful dribble rate of 1.9, and an impressive 78% passing success rate.
And he proved to be just as effective in and around the back four. Averaged to intercept oppositional play the most in the squad with the same accolade being tied to tackles, Pereira is the perfect example of the modern right-back.
9) Sime Vrsalijko
Perhaps not a name you may have heard before or expected to see on this list.
The man in question is stirring up quite the storm in the La Liga with Atletico Madrid, capturing the attention of Premier League and French Ligue 1 clubs alike.
What makes the 27-year-old so highly sought after is his all-encompassing style of defending.
Not only is Vrsalijko able to play down the right-hand side, but with Portugal during international breaks, he was also fielded as a left-back, providing versatility to Diego Simeone’s plans.
Aside from being a positional free-for-all, the Portuguese is also more than capable of providing attacking contributions, such is the fearlessness in which he operates in.
Whether it’s delivering crosses into the box, or cutting in on his weaker foot to create space for overlaps, it’s clear that Vrsalijko is definitely well worth the money, should he be snapped up by another high-ranking club during this transfer window.
8) Thomas Meunier
Meunier may not be the most skilful Paris Saint-Germain defender, but he certainly possesses the skills and intelligence to perform well down the right flank.
The Belgian international joined the Parisians from Club Brugge KV in 2016 and has quietly developed into one of the best in his position, hence his involvement in our top 10 best right-backs in the world.
Not only is the 27-year-old capable of joining the attack, but his footballing know-how and spatial awareness mean he is able to hold the ball, pick the right pass, unlock defences at whim, which our French Ligue 1 betting markets also reflect.
Whether it’s as a right wing-back or in a more defensive position, Meunier’s natural dribbling abilities means he is able to thrive within PSG’s back four, despite competing against Dani Alves.
7) Achraf Hakimi
Borussia Dortmund’s dynamic right-back could be seen higher up in our listicle, such is his talent and skill down the right flank.
Hakimi made his name in the 2016 World Cup in Russia, playing every single minute at left-back for Morocco. His contributions did not go unnoticed, and he finally put pen to paper in the summer of 2018 to confirm his transfer from Real Madrid to the Bundesliga under Lucian Favre at the Signal Iduna Park.
The boss had this to say about him:
‘He’s a talented dribbler and comfortable with one-on-ones. He has a big future ahead of him and a huge amount of untapped potential’.
Quick as you like, the 20-year-old has grown from strength to strength in the right-back position for BVB, making a league-leading 32 sprints per 90 minutes in his debut season, including an impressive top speed of 21.5 miles per hour.
Outside of his speed, Hakimi is also compelling on the attack and is always keen to make bursting forward runs. He averaged 99.3 touches per match in his opening season, bested only by Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich.
At the age of 20, the future certainly looks bright for the Moroccan international.
6) Nelson Semedo
Vying in sixth place in our top 10 best right-backs in the world is Barcelona’s defensive rock, Nelson Semedo.
The Portuguese came into the picture during the summer of 2017, having waved goodbye to Benfica months earlier.
Initially, he had competition for the right flank in the form of Sergi Roberto – a player who was sharp on the attack, and nimble running back towards defence.
But in Semedo, Barca have a more composed and disciplined right-back.
His intelligent runs down the flanks and decision-making in both halves of the pitch have gained him plaudits and popularity from within the team and outside of it.
Considering the kind of talent that La Masia and Barca normally bring into the Camp Nou, nabbing up one of the best right-backs in the world for 30 million was certainly an astute business.
5) Santiago Arias
On the opposite side of the flank to the very capable left-back Filipe Luis, Atletico have a man running down the right flanks attracting just as much attention: Santiago Arias.
While Simeone would normally choose Arias’ competition – Juanfran – for a more defensive option, lately the 27-year-old has been the go-to man, providing innovation and ingenuity in the right-back role.
In a more attacking sense, the Colombian is the perfect fit for Madrid. He enjoys galloping down the flanks and is often available on the overlap to provide incoming crosses.
The kind that has attracted attention from Premier League clubs, whose interests in Arias can be read about on our Premier League transfers page.
His defensive abilities may require more tutelage from the likes of Juanfran and co. But Arias has time on his side, and plenty of games ahead to prove his worth.
4) Joao Concelo
Portugal have a whole host of right-back options on hand, from Pereira to Semedo and Cedric Soares.
But the man who is gaining the most attention is neither of the trio and much younger – Joao Concelo.
It’s clear that Fernando Santos rates him highly, and it’s not too surprising to understand why when you take a look at the youngster’s skills and stats.
He had this to say about him:
‘Concelo is doing what the other fullbacks do, much better, at a younger age. He will only improve in his attacking skills’.
True, Cancelo thrives in the department of attacking, and like many modern right-back cum fullbacks, he’s very adept on the counter, quick down the flanks, and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve to create goalscoring chances for his teammates.
Having recently moved from Juventus to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, the Portuguese international, as talented as he is, will be playing second fiddle to the man securing third place in our list of top 10 best right-backs in the world: Kyle Walker.
3) Kyle Walker
Guardiola’s favoured left-back is so far keeping Concelo on the sidelines with consistently faultless performances down the right flank.
Indeed, Walker’s style of play, even during his Tottenham days, made him perfect for the attacking fullback role, and alongside Danny Rose, it was a role he revolutionized.
Wagering in as one of the fastest players in the league, the Englishman lightening pace makes him a nightmare to manage and mark on the overlap – there is no pass he cannot chase down and deliver into the box with unerring accuracy.
Alongside the fact that this is a pretty good get-out-of-jail card when found wanting at the back, Walker is also able to snuff out counters and kick-start his own on the front foot.
Under Guardiola’s guidance, the 29-year-old has the chance to certainly progress even further.
2) Trent Alexander-Arnold
Edging it ahead of Walker in our top 10 best right-backs in the world list is Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The 20-year-old has already made a big name for himself with his impressive performances in consecutive Champions League finals, one of which he won this year, and also throughout the Reds Premier League campaign.
Alongside Liverpool’s left-back Andy Robertson, the Englishman racked up the highest number of assists ever made by a defensive pairing in the history of the Premier League – perhaps the most famous being in that 4-0 win over Barcelona involving a quickly-taken corner.
Set-pieces, corners, and passing are certainly Alexander-Arnold’s forte, and at such a young age, there are shades of Gerrard about his distribution and vision.
Continue in this manner with the Reds and he can only ingrain his name alongside Liverpool’s greats.
1) Joshua Kimmich
The man spearheading our top 10 best right-backs in the world rankings almost missed out on the top spot with Dani Carvajal also in consideration.
But once you take a look at the stats, the numbers certainly prove why Joshua Kimmich leapfrogs the Real Madrid man by a country mile.
To begin with, in 208 career club games, the German has provided 0.28 goals or assists per match. This includes a stunning 20 goals in 47 Bundesliga appearances (0.32 per game).
For a right-back, these are phenomenal numbers. By means of comparison, Mario Gotze, a forward, averages 0.52 per Bundesliga starts.
The German also leads the way in terms of passing with a frankly astounding 92% completion rate across his games.
At the age of 24, these stats are simply there to marvel at, and with the best part of his career still ahead of him, Kimmich has a golden chance to cement his title of the best in the right-back business.