The function of a full-back has modified drastically over time and has seen quite a few transitions through the years. It’s not probably the most engaging of positions – everybody at all times needs to be a midfielder or a striker. Even goalkeepers generally discover themselves forward of full-backs in that exact pecking order.
Regardless of its distinct lack of enchantment, the modern-day full-back is without doubt one of the most pivotal gamers in a soccer crew. The Nineties witnessed the evolution of the function, with full-backs venturing into midfield and dropping again into place relying on the match state of affairs.
The 4-4-2 was a quite common formation within the Nineteen Eighties, and full-backs had been extra reserved of their attacking endeavors than they’re immediately. There are a few names from this period that I haven’t included in my high 5, however they do want an honorary point out.
Phil Neal was completely staggering for Liverpool. At one level in my profession, I’d performed 117 consecutive video games and I assumed that was fairly commendable. It pales compared to Neal, who performed over 400 consecutive video games for his membership. The sport is completely different now in so some ways and you may’t actually draw comparisons throughout generations, however to suppose he may play for eight years with out lacking a recreation is gorgeous. To me, he’s the Godfather of all full-backs.
Rob Jones is one other Liverpool participant who deserves a point out. He was one of many first full-backs to be part of the transition we discuss immediately, and was adept together with his ahead runs and crosses. Had it not been for his damage report, he may’ve been extremely acclaimed for what he achieved.
That is an extremely tough checklist to make as a result of there have been a number of names who’ve modified the way in which we see the sport. Right here is my tackle the 5 biggest full-backs of all time.
On a global degree, Cafu is without doubt one of the most embellished gamers on this checklist. I’ve performed alongside him sometimes prior to now few years, and he’s nonetheless extremely match. If that is what he’s like in his 40s, he should’ve been a nightmare to play towards in his prime.
Cafu was part of the evolution of the modern-day full-back within the Nineties and 2000s. He was a superb watch on the pitch, each as a soccer fan and as a participant. He would convey a sure Brazilian-ness to the function of the full-back, and his talent and charm on the ball was impeccable.
With two World Cups to his identify, Cafu loved unbelievable success with Brazil on the worldwide stage. I’ve by no means come up towards him as a participant, however the time I shared with him on the pitch after my retirement gave me a glimpse into his unbelievable prowess as a full-back.
#4 Dani Alves
Dani Alves is the one energetic participant on my checklist. With him, there at all times was a query mark – is he actually a defender, or is he a defensive-minded winger? What a participant. 9 league titles throughout Europe, three UEFA Champions League victories with Barcelona – he is without doubt one of the most embellished gamers of all time.
Dani Alves burst onto the scene when the sport of soccer was evolving. A full-back couldn’t get by with solely defensive work, and his dribbling and crossing expertise made him a formidable drive on the best flank. You received’t get very far being an attacking full-back with a smaller crew, and the truth that Alves was taking part in with one in all Europe’s behemoths did assist his trigger.
There was one thing extra to the Brazilian that set him other than the remainder. He had loads of character and his steely dedication made him the perfect participant to have in your aspect in a giant recreation. That’s the great thing about being a soccer fan watching Dani Alves in motion – there was one thing about him that was pretty to witness, one thing past the soccer he performed.
Additionally Learn: Jim Beglin column – Rating the 5 biggest central midfielders of all time