Football

Top five: Greatest left-midfielders of all-time

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Giggs has had an incredible career at Manchester United (©GettyImages)
Giggs has had an incredible career at Manchester United (©GettyImages).

Now that the back-four and goalkeeper roles of our greatest XI have been filled, it's time to look at the midfield, starting by analysing the left flank.

Although in recent years we have seen a growing number of super talents in this position such as Gareth Bale, Frank Ribery and Eden Hazard, none of these players are currently on par with the individuals in this list. 

Each of the following left-wingers are renowned for their sustained pace, crossing and dribbling abilities over a successful football career, which separates them from the rest.

1. Francisco Gento (Racing Santander, Real Madrid & Spain)

Easily one of the most successful footballing individuals ever, Gento is fully deserving of his place as the greatest left-midfielder ever. 

He was supremely quick and could run the 100m in 11 seconds. This, combined with the Spaniard's dancing feet and goal-scoring prowess, highlights exactly why he gained a still unmatched record of six European Cups to his name. As well as this, Gento earnt 12 Spanish league titles (in 16 years) and two Spanish Cups. 

This superstar was a major part in one of the most attacking trios ever to grace a football field, playing alongside Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano. In total, Gento made 592 league appearances for Real Madrid (scoring 128) and also has 43 caps for Spain.

2. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United & Wales)

The Manchester United legend is considered, by many, to be a freak of nature due to his incredible ability to stand the test of time and continue to deliver superb performances, even at the ripe old age of 39. 

In his 23 year Premier League career, the Welshman has won a plethora of trophies and is the most decorated player in English history, bar none. 

In total he has gained 13 Premier League titles, eight Community Shields, four FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League titles. 

Giggs also holds the record for most Premier League appearances and assists and is also the only player to have scored in every single consecutive Premier League season, a feat that no one will ever achieve again.

3. George Best (Manchester United, Fulham. etc & Northern Ireland)

Although Best played in many different countries across, England, Ireland, Scotland and America, he is most fondly remembered at Manchester United, where he became one of the greatest talents of his entire generation. 

His primary attributes were his ability to beat defenders with trickery, pace and skill, which often resulted in a goal, due to his proficiency in one-on-one situations.

Although he suffered from personal demons off the field, when he was on it, he was simply in another class to his opponents.

 In total he scored 137 goals in 361 league appearances for United.

4. Roberto Rivelino (Corinthians, Fluminese, Al-Hilal & Brazil)

The moustached midfielder was one of the stars of what is widely considered to the greatest international team ever assembled: Brazil's 1970 World Cup squad.

Inventor of the 'flip flap' trick, he had a phenomenally powerful free-kick, excellent technical ability and superb passing range. 

Rivelino also holds the record for quickest goal in history, after scoring from the centre-kick at the start of the game.

5. Pavel Nedved (Sparta Prague, Lazio, Juventus & Czech Republic)

Nedved was an absolute magician on the ball and continued to make tireless bombing runs down the left wing throughout his career. 

At club level, the blonde winger made 500 appearances, scoring 110 goals in total. 

He earnt three Czech titles, three Serie A titles and two Italian Cups. 

Nedved was also an international sensation, gaining 91 caps for the Czech Republic, hitting the net 18 times in the process. Finally, in 2003, Nedved won the Ballon d'Or trophy.

 

It has been very difficult to select just five individuals to make up this list, meaning that there are several notable players who deserve honourable mentions.

Zoltan Czibor, Gheorge Hagi and John Barnes are particularly noteworthy and could easily have made this list. However, we would like to hear your views on this highly contentious subject. Leave your comments below.

 

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Topics:
Football
Ryan Giggs
Premier League
Manchester United
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