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My All-Time Best XI - Left Back

July 24, 2017

Time to complete the defence with the left back… This one will be my easiest choice so far, especially with slotting Maldini in as one of the centre backs to make room for the man I have in mind. Let’s get down to it then, here’s the left back shortlist.

 

Bixente Lizarazu

 

 

 

 

The pint sized left back was one of the best attacking full backs of his generation and he’s won everything there is to be won at club and international level. A permanent fixture for France during their ’98 World Cup win and 2 years later at the European Championships, Lizarazu proved himself as one of the best left backs in the world. Winning the 2001 Intercontinental Cup with Bayern Munich also made him the first player ever to be a world champion at club and international level simultaneously.

 

Major Honours

 

Bundesliga (5)

DFB-Pokal (5)

Champions League (1)

Intercontinental Cup (1)

World Cup (1)

European Championship (1)

Confederations Cup (2)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the World Cup and European Championship back to back with France

 

 

Nilton Santos

 

 

 

He’s the first Brazilian on this shortlist, but not the last. Nilton Santos is perhaps credited for being the first true attacking full-back, emphasised by his goal for Brazil at the 1958 World Cup against Austria, dribbling the length of the field before finishing exquisitely. Santos was a key peripheral in Brazil’s back to back World Cup wins in 1958 and 1962, in total he earned 75 caps for his country. He once said "I have never envied today's players the money but the freedom they have, to go forward". Santos unfortunately passed away in 2013 at the age of 88.

 

Major Honours

 

World Cup (2) 

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning back to back World Cups with Brazil in 1958 and 1962

 

 

 

Roberto Carlos

 

 

 

 

Roberto Carlos, what is there to say? Throughout his career, he defied the laws of physics and cemented his place as one of the game’s greatest ever left backs long before his retirement. Carlos took attacking full back play to an entirely different level, combining power and speed to leave fans on the edge of their seats when he picked up the ball. Three Champions Leagues, Two Copa Americas, One World Cup, 4 La Ligas, the list goes on. The famous free kick against France, leaving Barthez completely bewildered, remains the best free kick I have seen to this day.

 

Major Honours

 

La Liga (4)

Champions League (3)

Intercontinental Cup (2)

World Cup (1)

Copa America (2)

Confederations Cup (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the World Cup in 2002 with Brazil

 

 

 

 

Denis Irwin

 

 

 

 

Speaking of free-kicks, maybe Denis Irwin wasn’t as stylish as Roberto Carlos in a dead ball situation but he was just as effective. Irwin was a key figure in a Manchester United team that dominated the 90’s, which culminated with the famous Treble in 1999. Perhaps the best left back to grace English football, he was Mr Dependable and one of Sir Alex’s go-to guys. Irwin won the lot during his career with United, scoring 33 goals for the Red Devils along the way.

 

Major Honours

 

Premier League (7)

FA Cup (3)

Champions League (1)

Cup Winners Cup (1)

Intercontinental Cup (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the treble with Manchester United in 1999

 

 

 

 

Ashley Cole

 

 

 

 

Ashley Cole seemed to always hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in his career, but that should take nothing away from how good he was. There was no better left back in the world when Ashley Cole was at the top of his game, his fantastic performance against a young Cristiano Ronaldo for England sticks out in my memory. After forcing through a move to Chelsea, Cole won everything on offer which, in the end, warranted his decision. Cole is currently with LA Galaxy, enjoying the twilight of his career in a location that suits him down to the ground.

 

Major Honours

 

Premier League (3)

FA Cup (7)

Champions League (1)

Europa League (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s the shortlist – I’ve tried my best to ponder it and give other players a chance but I think my mind was already made up before I started this list! The left back in my All Time Best XI is…

 

Roberto Carlos

 

This was the easiest decision I’ve had to make so far, Roberto Carlos was on a different planet to the other left backs in this short list and would probably make most All Time XI line ups. Here’s how the team looks now that the defence is complete.

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the defence is complete, it starts to get even harder – There are 6 spots left in my All Time XI and probably over a hundred players in contention. Keep an eye out to see who takes the right-wing spot in my next post.

 

WWho makes left back in your All-Time Best XI? Tweet me  @zefutbolwriter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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