The 10 Best Left-Wingers of All Time – Ranked

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Liverpool FC"
Cristiano Ronaldo is player the footballing world should be grateful they’ve been able to witness all these years | VI-Images/Getty Images

We’ve been spoiled over the years with some rather splendid wide forwards. For those who hark for yesteryear when football was a simper game, with harder challenges and pints allowed in stands, the one thing you can’t argue with is that the modern era has had its own share of fine left wingers.

Don’t agree? Tough, because 90min have compiled the ten best ever to grace the game in this ‘ere list for you, and there is nothing that can be altered. It’s final.

However, that shouldn’t be of any concern to anyone, as this set of players offer differing styles and skillsets to satisfy any footballing palate, from the silky to the stern and everything in between.

One for the football purists and hipsters, but one that really shouldn’t be. Under appreciated and not well known enough outside of his homeland, Dutchman Rob Resenbrink would have been a household name were it not for two single football matches.

A World Cup finalist in both 1974 and 1978, the Netherlands’ failure to secure either trophy meant Resenbrink’s legacy failed to extend beyond the locality of his club sides.

Unjust is an adequate summation. Why? Because on his day the forward slotted gently into the ‘unplayable’ category, just as effortlessly as he’d jink his way past opposition players unnoticed. Not just good, he was Dutch good. That’s saying something.

Ryan GiggsRyan Giggs
Ryan Giggs played at the top level for roughly 306 seasons | Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

Ryan Giggs’ career can be summed up as an epic tale of one man and one club, joined at the hip for decades and intertwined in such a way that any utterance of his name that doesn’t have heaps of praise attached it to is considered as blasphemous’.

But in all seriousness, it was like a fairytale for the Welshman at Manchester United. But unlike a goalkeeper who spends his whole career at a club and barely gets a sniff, Giggs – barring his final season – never played less than 22 Premier League matches in a season.

It wasn’t a case of just playing, as Giggs was instrumental in United dominating for such a long period of time, claiming 25 titles in his 963-game career.

Bundesliga - "Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bayern München"Bundesliga - "Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bayern München"
Franck Ribery was among the finest footballers in the world during his pomp | VI-Images/Getty Images

It’s quite easy to think about Franck Ribery and base your opinion on the last five seasons of his career. That’s normal, since it’s fresher in the memory. And if you were to give your verdict from that time period, you’d still say Ribery was a damn fine footballer.

Factor in the period before he was hit with injuries and playing into his 30s, and you’ve got a world class winger.

There was a point where if you wanted to tune into a game for some entertainment, any match featuring Ribery would suffice. He was a serial winner along with being a serial performer, dazzling with his superb array of skills or smashing a screamer in from 30 yards.

Pavel NedvedPavel Nedved
Pavel Nedved was a player who the newer generation missed out on watching | Tom Shaw/Getty Images

It’s a sign when you’re getting old that you’ll always reflect emotionally on the past, poking holes in the modern era and insisting it was always better ‘back then’.

If you ever needed evidence that this was a true statement, then Pavel Nedved is your guy. It’s a genuine pity for younger football fans these days that they never got to witness the Czech in his prime.

Few players played with such desire, but were able to back up their willingness with generational talent. If anyone deserved to win the Champions League but never did, then it was the 2003 Ballon d’Or winner.

Before the more recent Real Madrid, there was the old Real Madrid, and in order for the old Real Madrid to have been as good as they were, they needed Francisco Gento.

It would be great to see him play in the current era, as he had all the attributes that have become commonplace with the modern wide forwards: exceptional pace, a wand of a left foot and near-perfect technical ability.

One of the greatest Spaniards ever to play the game, his trophy cabinet reflects his majesty. No less than six Champions Leagues and 12 La Liga were won by Gento, who was an integral part of one of the most formidable football sides ever to have existed

Hristo Stoichkov of BarcelonaHristo Stoichkov of Barcelona
Hristo Stoichkov had much more than just a fabulous name | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

His name may be delightful to pronounce, but Hristo Stoichkov was far from a lovely opponent on the pitch. Tenacious, aggressive and combative, he was someone opposition teams feared coming up against.

