A ranked list of 10 of the best left-footed center backs in the world currently

A ranked list of 10 of the best left-footed center backs in the world currently

Helix Odhiambo
March 28, 2024 at 4:39 PM
In this article:
FIFA World Cup logo
FIFA World Cup
English Premier League logo
ENG Premier League
Spanish La Liga logo
SPA La Liga
Italian Serie A logo
ITA Serie A
Presnel Kimpembe logo
Paris Saint Germain (PSG) logoDFrance logo
Gabriel dos Santos Magalhães logo
Arsenal logoDBrazil logo
David Alaba logo
D. Alaba
Real Madrid logoDAustria logo

Football centre-backs help maintain the backline and stop opponents from scoring. Some are left-footed, while others are right-footed. A few are gifted and can play well with both legs. The best left-footed centre-backs are known for their natural ability to use their left foot effectively.

Best left-footed centre-backs in the world
David Alaba (L) of Real Madrid, PSG's Presnel Kimpembe (C), and Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez (R). Photo: Matthew Peters, Tim Clayton, Alvaro Medranda (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Table of Сontents:

Do you need a left-footed centre-back? Left-footed center-halves are more in demand in the modern era because of their profile. They fit in a three-line defence and help play the ball from the back. Left-footed centre-backs are few in the modern game, while the right-footed ones are common.

Best left-footed centre-backs in the world

Football has seen the emergence of exceptional left-footed centre-halves who have displayed their technical abilities, defensive prowess, and outstanding ball-handling skills. Sports Brief has compiled a list of the ten best left-footed centre-backs after analysing their stats and achievements from numerous sources like Knel Now and 90 min.

Left-footed centre-back



Alessio Romagnoli



Inigo Martinez



Pau Torres


Aston Villa

Kalidou Koulibaly



Alessandro Bastoni


Inter Milan

Joško Gvardiol


Manchester City

David Alaba


Real Madrid

Lisandro Martinez


Manchester United

Gabriel Magalhaes



Presnel Kimpembe


Paris Saint-Germain

The left-footed centre-backs are worth millions in the market, according to Transfermarkt. Their outstanding performances have earned them praise from football experts and enthusiasts.

10. Alessio Romagnoli

Best left-footed centre-backs
Alessio Romagnoli of SS Lazio during their Serie A match against Udinese Calcio at Stadio Olimpico on 11 March 2024 in Rome, Italy. Photo: Emmanuele Ciancaglini
Source: Getty Images

Top Soccer ranks Alessio among the best left-footed centre-backs today. The Lazio defender has proved his talent in the Serie A. His technique, positional sense, tackling ability and decision-making skills have earned him praise from football experts and enthusiasts.

  • Date of birth: 12 January 1995
  • Age: 29 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Anzio, Italy
  • Nationality: Italian
  • Jersey number: 13
  • Market price: $16.3 million

9. Inigo Martinez

Inigo Martinez of Barcelona at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys
Barcelona's Inigo Martinez passes the ball during their La Liga game against Mallorca at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on 8 March 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Manuel Queimadelos
Source: Getty Images

Martinez is a sold Spanish defender who spent most of his career at Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao before joining Barcelona in July 2023. He is a reliable passer and leader and excels at heading and tackling. His ability to read the game also lured Barca to sign him.

  • Date of birth: 17 May 1991
  • Age: 32 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Ondarroa, Spain
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Jersey number: 5
  • Market price: $6.5 million

8. Pau Torres

Aston Villa's Pau Torres celebrating at Craven Cottage
Aston Villa's Pau Torres celebrates their 2-1 win over Fulham in the Premier League at Craven Cottage on 17 February 2024 in London, United Kingdom. Photo: David Horton
Source: Getty Images

Pau Torres is one of the greatest ball-playing defenders in football. He is one of the regular starters for Spain's national team. Torres nurtured his talent at Villareal's academy and played over 130 games for the senior team. He also played for Malaga before joining Aston Villa in July 2023.

  • Date of birth: 16 January 1997
  • Age: 27 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Villarreal, Spain
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Jersey number: 14, 4
  • Market price: $48.9 million

7. Kalidou Koulibaly

Senegal's Kalidou Koulibaly at the Africa Cup of Nations
Kalidou Koulibaly of Senegal during their Africa Cup of Nations group stage match against Cameroon at Stade Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro on 19 January 2024 in Ivory Coast. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen
Source: Getty Images

The former Chelsea centre-back is known for his excellent ball possession, aerial ability, intelligence, and tackling skills. Koulibaly captained Senegal to their first Africa Cup of Nations in February 2022 and helped them qualify for the Round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He joined Al Hilal in the Saudi Pro League in June 2023.

  • Date of birth: 20 June 1991
  • Age: 32 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France
  • Nationality: Senegalese
  • Jersey number: 3
  • Market price: $12 million

6. Alessandro Bastoni

Best left-footed centre-backs in FIFA
Alessandro Bastoni of Italy in a training session at Centro Sportivo Giulio Onesti on 18 March 2024 in Rome, Italy. Photo: Claudio Villa
Source: Getty Images

Bastoni has established himself among the best-rising stars in his position. The young centre-half has impressive distribution skills and can initiate attacks from the back. He is one of the key players in Inter Milan's squad, dominating Serie A.

