My team is getting stronger and stronger by the week, Cristiano Ronaldo joined Casillas, Cafu, Maldini, Beckenbauer and Carlos on the right side of midfield and now we flip over to the left. As I touched on in my last post, I’m not necessarily looking for the best left winger of all time, I’m looking for the best player who can play on the left wing – There are so many all-time greats in the attacking positions, my challenge is to squeeze them all in! The shortlist…
It’s impossible to compile a shortlist of the greatest ever left wingers and not include Ryan Giggs. The most decorated player in the history of English football, Ryan Giggs was a full backs nightmare in his prime and a Rolls Royce in his twilight. Ryan Giggs will be remembered as a Manchester United great, who won everything there was to be won, it’s actually staggering looking at his honour roll (13 Premier League titles!) – The goal against Arsenal in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final wasn’t bad either!
Premier League (13)
FA Cup (4)
Champions League (2)
Intercontinental Cup (1)
Club World Cup (1)
Winning the Treble with Manchester United in 1999
As with Cristiano Ronaldo, there is no description needed for this man – I’m still not really sure if he’s human. Lionel Messi has won an obscene number of trophies, both individually and with Barcelona and since he burst onto the scene in 2005, records have been shattered, along with centre back’s hopes and dreams. The only blot on his glittering career is the failure to win a major trophy with Argentina despite coming close so many times – there’s still time to fix that however. Arguably the greatest player of all time, no further description needed.
La Liga (8)
Copa del Rey (5)
Champions League (4)
Club World Cup (3)
Winning the Treble with Barcelona in 2009 and 2015
A Real Madrid great, and current honorary president, Francisco Gento was part of the famous Real Madrid side that won 5 consecutive European Cups between 1955 and 1960. Gento made over 500 appearances for Los Blancos, in a hugely successful, unparalleled career that wielded 6 European Cups and 12 La Liga titles. Gento was also part of the Spain squad that delivered the countries’ first major trophy at the 1964 European Championship.
La Liga (12)
Copa del Rey (2)
European Cup (6)
Intercontinental Cup (1)
European Championship (1)
Winning 5 consecutive European Cups with Real Madrid
Before you jump down my throat, I am fully aware that Ronaldinho wasn’t a natural left winger, and that was nowhere near his best position, but bear in mind the players competing for the number 10 shirt. Ronaldinho was a genius, an absolute magician and the most skilful player I’ve ever had the joy to watch, without doubt. Ronaldinho was one of those players that could force the impossible to happen, everything he did encompassed why we all love the beautiful game. The only regret is that he didn’t stay on top of the world for long enough, ala Messi and Ronaldo.
La Liga (2)
Champions League (1)
Serie A (1)
World Cup (1)
Copa America (1)
Confederations Cup (1)
Winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002
The greatest player in Romanian history, Gheorge Hagi played 125 times for his country, becoming the all-time leading goalscorer along the way. Hagi also led Romania to their best ever tournament finish at the 1994 World Cup, before being knocked out at the quarter final stage by Sweden, Hagi still however was named in the team of the tournament. Frequently compared to Diego Maradona, Hagi was one of the best attacking midfielders of all-time and his place in Romanian folklore is forever guaranteed.
Romanian League (3)
Cupa Romaniei (2)
Turkish League (4)
Turkish Cup (3)
UEFA Cup (1)
Being named in the World Cup 1994 team of the tournament
A player who is equally as efficient on the left as in the middle, Pavel Nedved was one of the greatest players of his generation and arguably the best to come out of the Czech Republic. Nedved was instrumental in the Czech team that reached the final of Euro 96, only to lose to a golden goal against Germany. Nedved won the Ballon d’Or in 2003 after guiding Juventus to the Champions League final, which unfortunately for Nedved, they lost to AC Milan at Old Trafford. Nedved’s last trophy was actually the Serie B title, securing Juventus’ promotion back to the top flight after the Calcio scandal.
Serie A (3)
Coppa Itallia (2)
Cup Winners’ Cup (1)
Winning the Ballon d’Or in 2003
So that’s the shortlist – Cristiano Ronaldo on the right side and on the left, none other than…
Arguably the best of all time, Lionel Messi was always going to make this team. Cristiano Ronaldo on one wing, Lionel Messi on the other, imagine! Here’s how the line-up currently looks.
Next up is the only central midfield spot, which could prove difficult! Who makes left wing in your All-Time Best XI? Tweet me @zefutbolwriter.