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6 greatest full-backs of all time

Dani Alves enjoyed a phenomenal spell with Barcelona
Dani Alves enjoyed a phenomenal spell with Barcelona
Abhinav Anand
ANALYST
Modified 20 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

Modern football has placed increased demands on players, especially full-backs and managers. In general, players are now expected to be tactically versatile, good on the ball and capable of contributing to various phases of play.

Full-backs, especially, have seen their position evolve over the years. Now, they are expected to contribute heavily to attack while also fulfilling their defensive duties. Certain managers like Pep Guardiola like their full-backs to tuck inside, which has seen players like Philipp Lahm and Joao Cancelo utilised in various ways.

Six greatest full-backs of all time:

The history of the game is replete with full-backs etching their names in footballing lore. On that note, let's take a look at the six greatest full-backs of all time.


#6 Dani Alves

Dani Alves is one of the greatest full-backs of all time.
Dani Alves is one of the greatest full-backs of all time.

One of the greatest right-backs of the modern generation, Dani Alves has enjoyed a trophy-laden career.

The Brazil international made his name at Sevilla, with his performances earning him a €35.5 million move to Barcelona in 2008. Alves became one of the most important players in Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, with his attacking play, creativity and crossing ability proving crucial to Barcelona's success.

Alves made 391 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, scoring 21 goals and providing 101 assists.

He left the club in 2016 and went on to represent the likes of Juventus and PSG. The 37-year old currently plays for Brazilian club Sao Paulo, where he has often been deployed as an attacking midfielder.


#5 Philipp Lahm

Philipp Lahm excelled at Bayern Munich
Philipp Lahm excelled at Bayern Munich

Like Alves, Philipp Lahm was a vital cog in Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich side but was already a leader at the club before the Spanish tactician's arrival.

A product of the Bayern Munich academy, Lahm spent his entire playing career at the club, barring a two-season loan spell in Stuttgart.

The Germany international was renowned for his intelligence, technical quality and versatility. A Bayern Munich legend, Lahm could operate in both full-back positions, while under Guardiola, he was mostly used as a defensive midfielder.

The 37-year old made 517 appearances in all competitions for Bayern Munich before retiring in 2017.


#4 Carlos Alberto

Carlos Alberto captained Brazil to victory in the 1970 World Cup.
Carlos Alberto captained Brazil to victory in the 1970 World Cup.

Brazil have produced some of the best full-backs in the game, and Carlos Alberto is one of them.

A right-back, Alberto spent most of his playing career in Brazil, where he is well remembered for his spell with Santos. An excellent defender, Alberto was known for his leadership ability, captaining Brazil to victory in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, where he scored a goal in the final.

He spent time playing for clubs like New York Cosmos and California Surf before retiring in 1982. Alberto also managed Fluminense, Corinthians, Flamengo and Botafogo, as well as international teams like Oman and Azerbaijan.


Also Read: 5 greatest central midfield trios of the 21st century.

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Published 20 Apr 2021
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