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Top 10 Left-backs Who Have Graced The Game



The beautiful game of football doesn’t have a foot selector to screen certain players who don’t fall in the right-foot category out, or making football manager get biased because a certain player is left-footed and tend not to play them.

We all know football players play with a different foot, 65% are right-footed,25% are left-footed, while the rest 10% are blessed to make use of both. Natural left-foot players are rare and always valuable on the pitch, their services are in high demand on the pitch especially the left backs.

Which is why it doesn’t matter if a player is left footed or right footed

Today at CheapGoals we are looking at the top ten left-backs who have graced the game and leave their solid left-footed prints on the sand of time.

10. Emlyn Hughes

Hughes was born on 28 August 1947. Emlyn started his career in 1964 at Blackpool before moving to Liverpool in 1967. He eventually turns out for Liverpool on 665 occasions and captain the side to four league titles and an FA Cup victory in the 1970s. Added to these domestic honors were two European Cups, including Liverpool’s first ever, when the Reds defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach in 1977; and two UEFA Cup titles. Hughes won the Football Writers’ Player of the Year in 1977.

Hughes complete a full set of English football domestic honors by winning the League Cup with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1980. In addition to the Wolves, he later played for Rotherham United, Hull City, Mansfield Town and Swansea City, Hughes earned 62 caps for the England national team, which he also captained

Hughes settled into the midfield at Liverpool during a transitional period for the club, earning the nickname Crazy Horse after an illegal rugby tackle on Newcastle United winger Albert Bennett. Liverpool did not win any honors in his first four seasons there but Hughes was seen as a forerunner of the future which Shankly had in mind. His versatility was noticed too – he filled in at left back and central defense, a trait which was spotted by England coach Alf Ramsey in 1969.

Predictably, then, his trophy haul is rather impressive. He won four Division One title, an FA Cup, two UEFA Cups and two European Cups in his twelve years at Anfield. He later added a League Cup to that list with Wolves.

9. Denis Irwin

Denis Joseph Irwin was born 31 October 1965, is an Irish former professional footballer who played as a full-back from 1983 to 2004.

Born in Cork, Ireland, he is best known for his long and successful stint at Manchester United, where he established himself as one of the most important players in the United team that won a host of domestic and European trophies in his time there between 1990 and 2002. He has been regarded by Alex Ferguson, as, pound for pound, his greatest ever signing.

Earlier in his career he played for Leeds United and then Oldham Athletic, and finished his career with a two-year spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Irwin was capped by the Republic of Ireland national side 56 times, scoring four goals and featuring in the side that reached the second round (last 16) at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Irwin is the joint most successful Irish footballer in history, a record he shares with fellow Manchester United stalwart Roy Keane, having won 19 major trophies in his career.

A lynch-pin of the great Manchester United team of the ’90s, Denis Irwin experienced a long and successful career. He was a deadly set-piece taker who often challenged even David Beckham when it came to free-kick duties.

In his 12 years stint at United, he won a lot of silverware, including seven Premier League titles, three FA Cups, a League Cup, a Cup Winners’ Cup, and a Champions League. He was a key part of the 1999 treble-winning side.

For the Republic of Ireland, Irwin made 56 appearances before he retired after he was told to “go out and prove himself.”

8. Jose Antonio Camacho

José Antonio Camacho Alfaro was born on June 8, 1955, is a retired Spanish footballer who played as a left back and a current manager.

He played for 15 professional years with Real Madrid, appearing in more than 500 official games with the team and helping it to 19 major titles, including nine La Liga championships. Subsequently, he embarked on a lengthy manager career, which included two very brief spells with his main club. Camacho made his debut for Real Madrid aged just 18 and then made his final appearance for the same club 16 years later. In all he played over 400 league matches for them, cementing his place as one of the best defenders in their history.

In his time at Real Madrid, he won nine La Liga titles, and four Spanish Cups, as well as appearing in two World Cups and two European Championships for Spain. Overall, he made 81 appearances for the national team.

Camacho gained more than 80 caps with Spain, representing it in two World Cups and as many European Champions. He also managed the national team during four years, taking it to the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup.

