Napoli captain, Giovanni Di Lorenzo's displays have seen him now regarded as one of the best full-backs in world football in 2023.
Years ago, full-backs play relatively nominal roles in a team: they are majorly tasked with marking and defending. The best full-backs in the world then were judged based on their defensive abilities.
Nowadays, the role has evolved significantly and performance of players occupying these roles are not just rated based on defending alone; but also on their attacking exploits.
Players like Marcelo, Dani Alves, Patrice Evra, Ashley Cole, Alex Sandro, Jordi Alba and Dani Carvajal have been pioneers for the modern-day full back.
In this article, FootballOrbit brings you the top 10 best full-backs in the world in 2023.
1. Achraf Hakimi
Achraf Hakimi has been making a name for himself as a classical modern full-back over the last few years. After helping Inter Milan win the 2020/21 Serie A title, PSG signed him in 2021 for a reported fee of €60 million.
At the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Hakimi was brilliant throughout as Morocco became the first ever African nation to reach the semi-final.
He made the most tackles of any player in Qatar and was the standout player in a Moroccan defence that conceded just once (an own goal) before the semi-finals.
Moreso, he created 6 chances and made an assist at the World Cup. His sweet Panenka penalty against Spain in the round of 16 was one of the highlights of the tournament.
Achraf Hakimi has made 38 appearances for PSG in all competitions this season, scoring 5 goals and providing 5 assists.
2. Theo Hernandez
Last season, Theo Hernandez was instrumental as AC Milan won their first Serie A title since 2011.
He further boosted his profile by playing a key role in France’s run to the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Hernandez was a menace in attack and was the first opposition player to score against Morocco in Qatar.
Furthermore, he created 10 chances and provided an assist. Defensively, he won 13 tackles and made 30 recoveries
He played 6 games, scored a goal and provided 2 assists Les Blues. He made our World Cup Team of the Tournament.
In 42 matches across all competitions so far for AC Milan in 2022/23, Theo scored 4 goals and provided 5 assists as the Rosonerri reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
3. Alphonso Davies
Due to his exceptional pace, strength, dribbling ability, creativity and crossing ability; Alphonso Davies established himself as one of the best young wing-backs in world football.
Although mainly playing as an attacking full back on the left flank, the versatile Canadian is equally capable of playing as a wing-back, left midfielder or winger.
Davies has appeared 38 times for Bayern in all competitions this season, scoring 3 goals and providing 8 assists.
4. Kieran Trippier
After making a name for himself at Tottenham and Athletico Madrid, Kieran Trippier joined Newcastle in January 2022.
His wealth of experience has been immensely useful as the Saudi-backed club seek to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Trippier has made 44 appearances for Newcastle in 2022/23 so far, registering a goal and 10 assists.
5. Andy Robertson
Known for his vision, athleticism and physical power, Andy Robertson is widely considered to be one of the best full-backs in the world.
Since joining Liverpool from Hull City in 2017, he has won several honours during his time with Liverpool, including the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020.
Furthermore, due to his performances in the 2018/19 Premier League season, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year.
Robertson has played 42 games in all competitions this season, laying on 11 assists. He also became the defender with the most assists in Premier League history (54).
6. Giovanni Di Lorenzo
Following the departures of Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly last summer, Giovanni Di Lorenzo was named the new captain of Napoli.
The Italian has since went on to lead the club to win the Serie A for the first time in 33 years, as well as reaching the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
Di Lorenzo’s displays have seen him now regarded as one of the best right-backs in world football.
The Italian is versatile, capable of playing as a centre-back, an attack-minded wing-back or a right winger due to his offensive qualities.
Although he is not fast, Di Lorenzo is tall, possesses good technique, can play with both feet and is known for his stamina, physical qualities and ability in the air.
In 45 appearance across all competitions for Napoli so far, he has scored 4 goals and provided 6 assists.
7. Jules Kounde
After a transfer battle with Chelsea last summer, Barcelona eventually signed Jules Kounde from Sevilla.
But the club could not register him as they were over the league’s salary cap limit, and had to seek for innovative ways to raise money, before eventually getting him registered.
Due to the intense competition at centre-back and weakness at right-back, Kounde was converted to a right-back at Camp Nou.
He seemlessly adapted to the new role, and even played there for France at the World Cup — playing 6 matches as Les Blues reached the final.
Jules Kounde has so far played 37 matches and scored a goal while providing 6 assists, as Barcelona won the La Liga for the first time in four years.
8. Trent Alexander-Arnold
Known for his range of passing, crossing and assists, Trent Alexander-Arnold is regarded as one of the best full-backs in world football — despite alleged flaws in his defensive ability.
His overlapping runs, switching of play, accuracy of crossing and work-rate in tracking back saw him become an important figure in Liverpool’s transitional, counter-attacking style of play.
Despite not being at his best this season, Arnold has still managed 4 goals and 9 assists in 45 matches across all competitions.
9. Joao Cancelo
Testament to Joao Cancelo’s brilliance is the fact that he has played for Benfica, Valencia Inter Milan, Juventus, Manchester City, and now Bayern Munich.
During his stint with Juventus, he won the Serie A and the Supercoppa Italiana in his first and only season.
At Man City, he won two Premier League titles and two League Cup titles. In 2020/21, Cancelo played a significant role as City reached their first ever UEFA Champions League final.
The Portuguese is renowned for his speed, energy and offensive capabilities; as well as his technique, dribbling skills, creativity and crossing ability.
Moreso, he is very versatile: capable of playing as a full-back or winger on either flank.
Cancelo was one of Pep Guardiola’s most effective creative players, often adopting positions in either half-space before delivering a ball into the penalty area or slipping a through ball between defenders.
He has played 45 matches for both Man City and Bayern this season, scored 3 goals and provided 11 assists.
10. Reece James
Since breaking into the first team at Chelsea, Reece James has gone on to establish himself as one of the best full-backs in the world.
Very capable defensively, the right-back is equally adept in attack. His overlapping runs, link-up play, precise crossing and powerful shots makes a menace for the opposition.
Injuries have really affected James at struggling Chelsea this season, forcing him to miss the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.