Ten of the Best Full Backs in the World

A look at 10 of the best full backs in the world.

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Daniel Alves (Brazil & Barcelona)

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 01: Dani Alves of FC Barcelona reacts after missing a chance to score during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on November 1, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
David Ramos/Getty Images

Alves can consider himself unlucky that he has a player of Maicon's caliber ahead of him in the Brazil team. In any other national team in the world, Alves would be an undisputed first-choice at right-back. Supporters at Camp Nou see Alves dominate the right-side on a regular basis, his pace, crossing ability and free-kick taking prowess helping him score at least four or five goals a season. Sevilla signed him for less than $1 million from Bahia in 2002 and sold him at a huge profit in 2008.

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Ashley Cole (England & Chelsea)

England defender Ashley Cole
England defender Ashley Cole. Getty Images

Cole is one of the few players over the years to have got to grips with Cristiano Ronaldo. At Euro 2004 he had one of his best games in an England shirt, matching the Portuguese star in a captivating battle. Since then, Cole has developed into arguably the best left-back in the world. He can get forward, score goals, cross the ball, and is Mr Reliable when on the back foot.

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Philipp Lahm (Germany & Bayern Munich)

Germany defender Philipp Lahm
Germany defender Philipp Lahm. Getty Images

One of the mainstays of the Germany team for several years, Lahm's marauding runs from full-back are a good avenue of attack for Germany. The versatile Lahm is capable of shooting and passing with either foot, and enjoyed a fine 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

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Patrice Evra (France & Manchester United)

France defender Patrice Evra
France defender Patrice Evra. Getty Images

Rivals Cole as the best left-back in world soccer. Evra is a tough customer who is reliable defensively and outstanding going forward as he regularly overlaps the midfielder before either crossing or passing the ball inside to a team-mate. Evra regular for Manchester United and France where he keeps Manchester city's Gael Clichy out of the team. Attracted criticism as one of the ringleaders in the player revolt at the 2010 World Cup.

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Maicon (Brazil & Inter Milan)

Brazil defender Maicon
Brazil defender Maicon. Getty Images

Not for a long time has there been a right-back capable of having so much influence on a game. The Inter Milan defender's forceful runs down the right provide a great avenue of attack, not only for him to cross the ball, but for his teammates who can occupy the space vacated by opposition players trying to arrest Maicon's attacking sorties. He has pace to burn and is also a solid defender. Keeps the outstanding Barcelona right-back Dani Alves out of the Brazil team.

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Glen Johnson (England & Liverpool)

England defender Glen Johnson
England defender Glen Johnson. Mark Thompson / Getty Images

An excellent signing for Liverpool in 2009. Johnson left financially-stricken Portsmouth for Anfield and did not disappoint with his regular forays into the opposition half. A West Ham youth product, Johnson does not always look quite as comfortable when on the back foot but his defensive skills are generally reliable, in part because he possesses the pace to get out of awkward situations. Fined in his Portsmouth days for stealing a toilet seat from a DIY shop.

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Sergio Ramos (Spain & Real Madrid)

Spain defender Sergio Ramos
Spain defender Sergio Ramos. Clive Mason / Getty Images

The Real Madrid star and Sevilla youth product can also play at center-back but is most commonly deployed on the right. His raids down that side for Spain were one of the less spoken about aspects of the victorious 2010 World Cup campaign, while he was equally reliable when on the back foot. Has a tendency to pick up a high number of red cards.

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Bacary Sagna (France & Arsenal)

France defender Bacary Sagna
France defender Bacary Sagna. Clive Mason / Getty Images

When Sagna joined Arsenal from Auxerre in 2007, the Frenchman pointed out that he was not outstanding, but instead reliable in all departments. His subsequent performances in the Premier League support that notion as he rarely makes mistakes and is a solid outlet when his team are attacking. Lacks the pace and dynamism of a Maicon or Alves but a true ‘Steady Eddie’ for club and country. Rejected by Senegal as a youngster, Sagna is now a regular for the France national team.

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Felipe (Brazil & Atletico Madrid)

Atletico Madrid defender Felipe
Atletico Madrid defender Felipe. Denis Doyle / Getty Images

Signed by Atletico Madrid from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer of 2010, Filipe Luís Kasmirski, to give the Brazilian his full name, was one of the most high profile movers of the transfer window. No wonder Atletico were so keen to get their hands on Felipe; he is a superb overlapping full-back who can regularly be seen in the opposing penalty area and was close to being picked for the 2010 Brazil World Cup squad. A horrific broken leg in the 2009-10 campaign meant he lacked match practise ahead of that tournament and was not involved. However, amazingly he returned to action for Depor within four months.

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Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia & Manchester City)

Serbia defender Aleksandar Kolarov
Serbia defender Aleksandar Kolarov. Michael Steele / Getty Images

Manchester City paid Lazio a reported $29.32 million for the attacking Serbia left-back in the summer of 2010. They signed a player possessed with the kick of a mule, dangerous with long-range shots and free-kicks. His first goal for Roma came from 40 meters out against Reggina. Known as the ‘Serbian Roberto Carlos’ in Italy.