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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31176747 Ashley Cole, Chelsea/England Ashley+Cole%2C+Chelsea%2FEngland World

One of the best English defenders of his era, this left back is very solid on the attack and showed just how gifted he is during Chelsea’s charmed run to Champions League glory this season. The most capped defender in English national team history may also be his team’s most consistent field player, and his attacking talent is highly prized.

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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31176749 Patrice Evra, Manchester United/France Patrice+Evra%2C+Manchester+United%2FFrance World

The French defender is arguably the best left back in world football and the standard for the modern day fullback; possessing athleticism, willpower, attacking flair and defensive awareness. Entering the prime of his career, Evra has great tackling technique and timing despite his small stature at 5'8'.' We expect Evra to remain on this list for years to come.

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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31177563 Philipp Lahm, LB, Germany Philipp+Lahm%2C+LB%2C+Germany World

Bayern’s captain hasn’t has the greatest two months, going down to Italy in the Euros and seeing his side lose to Chelsea, at home, in the Champions league final. He can play down either flank but is most comfortable on the left side. An excellent attacking back, he has been criticized for not covering enough.

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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31176744 Marcelo, Real Madrid/Brazil Marcelo%2C+Real+Madrid%2FBrazil World

The Brazilian defender enjoyed his best season with the Merengues, helping Real Madrid capture their first La Liga crown since 2007-08. In years past, Marcelo was heavily criticized for being a noticeable defensive liability, but has improved over time. His stellar form has led him to capture Brazil’s starting left back spot, thanks to his trickery, pace and exceptional pace.

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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31176743 Gael Clichy, Manchester City/France Gael+Clichy%2C+Manchester+City%2FFrance World

The ex-Arsenal left back has developed into one of the best left back in world football. His athleticism sets him apart from other defenders, while his pace and quickness makes him an ideal option in defense – coming at the expense of Manchester City teammate Aleksandar Kolarov.

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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31179418 Fabio Coentrao, Real Madrid/Portugal Fabio+Coentrao%2C+Real+Madrid%2FPortugal World

Another converted winger turned left back, Coentrao has been an instant hit at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Portuguese international had a standout performance at Euro 2012, beating opponents off the dribble and showing world-class athleticism. Even his tackling precision, something his game lacked during the 2011-2012 club season, improved during the summer tournament.

Action Images / John Sibley Livepic -
World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31179416 Jordi Alba, Barcelona/Spain Jordi+Alba%2C+Barcelona%2FSpain World

The 23-year-old attacking left-back inked a new deal with La Liga giants Barcelona , after earning recognition during his time at Valencia and with Spain during Euro 2012. Alba’s ability to support in attack and knack to account for his defensive responsibilities, make him one of the best young defenders around.

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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31176745 Leighton Baines, Everton/England Leighton+Baines%2C+Everton%2FEngland World

Baines was rewarded for an exceptional 2011-2012 campaign by being named to the PFA ‘Team of the Year.’ His experience as a left-winger have helped develop his qualities as a dangerous left back, so much so that Premier League giants Manchester United are rumored for his services next season. Though he lacks the defensive skills of a natural left back, the Englishman’s improvement and growth continues to raise eyebrows across the European continent.

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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31176746 Carlos Salcido, Tigres/Mexico Carlos+Salcido%2C+Tigres%2FMexico World

One of the most decorated Mexican internationals to play European football, Salcido enters our list despite not being a left back by trade. The former PSV and Fulham defender is a regular starter for the Mexican national team, showcasing his dazzling footwork and blazing speed on the left flank. His powerful shots have dumbfounded goalkeepers, and at 32-years-old, looks for one more run at a World Cup call-up at 2014.

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World 2018 43 World Power Rankings: Top left backs 31179417 Yuto Nagatomo, Internazionale/Japan Yuto+Nagatomo%2C+Internazionale%2FJapan World

Nagatomo’s impressive performance during the 2010 World Cup earned him endless recognition and admirers around the world (hint, hint Arsene Wenger). The Inter defender’s versatility to mark any type of attacker, while displaying the athleticism and tenacity needed in top-flight football, makes him an incredible asset for any team.

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