Best Right-Backs in the World

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 1. prosinca 2023.

Full-backs were regarded almost as a dying breed in the past years, as their close cousins wing-backs gained all the more popularity. Now, the lines between the two are almost crossed out and some of the best right-backs in the world transition between the two roles on a weekly basis. But the tried and tested full-back role cannot be denied its importance. Often only the best sides have players who are able to operate on both attacking and defensive spectrums effectively.

Judging the impact had on their respective teams, basic statistical returns, and highlighting the advanced stats in which they are leading the packs, we rank the 10 best right-backs in the world right now!

#10 Diogo Dalot (Manchester United & Portugal)

Diogo Dalot

Perhaps the biggest surprise entry on this list of best right-backs in the world, but Diogo Dalot has earned it, having had a resurgence of his young career, reaching 125 games for Manchester United! At the age of 24 too, with 33 games played for Milan as well, and 16 appearances for Portugal. Dalot has been bold to attack dribblers, taking the spot of the domestic big-money signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka. While now fielding a consistent attacking effort across the new season too.

#9 Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid & Argentina)

Nahuel Molina

A starting right-back for the world champions who have also taken a massive part in the previous Copa America triumph. Now, Molina is also playing for Diego Simeone's side transitioning from a bunker, into a barrage-capable modern cannon. In his first season with the club, Molina already became the go-to player for taking the ball from his goalkeeper and pushing it forward. A trait all the best right-backs in the world need to offer their teams. Molina hence found himself in the top 10 of La Liga players when it comes to the number of touches.

#8 Joao Cancelo (Barcelona & Portugal)

Joao Cancelo

Even though he was treated like a hot potato by both Manchester City and Bayern Munich, there was a time not too long ago when Cancelo would be a lock for the top three right-backs in the world. As well as the same ranking on the left-side. You don't lose that type of ability overnight. But you need to have the right conditions and tactics to have it displayed. In Barcelona, seemingly the Portuguese found his grove back. But let's not forget that initially, Cancelo was great for Guardiola, being in the top 10 of the league for interceptions, tackles, and progressive caries across the 2021/2022 campaign. Actually, in that year, Cancelo was first for progressive passes and sixth for through balls in the top five leagues. That's good enough for an attacking midfielder who would make a top-10 ranking.

#7 Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli & Italy)

Giovanni Di Lorenzo

One of the rare inclusions not from a Premier League club. Yet Giovanni Di Lorenzo has a European title with Italy, and the Scudetto with Napoli. The latter of which he won with the captain's armband on his arm. A bit of a late-bloomer, aged 30, Di Lorenzo collected 201 games for Napoli, scoring 15 goals and making 32 assists! He was the first with passes into the penalty area in Serie A title-winning season with 61 passes in the most dangerous zone. Given a lot of responsibility by various Napoli managers, he is consistently one of the players with the most touches in Serie A. While also found himself in the top 10 for tackles in previous seasons as well.

#6 Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen & The Netherlands)

Jeremie Frimpong

The youngest man on this list of best right-backs in the world and the one with the most enviable stat line, as in 112 games for Bayer Leverkusen, Jeremie Frimpong has 17 goals and 27 assists! Already having the spot in the Bundesliga season top 10 rankings for goal-creating actions, successful take-ons, and progressive carrying distance! With 51 games for Celtic in a harsh Scottish league, Frimpong has all the making of an overall world-class full-back.

#5 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool & England)

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Still one of the best players in the world for crossing, yet TAA isn't as high on everyone's list of best right-backs in the world. A bit exposed defensively, Trent is still one of the most dangerous players on the whole right flank. Even when he ventures inside the pitch. But most of all, he is still only 25! With 75 assists in 288 matches for Liverpool, TAA might go down as one of the best goal-creators from the defensive line ever. Even his defensive efforts are improving and he was in PL's top 10 for dribblers tackled in the 2022/2023 season, ranking seventh.

#4 Kyle Walker (Manchester City & England)

Kyle Walker

One could rightfully argue that Kyle Walker hasn’t played a proper right-back position in a long time, but rather an offensive right centre-back in Pep Guardiola’s adventurous tactical demands. Yet, the more correct truth might be that Kyle Walker went from being a fully attacking right-back to a more defensively-minded one. Making his longevity even more impressive. Walker was a stabilizing force in Manchester City's treble rush with 39 games played. While the 33-year-old is playing more defensively now, and is better at it, he was still amongst the Premier League's top 10 players for successful take on percentage and passes into the final third across the 2022/2023 campaign.

#3 Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United & England)

Kieran Trippier

The risky move paid off for Kieran Trippier, as this attacking, set-piece specialist full-back added a degree in Cholismo at Atletico Madrid. Combining his newfound understanding of defence and showcasing leadership abilities upon becoming Newcastle's first signing of the new era. One that will keep looking more and more important as NUFC continues to be ahead of the timeline expected for its progress. With 17 assists in 71 games for Magpies, becoming the vice-captain too, Trippier at 33, is enjoying his best football.

#2 Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain & Morocco)

Achraf Hakimi

Aged 25, Achraf Hakimi has already impressed the audience in Italy, Germany, and France. While the Spanish audience bemoans his quick departure from Real Madrid. Well, the Real fans though at least. The long-paced Moroccan is one of the key reasons why his country overperformed at the 2022 World Cup. The attacking force is almost as equally good at scoring as he is at assists, with his tallies being 13 and 16 for PSG, 12 and 17 for BVB. Aged 25, it's scary to think that the best days of this top right-back are just ahead of him.

#1 Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid & Spain)

Daniel Carvajal

Perhaps overlooked by many, yet overall, Dani Carvajal is still the best right-back in the world. With five Champions League trophies in his cabinet, along with three La Liga titles, and many other minor trophies, it's hard denying the Spaniard. Furthermore, he is still only 31! Carvajal is the only thing that appeased Real Madrid fans after the club let go of Hakimi.

But Carvajal's consistency, tenacity, and leadership are hard to match across the positions. Providing on both sides of the pitch, Carvajal is what modern full-backs are all about, and he was the first of these modern best right-backs in the world to start doing it. And he's still doing it.



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