Lists

Ranked! The 10 best right-backs in the world

On the back of our 100 best football players in the world countdown, Rahul Warrier profiles the best right-sided defenders on the planet

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

10. Ricardo Pereira (Porto)

Pereira was nothing more than a rotation player for Porto until his two-year loan to Nice in 2015, a shrewd move that has proven to be the making of him. While he started off further up the right flank, Pereira was converted into a full-back by the French side.

Pereira may appear to be a jack of all trades at first glance, but while he was shifted around in France, the 24-year-old has claimed the right-back spot for his own at Porto this season.

His seamless integration into the side has coincided with his growth into an attacking full-back with an eye for a pass and strong dribbling abilities. If he can maintain this run of form, it's certain that bigger clubs in Europe will be after the 24-year-old’s signature. Tottenham and Liverpool have both been linked in the last year. 

9. Thomas Meunier (PSG)

The Belgian has been the quiet, understated deputy PSG since 2016/17, first to Serge Aurier and now Dani Alves this season. But it's not that the French side don't trust Meunier; in reality, his style complements the attacking nature of his two positional rivals. He has grown in prominence at the Parc des Princes this season – Alves is now 34 and can't play every game – and quietly impressed behind his more illustrious colleagues.

Meunier is more controlled and defensive as a full-back, and in some ways that balance helps his manager Unai Emery rotate as per the requirements of the match.

It’s a matter of patience for Meunier right now, although it wouldn’t be too surprising if his head was turned by other clubs willing to give him guaranteed first-team football. He certainly has it in him to start at a big club.

8. Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid)

Vrsaljko’s dominant showings for Sassuolo in 2015/16 prompted Diego Simeone to earmark him as the long-term replacement for ageing veteran Juanfran at Atletico Madrid.

It was a sound decision, even if the Croatian had to spend the majority of his debut campaign shadowing his older rival. This season has been frustrating with injuries, but he has returned quite brilliantly with three assists in his last four league matches.  

Vrsaljko will aim to build on his current form in 2018, and looks set to take the baton from Juanfran permanently in the not-too-distant future.

7. Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus)

Many expected the Juventus veteran to be left behind after Dani Alves's arrival in 2016. But the Swiss managed to outlast him and play more league matches in 2016/17, even if the majority of Champions League minutes were hogged by the Brazilian.

Lichtsteiner was once again expected to exit this summer, but he’s stayed and racked up game time even after the disappointment of a curious Champions League squad omission.

He may finally leave in the summer, but to be starting regularly for Italy’s biggest club at the age of 33 is testament to his experience and quality. Lichtsteiner is no superstar, but he's a hard worker who is expected to be rewarded with inclusion in Juve's Champions League squad for the knockout stage.