AC Milan and France’s Theo Hernandez leads the list of the best left backs in the world in 2023 and he has been in incredible form over the last few years.
In previous eras, the left back position used to be a damnation. It would mean the place where the worst players in a team would be fielded. However, much like anything else in football, the position has undergone significant revolution in this century. While right backs garner most of the praise and plaudits for their tactical evolution, left backs aren’t far behind either.
From constantly making lung-bursting overlapping runs to inverting to provide numerical superiority in the midfield to delivering crosses in the box and tracking back the opposition wingers, modern left backs have to possess a variety of skills to excel in their roles.
But who are the best left backs in the world? Let’s discuss:
Best left backs in the world right now: Top 10 list
|Player||Club||Country||Age||Career Appearances||Career Goals||Career Assists|
|Theo Hernandez||AC Milan||France||25||231||25||27|
|Alphonso Davies||Bayern Munich||Canada||22||213||16||32|
|Luke Shaw||Manchester United||England||27||294||4||23|
|Alejandro Balde||FC Barcelona||Spain||19||28||0||3|
|Nuno Mendes||Paris Saint-Germain||Portugal||20||95||3||8|
|Ivan Perisic||Tottenham Hotspur||Croatia||33||552||133||87|
|Jordi Alba||FC Barcelona||Spain||33||562||34||96|
Theo Hernandez, AC Milan and France
Theo Hernandez is the best left back in the world right now. On the basis of recent form, nobody comes close to Theo who played a crucial role in winning the Serie A with AC Milan for the first time in a decade when they won the trophy last season. He made a formidable partnership with Rafael Leao down the left hand side and racked up plenty of assists and goals.
Theo loves to break forward at every opportunity he gets and is an outstanding ball carrier. The French international can attack both on the inside and outside and he also has a lethal left foot that can deliver precise crosses into the box and provides accuracy from set-pieces. He also had a strong World Cup campaign for France in Qatar recently.
Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich and Canada
When Bayern Munich won the treble that included the Champions League in 2020, Alphonso Davies was unanimously declared to be the best left back in the world back then. However, his rise to fame and prominence was brought to a sudden halt after the Canadian was diagnosed with myocarditis following complications with COVID-19 early in 2022. He took a long time to recover from it but is back and is already proving his credentials as one of the best left backs on the planet.
Davies is extremely quick and physically imposing and he constantly makes runs with the balls through the left flank. His ability to find strikers in the box with his accurate crosses is outstanding and his recovery run to gain defensive stability is also underrated.
Andrew Robertson, Liverpool and Scotland
While many other names on this list have had their fair share of ups and downs in recent years, Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson has remained as consistent as ever. From playing in the Championship and fighting with relegation-fodder sides to signing for Liverpool and winning the Premier League and Champions League with Jurgen Klopp, Robertson’s rise in world football has been truly spectacular.
He has registered double-digit assists tally in three Premier League seasons and Robertson plays a crucial role in ensuring the Reds are able to suffocate and dominate opponents. Moreover, he is the captain for the national team of Scotland and plays with a lot of responsibility.
Luke Shaw, Manchester United and England
It’s unbelievable how Luke Shaw has revived his career at Manchester United after years of struggle to live up to his initial potential. While he always had the talent and ability to shine bright, discipline and professionalism were hard lessons to learn. However, over the last few years, he has managed to turn his career around and has quickly become one of the best left backs in the Premier League.
He’s an instrumental cog for both Manchester United and the England national team and he was in great form during the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Arsenal and Ukraine
Underrated for so long in a stacked Manchester City side, Oleksandr Zinchenko is finally getting the flowers and plaudits that he so richly deserves after securing a move to Arsenal last summer. While he began his career as a midfielder and still plays in the midfield for Ukraine, he has been transformed into an archetypal complete fullback by Pep Guardiola.
As a result, Zinchenko is almost everywhere on the pitch and performs various roles. From inverting in midfield to dominate possession and also providing offensive outlet and width on the flanks, his technical brilliance shines bright. Zinchenko is also a leader on the field and has had a transformative effect on Arsenal’s game this season.
Alejandro Balde, Barcelona and Spain
Barcelona’s famed youth academy La Masia is no stranger to churning out excellence. Yet another fantastic talent has come through its ranks as 19-year-old Alejandro Balde has broken into the first team and has mesmerised fans and players with his talent. Balde has plenty of pace to burn which makes him very difficult to catch and also gives him an advantage while tracking back and covering wingers.
His ball carrying and quick feet makes him a lethal asset down the left channel for Xavi’s side and Balde is also working on his timing of runs. Given that he also has a penchant for incisive passes and getting into the box, there’s no doubt that he is one of the 10 best left backs in the world and will only get better and better with time.
Nuno Mendes, Paris Saint-Germain and Portugal
Few would’ve expected Nuno Mendes to have the kind of impact he has had since his move to Paris Saint-Germain but the youngster is quickly living up to the billing. Although he had a pretty turbulent debut campaign under Mauricio Pochettino, he has come alive this season in Christophe Galtier’s back three and has shone bright.
Mendes is extremely explosive and is almost impossible to catch. He is also good at dribbling and can wreak havoc while linking up with the likes of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe. Having won two league titles in two countries already, he is destined for greatness.
Ivan Perisic, Croatia and Tottenham Hotspur
Ivan Perisic is a more peculiar case on this list of the top left backs in the world given that until his 30s, he primarily played as a winger and a forward. However, he has Antonio Conte to thank for successfully transforming him into a capable left back. The duo had excellent chemistry while working at Inter and they also won the Scudetto together in 2021. Now, they have been reunited at Tottenham Hotspur where Perisic continues to romp forward and rack up goal contributions.
Jordi Alba, Barcelona and Spain
Arguably the best left back of his generation, Jordi Alba was an absolute menace during his heyday. Yes, Marcelo and David Alaba were also great but Alba’s consistency and his formidable partnership with Lionel Messi made him stand out from the crowd over the last decade as the best in the world.
Although he has lost a significant chunk of his pace and has been displaced from the starting XI by the emerging Alejandro Balde at Barcelona, he continues to be a reliable offensive threat on the left and he was superb last season. It was the most productive season of Alba’s career as he racked up 12 goal contributions in La Liga.
Jose Gaya, Valencia and Spain
Jose Gaya has spent almost his entire career in the shadows of Jordi Alba and it has prevented him from breaking into the Spanish national team. However, the Valencia captain is one of the best players on this list and is among the finest in his position in Spain.
Despite having to go through a tumultuous period surrounding his club, Gaya continues to be consistent and dominant. His energy on the left flank is almost infectious and he is a constant threat to the opposition defence. Gaya has also been the best player for Valencia for a long while now and continues to excel.
Who are some of the best young left backs in the world right now?
Alejandro Balde, Nuno Mendes, Marc Cucurella and Alphonso Davies are some of the best young left backs in the world of football right now.
Who is the left back of Real Madrid?
Ferland Mendy of France plays as the left back of Real Madrid.
Who is the best left back in the Premier League?
Andy Robertson and Luke Shaw are the best left backs in the Premier League.
Who are some of the greatest left backs of all time?
Roberto Carlos, Paolo Maldini, Marcelo, Nilton Santos and Jordi Alba are among the greatest left backs in football history.