  • Date of birth: 13 April 1999
  • Age: 24 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Casalmaggiore, Italy
  • Nationality: Italian
  • Jersey number: 95
  • Market price: $76 million

5. Joško Gvardiol

Young left-footed centre-backs
Josko Gvardiol of Manchester City during their UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match against Copenhagen at Etihad Stadium on 6 March 2024 in Manchester, England. Photo: Pedro Salado
Source: Getty Images

Gvardiol is one of the top young left-footed centre-backs in football. He rose to prominence after performing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, helping Croatia finish third. As reported by Sky Sports, the talented defender joined Manchester City in August 2023 for a record fee of $97.8 million from RB Leipzig.

  • Date of birth: 3 January 2002
  • Age: 22 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Zagreb, Croatia
  • Nationality: Croatian
  • Jersey number: 24, 20
  • Market price: $81.5 million

4. David Alaba

Real Madrid's David Alaba at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid's David Alaba controls the ball during their La Liga game against Villarreal CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on 17 December 17 2023, in Madrid, Spain. PhotoL Mateo Villalba
Source: Getty Images

The Austrian is one of the best players of his generation. As a teenager, Alaba broke through at Bayern Munich, playing left-back. He later converted to a centre-back, a position he has excelled in since joining Real Madrid. The world-class defender is known for his versatility, speed, and technical skills.

  • Date of birth: 24 June 1992
  • Age: 31 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
  • Nationality: Austrian
  • Jersey number: 4
  • Market price: $27 million

3. Lisandro Martinez

Lisandro Martinez of Manchester United at Old Trafford
Lisandro Martinez of Manchester United during their Premier League match against West Ham United at Old Trafford on 4 February 2024 in Manchester, England. Photo: Matthew Peters
Source: Getty Images

'The Butcher' has won the hearts of Premier League fans with his outstanding defensive displays and impressive ball distribution skills. Martinez joined Manchester United in July 2022 and has quickly established himself among the best centre-halves. He was part of the Argentine team that won the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

  • Date of birth: 18 January 1998
  • Age: 26 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Gualeguay, Argentina
  • Nationality: Argentine
  • Jersey number: 6, 25
  • Market price: $48.7 million

2. Gabriel Magalhaes

Left-footed centre-backs in the Premier League
Gabriel of Arsenal celebrates victory in the Premier League match against Brentford FC at Emirates Stadium on 9 March 2024 in London, England. Photo: Stuart MacFarlane
Source: Getty Images

The Arsenal defender has become among the best left-footed centre-backs in the Premier League. Gabriel is one of the most influential figures in the club. His partnership with William Saliba has strengthened the team's defence and improved their performance under Mikel Arteta.

  • Date of birth: 19 December 1997
  • Age: 26 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: São Paulo, State of São Paulo, Brazil
  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Jersey number: 6
  • Market price: $70 million

1. Presnel Kimpembe

Left-footed centre-backs of all time
Presnel Kimpembe of PSG during their Ligue 1 match against AS Monaco at Stade Louis II on 11 February 2023 in Monaco. Photo: Jonathan Moscrop
Source: Getty Images

Kimpembe has displayed his defensive skills at Paris Saint-Germain and the French national team. He is among the most sought-after left-footed centre-halves because of his tackling skills, leadership, and ball-playing abilities. The defender won the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France but missed the 2022 edition due to injury.

  • Date of birth: 13 August 1995
  • Age: 28 (as of March 2024)
  • Birthplace: Beaumont-sur-Oise, France
  • Nationality: French
  • Jersey number: 3
  • Market price: $16 million

Frequently asked questions

The role of the left-footed centre-backs has evolved with changes in football formations and build-up plays from defence. The position requires exceptional mental and physical attributes and the ability to lead and organise a defensive line.

Who are the best left-footed centre-backs of all time?

Footie Hound ranked the top five best left-footed centre-backs in FIFA rankings, led by Italian and AC Milan legend Paulo Maldini. Other top footballers who excelled in the position include Frank De Boer, Walter Samuel, Giorgio Chiellini, and Gabriel Heinze.

Who are the top-rated left-footed centre-backs in FC24?

Real Madrid's David Alaba and Alessandro Bastoni of Inter Milan are the highly-rated left-footed centre-halves in Electronic Arts, with an overall rating of 85. Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez has a rating of 84.

Can you be a left-footed right-back?

Right-backs are generally right-footed to allow them to cross the ball using their strong foot (right). However, left-footed defenders can play in right back if their right foot is strong. Many full-backs have switched positions as makeshifts to cover for their injured colleague and excelled in their new roles.

Final word

Most teams have struggled to replace their left-footed centre-backs because of their scarcity. Some deploy right-footed defenders with good left foot to occupy the left side of the defence. The demand for left-footed centre-backs has increased significantly because of the changing nature of the game.

READ ALSO: Top 10 footballers with the most goal contributions in a season since 2000

Sports Brief listed footballers with the most goal contributions in a season. Many footballers have recorded incredible goal contributions in a season because of their talents and skills. From the likes of Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski, follow the above link to learn more.

Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.