Top five right backs in the world

Philipp Lahm – Bayern Munich

Despite being listed as a right-back and being right footed, Lahm is equally adept at playing either right or left back, cutting in to pass or shoot.

He is well known for his pace, dribbling, stamina and his tackling abilities as well as his excellent reading of the game, his qualities have seen him widely regarded as the best full back in the world due to his consistently reliable displays for both club and country which saw him made captain for both.

Lahm’s club career has seen him rack up 484 appearances to date, scoring 16 goals as well as winning five Bundesliga titles, five DFB-pokal titles, two DFL-Supercups, one DFL-Ligapokal and a Champions League title. He was made Bayern Munich club captain in 2011 after the departure of Mark Van Bommel.

He has also captained the Germany national team since 2010 and he has made 98 appearances, scoring five goals.

 

Lukasz Piszczek – Borussia Dortmund

Yet another underrated defender in the Dortmund backline but has recently come to prominence with his performances for both Dortmund and the Polish national team.

His defensive attributes are never put in question but his real talents lie in attacking where his buccaneering runs and excellent delivery have often led to goals. Piszczek fits the mould of the modern day full back with his energy, pace and technique on the ball.

He has made 309 career club appearances, scoring 33 goals; as well as winning a Polish league title, two Bundesliga titles and one DFB-Pokal. He has made 34 appearances for the Polish national team, as well as notching two goals.

 

Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid

This will probably cause controversy because he’s seen as a centre back nowadays but I will always see Sergio Ramos as a right back, despite his versatility at being able to play anywhere across the back four as well.

Ramos could be seen as the complete defender with his versatility, pace, strength, aerial ability as well as his reading of the game and signature last-ditch tackles and blocks.

To date he has made 401 club career appearances, scoring 44 goals and winning three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and two Supercopa de Espana titles.

Since his move from Sevilla to Real Madrid he has been an ever-present not just in the Real Madrid team but also the Spanish national team, earning his first cap aged 18, notching up 108 to date, scoring nine goals. He has been a huge part of the historic Spain team which has won a World Cup and two European Championships.

 

Branislav Ivanovic – Chelsea

Ivanovic is another one on this list which is equally adept at playing in another position, providing suitable cover at centre back as well.

The big Serbian defender is known for his brute strength, pace and unbeatable aerial prowess. Whenever playing at right back he could also gallop forward and put in an excellent delivery.

Ivanovic’s fine 2012-13 season was topped off when he scored the winning goal in Chelsea’s Europa League final against Benfica in which they won 2 – 1, Ivanovic was also named man of the match in this encounter following his heroics.

He has made 347 career club appearances to date, scoring 35 goals. He has won one Russian Cup, one Premiership title, three FA Cup titles, one FA Community Shield, one Champions League and one UEFA Europa League. He has also made 61 appearances for the Serbian national thus far, notching seven goals.

 

Pablo Zabaleta – Manchester City

Zabaleta has earned himself a cult hero status amongst City fans because of his commitment to the club, hard-working attitude and tenacity as well as his consistency and versatility.

Zabaleta was Man City’s Mr. Reliable this season. He was even named stand-in captain when club captain Vincent Kompany was sidelined between January and March. After a superb season he was named Manchester City’s Player of the Year as well as being in the PFA Team of the Year at right back.

He has made 340 career club appearances to date, scoring 17 goals; as well as winning an Argentinian Cup, a Copa del Rey, one Premiership title, one FA Cup, one Community Shield.

The full back has also made 31 appearances for the Argentina national team, winning an Olympic Gold Medal along the way.

 

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Top five players of the 2013 Confederations Cup

The Confederations Cup was a nice little break from the agony of no football which we have had to put up with since May. Here are my top five players from the tournament and why they impressed me.

Neymar – Brazil

This is probably the most blatant name on the list. Neymar entered the Confederations Cup still with a lot of doubters due to only really making a major name for himself in his homeland of Brazil. But after a recent big money move to Barcelona people were intrigued to see the lightweight Brazilian maestro.

He didn’t disappoint; during the opening game he hammered in a terrific half volley from outside the area in just the third minute. The rest of his performances followed suit as he scored four goals in six games as well as winning the golden ball for best player of the tournament.

His performances helped guide Brazil to victory, putting a man of the match performance in for the final. He played a big part in two goals and also grabbed one of his own, one of his trademark skilful bursts also saw the sending off of Spain centre back Gerard Pique, further compounding Spain’s misery.

Emanuele Giaccherini – Italy

One of the surprise packages of the Confederations Cup was Italy’s Giaccherini. He wasn’t really in favour at club team Juventus but it is well documentede that Italy manager Cesare Prandelli doesn’t take club form into account.

Giaccherini is a shining example of Prandelli’s policy as his performances were hard-working but most importantly, a key part to Italy’s play. Deployed in a role just behind the striker meant Giaccherini could shift across in his attacking midfield role offering support for strikers or popping up on either wing.

He scored one goal over the tournament but that doesn’t reflect the hard working nature of Giaccherini’s overall play for the Italian national team – one of the major reasons Prandelli uses him so readily.

Jordi Alba – Spain

Despite being on the losing side in the final, Jordi Alba can walk out of this competition with his head held high after another set of dazzling displays which only helped further his reputation as one of the finest left backs in world football.

Alba’s constant running and blistering pace up the left hand side were a key component of Spain’s attacking play. Defensively he’s no slouch either as he played a part in two of Spain’s three clean sheets.

Alba finished the tournament with two goals of his own after a set of performances in which he flourished with his pace, stamina and defensive attributes which were more than assured.

Andres Iniesta – Spain

If there was a player anyone would want for the big occasion in centre midfield it would be Iniesta. Like Alba, he was on the losing side in the final but he was one of few players who fought until the final whistle and that added to the qualities which the playmaker no doubt possesses.

Iniesta registered no goals at the tournament but his importance to Spain’s play going forward was paramount as he consistently dictated the tempo of matches he played in. He completed 337 passes of the 390 he attempted in the entire competition.

The creative midfielder was voted man of the match during Spain’s first game of the tournament in a 2 – 1 win over Uruguay which the Spanish dominated.

David Luiz – Brazil

His defensive attributes are usually questioned at Chelsea but while playing in his home country for his national team, David Luiz seemed to turn into a defensive genius.

His time at Chelsea has been inconsistent, he can go on forays forward from the back leaving gaps, or make mistakes which get exploited but Luiz became a defensive wall with the heart of a lion for La Selecao, his tournament being encompassed in one moment by his goal-line clearance in the final against Spain.

His popularity for both club and country though will never seem to waiver as he is a fans favourite among both Chelsea and Brazil fans, his popularity even more so following his performances in this competition.