Demanding pace, power, crossing ability and knowing how to find the net when needed, the left wing position in the game has always been a key one. Having been graced by some of the finest players of all time, here we look at the Top 5 left wingers in the history of football.
Often overlooked on a national stage, let alone a world one, John Barnes was simply one of the most devastatingly skillfull wingers ever to grace to game. Barnes could make beating a man look easy and although he was quick, it was his skill and tactical brain that allowed him to beat men rather than his pace. Who will ever forget when, in the Maracana, John Barnes danced past the entire Brazilian team to score perhaps the finest goal in football history!
That was typical of Barnes who throughout his career entertained crowds at Liverpool where he made his name. A vital cog in the successful side of the era, Barnes had a crossing ability that allowed the likes of Ian Rush and later Robbie Fowler to score with ease. Unpredictable, skilful and with an engine that lasts the full game, Barnes truly deserves his place amongst the best ever to run down the left wing.
Somehow, Gento has become something of the forgotten man of the famous attacking line of Puskas and Di Stefano. In fact during this period Gento captained the Real Madrid side containing some of the true greats of the game as not only was he a pacey, skillfull and brave winger but he was also an effective leader and true stallion of the game, although he enjoyed newzealand online casino. Tough tackling, hard to beat and with the trickery to beat the world’s best defenders, Gento’s team mates knew that with the ball at his feet something productive would emerge.
His list of trophies is simply astounding. 12 titles in Spain and record 6 European cups are just the tip of the iceberg for a man who played over 500 times for Madrid and spent 18 years with the club. Although in his 43 caps for Spain his success was never replicated, the simple fact of the matter is that Gento is one of the finest players of all time and especially on of the finest left wingers in the history of football.
No list of attacking flair is complete with the inclusion of a Brazilian or two. When you look through the great teams of the Brazilian past there are several players who graced the left wing position that excite and bring back fond memories, but for pure skill, excitement and match winning quality, Roberto Rivelino stands above all else. Although many will remember him for his famous moustache, his skills in certain areas were unrivalled. Some still to this day hail Rivelino has the greatest free kick taker of all time and watching complications of his free kicks, it is hard to argue.
But where Rivelino also shone was his passing range. Rarely did a pass go astray and rarely was a pass wasted. From devastating crossed to goal scoring through balls all the way through to cross field passes, Rivelino was efficient with his feet. He was also not afraid to take on an opponent and his skills with the ball at his feet made him hard to tackle. Flexible and Athletic is an understatement.
Rivelino, in terms of the tool set for a left winger, had it all!
Throughout his career fans of the great Manchester United Team of the 1990s and early 2000s chanted from the terraces “Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs running down the wing”….because for almost 20 years that is what they saw him doing week in week out. Giggs was a model professional and a mainstay in United throughout the reign of Alex Ferguson. He had it all. Naturally left footed he could deliver a devastating cross. Need someone to belt in a 30 yard free kick? Giggs was your man.
In terms of the Premier League, never has a player shone when beating opponents as Giggs did. Who can ever forget that night at Villa Park when, in the dying moments, he dribbled past the unbeatable Arsenal team to score one of the most memorable goals in football history. This was Giggs at his best but throughout his entire career he scored, crossed and lead United to success. Without Giggs United would have been missing a key component of their successful team and indeed the fact that he remains one of the most decorated and successful footballers in the game is testament to his central role in the great Manchester United teams under Ferguson.
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During much of his career, many football fans considered Nedved the finest player in the world and it was difficult tom argue otherwise. Nedved turned the left wing position in every team he played in, into the heart beat of the team. Darting runs, the odd casinoclic blackjack en ligne , goals for everywhere and defenders beaten at ease were just some of the traits that typified Nedveds approach to play. With a brain for tactics and an ability to read the game successfully, Nedved was the kind of player opponents hated to come up against as they were often left humiliated and scratching their heads.
He was a firm part of the “golden generation” of the Czech Republic reaching the final at Euro 96 and emerging onto the world scene as a formidable force. Nedved was the heartbeat of the team and went onto to lead the team to several more tournament finals and impressive displays. In 2003 he won the Ballon d’Or capping off a wonderful few years in which Nedved proved himself as one of the best players to have ever graced the football field.