One of the major shifts in football tactics over the last few years following the pragmatic approach championed by Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez in the mid-2000s has been the use of full-backs.
Indeed, the top level of the sport is now awash with attacking full-backs, players used to stretch the play and act as auxiliary attacking midfielders in an effort to support what is usually a lone centre-forward.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Manchester City are just some of the clubs who adopt that kind of approach and, as a result, full-backs have become arguably the most important position in the current game.
So much so, in fact, that FourFourTwo recently ranked the 10 best left-backs in the world. A hotly debated topic around the world, GIVEMESPORT had to have a look.
10 – Ben Chilwell
While the England international has struggled to break into Gareth Southgate’s side on a regular basis, Ben Chilwell has performed well for Chelsea following a £50m move in 2020.
Playing a key role in their Champions League final-winning goal against City, the 24-year-old could feasibly be one of Europe’s leading left-backs for the next six years or so.
9 – Lucas Digne
Everton might not be at the vanguard of European football but, in Lucas Digne, they have the kind of left-back many top clubs would envy.
A relentless presence up and down the flank, the Frenchman is back in the international reckoning thanks to his stunning form at Goodison Park.
8 – Jordi Alba
A wonderful outlet for Lionel Messi during their time together at Camp Nou, the Spaniard helped bring forward a new era.
7 – Kieran Tierney
Forged in the fire of the Scottish Premiership, Tierney is aggressive in his pressing and will drive up the field all game. Indeed, he has all the makings of a cult hero.
6 – Raphael Guerreiro
If ever a team was suited to an attacking full-back largely taking their defensive duties lightly it’s Borussia Dortmund.
Not exactly known for their solidity, Raphael Guerreiro thrills on the flank, linking up with the likes of Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham with his scintillating runs from deep.
5 – Luke Shaw
What a renaissance.
The Manchester United and England star is a key player for club and country, scoring in the Euro 2020 final to cap off a remarkable in fortunes.
4 – Ferland Mendy
Replacing Marcelo as Real Madrid‘s starting left-back was never going to be an easy task.
Still, the early signs are that Ferland Mendy shouldn’t have too much of a problem. While not as eye-catching as the Brazilian, he’s much more mobile and arguably better defensively than Marcelo ever was.
3 – Theo Hernandez
A major part of the AC Milan team looking to restore former glories, Theo Hernandez is the standout in Serie A.
Breaking into the French squad, the sky is the limit for the former Real Madrid man.
2 – Andy Robertson
Simply put, Liverpool would not have won the Premier League and Champions League without Andy Robertson.
The Scotland captain is as creative as they come, taking the budern off of an otherwise fairly workman-like midfield alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Back to his best this season, Robertson will go down as an Anfield legend.
1 – Alphonso Davies
Clearly, the standout thing about Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies is his pace.
A searinlgy quick full-back, the Canadan’s ability on the ball should not be forgotten. Tearing Barcelona apart with absolute ease in the 2020 Champions League quarter-final, Davies proved he can move inside to wreak havoc too.
Right now, it’s hard to look past him being the best in the world.