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
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
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
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.
#3 Giacinto Facchetti
Italy's love affair with full-backs, or for that matter, defenders is well-documented, with Giacinto Facchetti considered one of the country's greatest of all time.
A one-club man, Facchetti spent his entire playing career with Inter Milan. A strong, intelligent, attacking left-back, Facchetti made 629 appearances in all competitions for Inter Milan, scoring 75 goals. Such were his performances that he finished second in the 1965 Ballon d'Or, a rare achievement for a defender.
Facchetti finished his playing career in 1978. He was involved with Inter Milan after he retired, holding various positions within the club hierarchy, before passing away in 2006.
#2 Roberto Carlos
One of the best left-backs to have played the game, Roberto Carlos was one of the most attack-minded full-backs the game has ever seen.
Carlos' European adventure began with Inter Milan, where he lasted only a season. He moved to Real Madrid in 1996 for €6 million, and there he established himself as one of the greatest in his position.
Extremely offense-oriented, Carlos has the pace, strength and crossing ability, which were often crucial components in the Los Blancos' attack.
The Brazil international made 527 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid, scoring 70 goals and providing 89 assists.
Carlos left Real Madrid in 2007, playing for the likes of Fenerbahce, Corinthians, Anzhi Makhachkala and Delhi Dynamos, before retiring in 2015.
#1 Paolo Maldini
Arguably the greatest defender of all time, Paolo Maldini, like Giacinto Facchetti, was a one-club man during his playing career.
A product of the AC Milan academy, Maldini spent his entire career with the Rossoneri. Capable of operating as a left-back or a centre-back, the Italy international's reading of the game, technical qualities, reliability and longevity was widely appreciated.
Maldini made 902 appearances in all competitions for AC Milan before retiring in 2009. He is currently the technical director at the club, playing a crucial role in signing various players.