Over the years, the role of a right-back has transformed a lot. They are now used more in the build-up play rather than just to defend the right flank. Nowadays, you expect your right-back to have more attacking prowess as well as being defensively flawless.
That being said, we have compiled a list of the greatest right-backs of all time in footballing history. Sit back and enjoy and possibly have a walk down the memory lane.
Considering various aspects like impact, consistency, success, longevity, dedication, and attitude, here are the greatest right-backs of all time.
=10. Djalma Santos
Djalma Santos is undoubtedly one of the greatest right-backs of all time. He played a key role in helping Brazil win two consecutive World Cups.
With a defender as solid as Djalma Santos, you ought to deliver dominating performances over and over again, and that’s what happened for Brazil. He was an astonishing dribbler of the ball too, with which he could easily go past his opponents.
To put Djalma Santos’ performance into perspective, he played just in the final of the 1958 World Cup but still found his way into the Best XI of the tournament.
=10. Giuseppe Bergomi
Giuseppe Bergomi was a versatile defender who could play as a right-back and a centre-back. What separates him from the others is that his class didn’t drop when he switched positions. You could make a list of the greatest centre-backs and he will find a way into that list.
Bergomi played his entire career for Inter Milan and cemented his spot in the national team as well. His trophy cabinet is not as lavish as you’d expect, but that has more to do with the fact that AC Milan were just unbeatable during that time.
In his club career, Bergomi won the Serie A title once, the Italian Cup once, and the UEFA Cup thrice. With Italy, he won the ultimate prize in 1982 when he helped the team win the World Cup against Germany.
9) Gary Neville
Gary Neville was the heartbeat of Manchester United’s most dominant team. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, he became the captain of the Red Devils and led them to glory.
With Manchester United, Gary Neville enjoyed a lot of success bagging seven Premier League titles, three FA Cups, a Champions League, and a League Cup. He also won the treble with United in 1999. Talk about a successful career.
Neville was also a master technician and a sublime crosser of the ball. He is the most capped right back in England’s history with 85 appearances to his name.
8) Phil Neal
Phil Neal was an integral part of the dominant Liverpool team of the ’70s and the ’80s. With the team, he enjoyed huge success and filled his trophy cabinet with almost everything.
Phil Neal won eight Championships, four European Cups, four League Cups, a UEFA Cup, and much more. He could also have won his fifth European Cup if it wasn’t for the 1985 Heysel disaster.
The Englishman was better known for his penalty-taking abilities, with which he would often find himself on the scoresheet. In his league career, he scored over 70 goals. He is one of the greatest right-backs of all time.
7) Gianluca Zambrotta
Gianluca Zambrotta was one player you could rely on to move forward and cause trouble for the opposition. Zambrotta was an ambipedal player who could cut inside and make a cross down the right flank.
Zambrotta played for three of the biggest clubs in the world; AC Milan, Barcelona, and Juventus. Thus, his trophy cabinet is something he could often flex. Even with the national team, he won the World Cup in 2006 and was also named in the team of the tournament for the 2006 World Cup.
With Juventus, he won two Serie A titles, excluding the two that were stripped off after the match-fixing scandal. With AC Milan, he won the league in the 2010-11 season while his reign with Barcelona saw him lift the Super Cup in 2006.