Felipe – Atletico Madrid
A surprise inclusion maybe but Felipe’s progress has been quiet but effective at Atletico Madrid as the club look to be playing Champions League football next season and he has also done terrifically to come back so well from a horrific leg injury he sustained in 2010.
Felipe’s ability in going forward goes hand-in-hand with his defensive stability which can be rare for a defender nowadays (believe it or not) and this is shown in his versatility down the left, being able to play either at left back or left wing.
He has amassed 256 career club appearances for Deportivo and Atletico Madrid, scoring 12 goals and he has four trophies to his name; one UEFA Intertoto Cup, one UEFA Europa League and two UEFA Supercups.
He has also made three appearances for the Brazilian national team.
Marcelo – Real Madrid
Marcelo has been compared to his legendary Brazilian compatriot Roberto Carlos in many quarters due to his impressive defensive ability, overlapping runs, composure, vision and his left foot strike isn’t too shabby either.
It was feared that Marcelo’s spot at left back may have become usurped by Fabio Coentrao when Real Madrid signed the young Portuguese left back but Marcelo (when fit) has been able to hang on to his spot in the team, even moving Coentrao over to a defensive midfield role for a portion of his Madrid career.
Marcelo has amassed 256 career club appearances, scoring 23 goals and winning three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, and two Supercopa de Espana titles. He has also made 18 appearances for the Brazilian national team, scoring four goals and winning two Olympic medals (one bronze and one silver).
Leighton Baines – Everton
Baines is the man who everyone believes will be Ashley Cole’s successor for the England left back spot, and it’s hard not to see why.
He has been in fantastic form for Everton over the past few seasons and is one of the hottest properties in England due to his defending abilities as well as his terrific delivery from open play and set pieces, with suitors including Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham.
In 2011-11 the Toffees left back played every minute of every game that season, a run which ended after 99 games. During the 2010-11 season he racked up 11 assists, making him the highest assisting defender in the league, 5th highest assister overall. His partnership down the Everton left with Steven Pienaar this season was widely seen, for a while, as the most effective in the Premiership.
He has made 405 club career appearances to date, scoring 26 goals, a great deal of those 26 goals coming from either penalties or free-kicks which Baines is a master of. He has also won a Football League Second Division title. He has made 15 appearances for England, scoring one goal.
Marcel Schmelzer – Borussia Dortmund
Firstly, Dortmund have been a breath of fresh air in European football and Germany over the past couple of season; secondly, what an under-rated player they have at left back!
Schmelzer’s ability in the tackle and reading the game has helped not just him, but it has helped his team’s meteoric rise to one of the biggest forces in European football. His left side partnership with Marco Reus is also one of the most solid in Europe.
He has made 153 career club appearances, scoring three goals; winning two Bundesliga titles and one DFB-Pokal. He has also made 11 appearances for the German first team.
Jordi Alba – Barcelona
The Barcelona youth product returned to his boyhood club after a seven-year absence and he has quickly established himself as the team’s first choice left back, as well as the Spanish national team left back.
The world started taking notice of Alba after he switched positions from winger to a more defensive role and was proving key to former club Valencia and their Champions League ambitions. A transition which has ultimately proved fruitful for Alba. His performances at Euro 2012 for the successful Spanish side saw Barcelona come back to swoop for their former youth product.
Since re-signing for Barcelona, Alba has been widely regarded as the best left back in the world, not just for his defending, but again like most of the left backs on this list, his ability to get forward and be a menace to other teams. His pace, vision and delivery have been a key part of Barcelona’s play this year while they try and take their La Liga crown back from Real Madrid.
Alba has made 183 career club appearances so far, scoring 15 goals, he has also made 17 appearances for the Spanish national team, scoring two goals. One of those goals came in the Euro 2012 final against Italy which saw Spain retain their European crown.