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 –
3. Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil):
Marcelo is a legend and the greatest left-back of our times. There are so many emotions coming out at you at the same time when you write about Marcelo. His forward dash, attacking skills, free kicks, and tackles are breathtaking.
Technically superb, Marcelo’s touch rarely lets him down, and nor do his deliveries into the box. He isn’t the quickest player now, but he is a powerful runner who’s intelligent runs and ability on the ball make him a real outlet down the left flank. Defensively, Marcelo still leaves a little to be desired, although he has improved in that respect as his career has gone on.
2. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool/Scotland)
Liverpool signed Robertson from Hull City in 2017 for a reported fee of £8m, and the Scotland international has become an integral part of Jürgen Klopp’s squad. Three years on, he’s one of the best left backs in the world right now and has played in two Champions League finals in two years, with one medal to his name.
Robbo was at his peak for the Reds last season, playing a massive role in their run to both the Champions League final and the title chase, with special mention to his performance in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Barcelona. With Alexander-Arnold and Robertson in the team, Liverpool have got great full backs.
1. Jordi Alba (Barcelona/Spain):
For Messi’s natural game and success in recent seasons, Alba was instrumental. The quick forward runs that he makes really gives Messi the ball he needs to charge forward. The reason he features in No. 1 is the edge that he has over other defenders regarding the attack. His quick, witty moves and counterattack is a terrifying prospect for the defenders.
Alba is technically brilliant, has great touches, range of passing, and a great nullifier of the opposition movements, attacks. He has the ability to intercept passes just at the right time.