Greatest modern era right backs
Our football writers select the five greatest modern era right backs, after free agent Dani Alves joined PSG.
After leaving Barcelona last year, Alves joined reigning Serie A champions Juventus and embarked upon another successful campaign, featuring a league title, a Coppa Italia crown and a Champions League final appearance.
However, now he will begin his second new challenge in as many years with PSG – a club looking to reinstate their Ligue 1 superiority.
So, in light of this move, we’ve picked out five of the greatest modern era right backs starting with the man himself…
— PSG English (@PSG_English) July 12, 2017
After being plucked from obscurity at Brazilian club Bahia, initially joining Sevilla on loan in 2002, his impressive displays quickly led to a permanent capture.
In 2008, he joined Barcelona and continued his development into the greatest right back in the world.
At his best, Alves could run a game from the right flank and often operated as more of a winger at Barca, yet kept things quiet on the defensive end too.
In Catalonia, he won six league titles and three Champions Leagues.
Only Cafu can really be considered to come close to Alves’ iconic fulfilment of the position.
His new employers, PSG, are 18/1 with Sky Bet to win the CL next term.
Cafu at his best. What a player!pic.twitter.com/0zv2QZERE6
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) June 29, 2017
With 142 appearances for the Brazil national football team, Cafu is the most internationally capped male Brazilian player of all time and certainly one of the best right backs ever.
Nicknamed ‘Pendolino’ in Italy after the country’s express trains, his tireless stamina and production from the right saw him etched into footballing history.
Adept in a multitude of systems and positions, he won the World Cup twice with Brazil, claimed a Champions league win with AC Milan, but only lifted two Serie A titles in Italy during a combined 11-year spell at Roma and Milan.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) June 20, 2017
Perhaps the best two-footed full back of his generation, Lahm won eight league titles, a CL trophy and of course captained Germany’s victorious 2014 World Cup campaign.
He looked equally as exceptional at right back or in midfield and had everything in his arsenal.
Possessing tremendous playmaking, passing and intelligent defensive play – Lahm retired at just 33 as still one of the game’s best.
Javier Zanetti's screamer against Lazio in the 1998 UEFA Cup Final in Paris. pic.twitter.com/8RBQy7Aji8
— Football Culture (@Footy_Culture) June 21, 2017
Zanetti earned the nickname ‘El Tractor’ for his stamina and tireless energetic runs up and down the wings.
He stuck to a strict fitness regime which saw him start over 30 games despite being in his late 30s.
Eventually captain for both Inter Milan and Argentina, he was loved by fans and was a cool, calm operator on the field.
Zanetti excelled at reading the game and distributing the ball, while was versatile enough to also play in midfield.
This was displayed vividly by Inter’s famous treble win, culminating in Jose Mourinho’s men winning the Champions League with Zanetti in the centre of midfield.
On this day in 1998 France beat Croatia 2-1 to reach the World Cup Final thanks to two unlikely goals from defender Lilian Thuram pic.twitter.com/BoS4PsEV9O
— Classic Football CFS (@classicshirts) July 8, 2017
Although he confessed he didn’t particularly like playing as a right back, the Frenchman retired as one of the best.
The most capped player in the history of the France national team with 142 appearances, his imposing physique and aggressive tackling made him a nuisance to play against.
Powerful, clever and technically gifted – the 1998 World Cup winner played for some of Europe’s greatest clubs.