Who are the top-performing left-backs in 2023 who possess exceptional levels of fitness, as well as impressive defensive and attacking skills?
Ever since the turn of the millennium, the demands and tactics of the game of football have evolved dramatically, with managers now appreciating the importance of a left-back who now plays a significant role in supporting the team when attacking and defending.
With the obsession of managers with having a functional left-back who possesses physical strength, defensive fluidity, positional discipline, and technical ability to play with the ball, we can say the left-back is as important as any other player.
- Best Left Backs In Soccer 2023
- How Do We Rank the Best Left Backs?
- David Raum - (RB Leipzig)
- Lisandro Martinez(Manchester United)
- Nuno Mendes - (Paris Saint Germain)
- Raphael Guerreiro - (Borussia Dortmund)
- Jose Gaya - (Valencia)
- Joško Gvardiol - (Leipzig)
- Alphonso Davies - (Bayern Munich)
- Andrew Robertson - (Liverpool)
- Theo Hernandez - (AC Milan)
- Joao Cancelo - (Manchester City/Bayern Munich(Loan))
- Oleksandr Zinchenko
Best Left Backs In Soccer 2023
There’s more to being a left-back than just defending; as a result, we evaluate the best left-backs in the world right now, a position that is getting more challenging and technical. In addition to evaluating whether a player helps the team or not, modern football demands technical know-how to attack.
Well, times are different now, defenders are no more the unsung heroes. In fact, some of the players on this list are crucial to the structures of both their respective teams be it a club or national team.
They are not just left-backs, but they’re also pivotal attackers, pass-makers, and multitaskers.
How Do We Rank the Best Left Backs?
- Attacking Prowess
- Positional discipline
David Raum – (RB Leipzig)
The rapid trajectory of Raum began at Greuther Furth where he helped the team get promotion to the Bundesliga in the 2020-21 season and likewise won the U21 Euros with Germany where he emerged as one of Die Roten’s best players to watch out for in the coming years.
Before his move to Leipzig, Raum ended the 2021-22 season with 11 assists and three goals for Hoffenheim and he has since become one of the most sought after left back in Europe.
Raum, with his current form, has become one of the best and most tenacious left back in Europe for his sheer technical quality and deftness in the attacking third which stands him out among Europe’s best left back.
Lisandro Martinez(Manchester United)
The Argentine center-back, Lisandro Martinez, has garnered widespread acclaim for his exceptional abilities on the pitch and is currently regarded as one of the most promising young players in his position, with the potential to become one of the world’s top defenders.
Despite being a relatively short center-back at 5 feet 9 inches, the 24-year-old displays remarkable prowess with his left foot and is a tenacious aerial defender, often outmaneuvering taller opponents with his agility and precise timing.
Martinez’s impressive defensive displays for Dutch powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam caught the attention of football fans worldwide and led to his lucrative transfer to Manchester United in the recent summer.
Since joining the Red Devils, he has gradually adapted to the rigorous demands of the Premier League and has become an integral part of Manchester United’s backline.
His ability to read the game, strong tackling and excellent passing range have earned him the admiration of fans and teammates alike, with many tipping him to become one of the best center-backs in the world in the years to come.
READ ALSO | 10 Left Backs Who Have Graced The Game
Nuno Mendes – (Paris Saint Germain)
Mendes is now a PSG official player after signing permanently with the Parisians club after proving himself as one of the most promising left back in Europe.
The Portuguese star averaged 13.35 pressures attacking-wise, 3.5 blocks, 2.37 tackles per game, a pass completion rate of 85%, and a 1.19 accurate dribble last season and has also picked up the same form this season with the French giant.
With his position on the left side of the Ligue 1 champion defense well secured outrightly in the team, Mendes is fast becoming one of Europe’s hottest properties and is fast rising to the pinnacle of his career.
Raphael Guerreiro – (Borussia Dortmund)
Guerreiro has become one of Europe’s most sought-after defenders, following his continuous brilliant form for the Signal Iduna Park side since joining from Ligue 1 side FC Lorient in 2016 for €12m.
Before the closure of the transfer market, the Portuguese were linked to Manchester City, having consistently delivered commendable performances that got him to play 171 games and 32 goals for the Bundesliga side.
This season he has already hit the ground running in the Bundesliga with a bang with five games, one goal and one assist this season, and likewise in the Champions League.
Jose Gaya – (Valencia)
It’s a fact that Valencia is a well-renowned Spanish side known for producing top-class players over the years, as such Gaya can be said to be one of their brilliant products terrorizing LaLiga with his sheer quality.
Gaya is unarguably one of the best left back in Spain who has ink his name in the folklore of the league for his sheer leadership off and on the pitch and how good he’s been brilliant for the team over the years.
