The 25 best right wingers in world football - ranked

The vintage winger of yesteryear is hard to come across in the current day and age.

The emergence of the ‘inverted’ wide man has altered our perceptions of the winger. Such players are no longer expected to hit the byline and cross at will - that’s now the job of the marauding full-back - but are instead tasked with cutting onto their favoured foot and creating or scoring from a more central position.

Of course, there’s the odd player who resembles the throwback profile of a right winger, but those are hard to come by and few are among the very best in the world right now. 

Here’s our list of the top 25 right wingers in the world.

25. Michael Olise

The sky's the limit for Olise | Alex Davidson/GettyImages

There’s no doubt Michael Olise has the potential to fly up this list. He’s got all the makings of an elite winger.

However, Olise can also shine in a central position, and it was in an attacking midfield role where he broke out at Reading in the Championship before he made the switch to Crystal Palace in 2021.

His debut season at Selhurst Park was promising without being hugely productive. Olise functions as an inverted winger off the right and his technical ability has seen him draw comparisons to Riyad Mahrez and Arjen Robben. He’s a creative winger who boasts impressive playmaking tools.

24. Hakim Ziyech

Ziyech's move to Chelsea hasn't quite worked out | Severin Aichbauer/GettyImages

Can we have the Hakim Ziyech of old back, please? Talk about the master of aesthetics.

Before his move to Chelsea, Ziyech was a glorious player to watch. The Moroccan combined style with efficiency as he played a key role in Erik ten Hag’s sensational 2018/19 Ajax side.

Ziyech’s strike on that fateful semi-final night in Amsterdam against Spurs summated the confidence he was playing with at the time. 

He has never looked cut out for the Premier League and he may need to move away to rediscover his best form.

23. Miguel Almiron

Almiron is now a feared attacker in the Premier League | David Cannon/GettyImages

Who had Miguel Almiron ending 2022 in Ballon d'Or worthy form at the start of the year?

The Paraguayan forward has been lighting up the Premier League as part of Newcastle's swashbuckling attacking lineup, enjoying an incredible scoring run on the right.

He's very much a form inclusion right now, but Almiron has a respectable strike rate throughout his career and will hope the best is still to come.

22. Ferran Torres

Torres quickly swapped Man City for Barcelona | Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Ferran Torres is tough to assess and rank. 

First of all, is he even a right winger? His career blossomed at Valencia in this position, but he’s been deployed as a false nine by Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique – it’s a role which suits him. Moreover, there are times when the Spin international looks like a world-beater, but he also goes through some dire spells of form. 

Nevertheless, Ferran is certainly gifted and it’s easy to forget he's still young with plenty of time to mature and further hone his craft.

21. Pedro Neto

Neto plays for Wolves and Portugal | Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

A freakish knee injury stunted Pedro Neto’s development quite severely because the explosive right winger was well on his way to becoming one of the very best in the world at his position.

Neto is adept off both flanks, with his dogged dribbling and fierce ball striking rendering him a dual threat wide man. He can beat you on the inside and out with aplomb.

The Portugal international’s record at Wolves pre-injury was very impressive considering the pragmatic set-up he was a part of. It’s his stellar skill set that helps him onto our ranking. 

20. Nicolo Zaniolo

Zaniolo has had rotten luck with injuries | Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Oh, those poor knees. Sustaining back-to-back ACL injuries would be enough to deter pretty much anybody, but not Nicolo Zaniolo.

The precocious Roman burst onto the scene with a Champions League brace against Porto in 2019 and he was widely tipped to be the next big thing in Italian football. Those two long-term knee injuries thwarted that trajectory, however, and he has been forced to reinvent himself. 

Jose Mourinho effectively deployed the imposing Italian as a striker last season in what was a bounce-back year for Zaniolo. He’s an incredibly powerful ball carrier and once seemed tailor-made for Premier League football.

19. Gareth Bale

Bale is Wales' greatest ever player | Visionhaus/GettyImages

Yes, he may be plying his trade outside of Europe, but Gareth Bale has continued to prove in recent times that he still possesses devastating quality.

It’s easily forgotten that this guy, who was once discussed in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (genuinely), scored over 100 goals for Real Madrid during a trophy-laden spell in the Spanish capital. 

Sure, injuries mean he’s not the same player as he was when he all but ended Maicon’s career at the highest level, but he remains a talismanic figure in Welsh football.

His career is drawing to a close and while he can no longer be considered among the very best, he’s still a sensational footballer. 

18. Jadon Sancho

Sancho is improving at Man Utd | Robin Jones/GettyImages

Jadon Sancho’s time at Manchester United has been disappointing, but there are various mitigating factors as to why the England international’s Borussia Dortmund form hasn’t translated over to the Premier League.

There’s, of course, less space to attack in transition in England compared to the space haven that is the Bundesliga, but Sancho has also been hamstrung by poor coaching. Pre-Ten Hag, United’s positional play was pitiful, and Sancho failed to forge connections with teammates down either flank. 

Hopefully, that changes with a new manager at the helm and the early signs are promising.

17. Jarrod Bowen

Bowen is a star for West Ham | Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

From non-league Hereford United to West Ham and Europa League semi-finals, Jarrod Bowen has embarked on quite the journey.

