5 best left-backs of all time

Roberto Carlos
Roberto Carlos
Shambhu Ajith
Modified 29 Apr 2021

Left-back might not be the most glamorous position on a football pitch but these players have been adept at stealing the ball back and have also contributed generously in attack.

The role of full-backs has become one of the most demanding ones in modern football. The full-backs are expected to be as involved in defence as they are in attack.

They are tasked with shuttling up and down the flanks for the length of the game, helping out the team when the opposition have the ball and motoring forward otherwise to whip crosses in and also score a few thunderbolts when afforded the opportunity.

Suffice to say that left-backs have to be well-rounded footballers who are technically proficient and physically resilient. Without further ado, let's take a look at five of the best left-backs of all time.

#5 Ashley Cole

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Inarguably the best left-back that has graced the Premier League, Ashley Cole was an absolute menace down the left for Arsenal and, later, Chelsea. Cole rose through the ranks at Arsenal. He first proved himself on a loan spell with Crystal Palace. After earning a place in the Arsenal first-team, there was no looking back.

Ashley Cole was an invaluable part of the 'Invincibles' and won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups before moving to Chelsea in 2006 in a move that was much derided by the Gunners' fanbase. They gave Ashley Cole the nickname 'Cashley Cole' but the Englishman did not let it affect him as he kicked on in the same vein for the Blues.

Cole went on to win one UEFA Champions League title, one Premier League title, one Europa League title, one League Cup and four FA Cups during his stint with Chelsea. By the time he retired from the English national side, Cole had been capped more than 100 times.

He never let his standards drop and was equally lethal in attack and in defence for about a decade and a half. Cole went on to play for AS Roma, LA Galaxy and Derby County before hanging his boots in 2019.

#4 Giacinto Facchetti

Giacinto Facchetti (cred: TheseFootballTimes)
Giacinto Facchetti (cred: TheseFootballTimes)

Giacinto Facchetti is one of the most influential players as far as the legacy of the left-back position is concerned. Facchetti was one of the earliest and greatest attacking left-backs in the game and standing at 6"3, he was a colossus of a footballer who matched his physicality with technical proficiency.

A one-club man who spent his entire career at Inter Milan, Facchetti could let absolute thunderbolts fly with his left-foot. In addition to winning four league titles, an Italian Cup and two European Cups, the Italian also made it to the finals of the World Cup in 1970 after captaining side to glory at the Euros in 1968.

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Published 29 Apr 2021
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