Ranking the best right-wingers on the planet is no easy task in the modern age. With a 4-4-2 more or less resigned to history (we know the irony!), a myriad of formations means the wide men are a different breed from the classic crossers of the 1990s.
These days, they’re also goalscorers, pressers, raumdeuters and more. However, if the players on this list all have their little peculiarities, one thing binds them: they are almost still right aligned.
This last point therefore rules out players like Paulo Dybala, Lionel Messi or Kylian Mbappe, who are just as likely to be fielded more centrally for their clubs. So, without further ado…
Best right wingers in the world: 10. Antony (Manchester United)
Is £85m too much for Antony? Most likely. But that doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. Manchester United’s multimillion-dollar man has excited so far in his United career, dancing around defenders and showing an explosive finish on his locker that some of us doubted he had. He’s still young and will only get better with age: watch this space.
9. Riyadh Mahrez (Manchester City)
Riyad Mahrez has had quite the career cutting with his left foot to provide and score, at Manchester and Leicester. He may 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 31 he may have surpassed its best level but it is still excellent.
8. Federico Chiesa (Juventus)
Federico Chiesa has had his injury problems this season, while Juventus have stuttered in the race for the Scudetto to find themselves competing for the European spots instead. Still, anyone who remembers what Chiesa produced at the Euros knows how good he is.
A fireball of a player capable of breaking through defences, Chiesa looks restless and impatient in possession, always ready to take on his man. He can play either side, is intense and explosive and loves nothing more than breaking into the box to complete a move.
7. Miguel Almiron (Newcastle United)
The Premier League’s surprise package this season? Miguel Almiron was a revelation, scoring seven goals in his first 13 games: he had scored just nine in the league before this season.
Miggy has been electric, combining with Bruno Guimaraes and Callum Wilson to indicate exactly why he had such incredible production in MLS before joining the Toon. He is one of the players of the season.
6. Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
It took him long enough to be consistent. As Ousmane Dembele’s contract came to an end at Barcelona, the Frenchman began to show some of the golden promise that came with his nine-figure transfer fee – and despite Barca being out of the Champions League , he’s been consistent enough in the league to guard on fellow right-winger Raphinha.
Dembele has always been a devastating two-way threat at his best and under Xavi he seems to have matured into a superb lone winger who can link up well with Robert Lewandowski. At 25, it’s crazy to think his best football may still be ahead of him.
5. Rodrygo (Real Madrid)
Federico Valverde has been used a lot on the right for Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti. Call it the domino effect of Los Blancos’ Kylian Mbappe failing to secure their No.1 target long ago as Deadline Day 2021. Yet, they already have a right-winger gem at the Bernabeu.
Rodrygo already possesses the all-important ‘clutch’ gene that Real Madrid legends of the past are imbued with, capable of giving him the decisive touch in crucially important matches. The Brazilian is decisive, composed and ferociously powerful on the right flank: if he has a breakout season on par with Vinicius Jr’s, the full-backs are in serious trouble.
4. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
Bound to longer tenures at Bayern Munich and one of his country’s most trusted players, Serge Gnabry has established himself as a regular name in German football: you know what you get from him, now.
Gnabry is two-legged, explosive and fiercely intelligent, capable of beating a defender inside or out. More than anything, though, he’s extremely fun and when he’s in the mood, he can mess with his opponent. There’s a reason he’s so adored in Deutschland.
3. Dejan Kulusevski (Tottenham Hotspur)
Such a high surprise inclusion? Maybe – but just look at Antonio Conte’s Tottenham squad with and without their Sweden ginger. The difference is staggering.
That’s partly thanks to Dejan Kulusevski’s superb all-around game. He doesn’t need a winger or overlapping midfielders to get close to him: he’s physical, skilled and capable of producing a creative spark to unleash Kane and Son at his side. He has been near perfect since arriving in English football and looks like one of the best January signings in recent memory.
2. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Bukayo Saka has gone from a fast winger to one of the best right wingers in world football in three years. He is only 21 years old, with the world at his feet.
But while his speed, awareness of his surroundings and passing ability are all great aspects of his game, it’s his inherent decision-making that has underpinned his entire development. Arsenal’s No.7 almost always makes the right choice on and off the ball, which makes him nearly impossible to defend against. He’s still growing too: he could be awfully good even by the end of the current season.
1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
The gold standard, always, for what a right winger should be. Despite Liverpool’s strange malaise this season, the Egyptian king is a man of all seasons, capable of finishing like no one else, as shown against Manchester City.
The last five years have proven that forever, as Salah has reinvented the right-winger for a new generation. Just take his career at Anfield and ask yourself: how many strikers in any Premier League side have ever produced such a brilliance without any downside? Salah, statistically, is in a league with the Ronaldos and the Henrys in that regard.
Whatever happens to the Reds, their talisman will remain just that. He is much more than just a winger: he is the center of the earth for Jurgen Klopp.