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Football News: World's Best Right Backs?

World's Best Right Backs?
Image from: zimbio.com

I was asked recently, well relatively recently anyway, who the best right backs in the world are right now. This is not an exhaustive list, and there are many right backs around I have not watched, so it is very subjective, but these are the ones who have impressed me on the field in recent seasons. This is in no particular order, just the ten best I have seen a fair bit of.

1. Daniel Carvajal of Real Madrid
I was never a big fan of Carvajal, when he first broke into the Madrid side, he was rash, his defensive positioning was poor and he did not offer enough going forward to make up for it. In recent years he has taken his game to new levels, though I would still not consider him a great right back and his inclusion on this list shows the paucity of top class right backs around. As is common amongst modern day full backs, he struggles defensively, though he is helped mostly by being at Real Madrid, which means he does not get punished too much in league games. Luckily, because he has a tendency towards rash tackles, like many modern day full backs.

2. Philipp Lahm of Bayern Munich
Lahm is not just an excellent right back, he is equally as good at left back and in defensive midfield. In fact, he reminds me of Javier Zanetti, who is one of my all-time favourite players, someone so good he could play in any position and look like it is his natural position. Stevie Nicol was another one. All three of those players are ones that you could speak to a whole group of people who had seen them play and never get an agreement as to which was their best position from everyone. Each of them could also walk into any team in the world, on their day, and find themselves a place in it, not just because of their utility, but because of their quality. Lahm is definitely one of the top right backs in the world, maybe even the best. He is not an out and out wing back like some of the others, he is more defensively minded, but he does possess a lot of quality when he does get forward. Lahm can pick out a good pass, or a quick one two, cross or shoot, making him very difficult to defend against, while possessing real defensive qualities.

 

3. Alessandro Florenzi of AS Roma
Just for that goal alone Florenzi has to be considered! However he is better than just a one hit wonder, though he is suffering by playing in a struggling side. Another of the modern day wing backs that struggle defensively, but he is one of the better proponents of the art. That goal against Barcelona has made him more of a target for opponents, which makes it more difficult for him to operate with the freedom he would usually enjoy.

4. Danilo of Real Madrid
For me, Danilo is the better right back of him and Carvajal, he is certainly the better footballer technically, and a willing runner, always looking to get forward. Defensively he is slightly worse, but his ability on the ball makes up for it. Fast and technically accomplished, Danilo is very well suited to the way Madrid play.

 

5. Seamus Coleman of Everton
Coleman has been consistently excellent for a number of years now for Everton, since joining them from Sligo Rovers for a mere £60k. An early loan spell at then-Championship Blackpool allowed him to blossom, though his return to Everton saw him struggle to force his way into the team initially. Once he settled in, he became an integral part of the Toffees' attacking play, his pace and quality on the ball became one of the focuses of their attack.

6. Juanfran of Atletico Madrid
The only question with the inclusion of Juanfran is whether it is him or the team system that makes him so good. As his opposite number on the left flank has shown when he left for Chelsea, the system at Atleti protects the full backs very well and allows them to get forward almost at will. Very much a product of the Spanish system, comfortable in possession and always looking for the quick pass and move and technically adept. He does lack the physicality to really go head to head with a really fast and powerful winger though.

 

7. Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City
Admittedly, this season has not been a good one for Zabaleta, injuries and loss of form have affect him badly so far, but his performances over the last few years have cemented his place in the top right backs in the world. Though it is a worry that he has struggled so badly, as you do have to wonder if he has just hit a wall due to his age. The way he plays is very dependent on his wholehearted physical approach, which means a tiny drop off in his reaction speed could ruin him. On his day he is sensational, charging forward and being a huge part of the attack and also getting back to recover the ball defensively. His positioning is good, unusually for the modern day full back, but he still adds a huge amount in the attacking third. Zabaleta is a true all rounder of a full back.

8. Dani Alves of Barcelona
Is this the best right back in the world? Certainly some people think so, and he is the best in Spanish football. Going forward there is no one to compare to him, he is so good going forward that he has become the player that all other full backs want to be like. Alves has been able to be a standout in a team that also has Lionel Messi in it, that says it all. Now that he is not needed to do so much offensively, he is able to show just how good a defender he actually is. It is easy to see why he has become the blueprint for the modern day full back.

 

9. Serge Aurier of Paris Saint-Germain
Before this video came to light -
PSG right back Aurier was making a name for himself as one of the best right backs in the world. Sadly this video has killed the Ivorians career stone dead, for now at least, due to his own incredible stupidity. With the ability he had shown previously, it is likely there will be little problem for him to find a new club. Previously he has been a target of Arsene Wenger, the last couple of seasons have shown why Wenger coveted the powerful and pacy Aurier. Just a shame he clearly has no brains.

10. Hector Bellerin of Arsenal
Still improving, and very reliant on his blistering pace right now, Bellerin has shown remarkable improvements over the last two seasons. The Spaniard is now deserving of inclusion in the list, just about. Though he still needs to work on positioning, rather than relying purely on pace, right now he is able to make up for his deficits by using his pace. Going forward, he offers much more, again partially down to that pace, but also because he is very comfortable on the ball and well suited to the way Arsenal play.

Written by Tris Burke March 11 2016 15:34:32