Roles in football are not what they used to be back in the day, and left-backs have turned into one of the most essential players in the modern game. Check out our picks for the best left-backs in the world in 2020.
Stamina, speed, strength, agility and tactical awareness. These are some of the attributes that all footballers should have. But with the recent tactics in the modern day football, these attributes have turned into a must for players in a certain position. You might have already guessed what position we are talking about. Yes, the left-backs.
With all the new tactics that managers such as Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola use, these players have become one of the key pieces of the chess board. As box-to-box players, they must have the required speed and stamina to quickly get up and down the pitch, whether to cross the ball or to cut off a through pass while defending a counter attack.
They must also possess the required strength to battle for the ball and win it with a fair but rough challenge, while also having the agility to get past rival players or hold on to the ball rather easily. Their tactical awareness is also a key attribute since it can help them implement their managers’ tactics and formations and play the ball to the right areas on the pitch as planned. That is why we have decided to rank the
best left backs of 2020
Here are our picks for the list of
best left backs in the world in 2020
are quite lucky to have one of the
best current left backs
in the world in their squad, asLucas Digne
has been able to turn things around and become an integral part of Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Digne started his career atLOSC Lille
, being a Lille academy graduate, as he later went on to play for several of the best clubs in the world, including both Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, while spending some time on loan at Roma as well.
While the French left-back did get to play in Ligue 1 and La Liga, he did not have the chance to prove himself as he spent the majority of his time on the bench. But it seems that he has been able to finally find his feet at a club, as the 27-year-old quickly became the first-choice left-back at a club after he moved fromBarcelona
to Everton for reportedly €20 million.
With him on Don Carletto’s side, and especially with the arrival of James Rodriguez, The Toffees have been looking stronger than ever and are currently one of the formidable title contenders. That is what makes Lucas Digne one of the best left backs of 2020, as he has turned things around at his current club, helping his team dare to challenge for the title.
Club: Manchester United
have always had an eye for extraordinary talents playing in Portugal’s Primeira Liga, with many of their superstars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, coming from Portuguese teams. While Bruno Fernandes, who moved to England fromSporting CP
, is currently the talk of the town, we should not forget that the Red Devils also signed one of the
best left backs in football in 2020
, by whom we meanAlex Telles
Having played for clubs such as Gremio, Juventude and Galatasaray, it almost seemed like Telles could not find his feet anywhere in the world. But the Brazilian managed to turn things around back in 2015 with a loan spell at Inter, which caught the attention of Porto, who in turn signed him from Galatasaray for about €7.5 million in 2016. Little did they know that they had just signed a player who was going to be one of the
best left backs in the world in 2020
The now 28-year-old’s career really did take a turn when he signed forPorto
in 2016, as he got to be the first-choice defender on the left from the very beginning. He went on to make a total of 195 appearances for the Portuguese club, scoring an impressive 26 goals and providing 57 assists in the process, which is only a glimpse of how phenomenal his performance actually was at Porto.
Being dubbed as one of the best left defenders in soccer of 2020, Manchester United opted to sign Alex Telles for a surprisingly low price of €15.4 million, which is outrageously low based on today’s standards, where clubs pay hundreds of millions to sign players.
Alex Telles made his debut for the Red Devils on 20 October in a 2–1 win over PSG in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
might not have as many goals and assists to his name as Raphaël Guerreiro, but he has had an integral part of Brendan Rodgers’ team. He has been selected as number 8 on the list of
best left backs in football of 2020
because of his impressive season withLeicester City
The now 24-year-old is in fact a product of the Leicester City academy and has won their Academy Player of the Year award at the end of the 2014–15 season. He did spend a rather short loan spell atHull City
, but then immediately returned to his parent club, where he played for 5 years. There were rumors about his transfer to a new club in the recent days, which turned out to be true as one of the
best left defenders in soccer in 2020
joined the London sideChelsea
for quite a hefty fee of $65M, adding his name on The Foxes’ list of complete profits.
He made his debut for the Blues on 23 September, providing the assist for Olivier Giroud's goal in their 6–0 home win against Barnsley in the third round of the EFL Cup. On 7 April 2021 also, Chilwell scored his first UCL goal in a 2–0 away win against FC Porto in the first-leg of the quarter-final tie.
Atalanta were undoubtedly the surprise of the 2019-20 season as they suddenly turned into a formidable side both in the league and the Champions League, everyone looked at the team as a whole unit rather than a set of individuals, which was perhaps the secret behind their unexpected successful run of form. But it is time we got to take a look the players as individuals as well, since some of them, such asRobin Gosens
, have turned into one of the best players in their respective positions all of a sudden.
Here is why we have included Gosens on our list of
best left-backs in the world in 2020
. Having played for clubs such asVitesse
and Heracles Almelo, many expected the German to be anything more than a low-tier professional footballer.
What few could have expected, however, was the fact that he would one day turn into one of the best left-backs in the world in 2020 by joining the Serie A side,Atalanta
in 2017, and slowly helping his team turn into one of the most formidable sides in Europe, which is particularly amazing especially given how they seem to be the underdogs in many of the European games. We will have to wait and see how things pan out for the 26-year-old, as his market value has soared recently, reaching up to €26 million.
It also would be inetersting to know that Gosens became Atalanta's top goalscorers of the season during the During the 2019–2020 season, scoring 9 goals, which is a surprising high number for a defender.