That wasn’t it, obviously, since he’d have needed to do much more than that to be listed as the fifth best left-winger of all time. But don’t worry, his place is certainly warranted.

Part of Johan Cruyff’s magnificent Barcelona era in the early 90s, the Bulgarian was one part of a devastating attack alongside Romario, netting 107 goals in 214 outings during his first stint in Catalonia. His exploits in the 1994 World Cup earned him a Ballon d’Or to add to his stocked trophy cabinet, while he still holds legendary status with La Blaugrana to this day.

The current Luis Suarez? Meh, not a sniff on the Spanish one born in 1935. He may have 400 league goals, but the real Suarez was different gravy.

Making a name for himself at Barcelona, his influence on the side was astonishing, securing back-to-back La Liga titles after a six-year wait, before moving on to Inter and achieving even greater success.

Lifting three Serie A crowns and two European Cups – in the 1964/65 season they secured the double – he had already cemented his place as the finest of his ilk around, with the powers that be awarding him the 1960 Ballon d’Or.

Rivelino of BrazilRivelino of Brazil
Rivelino remains a Brazilian icon to this day | Getty Images/Getty Images

If you’ve enjoyed watching the likes of Neymar in recent years and wondered who he modeled his playing style on, the answer is above: Rivelino.

The man is credited with inventing his own skill for crying out loud.

Rivelino wasn’t just a technical marvel, however, he was also a glorious footballer with a cannon of a left foot, as demonstrated perfectly en route to Brazil lifting the 1970 World Cup with what many claim to be the greatest side of all time.

Go on the internet and watch how quick he is in possession. Or re-watch all of the Seleção’s matches in which he played. However you do it, catch a glimpse of Rivelino in action. You must.

RonaldinhoRonaldinho
Ronaldinho’s ability with his feet was almost as iconic as his hair | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

‘How’s your touch? Oh, you’re Ronaldinho? Ah, you’re touch is obviously perfect then’.

Football is supposed to be fun. It’s a source of entertainment, while as a player from whatever level, you play simply for the love of the game. With the ball at your feet you are at your most content, and the unparalleled highs and lows we experience from the sport are incomparable to anything else.

Ronaldinho was no different to the rest of us (barring the obvious skill difference), he was happiest when on the pitch, and knew his role as a sportsman was to put smiles on peoples’ faces. He did that nigh on every minute he ever played the sport.

Cristiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the great players ever to have lived – of course he’s the best left winger ever | Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Enough waffling on, just look at Cristiano Ronaldo’s stats.

Club Appearances: 846
Club Goals: 633

Club Trophies: Premier League (x3), FA Cup, League Cup (x2), Champions League (x5), Club World Cup (x4), Super Cup (x2), La Liga (x2), Copa del Rey (x2), Supercopa de Espana (x2), Serie A, Supercoppa Italiana

International Appearances: 164
International Goals: 99

International Trophies: Euro 2016, Nations League 2019

Individual Accolades: Far too many to list.

He’s one of the greatest players ever to have lived, so of course he’s the greatest left winger to have ever to have played. No debate. Goodnight.

Let’

The Manchester United Lineup That Should Start Against Crystal Palace

Mason Greenwood is a doubt for Manchester United.
Mason Greenwood is a doubt for Manchester United. | James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

Manchester United missed the opportunity to jump ahead of both Chelsea and Leicester in the hunt for Champions League places after drawing against Southampton in their last Premier League outing.

It was a huge chance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side after a top four finish, never mind a top three finish, once looked so unlikely. The fact they didn’t take advantage now puts significant pressure on the team to get a win away at Crystal Palace on Thursday.

United also have an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea coming up just a few days later on Sunday as fixtures mount up. But Solskjaer has declared that will be no selection concessions at Selhurst Park in order to give the crucial Premier League game the full attention it requires.

Harry Maguire, Stuart ArmstrongHarry Maguire, Stuart Armstrong
Harry Maguire is Premier League ever present for Man Utd | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

David de Gea – GK: Mistakes have crept into De Gea’s game but the fact remains that he’s only conceded six goals in his last 11 Premier League outings. Has been a Premier League ever-present this season and will know he’s playing for his place in 2020/21.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB): Wan-Bissaka continues to add to his attacking game, as well as remaining one of the best one-on-one defenders in Europe. Has started virtually every Premier League game since he arrived and is an automatic starter.

