Lists

Ranked! The 10 best left-backs in the world

After our 100 best football players in the world countdown, Greg Lea lists the finest left-siders around

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Please note: Player slides for the top five taken from our overall list of the FFT100 (we've added in the rest)

10. Layvin Kurzawa (PSG)

Layvin Kurzawa

PSG may have failed to win Ligue 1 or the Champions League in 2016/17, but Kurzawa enhanced his reputation with some solid showings at left-back for Unai Emery’s team.

Strong in the tackle and energetic enough to continually get up and down the flank, the 25-year-old is a brilliant crosser who generates wicked pace on his deliveries into the box. He’s also a goal threat – just note October’s shock Champions League hat-trick against Anderlecht.

As Benjamin Mendy remains sidelined with a knee injury, Kurzawa will hope to be France’s starting left-back at the World Cup this summer.

9. Danny Rose (Tottenham)

Danny Rose

In many ways, 2017 was a frustrating year for Rose. A knee injury sustained in late January kept the Tottenham man out until October; in the meantime, an interview in which he criticised his club's recruitment policy threatened to irrevocably damage his relationship with Mauricio Pochettino.

Yet despite that, Rose deserves his spot in the top 10. The England international has made tremendous progress in the last few seasons, developing into arguably the finest all-round left-back in the Premier League. A dynamic and direct runner, the 27-year-old has also improved his positioning without the ball, ensuring defensive lapses are – for the most part – a thing of the past.

8. Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli)

Faouzi Ghoulam

Napoli’s level of performance dipped towards the end of 2017, a downturn which coincided with Ghoulam picking up an injury. That’s probably not a coincidence.

The former Saint-Etienne left-back was recently named Algeria’s player of the year ahead of Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez, and is an integral part of Maurizio Sarri’s system at the Stadio San Paolo.

Napoli’s attacking game is based around constant ball circulation and quick combination play, and Ghoulam is technically proficient enough to contribute. His crossing is much improved, too, and he packs plenty of pace and stamina.

7. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)

Marcos Alonso

Fans of Sunderland and Bolton, two of the Spaniard’s former clubs, must have collapsed in shock when his move to Chelsea was announced in summer 2016 – but Alonso confounded the doubters as his terrific displays helped Antonio Conte’s side win the Premier League in his debut campaign.

The former Fiorentina man is stronger going forward than he is defensively – as 12 goals in 66 games for Chelsea attest – and is the ideal wing-back in Conte’s favoured formation. He was directly involved in nine league goals last season, and his gallops down the left wing were also important in allowing star man Eden Hazard to drift infield and affect the game from central areas.