Top 10: Wingers of the 21st Century
Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs & David Beckham feature on this list of world-class wingers
Since 2000, a host of world-class wingers have dazzled crowds all over the planet.
Playing on the wing is an extremely hard position to operate and some people don't appreciate just how difficult it is.
To be a winger you must have incredible stamina and good crossing ability among other skills to succeed.
Here is a look at some of the best wide-men of the past 13 years, with five left and five right midfielders. Just before I start, however, I would like to point out that Lionel Messi isn't in this list because he has been better in his more central role.
5. Robert Pires
Always remembered for his fluffed penalty, Robert Pires was an essential player for Arsenal. A creative player with an eye for goal, his link up play with team-mates was brilliant and the Frenchman was one of the most influential figures in the Gunners' unbeaten league campaign. It's easy to forget just how good he was in his prime for the first five or six years of the century.
4. Franck Ribery
He sometimes makes the wrong decision, but Ribery is a talisman for both club and country. With pace to burn, and the impeccable skills combined with fantastic dribbling, Ribery is one of the most feared players in world football, and French great Zinedine Zidane once described the 29-year-old as "The jewel of French football". If that isn't a big enough statement to express his ability, I don't know what is.
3. Pavel Nedved
Retired now, but one of the greatest footballers ever, let alone this century. Nicknamed The Czech Cannon, Nedved was known for his industrious running and skill, as well as his exhilarating two-footed ability that makes him probably the finest Czech footballer there ever has and will be. Winner of the Ballon d'Or in 2003, he was instrumental in a Juventus side that dominated Italian football for years.
If I had to sum Ronaldinho up in one word, it would have to be: astonishing. Incredibly fast with untouchable dribbling skills, the Brazilian was easily the best player in the world during his time at Barcelona. Although he's dropped off the scene in recent years, the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year will always be remembered as one of the best to ever play the game.
1. Ryan Giggs
A true sportsman with a great personality, his career has been illuminated with success. Though he has adapted to a central role, up until around 2008 Giggs tore up the left wing with mesmerising skill and blistering speed.
Bursting on to the scene in the Manchester United first-team way back in 1990, the Welshman seems to break records for fun, being the only player to score in every single Premier League season since it began in 1992. His record-breaking antics are set to continue into his 40th year, and despite being 39-years-old, Giggsy is easily one of the best players in the league and is a true football icon.
5. Arjen Robben
Bayern Munich's second winger on this list, Arjen Robben is a player who has been gifted with all the attributes needed to succeed as a professional footballer. His unbelievable pace combined with his dribbling talent makes him a lethal opponent. With a left foot to die for, the Dutchman has experienced domestic success at every single club he's been at in his career.
4. Luis Figo
Not exactly blessed with speed, Luis Figo more than made up for it with his excellent technical capability. The Portuguese's outstanding dribbling trait scared the lives of his opposition, and his huge switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid made the former FIFA World Player of the Year a household name. Unquestionably a legendary figure in the sport.
3. Javier Zanetti
Although predominantly a defender, Javier Zanetti can also run the flanks as well as anyone. At 39 years of age, the Argentine still holds down a regular starting place at Inter and has been club captain since 1999.
Watching him nowadays is incredible, as he still dominates matches against the majority of his challengers through his sustained athleticism. A marvellous footballer with a fabulous personality, he is the perfect ambassador for his beloved club, country and sport.
2. David Beckham
When you think David Beckham, the first thing that springs to mind is 'superstar' due to his commercial advertisements and celebrity status. But let's not forget David Beckham for what made him a global brand - an incredibly talented footballer.
Renowned for his trademark free-kicks and sublime stamina, we saw him shoot to fame after excellent performances at Manchester United, and eventually make high-profile moves to Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and now Paris Saint-Germain.
Becks earned all of his talent through extreme hard work, staying at the training ground hours after everybody else to perfect his technique. Not just an inspiration on the pitch, but also a great man off it too. He is currently giving all his wages from PSG to a children's charity based in Paris.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Now most often used on the left side, we saw Cristiano Ronaldo earn his reputation with majestic skills and flying runs down the right at Manchester United.
Now an icon throughout the world, the 28-year-old Portuguese is the most complete player with strength, skill, stamina, speed and goalscoring ability combined to tear defences apart.
The most expensive player in history has certainly not failed to live up to the billing, scoring an astounding 190 goals in 188 matches whilst at Real Madrid, and will continue to provide when it matters for years to come.
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