The providers, the show ponies and the speed merchants – we celebrate the best right-wingers on the planet right now
Ranking the best right-wingers on the planet isn’t an easy task in the modern age. With 4-4-2 more or less resigned to history (we’re aware of the irony!), a myriad of formations mean wide men are a different breed than the classic crossers of the 1990s.
These days, they’re also goalscorers, pressers, raumdeuters and more. Yet while the players on this list all have their little idiosyncrasies, one thing binds them: they are almost always fielded on the right.
This final point, therefore, excludes players like Paulo Dybala, Lionel Messi or Kylian Mbappe, who are just as likely to be fielded more centrally for their clubs. So, without any further ado…
Best right-wingers in the world:
10. Antony (Manchester United)
Is £85 million too much for Antony? Probably. But that doesn’t mean he’s not thrilling. Manchester United’s multi-million dollar man has excited thus far in his United career, dancing round defenders and showing an explosive finish in his locker that some of us doubted he had. He’s still young and only going to improve with age: watch this space.
9. Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen)
Preferring an inverted wing role where he can cut in on his left foot, Diaby has often been compared to Arjen Robben with his rapid pace and love of shimmying inside defenders. His dribbling skills are majestic, too, while his numbers – nine goals and seven assists in 26 Bundesliga games – highlight his eye for goal and for a pass.
The Frenchman’s performances have earned plenty of interest from Premier League clubs, especially considering Bayer Leverkusen have struggled somewhat domestically this campaign.
8. Dejan Kulusevski (Tottenham Hotspur)
The way this Tottenham team performs with and without their ginger from Sweden is a staggering difference, and is largely down to Dejan Kulusevski’s superb all-round game.
He doesn’t need an overlapping winger or midfielders to come towards him to link with: he’s physical, deft and capable of producing a creative spark to free up Kane and Son beside him. He’s not been as impressive this campaign, hence why he’s further down this list than he’d like, but the 22-year-old felt stifled in Antonio Conte’s system. With the Italian gone, it’s likely Kulusevski will flourish once more.
7. Miguel Almiron (Newcastle United)
The surprise package of the Premier League this season? Miguel Almiron has been a revelation, scoring 11 in his first 25 games: he’d only scored nine in the league ever before this season.
Miggy has been electric, combining with the likes of Bruno Guimaraes and Callum Wilson to indicate exactly why he had such incredible output in MLS before joining the Toon. He’s been one of the players of the season, firing Newcastle United into the Champions League positions – and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
6. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
Tied down to longer terms at Bayern Munich and one of his nation’s most reliable performers, Serge Gnabry has established himself as a regular name in German football: you know what you’re getting from him, now.
Gnabry is two-footed, explosive and fiercely intelligent, capable of beating a defender inside or out. More than anything, however, he’s immensely fun and when he’s in the mood, he can toy with his opposition. There’s a reason he’s so adored in Deutschland.
5. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Riyad Mahrez has made a hell of a career from cutting in on his left foot to supply and score, in both Manchester and Leicester. He might not start as often as he used to, but the Algerian has been a reliable big game man, a superb creator and a source of exquisite goals over the years – at 32, he might be past his best but he’s still excellent.
4. Raphinha (Barcelona)
Raphinha’s Barcelona career got off to a slow start when he first arrived in Catalonia, having to compete with Ousmane Dembele for the starting right-wing spot. Ever since the Frenchman’s long-term hamstring injury in January, though, Barca manager Xavi has placed his faith in Raphinha – and the Brazilian has not disappointed.
He has since burst into life, scoring four important goals since February as Barcelona march to the La Liga title, highlighting why the Catalans payed Leeds United so much money for him in the first place. Raphinha has also chipped in with assists for Robert Lewandowski, cutting infield to utilise his magical left foot.
3. Rodrygo (Real Madrid)
Federico Valverde has been used out on the right for Real Madrid a lot under Carlo Ancelotti. Call it the Kylian Mbappe domino effect of Los Blancos failing to secure their no.1 target as long ago as Deadline Day 2021. Still, they have a gem of a right-winger at the Bernabeu already.
Rodrygo already has the all-important ‘clutch’ gene that Real Madrid legends of the past are imbued with, capable of giving him the deciding touch in matches of paramount importance. The Brazilian is decisive, composed and ferociously powerful down the right flank: his breakout season has put fear into full-backs, and can you blame them?
2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Once the gold standard for what a right-winger should be, Salah has slipped ever so slightly down this pecking order after failing to match his once-ridiculous highs this season. He’s still one of Liverpool’s standout performers in their otherwise strange malaise this campaign.
The last five years have proven him evergreen, as Salah has reinvented the right-winger for a new generation. Just take his career at Anfield and ask yourself: how many forwards of any Premier League side have consistently produced such brilliance with absolutely no dip? Salah, statistically, is in a league with the Ronaldos and Henrys in that regard.
Whatever happens to the Reds, their talisman will remain just that. He’s so much more than just a winger: he’s the centre of the Earth for Jurgen Klopp.
1. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Bukayo Saka has gone from being a speedy wing-back to one of the best right-wingers in world football in three years. He’s still just 21 years old, with the world at his feet.
But while his speed, awareness of what’s around him and passing ability are all great aspects of his game, it’s his inherent decision-making that has underpinned his whole development. The Arsenal No.7 nearly always makes the right choice on and off the ball, making him near-impossible to defend against. Key in Arsenal’s title charge, he’s still growing, too: he could be scarily good as he heads into his mid-20s.