The role of a full-back has evolved rapidly in the last 20 years or so.
In the past, a left-back or a right-back was strictly just a defender and they were instructed to only cross the halfway line when absolutely necessary.
But in the present day, a full-back is required to do so much more in the final third.
For many top teams, their wide defenders are key sources of creativity and are even expected to chip with a few goals from open play each season.
The requirements of the modern-day full-back make ranking the best players in the position far more enjoyable.
That’s exactly what FourFourTwo have done, with the publication naming and ordering the 10 finest right-backs in world football right now.
Let’s take a look at their list…
10. Sergino Dest (Barcelona)
The American has enjoyed a decent debut season with Barcelona since signing from Ajax, scoring two goals in his first 24 La Liga appearances.
9. Fabian Centonze (Metz)
The Frenchman has been one of the top performers in Ligue 1 this season. On WhoScored, Centonze is the highest-rated right-back in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
8. Reece James (Chelsea)
James is a fine defender and his impressive performances at Chelsea mean he will almost certainly be a key man for England at this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.
7. Juan Cuadrado (Juventus)
The Colombian used to be a winger by trade, but he’s evolved into a fine attack-minded defender. In his 24 Serie A appearances this season, Cuadrado has contributed nine assists – impressive stuff.
6. Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
The 30-year-old is still going strong with both City and England. There isn’t a defender in the world with better recovery pace than Walker.
5. Leo Dubois (Lyon)
One of Lyon’s most important players. In 32 Ligue 1 games this season, Dubois has scored two goals and provided three assists, which is pretty good going for a right-back.
4. Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)
Trippier has certainly rediscovered his mojo since leaving Tottenham for sunny Spain. England’s strength-in-depth at right-back is an absolute joke.
3. Achraf Hakimi (Inter Milan)
The Moroccan is a pretty decent defender, but it’s his skills going forward that make him a world-class operator. Hakimi has scored six goals and provided five assists in 31 Serie A games this season, an outrageous return for a defender.
2. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Liverpool’s assist machine has struggled at times this season, but there’s no denying that he’s a generational talent. The Englishman has still managed two goals and five assists in Premier League action this season.
(Credit: The Football Terrace)
1. Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)
The Portuguese has been impeccable for City in 2020/21. Capable of playing on the right, the left or in midfield to a high standard, there aren’t many more complete footballers in the world right now than Cancelo.
He’s more than deserving of the number one spot on the list and it’s hard to see anyone dethroning him for quite some time.