The best left-backs in World Cup history

roberto carlos best freekicks

Left-backs are becoming an ever-more important position in the game, especially when it comes time for the World Cup.

From Paolo Maldini to Roberto Carlos, these are the best left-backs to ever play World Cup football.

10. Ashley Cole (England)

England’s best-ever left-back, Ashley Cole appeared on UEFA Team’s of the Year in 2004 and 2010. He won England Player of the Year in 2010 as the team’s most-capped full-back in history.

While he may have been short on international trophies, he won heaps at the club level. The defender won four FA Cups, a Premier League, a League Cup, a Europa League Cup, and Champions League with The Blues. He also won two Premier League titles and four FA Cups as a Gunner.

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9. Fabio Grosso (Italy)

The left-back Fabio Grosso played alongside Zambrotta in Italy’s fortress of defense in the 2010 World Cup run. He also scored the decisive winning penalty in the World Cup finals against France.

His 48 appearances for the Azzurri include participation in the UEFA Euro 2008 and at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

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8. Marcelo (Brazil)

The ever-dependable Brazilian back with one of the finest touches in world football won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013.

A serial winner at club football, Marcelo has helped Real Madrid achieve four Champions League titles, two Copa del Rey, and one league title in his 13 seasons at the Bernabeu.

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7. Bixente Lizarazu (France)

With 97 caps, left-back Bixente Lizarazu helped France win its first World Cup in 1998 and the subsequent European Championship in 2000.

6. Ruud Krol (Holland)

The legendary Dutch defender earned 339 caps at the club, a 12-year career that saw him clinch 8 Dutch league titles.

Known as a tough tackler and tactician, Krol contributed to one of the greatest Ajax sides of all time that won the three European Championships of 1971, 1972, and 1973.
He also helped Holland to two FIFA World Cup runner-up finishes in 1974 and 1978.

Ruud Krol
Ruud Krol

5. Philipp Lahm (Germany)

A versatile fullback praised for his speed and pinpointed tackling Philipp Lahm has played over 100 appearances for the German national team where the defenseman captained the side in the 2010 World Cup before winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He retired from international outings after the World Cup but went on to finish his 17-year career at Bayern Munich.

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4. Paolo Maldini (Italy)

One of the best defenders of all-time, Paolo Maldini made 126 appearances with the national side. And while he’s the third most capped Italian of all-time with over 2,000 minutes played, he never won a World Cup, finishing second in 1994 on a side he captained.

With 5 Champions League trophies and seven league titles in 14 historic years with AC Milan, he’s still considered one of the Italian greats.

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3. Paul Breitner (Germany)

An attacking left-back, the speedster Paul Breitner helped West Germany to the 1974 World Cup, the 1972 European Championship, and a runner-up finishing in the 1982 World Cup.

He also won five German league titles, two league cups, and the 1974 European Cup with Bayern Munich.

Paul Breitner
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2. Giacinto Facchetti (Italy)

The Italian left-back Giacinto Facchetti played in three World Cups, winning as runner-up in 1970. He also captained the side that won the 1968 European Championship.

His performances at club level were equally praiseworthy — he finished his career at Inter Milan with four Serie A titles, two European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, and a Coppa Italia.

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1. Roberto Carlos (Brazil)

With 125 appearances for the Seleção, defender Roberto Carlos helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup, a Confederations Cup, and a Copa America.

The left-back was known for his powerful and bending free-kicks that were known to reach up to 105 mph, most notably the rocket he hit against France in a 1997 friendly match.

roberto carlos best freekicks
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