7. Bixente Lizarazu

Bixente initially registered as Vincent Lizarazu, was on born December 9, 1969. he is a retired Basque-French footballer who played for Bordeaux and Bayern Munich, among other teams, as a left-back. He also had 97 caps for the French national team.

In a twelve-year international career from 1992 to 2004, Lizarazu played in three European championships and two World Cups for France, winning the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. At club level, he has won two French league titles, six German league titles, five German Cups, four German League Cups and a Champions League, while at international level he helped France to success in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

In all, he made 97 appearances for France. Another trophy he won was the Intercontinental trophy in 2001, which made him the first player to be a European champion and World champion on both international and club level at the same time.

But Despite his lack of height, Lizarazu made a name for himself as one of the best-attacking full-backs of recent times. His time at Bayern Munich and in the “Golden era” of French football helped him become the most decorated player in French football history.

6. Paul Breitner

Paul Breitner was born on September 1951 in Kolbermoor, Bavaria is a former German footballer. One of Germany’s most controversial players, he earned 48 caps for West Germany. He was known for his partnerships with Franz Beckenbauer and Berti Vogts in defense for the German national team, and his midfield combination with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for Bayern.

Narrowly beating his fellow countryman into the top five is Paul Breitner. As a free-roaming left-back, Breitner was often seen in unfamiliar places for a traditional left-back.

Although controversial off-the-field, he knew how to get the job done on it. He won five Bundesliga titles, two German Cups, a European Cup, a La Liga title and a Spanish Cup during his club career. He was even more successful on the international stage, however, winning the European Championships of 1972, and then the 1974 World Cup in which he scored Germany’s opening goal.

His goal in the 1982 World Cup final, which Germany lost, made him one of just four players to have scored in two World Cup finals. He was named the German Footballer of the Year in 1981 and made 48 appearances for West Germany.

One of the greatest German players of all time, Breitner was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team and was named by Pelé one of the top 125 greatest living footballers at a FIFA Awards ceremony in 2004.

5. Andreas Brehme

Andreas “Andy” Brehme was born on November 9, 1960, is a German football coach and former football defender. He is best known for scoring the winning goal for Germany in the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final against Argentina on an 85th-minute penalty kick. And he is considered to be one of the greatest free-kick takers and crossers of all time.

Brehme could hit a free-kick or spray a long pass as well as anyone in world football and, what’s more, he could do it with both feet. He was a great attacking full-back who scored for every team he ever played for.

In his 17-year career, Brehme won two Bundesliga titles, a German Cup, a UEFA Cup, and a Serie A title at club level, while at international level he won the 1990 World Cup and was part of the team that came runners-up four years earlier, and then again two years later in the European Championships.

He scored the winning goal in that 1990 World Cup final, just one of his eight international goals in 86 matches for Germany.

4. Giacinto Facchetti

Giacinto Facchetti was born on July 18, 1942, Facchetti was an Italian footballer who played as a defender, he was President of Internazionale, the Italian club for which he played for his entire club career during the 1960s and 1970s. He played 634 official games for the club, scoring 75 goals, and was a member of the Inter team which is often referred to as “Grande Inter”, under manager Helenio Herrera with which he won four Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia two European Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups.

Facchetti is remembered as one of the first truly great attacking full-backs and placed second in the Ballon d’Or in 1965. He is regarded as one of the best players of all time in his position, due to his pace, technique, intelligence, physique, and stamina, and formed formidable defensive capabilities.

Facchetti was one of the first great attacking full-backs, helping the role of the left-back progress to what it is today. He spent his whole career at Inter Milan, a club who retired his number three shirt following his death.

During his time there, he won four league titles, an Italian Cup and two European Cups. He also finished as a runner-up in two more European Cup finals. In 1970 he was once again a runner-up, this time in the World Cup with Italy, a country with whom he had won the European Championships two years earlier.

3. Nilton Santos

Nílton dos Santos born on May 6, 1925, Santos was a Brazilian footballer who primarily played as a wingback.

Another great attacking full-back, Nilton Santos has been part of four Brazilian World Cup squads. In the 1958 and 1962 tournaments, he collected winner’s medals and worldwide accolades for his play. He is especially noted for a goal against Austria in the 1958 tournament when he dribbled past almost the whole team before sticking the ball in the net. He went on to make 75 appearances for Brazil in a 23-year international career.

