3) Paul Breitner
Paul Breitner was a free-roaming left-back who could be seen all over the pitch. He might be controversial off the field, but his focus and commitment on the pitch were second to none.
In his 369 league appearances, he was able to find the back of the net 103 times. In his club career, he won the Bundesliga title 5 times, DFB-Pokal twice, a European Cup, two La Liga titles, and a Copa Del Rey.
For Germany, he won the World Cup in 1974 and the European Championship in 1972. He scored a goal in two World Cup finals, making him just one of the four players to achieve the feat.
2) Roberto Carlos
Now here’s a name everyone is familiar with, Roberto Carlos. Carlos took the left-back position to an entirely new level as he thrilled the fans all over the world with his runs down the left flank.
The Brazilian’s career is filled with trophies at the club level as well as the international level. He has won La Liga four times, the Champions League thrice, and has won a couple of Brazilian leagues. For Brazil, he won the World Cup in 2002 and also won two Copa Americas.
If you have to highlight one moment of Roberto Carlos’ career, it undoubtedly is the 40-yard long freekick he scored against France. Many believe it is the greatest freekick of all time and with that kind of swerve? It might just be the greatest freekick ever taken.
1. Paolo Maldini
Was there ever any doubt? Paolo Maldini is, hands down, the greatest left-back to ever grace the game. You just run out of words to describe what this man has done in his 25-year long career.
Having spent his entire career at AC Milan, Maldini holds the record for most appearances for the club, as well as in Serie A. He lived a decorated career at the highest level, as he won seven Serie A titles and five European Cups/Champions Leagues.
The Italian failed to win a trophy at an international stage, which probably is the only missing link in an illustrious career. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he is the greatest left-back to play the beautiful game.