Top five: Greatest right-midfielders of all-time
Sir Stanley Matthews, Garrincha & Cristiano Ronaldo all make the list, but who is the best of them all?
The quality of the players that make up the top five right-wingers are of a sensationally high standard and each individual deserves their place, though for different reasons.
However, the attributes that unite these superstars are their awesome dribbling technique, incredible pace, pinpoint crossing and breath-taking trickery.
1. Garrincha (Botafogo & Brazil)
The diminutive winger will probably go down in history as the greatest dribbler of all time. In his 581 game career at Botafogo he scored 232 goals, though not known as a prolific goal-scorer.
One famous Garrincha moment occurred against Fiorentina in 1958, where the 'little bird' beat four players and rounded the goalkeeper, leaving him with an open net.
However, rather than scoring straight away, he waited for a defender to catch up and then dribbled past him before hitting the back of the net. This epitomised Garrincha as a player as his skills were legendary. The Brazilian winger also has two World Cup titles to his name.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid & Portugal)
There are few superlatives left to describe the Portuguese wing wizard who, barring the presence of the indomitable Lionel Messi, would, by a great distance, be the greatest player of his generation.
The debate remains on who is the best, but the two play in very different roles, with the Argentinean maestro being more of a playmaker, while Ronaldo is more suited to being deployed on the wing.
His scoring record has been nothing short of magical since his time at both Manchester United and Real Madrid. In total, he has scored 324 goals in 522 club appearances.
Ronaldo also carries the title of most expensive transfer in history after he swapped Old Trafford for the Bernabeu, for a staggering £80m. Although he has not had a career with as much longevity yet as the other players in this list, he is still a remarkable talent and it is guaranteed that he will go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time.
Ronaldo's career so far has brought him three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two English League Cups, a La Liga title and a Copa del Rey.
3. Luis Figo (Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan & Portugal)
One of the most impressive differences between Luis Figo and the other members of this list of greatest right-wingers is that the Portuguese superstar was not blessed with raw pace, but utilised his other incredible array of talents to become one of the most formidable players any defender could face.
In his illustrious career he won four La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey, three Spanish Super Cups, one Champions League, four Serie A titles and an Italian Cup.
Figo’s greatest assets were his powerful free-kick, knack for scoring vital goals and the ability to beat players at will. He was bought by Real Madrid from arch-rivals Barcelona for £37.2m, kick-starting the Galacticos era at the Bernabeu.
4. Sir Stanley Matthews (Stoke City, Blackpool & England)
Renowned for his sheer longevity (he continued playing until the age of 50), Matthews is widely regarded as the greatest English player ever. The former Potters man had blistering pace, which he combined to great effect with his pin-point crossing and superb dribbling.
He was the epitome of what a true winger should stand for. Franz Beckenbauer, himself said of Matthews that his speed and technique meant that ‘almost no one could stop him’, an excellent assessment by another true legend.
5. Jairzinho (Botafogo & Brazil)
The second former Botafogo player to make this list made over 400 League appearances for his beloved club. Although he scored in every round of the famous 1970 World Cup, he also set up many goals for those around him, including Pele, Rivelino and Tostao.
In total, Jairzinho scored 33 goals in 81 caps during his international career. He was blessed with a tremendous free-kick, quick feet and an excellent scoring record.
As mentioned, this list was an extremely hard one to compile due to the high level of competition. Honourable mentions should also go to Tom Finney, Roberto Donadoni and David Beckham. But what do you think? Who would make your Top 5 right midfielders of all time? Leave your comments below.
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