There was a time where left-wingers were all left-footed and their sole job was to whip balls into big forwards. Not anymore.
With football evolving, some of the most talented players in the world play wide on the left, using trickery, pace and creativity to light up sides across Europe. The left-winger is a danger man.
We've compiled a list of the 10 best left-wingers in the world *right now*, meaning talent alone is not all that counts, though recent seasons are important to remember in the context of this list.
Note, this is different to our list of the best strikers in the world - so no Kylian Mbappe here, before you starting shouting. We're just looking at players whose best position is over on the left flank.
So, who would you go for? Here are our choices...
The best left-wingers in the world right now: 10. Marcus Rashford
Alright, Rashford certainly isn't enjoying the 2023/24 season, but the Englishman still has an ability that is unstoppable when he's in the mood. Last term proved the best in his career to date, and recent performances have started to pick up in the New Year, too.
A Manchester United academy product, Rashford is burdened with greater pressure than the majority of his team-mates, and while misdemeanours have occurred, he's slowly getting back to his best under Erik ten Hag.
9. Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao)
When Nico Williams gets up to full speed while dribbling, he's impossible to stop. He simply loves to carry the ball up the pitch, going one-on-one against defenders and, inevitably, evading challenges. He has expertly managed to turn these situations into goalscoring opportunities, too, whether it be for himself or his team-mates.
Still slightly raw, the youngster has already improved his game in such a short period of time. Previously, Williams preferred to stick tight to the right-wing touchline, rather than trust himself to cut inside. Now, though, he actively takes up dangerous positions between the opposition defence and midfield, cutting in from the left to open up the pitch and allow his technical trickery to take over.
8. Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich)
Coman is often overlooked when it comes to selecting some of the best players in Europe, but there's a reason he has continued as Bayern Munich's preferred left-wingers for so long.
Comfortable on both feet, Coman is adept at cutting inside onto his stronger right foot to link up with Jamal Musiala and Harry Kane, as well as knocking the ball down the line to hang the ball up to the back post.
While not the most prolific of wingers, the Frenchman's versatility and directness means that defences often struggle to handle him. He's proven that once again in 2023/24 as Bayern hunt down yet another Bundesliga title.
7. Jeremy Doku (Manchester City)
Doku's rise has seen Jack Grealish struggle for form and a way into Pep Guardiola's starting XI at Manchester City this term, with the exciting Belgian proving a revelation since his summer switch.
While Doku has still had to settle for a role on the bench on occasion, when he's fully fit he invariably starts for City. A goal and four assists in one game against Bournemouth highlighted the levels he is capable of reaching, it's just a case of producing that on a more consistent basis.
Still only 21, Doku has plenty of time to improve, though, especially under a manager who notoriously takes a while to get used to. Once he's fully firing, Doku and Haaland could be devastating for the Premier League.
6. Luis Diaz (Liverpool)
A tremendously entertaining winger, Luis Diaz torments right-backs for fun through his close dribbling skills and excellent turn of pace.
While his goals and assists return still needs improvement, the Colombian often manages to pop up with vital strikes - as evidenced against Luton Town and Chelsea in the Premier League, and Fulham in the Carabao Cup semi-final.
The 27-year-old has properly cemented his spot on Liverpool's left-wing under Jurgen Klopp, despite the options of Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo also available to the German.
5. Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)
Unlike any other left-winger on this list, Mikel Oyarzabal is a truly unique player who has come to lead Real Sociedad as captain in recent seasons.
Though the Spaniard has played centrally more often this season, he still looks best coming from the left-wing and attacking the space with his cultured left foot. Though not the fastest player, Oyarzabal is comfortable with the ball in tight spaces and is consistently one of the best players in La Liga.
He's not done too badly this season, either, and is well on the way to hitting double figures in La Liga for the fifth time in his career.
4. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli)
Kvicha Kvaratskhelia has come from seemingly nowhere to establish himself as one of the top wingers in world football, rising from Dinamo Batumi in his native Georgia to Scudetto winner with Napoli in just the space of a year.
Despite Napoli's results suffering this term, the Georgian has still been integral to their European hopes and once again a standout performer for them. If Napoli are to progress in the Champions League - as well as qualify for the tournament next year - he'll be an essential presence in their team.
3. Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)
Gabriel Martinelli goes down as one of Arsenal's biggest individual success stories under the management of Mikel Arteta, with the Brazilian becoming an integral part of the Gunners' attacking unit in 2022.
The Brazilian's performances may have dropped off somewhat from the lofty heights he reached in 2022/23, but that doesn't mean he hasn't shown flashes of brilliance in each game he's played.
His direct dribbling constantly commits opponents, freeing up space for his team-mates elsewhere on the pitch. Once the 22-year-old discovers some more consistency as he matures, Martinelli could be an even more frightening prospect.
2. Rafael Leao
AC Milan have done very well to hang onto Rafael Leao: the Portugal star is one of the standout forwards in world football right now, and Europe's richest clubs are bound to keep sniffing around.
Certainly on the tall side for a winger at six-foot-two, Leao predominantly plays on the left (hence his inclusion on this list) but is more than versatile enough to switch flanks – making him a very tricky customer indeed.
A highly direct player who can be nigh-on impossible to stop in one-on-one situations, Milan teammate Fikayo Tomori has described Leao as having "everything" – and it's hard to argue with him on that!
1. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
Quite possibly a future Ballon d'Or winner, Vinicius Junior is Brazil's best player right now – and one of the best players on the planet, becoming an absolute superstar at Real Madrid.
Lightning-quick and able to dribble at such pace, Vinicius joins the likes of Leao in the 'pretty much unstoppable' category when in full flow (which is most of the time, to be honest).
In recent seasons, the 23-year-old former Flamengo man has been a rather prolific goalscorer, too: he was on target 22 times in 2021/22 – netting the winner in the Champions League final against Liverpool – and 23 times last term, when he also provided the joint second-most assists in La Liga (nine).
We have lists of the best players in every position in the world right now.
There are all kinds of midfielders – these are the best defensive midfielders in the world, these are the best central midfielders in the world and these are the best attacking midfielders in the world.
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