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Who Is The Best Full Back Of The 21st Century?

Ryan Sidle

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Who Is The Best Full Back Of The 21st Century?

You've already been voting on the best goalkeeper and best centre backs of the 21st century and now it's time to find out who the best full back is and this one is very highly contested.

If it's been a good century for goalkeepers and centre backs then it's arguably been the century for full backs with the position evolving in front of our eyes in the last few years.

When once attacking full backs were almost exclusively the domain of Brazil now there isn't a full back in site who doesn't attack better than he defends.

So just who are the best players at right back and left back in the past 17 years?

Dani Alves:

There isn't many footballers in the history of the game to have had the impact of Alves. In winning all those trophies for Barcelona and getting the most out of Lionel Messi he rewrote what it means to be a full back. 21 major titles to his name at Sevilla, Barca and Juventus.

Alves at Barcelona had as much impact as anyone on their success. Image: PA Images.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst:

The Dutchman won league title in three different countries in the 21st century, in Scotland with Rangers, England with Arsenal and then in Spain with Barcelona where he also won the Champions League. Helped Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final too.

A defender with a magnificent shot on him. Image: PA Images.

Roberto Carlos:

If the Brazilian had done nothing else but score that free-kick in 1997 against France he might have still made the list, despite it being in the 20th century. But Carlos won three La Ligas, two Champions Leagues and a World Cup and was sensational.

One of the original Galacticos. Image: PA Images.


The Bert to Carlos' Ernie, or perhaps the other way round, the pair are synonymous with each other for Brazil. Cafu won two Serie A titles, with Roma and AC Milan and the Champions League with the latter. The only man to have played in three successive World Cup finals, captaining his country to glory in 2002.

Brazil's captain with their trophy. Image: PA Images.

Ashley Cole:

Strange to think that Cole only won one league title with Chelsea but he'd already bagged two of them with Arsenal, including the invincible season, before moving. Won the Champion League and four FA Cups with the Blues. No international success but he was always one of England's best players.

Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole

One of the Premier League's all time greats. Image: PA Images.

Patrice Evra:

He loves this game and it's no surprise. Seven league titles with Manchester United and Juventus as well as a Champions League medal for the former. Also lost finals in Europe with Monaco and the Old Lady. Many thought he was done before moving to Italy but continued to prove himself.


Before he was an Instagram sensation he became a Manchester United cult hero. Image: PA Images.

Philipp Lahm:

There won't be a more adaptable player anywhere in these votes. As good at left or right back and even central midfield. Eight time Bundesliga champion with Bayern and Champions League winner. He captained his country to World Cup success in 2014.


Class, no matter where on the pitch he was. Image: PA Images.

Paolo Maldini:

No one matches the Italian for longevity or sex appeal. Won titles in the 80s, 90s and 00s. In the 21st century he won one Serie A title and two Champions Leagues. A class act till he retired in 2009 and no one has played as many minutes as him in the World Cup.


A genuine one of a kind player. Image: PA Images.

Gary Neville:

The greatest achievement he was part of came in the 20th century with the treble but he won five of his eight Premier League titles in the 21st. Also got his hands on the Champions League. The player every opposition fan loved to hate.

Neville Carragher
Neville Carragher

As brilliantly fiesty a defender you could ask for. Image: PA Images.

Gianluca Zambrotta:

Italy's versatile full-back who could defend and play a killer cross. Zambrotta won league titles with both Juventus and Milan, winning twice with the Old Lady. He collected 98 caps for his country which included helping them win the World Cup in 2006.

Zambrotta was integral for Italy's World Cup win. Image: PA Images.

Who gets your vote?

Topics: Dani Alves

Ryan Sidle
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