Wingers: they cut inside and outside, hug the touchline and then make the all-important cross for an assist. More recently, some wingers have morphed into the world’s most lethal scorers.
Let’s take a look at the best wingers to ever play the position.
The so-called “Storm Of The Cantabrian” as he was known to many Real Madrid fans, Francisco Gento was an absolute handful for defenses. He scored 178 goals in over six hundred appearances, winning an astonishing twelve La Liga titles, six European Cups, and two Copa del Rey.
Celebrated for his lengthy one-club career at Manchester United, the 90s version of Ryan Giggs was remarkable down the wing.
A dynamic midfielder, he was ultra-competitive and set high-standards both on the field and off.
The most decorated footballer in Premiership history won the Premier League 13 times along with four FA Cups, three League Cups, and two Champions League titles. He’s also the holder of the Premiership most assists all-time with 271.
Arguably England’s greatest ever winger for his dribbling wizardry, Stanley Matthews of Blackpool was the first recipient of the coveted European Ballon d’Or in 1956. He won one FA Cup with Blackpool and two League Division II titles with Stoke City.
A free-kick specialist and dribbling sensation who juked defenders with the flip flap, Brazilian winger Roberto Rivellino was renowned as one of the best wingers during the 70s.
Famoso ELÁSTICO de Rivellino, Golaço!
Fluminense 1×0 Vasco pelo Campeonato Carioca de 1975. pic.twitter.com/vJYupSTfUi
— Gols Clássicos (@GolsClassicos) June 4, 2016
The playmaking right-winger Luis Figo was one of the few players that donned both the Blaugrana and Los Blancos kit.
The crafty attacking midfielder scored 45 goals and created 51 assists in 248 appearances for Barcelona over five years. He combined with the likes of Ronaldo and Patrick Kluivert to win two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey, a Spanish Super Cup, and a UEFA Super Cup and Cup Winner’s Cup.
At Madrid, Luis Figo scored 56 goals and snatched 93 assists in 253 appearances over five years. Playing alongside Zidane and Ronaldo, he received the Ballon d’Or in 2000, winning a Champions League and two La Ligas.
One of the Premier League’s greatest-ever players, Eden Hazard was a creative sensation at Chelsea.
Nicknamed the “Belgian Messi,” Eden Hazard’s speed and ball control were second to none. The attacking midfielder scored 110 goals and generated 92 assists in his 7 seasons with the club. A two-time Premiership League champion, Hazard has also won two domestic cups and the Europa League in 2013.
Often considered one of the best ever to play the game, the gifted Brazilian dribbler known quite simply as Ronaldinho scored 70 goals for Barcelona over five seasons. He remains the only player other than Maradona to have received a round of applause from Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu.
The smiling superstar won both a Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the year after winning Champions League and second La Liga title 2005.
After winning the Copa América in 1999, he joined forces with Ronaldo and Rivaldo to repeat their success of the ‘jogo bonito’ in the 2002 World Cup.
With 181 goals in 474 appearances with Manchester United, George Best’s innate speed and dribbling excellence made him a genius footballer. The Northern Irishman helped the Red Devils win two First Division titles and a European Cup in 1968, the same year he finished first in the Ballon d’Or.
Regarded by many as one of the best dribblers in history, Garrincha partnered with Pele to win Brazil’s first-ever World Cup in 1958. When Pele injured himself against Czechoslovakia in 1962, Garrincha stepped up to win Brazil’s second World Cup.
Despite his current role as a striker at Juventus, Ronaldo evolved into the winger-role at Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Setting a record fee of 80 million pounds upon his transfer from Manchester United, the Portuguese star made a monumental impact on Los Blancos over a nine-year stretch.
Ronaldo surpassed Raul, the previous number seven, with 450 goals of his own on 438 appearances, averaging over one per game. A four-time Champions League winner, a two-time Spanish league champion, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Ronaldo also leads Portugal with 154 caps and 85 goals, captaining Portugal’s first-ever major trophy in UEFA Euro 2016.