Club: Bayern Munich
may not have been considered to be a left-back by many, let alone one of the
best LBs in the world in 2020
. But he proved everyone wrong when he was drafted into the position by The Bavarians’ manager Hans-Dieter Flick since had to use David Alaba as a center-back during the season.
The 20-year-old Canadian start was phenomenal for Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 season as he helped his club get their hands on yet another treble after winning the Champions League final against the French sideParis Saint-Germain
. Davies was also integral for his side in the 8-2 thrashing ofBarcelona
, as he completed more dribbles than any other player on the pitch that memorable night, putting Nelson Semedo in his Pocket the whole game.
Davies’ market value has also seen a sudden rise this season, going from €10M to €60M in a matter of months. The young starlet may have already won a treble, but his journey is yet to begin. He has a lot of potential to realize and needs a lot of hard work and dedication to become one of the three best current left backs in the world.
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Number five on our list of best left backs in the world in 2020 is the Spanish internationalJuan Bernat
, who has found his true potential at the Ligue 1 side PSG, which he couldn’t find back at the German side Bayern Munich due to the full roster of full-backs The Bavarians had. The 28-year-old is also versatile enough to play as a left-winger, which is one of his attributes that helped his team to this year’s Champions League Final, but couldn’t stop his former team from beating PSG and winning the treble.
He might be considered as one of the best left backs in the world in 2020, but he had a long road ahead of himself before realizing his potential. He signed for the Spanish side Valencia and began his career in La Liga, playing for his club for three seasons before moving to Germany in 2014.
The Spaniard has been phenomenal for his current team, which has earned him the fifth place on our list of best left-backs in the world in 2020. We might have to see whether his exceptional form will continue in the 2020-21 seasons as he is approaching his best years.
However, for now he is absent on pitch due to the anterior cruciate ligament injury he picked on 16 September 2020 in their match against Metz.
Club: Real Madrid
The French Left-back signed for the Spanish giants Real Madrid in the 2019-20 season, and he has already managed to replace Zidane’s former first choice Marcelo, one of the greatest players in Madrid’s history and has already won theLa Liga
and the Spanish Supercup. The 25-year-old has had a number of outstanding performances this season, scoring an exceptional goal against Granada to help his team in the title race against Barcelona. That's something only one of the best left defenders in soccer of 2020 can do, right?
Although he is one of the best left backs of 2020 and also 2021, he has still got a long way to go to be considered as one of the greatest left-backs in the history. For now, he still has some agility and technical issues that he must work on in order to reach his potential in the coming years. The Frenchman was brought to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on a six-year contract for an initial fee of €48M.
It also has to be known that he made his debut on 1 September 2019 and then his first goal came on 13 July 2020, in a 2–1 win against Granada.
There is no doubt that the Spanish international is one of the best left-backs of the decade and arguably one of the best left-backs in the history of his Catalan club, Barcelona. This is while his remarkable performance in the 2019/20 season has also earned him the third place on our list of best left-backs in the world in 2020.
Unfortunately, his outstanding performance was heavily overshadowed by Barcelona’s disastrous season which has thrown the whole club into turmoil, with even Lionel Messi, one of the world’s legendary players handing-in his transfer request. The Spaniard has always been an integral part of his ever changing squad at his team, and now the 32-year-old is at the peak of his career.
The 2012 European champion has won 16 trophies with Barcelona, including 5 La Liga titles, 5 Spanish Cups, 4 Spanish Super-cups, 1 FIFA Club World Cup and one Champions league trophy. It is safe to say thatAlba
has made quite a full trophy cabinet for himself. But we will have to wait and see if one of the best left backs in the world in 2020 can add to his trophy list in the coming seasons, considering the mess his club is in right now.
For now Alba will star with the Blaugranas as in March 2019 he signed his new contarct with the team on a five-year basis and a new buyout clause of €500 million.
Next on our list of best left-backs in the world in 2020, is the BrazilianAlex Sandro
who currently plays for the Italian side Juventus. Sandro has been sensational for his team in the 2019-20 season, but it hasn’t happened over one night! He has slowly improved his play week in-week out, throughout the four seasons he has played for Juventus.
The ten time capped Brazil international used to play for the Portuguese side FC Porto from 2011 until 2015 when he joined Juventus for €26M on a five-year contract. His incredible performance earned both a contract extension until 2023 and the second place on our list of best-left backs in the world in 2020.
Believed to be one of the best left-backs in the world, being quick, energetic and an offensive minded defender is what makes him one of the bests. He is capable of playing anywhere along the left flank, while he is mainly a full-back and has also played as a wing-back, wide midfielder and offensive winger.
Considering the standards of modern day football,Andrew Robertson
might be seen as a late bloomer. But he has finally bloomed alright. The 27-year-old joinedLiverpool
in 2017 reportedly for £8M. He has only gone up from that day forward, as he has been in a fantastic form ever since, helping his team to a Champions League trophy last season and also this season’s Premier League title which was the team’s first Premier League trophy in 30 years.
As one of the best current left-backs in the world, not only has the Scotsman been a source of creativity for his side, but he has also proven himself to be a solid defender, which has had an essential role in Liverpool’s defensive strength this season as they went a remarkable 44 games unbeaten. Robertson has taken his well deserved place on our list of best left-backs in the world in 2020, and based on his performance he has earned his place on the 2020-21 season's list as well.
However, we will certainly see a number of changes as there could be other late bloomers in the game as well, waiting to become the next best current left backs in the world. We will only have to wait and see.