Full backs are the fortitude of any world-class team. It is not merely keeping strikers at bay, but a visionary position in which you should be able to see what the opposition is cooking in another half.
How top teams like Man City, Liverpool, and Real Madrid are building from the back gives insight into the importance of great defenders. It is not an easy task to be a Left- back. You have to run, defend, jump, stay away from intriguing tackles, and rush forward to pass the ball.
A quality left-footed or left-sided player is a rarity. In any formation and tactics, they play an important role. They should not only stop the floodgates on the left, but they should also marshall the turf and make the earth their own.
Here are our 15 best left-backs in the world right now –
15. Alex Telles (Manchester United/Brazil)
Manchester United signed the Brazilian from Porto for £13.6million plus add-ons in the summer. The full-back arrived in the Primeira Liga from Galatasaray, and he has been exceptional ever since. He has made the Primeira Liga Team of the Season in each of the last two seasons.
Telles is a really talented all-round full-back, who is quick, creative, and a fine crosser of the ball down the left, as well as being measured, astute, and calm at the back. He is definitely among the best left-backs in the world right now.
14. Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich/France):
Brilliant at neutralising his opposite number, Hernandez is strong on the tackle and tight in his marking. He’s also fairly quick and happy to put in the hard yards, but it’s his defensive solidity that ensures his inclusion. His tackling and marking are very good. He brings solidity at the back, and quickness in his feet. He broke into the French national team, and under the watchful guidance of the Bayern coaching staff, he will surely climb the ladders.
13. Alex Grimaldo (Benfica/Spain)
Alejandro Grimaldo has been one of the best left-backs in the world for some time now. From pace in wide positions to technical prowess during dead-ball situations, it’s very clear that Benfica have a real gem in their grasp. And the progression he has already shown in the last few years in making the left-back position his own proves that he is well worth keeping at the Estádio da Luz.
12. Ben Chilwell (Chelsea/England)
Ben Chilwell has been a very good signing for Chelsea. He made the switch from Leicester in the 2020 transfer window. The 24-year-old is a product of the Leicester City academy and won their Academy Player of the Year award at the end of the 2014–15 season. During his time with Leicester, he along with Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans formed one of the most formidable back fours in the Premier League.
11. Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund/Portugal)
Portugal are undeniably blessed when it comes to full-backs as they have no shortage of talented players to use in these positions, having some of the best left-backs in football in the world. Raphael Guerreiro is another solid option on the left-hand side of the defence, and has been in excellent form for Borussia Dortmund.
Guerreiro has been deployed as a midfielder for a lot of his time at Signal Iduna Park, but now 27, he’s found a home for himself at left-back. He’s a confident passer of the ball, supports attacks well and has excellent stamina. Guerreiro is one of the most reliable members of the Dortmund side and just approaching his peak.
10. Juan Bernat (PSG/Spain)
Currently at PSG, the Spaniard has ousted Layvan Kurzawa from the first-choice contention and secured a regular spot in the side. A converted left-winger, Bernat still has the instinct to get forward whenever he can to support the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at PSG. Having worked with Guardiola during a phase of his career where he began experimenting with full-backs a little more – the Catalan boss would frequently use Philipp Lahm in midfield and started inverting his full-backs to push midfielders forward – Bernat has picked up a more rounded understanding of the game.
9. Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig/Germany)
The German left-back, playing for RB Leipzig has been stellar for his club over the last couple of seasons. He is a modern left-back with an attacking mentality. His performances make him one of the best left-backs in the world right now. He is adept at playing left-back as he is at left midfield and his versatility has been a blessing for his club.
Halstenberg is a no-nonsense defender who loves tackling. He is quite strong in the air as well as composed on the ground. Like many of the best left-backs in the world, Halstenberg loves going forward and is actually an excellent passer of the ball. He likes taking set-pieces and is quite good at them too.