So far, we have been able to rank the best goalkeepers, full backs, centre backs, defensive midfielders, central midfielders, attacking midfielders and right wingers in Europe for the 2019/2020 season.
Today, we move onto the best left wingers, and in one respect, this is where things can start to get a little tricky. There are plenty of players who like to alternate flanks and could therefore be considered either left or right wingers, and a similarly large number of players who operate both as strikers and wide players at different times.
We’ve tried to put each player in the position they have played most frequently this season, and it is an important point to note that Timo Werner will not be in this ranking, but rather the centre-forward one. I won’t go into the specifics of any other players, but just to prevent outrage in the comments I thought I’d best address that one.
For those of you who haven’t seen the earlier parts of this series, please do, we also explain the criteria a little in the opening paragraphs.
- Best Goalkeepers In Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
- Best Centre Backs In Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
- Best Full Backs In Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
- Best Defensive Midfielders In Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
- Best Central Midfielders In Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
- Best Attacking Midfielders In Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
- Best Right Wingers In Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
- Best Left Wingers in Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
- Best Centre Forwards In Europe Right Now (2019/2020)
Right, here are our 10 best left wingers in world football.
This list is based on
1. Influence on their team’s attacking play
2. Creativity + Eye Test
3. Statistical performance compared to European counterparts
Denis Bouanga – Saint-Étienne
Saint-Étienne have had a very forgettable season that almost saw them get relegated but there have been few positives. Bouanga is one of those positives.
Without him, the team would probably be in court fighting like Toulouse and Amiens over being relegated automatically. He has played multiple positions, although mostly on the left side. 18 G/BCC in 35 games is a good return in the circumstances, as his teammates have been piss poor. What a season he has had! Easily their player of the season.
Mounir Chouiar – Dijon
When Dijon signed Chouiar from RC Lens, he had already produced 3 G/BCC in 4 games for the season before joining his new club. At Dijon, he really came into his own.
11 G/BCC in 22 games in all competitions for a lower table team while being the second best dribbler in the league is remarkable. He has been a delight to watch all season as he has dazzled with a flair reminiscent of the likes of Neymar. There’s so much more to come.
Mikel Oyarzabal – Real Sociedad
Mikel Oyarzabal has been one of the bright spots in a truly remarkable season for Real Sociedad. His 19 G/BCC so far in 33 games represents a good return and one of the reasons La Real are in a CL spot.
Add to that, his dribbling has been at a high level. 70% success from wide positions is a crazy good return and he scored 2 of the 3 goals that took La Real into the Cup final (although they were both penalties).
Marcus Rashford – Manchester United
Marcus Rashford has had to take on more responsibility for Man United with the departures last summer and Pogba’s injury woes. So far, he has done well. What he has lacked in creativity, he has made up for in goals.
All in all, 25 G/BCC in 31 games is a very good return. His explosiveness has particularly been a delight and has destabilised various opponents. His best season so far could well be followed up by even better seasons in future.
Heung Min Son – Tottenham Hotspur
In a super-forgettable season for Tottenham, Son has been one of the team’s shining lights. When things haven’t gone the way of the club, he has still produced remarkably well. His 29 G/BCC in 32 games this season is proof.
His movement, technique and intelligence have been a joy to witness as has his dribbling ability, exemplified by that stupendous goal he scored many months ago on the break. With the stock of his teammates going down, Son’s stock has gone up.
Filip Kostić – Frankfurt
Just one look at Kostić’s 33 G/BCC in 41 games (excluding Europa League qualifiers) so far tells a big story of the level of production he has delivered this season. His xA is 11th in Europe’s top five leagues this season, top 10 for key passes, 2nd for crosses into the box and 14th for progressive passes. For context, Frankfurt are 11th in the league and have lost half their games.
Kostić is what one would describe as a throwback winger who sets his priorities and delivers accordingly. He would probably be snapped up once he stops flying under the radar.
Jeremie Boga – Sassuolo
It will only surprise those who haven’t seen Boga this season that he is so high on this list. He has been a thorn in the flesh of opposition defenders this season, and his ability to open up opponents with his direct running and dribbling has been very key for Sassuolo.
His ability on the turn while facing his own goal has also led to solid breaks for Sassuolo. He leads Europe in dribbles leading to shot attempts and dribbles leading to goals. Of players to have completed up to 15 games (in 90s), only Neymar has completed more dribbles per game.
Sadio Mané – Liverpool
27 G/BCC in 38 games aside (Club World Cup excluded), Sadio Mané has had a quality season for Liverpool. His work is sometimes not reflected by stats but his role in Liverpool has been key to their crazy league form.
When Liverpool need movement in and around the final third, Mané is intelligent to be disruptive in ways that benefit Liverpool. When they need directness, he produces it. And when they desperately need goals to decide games, he is once again there.
Despite not having the numbers that Salah has or the opportunities that Firmino has gotten, he is just as important to Liverpool’s success as both.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
Cristiano Ronaldo has had a truly memorable season, one that many seemed to think he was no longer capable of because of age. Juventus have been very dependent on him to produce in order to remain strong in the title race and he has delivered.
Despite the constraint of a frankly mediocre midfield, Ronaldo has produced for Juventus in attack, finding ways to be decisive again and again. He has also shown great consistency, scoring in 11 consecutive league games to tie the record held by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.
His tally of 31 G/BCC in 32 games is complemented by his return to good dribbling form – something which has been key for Juventus in attack – with his 66% dribble success rate in Serie A.
Neymar – PSG
Easily the best player in Europe this season, Neymar has hit a new level of excellence. His influence across the pitch has been exceptional for PSG, helping them progress the ball from deeper areas with his ball-carrying and excellent line-breaking passes while also impacting things in the final third – 33 G/BCC (Goals & Big Chances Created) in 22 games.
In the Champions League, he delivered decisive goals that got PSG into their first quarter final in four years. In all stats relevant to his role and in the role of central midfielders as well, Neymar ranks very high despite not playing as many games as others on those lists.
Add to that, his dribbling volume is bonkers (5.9 completed per game), considering how much more he does in ensuring PSG create openings via passes.