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 to the importance of great defenders. It is not an easy task to be a LB. 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 –
7. Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid/France):
Real Madrid have got a successor of Marcelo in the form of Mendy. The 24 years old, ‘Mbappe of left-backs’ has got great tactical awareness, and he will surely be one of the hottest in Europe. The reason he is a 50 million star is his offensive and defensive qualities. When thrown alongside the world’s best, he is unfazed and has great tactical awareness.
Mendy is defensively sound and does not dive into tackles on every occasion. The left back is good with his interceptions and likes initiating counter attacks by sending long balls to his forward line. He is extremely talented on the ball and like to dribble his way up the field.
6. Lucas Digne
The Frenchman was considered excess to requirements at the Camp Nou, but since moving to the Premier League, the 25 year old have been a revelation. His performance has gathered a lot of attention and he has transformed into one of the best left backs in the world right now.
On the field, Digne is a marauding full back who is strong in defense and adventurous while venturing forward. He is quite comfortable with the ball at his feet and his crossing ability is one of his strongest points. Digne is also a good passer of the ball and has an eye for a through ball from the left. As a defender, he is proficient at blocking, intercepting opposition passes and winning the ball back.
5. Alex Sandro (Juventus/Brazil):
Sandro adds a trademark flair to his role on the pitch. He uses his speed to regularly run past the opposition and likes to join the attack as often as possible. His tackling and defensive skills are great. He is the backbone of outstanding Old Lady because of his fast forward moving qualities and defensive skills.
He is also quite proficient at dribbling his way through the left side of the field. Sandro is a very good passer of the ball and has a pass completion rate of almost 86% in average this season. With a faultless technical proficiency and speed in wide positions, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Dybala have certainly found it easier to score in the box.
4. David Alaba (Bayern Munich/Austria):
The Austrian is still wagering as one of the best left-backs in the world, despite the many injuries and setbacks he’s had to face. Arguably the best thing about his skills is that he is able to combine with the attackers and provide them with goalscoring chances.
Alaba featured in the senior side of the Austrian national team at the age of 17, which is still a record. At the age of 27, he is top of his game. There is no doubt that he will go down as one of the world’s greatest, he has proved his pedigree in every possible way. He can defend, attack, and can play in every position. Left-back, albeit, is where he is formidable. His positional awareness and instincts are great.