There’s not a lot of love for left-backs.
In the recent PFA Premier League Team of the Year, it was the one position with no outstanding candidate – with Marcos Alonso ultimately getting the nod, having hardly had an awe-inspiring campaign.
It also appears to be the worst paid position in football, with just eight left-backs earning more than £100,000 a week.
Here are the seven best-paid left-backs in world football:
=6. Theo Hernandez – £103,000 a Week
First up, just keeping out the most expensive left-back in the history of the game in the form of Benjamin Mendy out of this seven, is Real Madrid youngster Theo Hernandez. The Marseille-born full-back came through the youth ranks at Atletico Madrid, before becoming the first player in 17 years to switch from one Madrid giant to the other. Theo’s father was also a professional footballer, as is his older brother Lucas, who still plays for Atletico. Hernandez is a fit, hard working and attack-minded left-back, and it’s a sign of the high regard that Real Madrid hold him in that they broke a near two-decade long gentleman’s agreement with Atletico not to sign one of their players. He has made 21 appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos so far this season.
=6. Layvin Kurzawa – £103,000 a Week
Tied on the same salary as Theo Hernandez, equal-sixth place in this seven goes to PSG defender Layvin Kurzawa. A pacy full-back who loves to get up and down the left flank, Kurzawa’s progression hasn’t been a particularly straightforward one. In his debut season at Monaco, the club was relegated from Ligue 1. They won promotion a couple of years later, but Kurzawa was only a bit-part player. He became more of a regular towards the end of 2013, and in 2015, he made a £18 million move to PSG. The 25-year-old, who has a history of niggling injuries, has won two league titles with the Parisians, as well as winning 11 caps for the French national team.
5. Luke Shaw – £110,000 a Week
The forgotten man at Manchester United, when Louis van Gaal made him the most expensive teenager in world football for £30 million four years ago, it seemed like a reasonable deal. Shaw was already one of the best full-backs in the Premier League, and Manchester United could expect at least a decade of top-class service out of him. It hasn’t quite worked out that way, unfortunately, as Shaw suffered a horrendous leg break in September 2015, and has taken some heavy criticism from Jose Mourinho since returning from that setback. At his best, Shaw is a quick and composed full-back who looks confident going forwards – or backwards. It looks as though his future lies away from Old Trafford now, but you wouldn’t bet against him coming good again somewhere else.
4. Ashley Young – £120,000 a Week
Making it a duo of Manchester United players in quick succession, the fourth best-paid left-back in the world is Manchester United’s converted winger Ashley Young. Having made his name as a quick and tricky left winger at Watford and Aston Villa, Young even played as a forward at times when he was younger. Now one of the longest-serving players at Old Trafford, it looked as though his days were numbered 18 months ago, but he has re-invented himself brilliantly as a left-back under Jose Mourinho, and could even stake a claim to be on England’s plane for the World Cup this summer.
3. Marcelo – £142,000 a Week
In third place is the man who would probably be most people’s shout as the best left-back in the world. The Brazilian international is currently in his twelfth season with Real Madrid, having joined the club a year before his compatriot Roberto Carlos departed. Quick, purposeful and incredibly attack-minded, Marcelo was a natural heir to Carlos. His defensive capabilities left a lot to be desired for a number of years, and although greatly improved, they’re still far from perfect. Offensively though, Marcelo is like having an extra forward. He is fantastic on the ball and can produce a wicked delivery into the box. He has won the Champions League three times and made the FIFPro World XI four times at Real Madrid.
2. Jordi Alba – £147,000 a Week
The second best-paid left-back in the world plays for Real Madrid’s great rivals Barcelona. We’re big fans of Jordi Alba, having watched him come through at Valencia and look like the final piece of the jigsaw at one time for both Spain and Barcelona. Quick, hard working and a real outlet going forward – like so many modern full-backs – Alba occasionally seems to be a little allergic to defending. A Champions League and European Championships winner, Alba scored Spain’s second goal in their 4-0 Euro 2012 final rout of Italy.
1. David Alaba – £171,000 a Week
From Alba to Alaba, that extra ‘a’ will reportedly set you back around £24,000 a week. Widely regarded as the best left-back in the world a couple of years ago, Alaba’s form has wavered a little over the last 12 months. He made his name as a really quick and hard-working full-back at Bayern Munich, but his versatility has perhaps been to his detriment. Often deputising in central midfield under recent managers, we don’t think that does him any favours, and personally feel he plays his best football as a left-back. Particularly on the international stage, Alaba has just dropped his standards a little, but he’s still a world class footballer on his day.