Victor Lindelof (CB): The Swede didn’t cover himself in glory as Michael Obafemi equalised for Southampton last time out. He will be well aware that he has Eric Bailly breathing down his neck for a place in the team, while United have also been tipped to dip into the transfer market.

Harry Maguire (CB): Alongside De Gea, the captain is the only United player to have been on the pitch for every minute of every Premier League game this season. Still not world class in his performances but a leader on and off the pitch.

Ethan Laird (LB): Doubts about both Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams opens up the possibility that 19-year-old Laird, who is typically a right-back, could be thrown in at the deep end for his Premier League debut. Diogo Dalot is another option but appears hugely out of favour.

Paul Pogba was able to rest after being substituted early against SouthamptonPaul Pogba was able to rest after being substituted early against Southampton
Paul Pogba was able to rest after being substituted early against Southampton | Pool/Getty Images

Nemanja Matic (CM): The veteran Serbian provides other midfielders a platform to play on. He is a sturdier defensive shield than Scott McTominay at this moment in time, although it is hoped the young Scot will develop in Matic’s image in the next few years.

Paul Pogba (CM): At fault for Southampton’s opening goal on Monday but played a vital role in creating both of United’s. Pogba was also substituted relatively early in that one, perhaps with one eye on not overworking him and the other on Thursday night.

Bruno Fernandes (AM): Fernandes got another assist against the Saints to make it 16 combined goals and assists in all competitions since he joined in January. Solskjaer dare not rest or rotate him because there are not enough creative options without him.

Marcus Rashford, Anthony MartialMarcus Rashford, Anthony Martial
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have both scored over 20 goals in all competitions | Pool/Getty Images

Daniel James (RF): Mason Greenwood is a slight doubt for this one as a result of knock to the ankle inflicted by Southampton’s Oriel Romeu. That means there could a chance for James, who scored against Palace in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford way back in August.

Anthony Martial (ST): Martial really is developing into a proper centre-forward worthy of the number nine shirt that has been returned to him this season. He was United’s chief attacking threat against Southampton and is enjoying the best year of his career to date.

Marcus Rashford (LF): Away from the pitch, Rashford has enacted real positive social change and has now been rewarded for his campaigning with an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester. On it, he’s not quite been back to his best since the restart but remains a threat.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Let’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Gives Latest Injury Update on Luke Shaw & Brandon Williams

Luke Shaw, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Brandon Williams
Luke Shaw is a Man Utd injury doubt because of a swollen ankle | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United left-backs Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams are both doubts for Thursday night’s crucial Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirming the pair are still suffering the effects of injuries suffered in Monday’s Southampton.

Shaw was forced off in the second half when he appeared to painfully roll his right ankle, while Williams, who replaced him as a substitute, suffered a nasty cut during an aerial challenge. He too was withdrawn and United completed the game with just 10 players.

Brandon WilliamsBrandon Williams
William suffered a bad cut against Southampton | Pool/Getty Images

United staff were waiting to fully assess the damage but Solskjaer has confirmed that both players still have swelling around the respective affected areas.

“Luke has got a swollen ankle, so hopefully I’ll give him as much time as possible to recover – it was a twist on his ankle,” Solskjaer said at his pre-game press conference, via ManUtd.com.

“Brandon’s eye, he cut up his eye there, so I don’t really know. We’ve not trained this morning, none of them trained yesterday, so they were both swollen and I’ll give them as much time as possible to get ready,” the United boss added.

Solskjaer also stated that he will not pick the team to face Palace with an eye on Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, given that he can’t afford to compromise in the former fixture given what it still at stake in the Premier League.

If Shaw, Williams or both don’t make it back in time for the Palace game, Solskjaer has a few potential options, although all would involve a degree of gambling.

With no other recognised first-team left-back, the United boss could turn to versatile Portuguese right-back Diogo Dalot. However, the 21-year-old has only played 65 minutes of Premier League football all season and hasn’t even appeared on the bench in the league since February.

