The Left Back position has been graced by some of the finest names in the world game. A position that requires, in the modern game, not only pace, toughness and ability by also the flexibility to be a prominent attacking forces as well as a defensive lynch pin. These players all matches that criteria and more and hence must be considered as some of the Top Left Backs of all time.
For any footballing fan who followed the rise of the Manchester United team under Alex Ferguson, there were many ever present figures who Ferguson crafted his team around and one such figure was the ever reliable and dependable Denis Irwin. Throughout his career Irwin became one of the most consistent and prolific performers in the left back position.
Irwin won 56 caps for republic of Ireland, playing in the 1994 World Cup, where he continued to show his quality but the side struggled and it will always be his club career for which Irwin is remembered. Irwin was at Manchester United for 12 years and nailed down the left back position for his own. Being involved in the team at that time Irwin won trophy after trophy including 7 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups and the Champions League. He was vital during United’s 1999 Treble winning season.
His strengths lay in his defensive prowess and his ability to remain tough to beat despite his size. Going forward Irwin offered pace, could easily beat a man, had an eye for goal and was a deadly crosser. He also was a deadly set piece taker scoring some breathtaking free kicks. In essence Irwin was the perfect modern Left Back. Once retired he relaxed with online casinos usa seeking great fun from his new career.
Fans tend to remember Roberto Carlos for his free kick ability and in particular the free kick he scored against France in 1998…still one of the most impressive free kicks of all time. Roberto Carlos loved to shoot and this often frustrated fans but it frustrated opposition even more when he nailed a screamer and he made a habit of scoring wonder goals. He dominated the left back position during his international career and played for some of the finest clubs in the world. He revolutionised the position and spent more time attacking than defending. He was pacey and fast making him tough to beat but what he offered going forward was unrivaled.
More of a winger than a left back Carlos breezed past the opposition, could put in a killer cross and of course score goal after goal. Four times La Liga champion, 3 times Champions winner and several accolades in his home nations was testament to the difference Carlos could make to a team. 125 caps for Brazil were peaked when he lifted the 2002 World Cup and he was a main stay in one of the most successful eras for the country. Carlos redefined what it meant to be an attacking left back and set the mould for the rest.
A master of the Italian defensive style of play Paolo Maldini is one of the finest footballers ever to grace the game. Not only was Paolo Maldini a great leader, a class act and an impenetrable defender, he was a model professional and inspired a generation.
His entire career, spanning over 25 years, was spent with AC Milan where he ranks at the very top of their all time greats. Dedicated to the club, adored by the fans and respected by all, Paolo Maldini was a defensive master with an eye of reading the game, winning aerial battles, delivering deadly crosses and being stable and reliable defender who was tough to beat. Testament to this is his trophy cabinet which includes 7 league titles and an astonishing 5 European Cups. In fact Maldini has played in 8 European Cup/Champions League finals, a record. He won 126 caps for Italy and played in the 1994 runners up side and Euro 200 finalists.
In essence Paolo Maldini was a model professional and any left back wanting to improve his game needs only look at the style and technical ability of one of the finest defenders in the history of football.
Andres Brehme will forever be remembered for scoring the winning goal in the 1990 World Cup Final. Over his 86 game career for Germany he netted 8 times, but the scenes of him scoring that goal in Italia 1990 will always spring to mind above all else. But lest not forget that Brehme was not only a left back, but perhaps one of the finest left backs in the European game.
Oppositions hated playing against Brehme as getting round him was nigh on impossible. His blistering pace and tackling timing made him a master at winning the ball and even though he size dictated otherwise, he was difficult to beat in the air. Brehme was also a nightmare for opponents as with the all at his feet he was handful. Like playing online slots for real money and football at the same time! Whether it was taking a monstrous free kick or hitting 40 yard pass onto the head of an opponent Brehme typified the attacking left back and was years ahead of his.
In terms of setting new trends in the position of Left Back, the Italian Giacinto Facchetti made strides in the 1970s. Rightly considered to be one of the very first truly “attacking” full backs, he played his entire career at Inter Milan where fans still sing his name. Indeed, after his death the club retired the number 3 shirt in honour of a man who was the perfect defender.
Giacinto Facchetti began by concentrating on his defensive game making him hard to beat, a tough tackling dynamo and one of the best readers of the game in history. As his game progressed he became an attacking force and his crosses, goals and assist lead his team to 4 league titles, 2 European cups and winning him 94 caps for Italy.