International

The best right-backs in World Cup history

best right backs world cup

While the Brazilians might rule the list for some of the best right-backs in World Cup history, let's look at some other greats.

From to Lilian Thuram, these are the best right-backs to play World Cup football.

10. Gary Neville (England)

Sir Alex Ferguson once described Gary Neville as “the best English Right-Back of his generation.”

The ever-dependable right-back played his entire 19-year career at Manchester United, turning out more than 600 matches where he captained the club for five years while helping the Red Devils win 8 Premiership titles, 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, and 2 Champions League titles.

He may not have won any silverware with England, but he is the most capped right back for the side. Neville debuted in the 1996 Euros and played for the Three Lions at the 1998 and 2006 World Cups, earning 85 appearances. Unfortunately, he's also known for scoring THAT own goal during a Euro 2008 qualifier in Zagreb.

9. Giuseppe Bergomi (Italy)

Born in Milan, Giuseppe Bergomi dedicated his entire career to Internazionale, where he started training at the age of 16.

The right-back, who also played center-back, was a true master defender. He helped Inter to one league title and three UEFA Cup trophies. He also helped fortify Italy's backline in the country's 1982 victorious World Cup run. He also played in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, the latter of which he captained.

Italy even called him up to the 1998 World Cup. He LOVED a hard tackle.

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8. Dani Alves (Brazil)

He may not have a World Cup trophy, but Dani Alves is easily the right-back with the most trophies: 42 across his career with Bahia, Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, São Paulo, and Brazil. 

With 127 caps, the 38-year-old holds the second most-capped Brazilian all-time, leading them to a Copa América and two Confederation Cups. He'll be looking to earn his fourth trophy with Brazil (his 43rd overall) by adding an Olympic Gold Medal to his trophy cabinet at Tokyo 2020. 

7. Javier Zanetti (Argentina)

Argentine defender Javier Zanetti made a whopping 858 appearances for the Inter Milan side, captaining Internazionale for 13 of his 19 seasons.

He's the most capped player ever for Inter Milan and retains the record for most appearances in Champions League history as a team captain. He's also Argentina's third-most capped with 143 appearances for La Albiceleste.

A workhorse who'd rather lead by example than dazzle, Zanetti was instrumental in Inter's bucket of trophies, including a Champion League, a UEFA Cup, five league titles, four Copa victories, four Super Copa trophies, and a Club World Cup.

6. Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy)

One of the most superb right-backs in Europe, Gianluca Zambrotta, helped spearhead Italy to victory at the 2006 World Cup.

Excellent going forward and rock-solid in defense, Zambrotta also starred in the right-back position for Juventus, Barcelona, and AC Milan.

5. Philipp Lahm (Germany)

Both left and right back (yes, he was that good), the ever-versatile Philipp Lahm made 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 finished his 17-year career at Bayern Munich, where he captained the side to its first Treble in 2012, including the Champions League. In total, he won the league eight times and the DFB Pokal 6 times.

4. Jorginho (Brazil)

A World Cup 1994 winner, legendary Brazilian right-back Jorginho was one of the best fullbacks of his generation.

A footballing genius, Jorginho was known for his attacks from deep. After departing Flamengo, he enjoyed six seasons in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, respectively.

3. Lilian Thuram ()

Recognized for his speed on and off the ball, Lilian Thuram appeared in 204 matches with Juventus.

The versatile French defender won the Serie A in his first season and two more during his five-year career in Turin.

A 2006 Spanish Cup Winner with Barcelona, he is perhaps best known for helping France to its first World Cup win in 1998, along with a UEFA European Championship in 2000 and Confederations Cup in 2003.

2. Carlos Alberto Torress (Brazil)

Carlos Alberto buried one against the Azzuri in a 4-1 thrashing at the 1970 World Cup final, assisted by Pele. He went on to score eight goals and record 53 caps for Brazil.

“O Capitão do Tri,” as he became known, played on one of the best World Cup teams of all time.

1. Cafu (Brazil)

Recognized as one of the best full-backs to play the game, Cafu guided Brazil to two World Cups titles (2002 as captain), two Copa América titles, and a solitary Confederations Cup.

With 142 appearances to the national side, no one will ever forget the sight of Cafu making one of his trademark runs down the right flank threatening the opposition with one of his deadly crosses.

Photo: Twitter/@barcacentre

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