Top 15 Full Backs in the History of Football

Who is the best fullback in the world?

Playing as a fullback (also often called as 'wing-back') is not an easy thing to do. This position requires high stamina, strength, as well as high work-rate. A fullback is not only required to stop the opponent's attack, but also required to help the offense by launching deadly crossing passes from the side of the pitch.

The question is, who is the best fullback in the world? Well, if you want to know the answer to this question, then you should read this article. Here, I will discuss the profiles, careers, as well as the statistics of top wing back in the history of football.

15. Giacinto Facchetti

Giacinto Fachetti is a legendary player of Inter Milan. He played for 18 years for Inter Milan, from 1960 to 1978. Facchetti was greatly feared by the opposing teams' attackers, because in addition to fast, he also has tall, muscular body. Fachetti had glorious career as a footballer, which he achieved in both clubs and national team level. The defender has won four Serie A titles, two Champions League trophies, and a European Cup trophy in 1968 with Italy national team.

14. Dani Alves

Barcelona is known as a club that loves to buy, sell, and rotate players. However, since 2008 until now, Dani Alves' position in this team is still irreplaceable. Alves is a Brazilian right-back, and he has very important role in Barcelona, as important as Messi, Iniesta and Xavi. One of the best individual achievements ever achieved by Alves is the title of La Liga's Best Defender 2009.

13. Antonio Cabrini

Cabrini is a retired left back who is often referred to as one of the best players in the history of Juventus. His style of playing is very straightforward and tactical. Cabrini could stop the opposing winger and break the opponent's passing flow easily. In addition to perform gloriously at club level, Cabrini was also part of the Italian national team that won the World Cup 1982. Total throughout his career, he played 416 times and scored 38 goals.

12. Ashley Cole

Until now, Ashley Cole may be regarded as the most popular wing-back in England. This player has been playing for two Premier League giants, Arsenal and Chelsea. In both clubs, Cole won many trophies and individual awards. Throughout his career, Cole has won seven FA Cup trophies, three Premier League titles, and one Champions League trophy.

11. Lilian Thuram

Thuram is a right-back who helped France national team win the World Cup 1998. Not only acted as a barrier of the defense, Thuram helped France advanced to the final round. His two goals was able to bring France defeated Croatia in semi-finals round. Not only that, in the tournament Thuram was also awarded the Bronze Ball. Throughout his career, Thuram played 503 times and scored 10 goals.

10. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is a very versatile defender. He can play as a wing-back, center back, or even as a defensive midfielder. This makes his position in Real Madrid almost irreplaceable for nearly nine years. With Real Madrid, Ramos won three La Liga titles and one Copa Del Rey trophy. He is also part of golden generation of Spanish national team that won two Euro titles and one World Cup trophies in the period 2008 to 2012.

9. Andreas Brehme

Compared to all the names in this list, Andreas Brehme is a fullback who scored the most goals. This is not a surprising fact, considering that he is known as a very reliable penalty and free kicks takers. One of the most memorable Brehme's goals was the one that he scored in World Cup final 1990, a decisive goal that helped West Germany national team defeat Argentina. Throughout his career, Brehme played 509 times and scored 65 goals.

8. Patrice Evra

After the generations of Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, and Laurent Blanc, Patrice Evra is recognized as the best French defender. In terms of physical ability, Evra is even faster, stronger, and tougher than Thuram. The only difference is the fact that Evra has never won prestigious trophy with the French national team. However, he won many achievements at club level with Manchester United, such as five Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy.

7. Phillipp Lahm

As a wing-back, Lahm can play on the left and right side equally well. Not only that, he also has very high work-rate and often supports the offense. Although he has short and small body, Lahm is highly respected by his teammates. As he has high leadership ability, Lahm is trusted to be the team captain, both in the German national team and Bayern Munich. Throughout his career with Bayern, Lahm won five Bundesliga titles, five German Cup trophies and a FIFA Club World Cup trophy.

6. Gianluca Zambrotta

Zambrotta is an example of ideal modern fullback. He is probably one of the best fullback ever played for the Italian national team. Zambrotta has a high-speed, and quite often goes up to help the attack, pierces into the opponent's penalty box and scores goals. No wonder if he is regarded as one of the most important part of the Italian national team that won the World Cup 2006.

5. Cafu

Cafu is a very strong and reliable former Brazilian fullback. Not only good in defense, he also often shows a wonderful variety of techniques on the pitch. Until now, Cafu holds a record as the only player to appear in three World Cup finals, in 1994, 1998, and 2002. Out of those the final three, Cafu won two matches. At club level, Cafu won two Serie A titles with two different clubs, AS Roma and AC Milan.

4. Paolo Maldini

In his prime time, Paolo Maldini is known as a very tough left-back. His position in AC Milan and the Italian national team in almost irreplaceable for approximately 20 years. Throughout his career as a professional football player, he also won many prestigious titles, for example seven Serie A titles and five Champions League trophies. Until now, Maldini is also a player with the most numbers of appearances in Serie A, with a total of 647 appearances.

3. Gary Neville

Gary Neville is a retired right-back who was important part of England national team and Manchester United during 1990s and 2000s. He is was originally trained from the club's academy by Alex Ferguson, along with other players such as Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. During his nineteen years of playing for Manchester United, Neville made 400 appearances and scored five goals. After retiring in 2011, Neville is now working as coach assistant of England national team.

2. Javier Zanetti

In terms of loyalty, Zanetti is as great as Maldini and Neville. This wing-back is regarded as a legendary player of Inter Milan, where he has been playing for the club since 1995. In his 19-year career as Inter Milan's player, Zanetti played 708 times and scored 17 goals. As he has high attacking instincts, the coach sometimes play him as a right midfielder or a defensive midfielder.

1. Roberto Carlos

Speaking about the quality as a player, I think it is appropriate to give the title of the best fullback in the world to Roberto Carlos. He was not only strong in defense, but also good in building attack. He often makes the opposing team were overwhelmed by his high running speed. Not only that, Carlos who has great shooting power also often scores from long-range shots or from a free kick situation.

Until today, I still cannot find a fullback who is as good as Roberto Carlos. I believe his name will always be mentioned whenever people talk about football, free-kicks, and wing-backs.

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