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HomeFive of the BestRanking the five best right-wingers in the world right now

Ranking the five best right-wingers in the world right now

The role of a right-winger has changed and evolved in the modern game, with world-class widemen now required to be far more than just chance creators.

Goals, assists, work-rate and more, the traditional touchline huggers have been replaced with wingers willing to come into central areas to make things happen. Assessing the best is no easy challenge but one we’ve attempted head-on.

After listing the best left-wingers in world football, it’s time for the right-sided stars to take centre stage.

5. Rodrygo – Real Madrid

Though he has spent much of his time at Real Madrid in the shadow of Vinicius Junior, it should not detract from what Rodrygo brings to the Spanish side.

The 23-year-old is beginning to impact games on a more consistent basis with his goal return on an upward curve. He first showed the richness of his potential with a defining run in the 2021/22 Champions League, where he scored crucial goals – including that stoppage-time semi-final double against Manchester City – to set Real on a path to European success.

Technically gifted and with a knack for ghosting into goalscoring positions unseen, he has spent time in more central positions this season as part of a tantalising attacking trident involving Vinicius and Jude Bellingham.

4. Leroy Sane – Bayern Munich

Leroy Sane has packed plenty into a career that has seen him star at Schalke, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, evolving from the electric jet-heeled winger who emerged at the Etihad to an elegant creator since returning to the Bundesliga.

Sane spent much of his time at Manchester City on his natural left side, where he was direct and devastating during back-to-back Premier League triumphs. His return to Germany – and an ACL injury – has seen his game evolve, with Sane now at home drifting inwards from the right where he often unleashes thunderous drives with a lovely left foot.

This season has been his best in a Bayern shirt to date despite the difficulties of the club’s campaign, with eight goals and a league-leading 11 assists in the Bundesliga. His link-up with Harry Kane has been eye-catching and will be crucial to the club’s hopes of Champions League success.

3. Bukayo Saka – Arsenal

Bukayo Saka is the poster boy of an emerging Arsenal team, one which has impressed stride for stride in their development under Mikel Arteta. His evolution from academy prospect to world-class winger has helped propel Arsenal’s reemergence as one of the Premier League’s top teams.

It seems a long time ago when a teenage Saka was bedded in at left-back, with the 22-year-old now cemented as one of Europe’s most effective wide players on the right-hand side. Last season he was named as the PFA Young Player of the Year for his role in Arsenal’s title challenge and has continued on his ascent to superstardom in 2023/24.

A first season in the Champions League has been taken to with ease, with Saka recording seven goals and assists in seven appearances in Europe’s elite competition. He’s been similarly devastating in the Premier League with 22 goal involvements for an Arsenal team that tops the table.

So dangerous one-against-one, that opposition teams regularly attempt to double up on Saka is a compliment to his threat.

2. Lionel Messi – Inter Miami

Is Lionel Messi a right-winger? Not really. Is he arguably the world’s best in that position? Probably.

Messi’s move to MLS makes it hard to asses just how special the Argentine remains, but arguably world football’s finest ever talent remains capable of jaw-dropping moments.

The 36-year-old celebrated a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or in 2023, in recognition of his role in Argentina’s World Cup success in Qatar the previous winter. Unstoppable in the Middle East, it was a wonderful late chapter in a career that will not be forgotten.

This summer’s Copa America could be the final swan song for Messi and La Albiceleste.

Messi, Qatar, and the fulfilment of a football fairytale

1. Mohamed Salah – Liverpool

Mohamed Salah is a footballer who has altered the perceptions of what a wide player is. In an era where traditional wingers are a rarity and inside forwards rule, Salah has set the standard for production from the flanks.

His goal return can match up with the best centre-forwards of the Premier League era, while he’s been more than handy when it comes to creating. A two-time winner of the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year awards, there are also three Premier League Golden Boots and a Playmaker Award that sit pride of place in Salah’s bursting cabinet.

He’s scored 154 league goals in 243 games for Liverpool and 209 in all competitions for the Reds, a return that places him fifth overall, with the legendary Billy Liddell next in his sights (228).

His incredible consistency around goal has become the norm for Premier League fans and might only be truly appreciated after he’s gone.

Read – Ranking the five best central midfielders in the world right now

See more – Ranking the five best centre-backs in the world right now

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