The Spaniard has played 273 games for Valencia, scoring eight goals and making 33 assists since he burst into the limelight. Gaya has been so consistent that he often makes the list of current best left back in Europe’s topflight leagues.
Joško Gvardiol – (Leipzig)
Joško Gvardiol is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding young defenders in the world at present, having made a name for himself with his exceptional performances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
What sets Gvardiol apart from his peers is his remarkable technical abilities as a left-footed center-back. He possesses an impressive range of passing and is known for his ability to play out from the back with ease, making him a valuable asset for his club, RB Leipzig.
Gvardiol’s pass accuracy and speed are both exceptional, with his vision and composure on the ball allowing him to create opportunities for his team while also remaining defensively solid. His performances have caught the attention of many top European clubs, with several vying for his signature.
The Croatian’s outstanding form has made him one of the hottest properties in European football, and he is widely expected to become one of the world’s top defenders in the years to come.
Alphonso Davies – (Bayern Munich)
When Davies burst onto the scene with his electrifying performance for Die Roten during the 2020-21 campaign, the question on the lips of football fans was “will he be a one-season wonder “?
But surprisingly, the Canadian left-back has consistently proved to the world that he has come to stay as one the best defender, both for his club and most importantly his national team where is unarguably the best player.
While playing in some of the major tournaments is one of the yardsticks in proving yourself as an elite player, Davies did taste all of the most coveted Europe trophies playing side by side with the finest of players in the game.
READ ALSO | 10 Of The Highest Scoring Defenders Of All Time
Andrew Robertson – (Liverpool)
Robertson alongside his teammates has played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s recent success under Klopp’s gen-gen-pressing style of play.
While at Hull City, the Scottish international is just seen as a left-back with huge potential, but after joining the Anfield side he has matured into one of the most coveted and talked about best left-back in Europe for his sheer quality attacking and defensive wise.
With just six games into the new season, Robertson is yet to pick up from where he stopped last campaign where they got to the final of the champions league and won a cup double domestically. Albeit, his reputation and quality as a left-back without a doubt get him on this list.
Theo Hernandez – (AC Milan)
Hernandez has since become one of the best left back in Europe since joining the Italian giant from Real Madrid in 2019.
The French international came into the Milan team during their torrid time, but he has since become a key figure in the team’s recent resurgence in Serie A where they won the Scudetto last season under the tutelage of Stefano Pioli.
Hernandez is well known for his dribbles, speed, and attacking prowess when his team is in the opponent’s half, and how brilliantly he has contributed to the defensive fluidity of his team.
With the Rossoneri hitting the ground running in Serie A as one of the favorites to win the Scudetto this season, the Frenchman has once again started churning out commendable performances.
Joao Cancelo – (Manchester City/Bayern Munich(Loan))
Cancelo is undoubtedly the best left-back in Europe currently, based on his versatility and how brilliantly he contributes to the attacking threat of City when on the ascendency.
Since joining the Etihad outfit from Juventus, the Portuguese international has become an integral part of Pep’s high-pressing side. He supports other players when attacking and drifting into the midfield when starting play from the backline.
Cancelo obviously ranks as Cheapgoal’s number one best left back in Europe due to his quality, speed on and off the ball, dribbling ability, creativity, and ability to wipe those defense-splitting crosses into the opponent’s half which he has consistently done every season.
Signed by Mikel Arteta with the intention of playing him in midfield, Oleksandr Zinchenko has exceeded all expectations with his impressive performances at left-back for Arsenal this season. His versatility and technical skills have proven to be invaluable to the team, allowing him to seamlessly transition between defensive and attacking roles.
From his left-back position, Zinchenko picks up the ball from deep and intelligently drifts into central areas, where he can dictate play with his exceptional passing range. His pinpoint accuracy and ability to break lines with his passes have been a major asset for Arsenal, allowing them to quickly transition from defense to attack.
Although his stats may not immediately jump out, with just one goal and two assists, Zinchenko’s contributions to the team cannot be overstated. His exceptional passing often creates opportunities for his teammates, particularly Martin Odegaard, who has benefited greatly from Zinchenko’s precise balls played between the opposition’s midfield and defense.
His delicate passes through to Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have helped Arsenal unlock some of the toughest defenses in the league.
Without Zinchenko, there is a strong case to argue that Arsenal would not be in the position they currently are in the league table. His solid defensive performances and exceptional passing skills have helped solidify Arsenal’s backline while also providing a creative outlet in attack.
It is no surprise that his performances have caught the attention of many top clubs, and he is widely regarded as one of the brightest young talents in world football.
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