High quality right-backs are becoming more and more of a scarcity and that is quite ironic after being spoiled with the existence of many like Cafu, Javier Zanetti and Lilian Thuram in the previous generation.

The question of who is the best right-back in the world at the moment is likely to be greeted with prompt answers along the lines of ‘Lahm’ or ‘Alves’ because in truth, there are very few options to choose from these days.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s monopolization of the applaudable things in football today has seen most academies aim at producing more attacking players than defenders.

Then again, you could argue that right-backs play a pivotal role in the attacking side of the game and therefore their development should be prioritized nonetheless.

Regardless of how alarming the shortage of players who prefer to play in that position has become, we are still gifted with two right-backs in Dani Alves and Philipp Lahm who would probably walk into any team in the world at their peak.

Both players are approaching the twilight of their careers and it will be interesting to find out the next clubs to develop defenders of their calibre for the new generation.

But whilst they are both still in action and have not hung up their boots, the subject of who is better between Lahm and Alves is still an appealing debate for many students of the game.

During his early years, Lahm used his diminutive stature and pace to terrorize opponents going forward, but he was still a responsible defender when time came for him to do his main job of keeping up with attackers.

Alves, on the other hand, is slightly more one-sided with his attributes than his counterpart. The Brazilian is perhaps more skilled at taking on opponents when with the ball but he does leave a few spaces unattended when possession is lost.

Going all the way back to his days at Sevilla, Alves has always imposed himself as a right-winger or a wing-back due to his prolific contributions in attack.

Lahm has his menacing moments in and around the 18-yard box but his Brazilian opposite number has recorded more goals and assists for Barcelona and Juventus.

Even so, the contrast in defensive capabilities between the two is perhaps why Lahm has achieved more with the German national team than Alves has with Brazil.

Ultimately, full-backs are made to attack and defend but since they occupy a spot in the back four, their ability to stop opponents is of higher importance.

And therefore, Lahm, who leaves less to be desired when tracking back, is probably the superior option between the duo.

Samuel SchubertPost
High quality right-backs are becoming more and more of a scarcity and that is quite ironic after being spoiled with the existence of many like Cafu, Javier Zanetti and Lilian Thuram in the previous generation. The question of who is the best right-back in the world at the moment is...