Nílton was a key player in defense during the 1954, 1958 and 1962 World Cup finals (he was also in the Brazilian squad for the 1950 finals, but made no appearances) and became famous for scoring a magnificent goal in the 1958 tournament when Brazil played Austria. Dribbling his way through the whole field, he finished with a superb shot, driving his coach Vicente Feola crazy (he kept on insisting for Nílton to retreat to the defensive field but was ignored until the goal was scored.

His club career, however, lasted 36 years, all for one club. His loyalty and longevity mean he is one of very few outfield players to have played over 1000 games, and perhaps the only one to do so for one club.

2. Roberto Carlos

Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha born  April 10, 1973, more commonly known simply as Roberto Carlos, is a Brazilian retired footballer. He started his career in Brazil as a forward but spent most of his career as a left-back and has been described as the “most offensive-minded left-back in the history of the game.

Roberto Carlos amassed 125 caps scoring 11 goals [ for the Brazilian national team. He represented Brazil at three FIFA World Cups, four Copa America tournaments, the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 1996 Olympic Games.

Roberto Carlos amassed 125 caps, scoring 11 goals for the Brazilian national team. He represented Brazil at three FIFA World Cups, four Copa America tournaments, the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 1996 Olympic Games.

In his club career he has won the Brazilian league twice, La Liga four times, and the Champions League three times. He helped Brazil to the ultimately unsuccessful final of the 1998 World Cup, and the more successful final in 2002. In all, he played 125 times for Brazil.

Perhaps his most famous moment came against France when he hit a free-kick which was seemingly going a long way wide before it unfathomably swerved and ended up in the French net. It remains the most remarkable free-kick I’ve ever seen.

He is especially famous for a free kick against France in the inaugural match of Tournoi de France 1997 on 3 June 1997. He shot from 35 m (115 ft) from the Centre-right channel with his left foot and scored. The ball curled so much that the ball boy ten yards to the right ducked instinctively, thinking that the ball would hit him. Instead, it eventually curled back on target, much to the surprise of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, who just stood in place. That particular attempt is considered by some to be the greatest free kick of all time. In 2010, a team of French scientists produced a paper explaining the trajectory of the ball.

April 10 1973, more commonly known simply as Roberto Carlos, is a Brazilian retired footballer. He started his career in Brazil as a forward but spent most of his career as a left-back and has been described as the “most offensive-minded left-back in the history of the game.

1.  Paolo Maldini

Paolo Cesare Maldini was born on June 26, 1968, is a former Italian professional footballer who played as a left back and central defender for A.C. Milan and the Italy national team. He spent all 25 seasons of his career in the Serie A with Milan, before retiring at the age of 41 in 2009. He won 26 trophies with Milan: The Champions League five times, seven Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, five Supercoppa Italiana titles, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Maldini is regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time. [He played at a world-class level for his entire career spanning two and a half decades and won the Best Defender trophy at the UEFA Club Football Awards at the age of 39, as well as the Serie A Defender of the Year Award in 2004.

Who else? I think most people around the world have run out of superlatives to throw at this man. Legend just doesn’t seem enough. He has played for AC Milan his entire 25-year career and is subsequently the highest appearance maker for the club, for Serie A, and for Italy.

His list of achievements seems never-ending. In his remarkable career, he has won seven Serie A titles, an Italian Cup, and an unbelievable five European Cups. He has appeared in eight finals of Europe’s premier competition. Maldini was also the Milan and Italy captain for many years and was considered a leader by fellow footballers, leading to the nickname “Il Capitano” (the Captain). Maldini holds the records for most appearances in Serie A with 647 appearances.

Although he played as a left back for most of his career, Maldini was naturally right-footed and began playing for Milan as a right back. He was switched to the left back position by manager Arrigo Sacchi due to the presence of Tassotti on the right for Milan.


Credit:  Wikipedia

This is just our opinion at CheapGoals if you feel otherwise you can comment below or list  out your preferred  TOP TEN



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Muyiwa is an ardent follower of everything football. Fascinated by the beauty of the game, he takes pleasure in penning down his opinion about a sport that has more lovers than haters. PS: He loves Barcelona for making football look easier than it actually is.



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