Left-backs add momentum by combining pace and intelligence for attack and defense. The defenders do their job, but the left-backs specialize in it. There is more to the defender than defending, and left-backs are just as apt to do that. They come with a plan and a mission. Precision passing and crossing with the left foot are their strengths. They play in the overlapping zone and often curl a perfect shot to the precise striker.
The football fraternity does not have the concept of one of the best left-backs. The left-back position is for relatively weaker players. It looks like a left-back is a player who does not have a specific job.
With the world changing, football strategies have come of age. Times have changed for the better, and left-backs are no longer a prop on the field. Some players are integral to the team’s winning strategy. Few players, as we list, are imperative to occupy the position to play the roles of defender, attacker, creator, scorer, and jack of all trades.
1.Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich/Canada)
The 22-year-old provides extreme speed and dribbling capabilities. He is the epitome of balance between orthodox defense at the fullback position and building attack potential in the middle. Bayern has one of the best left-backs in their possession. He is a must-have in any defense lineup in the world of football.
2.Theo Hernandez (AC Milan/France)
One of the Hernandez brothers, he is a constant fixture on the French team. He has scored four goals and contributed three assists in the Series A concluding season and has been a contender for the goal of the year. He has the requisite pace and strikes that a left-back would boast. A goal in a World Cup semi-final catapulted him among the frontrunners by his standards. The Frenchman has sealed his claim as one of the best left-backs in world football.
3.Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal/Ukraine)
The 26-year-old won four Premier League titles and plenty of domestic cups at Manchester City. He is one of the most versatile left-backs in the world and a prized possession at Arsenal. He makes his way to the elite group of left-backs as an attacking fullback for progressive carries and passes. His move paid off for Arsenal. Zinchenko can fill tactical positions in the field and create assists for the front-line gunners.
4.Andrew Robertson (Liverpool/Scotland)
He is a more consistent footballer than most of his Liverpool counterparts and other teammates, and he stayed as an assist machine from the left wing. If the ball distribution on his side is good, he can penetrate the final third and reach the ultimate targets inside the box. He is consistently improving his game in his zone. Robertson can help Liverpool overcome the setback of not securing a spot in the Premier League last season. He is likely making all the difference in Liverpool’s aspirations to make it big.
5.Nathan Ake (Manchester City/Netherlands)
His perseverance showed up in most touches and pass attempts in Man City’s Champions League last win over Inter Milan. He can contribute to everything his manager needs from a left-center back. He is sure-footed enough to be instrumental in a buildup play. Man City’s defenders do not need to intervene in the attack that much, but Ake does. Ake does it cleanly and effectively when necessary. He wins the battle one-on-one on the ground and in the air. He has the skill to pass accurately and mindfully, which many defenders do not have.
6.Luke Shaw (Manchester United/England)
He has signed a contract with Man UNTD to push his team for more trophies. Manchester United expects more consistency from him in 2023–24. The 24-year-old left and center back has a penchant for creating more assists and chances for scoring goals. He can read the game from the midfield and steer it in the team’s favor. He is formidable when building the attack through his lethal crossings and passes. Over the past few years, Luke has become one of the best left-backs in the world in the present generation of footballers. His most impressive display was as a makeshift center-back. He helped keep Erland Haaland quiet during Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford in January.
7.Alejandro Balde (Barcelona/Spain)
The 20-year-old can build up an attack with intervention capabilities, which is better than any left back in the world. Barcelona maintained a higher budget to bring new talent to the team, but Balde’s emergence is as important as any new and expensive inclusion. Balde joined Barcelona in 2011, when he was barely eight, and debuted in 2021–22. He surged in 2022–23 and has been an indispensable defender in Barcelona’s defense. Balde was the reason for the league-low 20 goals conceded by Barcelona. He has a physically imposing presence and is a ball retention expert. He does not get involved in attack buildups as other fullbacks do.