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The 10 Best Right Backs In The World Right Now, Ranked

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The 10 Best Right Backs In The World Right Now, Ranked

We get the opportunity to watch the best players in the world perform week in week out, with almost all coming from Europe's top five leagues. One of the positions in world football that has suddenly become cool again is right back.

As Jamie Carragher once said: "no one wants to be a Gary Neville". Or do they? A right back's contribution on the pitch has changed vastly, no longer just another defender, full backs on either side can contribute hugely to a team's balance and performance.

We've used a number of stats from last season to quantify our rankings, as well as a player's overall contribution to the game in recent times. So who makes it into our top 10?

All stats come from WhoScored.com and are correct as of the publish date.

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Other Articles In This Series:

10) Reece James, Chelsea/England

Reece James scored Chelsea's equaliser. (Image Credit: PA)
Reece James scored Chelsea's equaliser. (Image Credit: PA)
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2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 25 appearances
  • 1 goal
  • 2 assists
  • 1.4 clearances per game
  • 1.2 key passes per game

A regular under Frank Lampard, the versatile James blossomed further under Thomas Tuchel, despite being left out in the new manager's first match in charge. He can play right-back, wing-back and even third centre-back and started both the FA Cup and Champions League finals for Chelsea.

9) Kyle Walker, Man City/England

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Image: PA
Image: PA

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 22 appearances
  • 1 goal
  • 1 assist
  • 1.2 clearances per game
  • 0.3 key passes per game

It's a mark of Walker's talent that he makes our top 10 despite sitting behind Joao Cancelo in the Manchester City pecking order. That said, he started the Champions League final ahead of the Portuguese. A blend of power and pace, Walker's versatility has seen him become a regular for England.

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8) Sergino Dest, Barcelona/USA

Sergino Dest (Credit: PA)
Sergino Dest (Credit: PA)

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 23 appearances
  • 2 goals
  • 1 assist
  • 0.6 clearances per game
  • 0.8 clearances per game
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Barcelona wrestled Dest away from Ajax ahead of Bayern Munich in 2020 and he quickly set about erasing memories of his predecessor Nelson Semedo in Ronald Koeman's system. The 19-year-old American international's dribbling and pace on the right were a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for Barca.

7) Juan Cuadrado, Juventus/Colombia

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 26 appearances
  • 2 goals
  • 10 assists
  • 0.5 clearances per game
  • 2.4 key passes per game

A veteran compared to some of the youngsters on this list, Cuadrado continued his Italian renaissance after a lost two years in the Premier League with Chelsea. Juve's Mr Reliable was impressive in Andrea Pirlo's side's short Champions League campaign, with six assists in six appearances and an average of 4.3 crosses a game.

6) Fabien Centonze, Metz/France

Fabien Centonze (Credit: PA)
Fabien Centonze (Credit: PA)

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 36 appearances
  • 1 goal
  • 0 assists
  • 3.1 clearances per game
  • 0.6 key passes per game

Something of an outlier on this list of offensive talent as Centonze is very much a defender first, attacking threat second. Positionally perfect, the 25-year-old Metz star has been linked with Roma and Marseille over the last two years.

5) Kieran Trippier, Atletico Madrid/England

Kieran Trippier (Credit: PA)
Kieran Trippier (Credit: PA)

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 28 appearances
  • 0 goals
  • 6 assists
  • 1.5 clearances per game
  • 1.4 key passes per game

French giants Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United are apparently in a race for Kieran Trippier's services following his impressive title-winning season with Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid. After his 10-week ban, he transformed Atletico's defensive unit. While he was out of the side, the team kept one clean sheet in eight league games, conceding 12 goals. After his return, Atletico kept 11 clean sheets in 20 games.

4) Léo Dubois, Olympique Lyonnais/France

Léo Dubois
Léo Dubois

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 35 appearances
  • 2 goals
  • 4 assists
  • 1.3 clearances per game
  • 1.7 key passes per game

In his third season with Lyon, Dubois was a genuine attacking threat, showing all the hallmarks of a marauding modern full-back, nailing 1.7 crosses a game in Ligue 1. But with Lyon not in the Champions League next season, he's another potential target for right-back hungry teams. Manchester United, we're talking to you.

3) Achraf Hakimi, Inter Milan/Morocco

Achraf Hakimi
Achraf Hakimi

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 29 appearances
  • 7 goals
  • 8 assists
  • 0.4 clearances per game
  • 1.0 key passes per game

The 22-year-old Moroccan Hakimi was a rock in 2020/21, making 45 appearances in all competitions for Inter after joining from Real Madrid for €40million last season. His seven goals and eight assists helped Antonio Conte's side to end Juventus' era of dominance in Serie A, clinching their first title since the 2009/10 treble-winning season. With Chelsea rumoured to be in the market for him, he could find himself lining up next to No10 on our list.

2) Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool/England

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Credit: PA)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Credit: PA)

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 34 appearances
  • 2 goals
  • 7 assists
  • 1.2 clearances per game
  • 2.0 key passes per game

It's fair to say that watchers of Euro 2021 were robbed of seeing one of the game's best attacking full-backs when the buccaneering Liverpool star sustained a thigh injury in the closing stages of his country's friendly with Austria. Alexander-Arnold averaged 1.9 crosses per game (joint second-best in the Premiership) and his return to 2019/20 form coincided with Liverpool's improbable end-of-season run.

1) Joao Cancelo, Man City/Portugal

Joao Cancelo (Credit: PA)
Joao Cancelo (Credit: PA)

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 27 appearances
  • 2 goals
  • 3 assists
  • 0.9 clearances per game
  • 1.6 key passes per game

Arguably Pep Guardiola's shrewdest move in the 2020/21 season was tweaking Cancelo's role to allow him to push into centre midfield when City played out from the back, then beyond. The switch allowed Cancelo to morph into a creative force averaging 1.6 key passes per game, behind only Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez, and saw him named to the PFA Team of the Year.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Football, Reece James, Joao Cancelo

Colin Hubbuck
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