Axel Tuanzebe, a centre-back by trade but who played on the left earlier this season, is unfortunately injured. Therefore, Solskjaer’s other real option is to turn to youth.

Ethan LairdEthan Laird
Ethan Laird is an option to fill in for Shaw or Williams | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Ethan Laird, 19, is a right-back on the fringes of the first-team, having already made two appearances in the Europa League so far this season. Teden Mengi is an impressive 18-year-old centre-back who has been used on the left once at junior level in recent months.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Let’

FareShare Poised to Feed Over 4 Million Vulnerable People With Marcus Rashford’s Support

Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford is quickly becoming a favourite outside of Manchester United, too | Pool/Getty Images

UK charity FareShare is now able to provide four million meals worth of food to vulnerable people living in the UK, following continued support from Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.

Rashford teamed up with FareShare during the start of lockdown in March, in order to provide children with meals after schools were forced to close due to the impact of the current global pandemic.

Schools closing meant that millions of pupils across the UK were unsure as to where their next meal would come from, but support from Rashford has allowed FareShare to provide significant support to those who need it most.

Having announced last month that FareShare were set to feed over three million people, the number has since increased again. Rashford announced via his official Twitter account that a further four million meals could now be provided also.

“FareShare UK is now able to supply enough food to provide four million more meals to the most vulnerable across the UK,” Rashford wrote in a short post.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you! We couldn’t do this without you”.

The 22-year-old began supporting the charity in March, urging anyone in a position to help to do so. He then doubled his personal donations to the charity six weeks after teaming up with them, and has recently gone on to make an impact at government level.

After writing an open letter addressed to all MPs asking them to reconsider the decision not to provide free school meal vouchers over the UK summer holidays – in which he recalled his own personal experiences – the government performed a U-Turn and extended the policy.

That change of heart ensures that parents don’t have the additional stresses of wondering whether or not their children will be provided for, with schools closed for six weeks over the summer.

Rashford isn’t just a great footballer on the field, he’s a better guy off it.

Let’

Former Man Utd Goalkeeping Coach Blasts David de Gea for ‘Lacking Loyalty’

Manchester United celebrating after beating Manchester City.
Manchester United celebrating after beating Manchester City. | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

David De Gea’s former goalkeeping coach at Manchester United, Emilio Alvarez, has blasted the Spaniard for ‘lacking loyalty’.

Alvarez, who departed Old Trafford last year and was De Gea’s mentor during his time at Atletico, was brought in by Jose Mourinho in 2016 to help keep De Gea at the club. And although the Spaniard penned a contract extension until 2023 in September last year, Alvarez departed soon after.

David De GeaDavid De Gea
David de Gea was subject to significant interest from Real Madrid before he penned an extension at United last September | Pool/Getty Images

Now, De Gea’s former goalkeeper coach has revealed to AS that it was the 29-year-old’s decision to go behind his back and ditch agent Jorge Mendes without telling him, which forced him to leave Old Trafford.

“After almost three years with lots of work and meetings with United to renew him and to make him the best-paid player in the world, I learned that he had renewed behind my back,” Alvarez said.

“Honestly, it felt like a lack of loyalty. During negotiations, he also had a falling out with the person who had carried out all the talks in order for him to be paid what he was paid. “I told them I was going but not because I wanted to leave United. I wanted to stop coaching De Gea.”

The former Real Madrid goalkeeping coach, who claimed to be De Gea’s ‘right-hand man in Manchester’, said he only played a bit role in the Spaniard opting to extend his stay in Manchester, with Mendes doing the majority of the hard work.

David de GeaDavid de Gea
Emilio Alvarez (L) was De Gea’s coach at United for three years before his departure in 2019 | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

“Well, the great merit goes to Jorge Mendes, who did a great job during those years, working day and night. I contributed my grain of sand.

“Solskjaer asked me every day to speak with Mendes so that David could renew.., Solskjaer was very concerned that David was okay,” he added.

He also confirmed that he rejected approaches from some of Europe’s elite about a potential coaching role, concluding with another dig at De Gea; “It is true. PSG and Madrid called me, but I stayed at United for not leaving De Gea. For me, that is loyalty.”

Let’