Bowen has consistently impressed in east London since arriving from Hull City in 2019, but 2021/22 was a coming-of-age campaign for the industrious right winger. The Englishman scored 12 times in the Premier League and added ten assists for the seventh-place Hammers as many clamoured for the 25-year-old to earn his first England call-up.

Bowen is a relentless winger who often creates chances for himself thanks to his work rate and defensive effort. He’s so direct in possession and excels in David Moyes’ transition-heavy system. Bowen is brilliant when he’s given space to attack, but he also boasts the technique to combine and create in tight spaces.

16. Hirving Lozano

Lozano is part of an electric Napoli attack | Ivan Romano/GettyImages

Hirving Lozano was once adored by FIFA Ultimate Team players during his time at PSV, and following initial struggles, his ‘OP’ virtual ability has translated over to reality in Naples.

The lightning-quick Mexican scored 11 times in Serie A for Napoli during the 2020/21 season before he registered ten league goal contributions in 2021/22 as he often rotated with Matteo Politano down the right-hand side. 

Lozano may not be the most refined of wingers, but he’s an invaluable outlet for Luciano Spalletti’s side. His speed is a major asset and it’s enough to make any opposing full-back quiver.

15. Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez has enjoyed domestic success at City | Visionhaus/GettyImages

Pep Guardiola’s tendency to rotate means Riyad Mahrez hasn’t quite produced the numbers of some of his contemporaries, but the Algerian winger has come up clutch in some huge moments for Manchester City.

His performances in the knockout stages of the 2020/21 Champions League campaign spring to mind, especially his three-goal performance over two legs in the semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain.

His tendency to produce when it matters most is just another string to Mahrez’s bow. The former Leicester winger is as naturally gifted a footballer as there is. He emanates elegance and grace every time he touches the ball. 

14. Moussa Diaby

Diaby is a star in the making | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/GettyImages

In a post-Kai Havertz world, Moussa Diaby (along with young Florian Wirtz) emerged as a major protagonist at Bayer Leverkusen. 

The Frenchman was primarily a creator off the flank before his goal output exploded in 2021/22. Diaby scored a career-high 13 Bundesliga goals (to complement his 12 assists) as he spearheaded Die Werkself’s return to the Champions League.

Diaby epitomises modern-day wing play. He inverts off the right so he can wreak havoc in more central zones, but he also boasts the speed and trickery to beat his man on the outside. Diaby’s two-footedness adds to his mystique in possession, while he’s a brilliant ball striker, too.

A big-money move beckons for the France international.

13. Angel Di Maria

Di Maria has been a threat for decades | Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Manchester United spell aside, Angel Di Maria has been playing at an elite level for over a decade.

His game has had to evolve as he reaches the twilight of his career, but the Argentine is still one of the best right wingers in the world.

At PSG, Di Maria played the supporting role. He couldn’t compete with Kylian Mbappe’s productivity, nor rival Neymar’s majesty with the ball, but he ensured that PSG’s ego-laden attack was balanced, and he played an underrated role in their journey to the 2020 Champions League final. 

12. Domenico Berardi

Berardi is a Sassuolo stalwart | Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

The perennially underrated Domenico Berardi has lived a comfortable life in Sassuolo.

He has seen some of Italy’s finest young talent come and go in Emilia-Romagna, and while he’s certainly good enough to join one of Serie A’s behemoths, the Italy international has persistently opted for the comfort of familiarity. 

Berardi has been nothing short of an output machine at Sassuolo and has to be regarded as one of Italy’s finest products of the 2010s, but his unwillingness to challenge himself at the very highest level domestically means he doesn’t make our top ten. 

11. Antony 

Antony is a true showman | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Manchester United might’ve paid well over the odds for Antony in the summer, but that doesn’t mean he can’t evolve into one of the very best right wingers in the world.

The Brazilian made an instant impact at Old Trafford when he scored on his United debut against Arsenal in a 3-1 victory. He showcased some of his (often rather unnecessary) samba flair in the triumph, and he’s a player that’ll certainly attempt to entertain the home faithful week in, week out.

10. Rodrygo

Rodrygo is ready to explode with Real Madrid | Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Rodrygo has often been outshone by compatriot and teammate Vinicius Junior since joining Real Madrid in 2019, but that isn’t to say the Brazilian hasn’t produced some big moments himself.

While Vinicius is rightly regarded as one of the best left wingers in the world following his recent evolution in the final third, Rodrygo hasn’t quite garnered such lofty praise. Still, the former Santos starlet has the potential to one day reach superstar status.

Rodrygo is an excellent technician who can beat opponents one-vs-one in a myriad of ways. While he lacks supreme physicality and athleticism, the Brazilian does boast predatory instincts in the box, and he’s brilliant at creating space for himself in the final third.

While Vinicius scored the all-important winner in last season’s Champions League final, it was Rodrygo’s goals in the quarter-final and semi-final second legs that ensured Los Blancos progressed. 

9. Dejan Kulusevski

Kulusevski made an instant impact at Tottenham | Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

Juventini laughed in the faces of Spurs supporters when Fabio Paratici dragged Dejan Kulusevski out of Max Allegri’s prison in January 2022. 

Well, as Nigel Farage famously once said: “You’re not laughing now, are you?”

Kulusevski, or Deki as he’s commonly known in north London, has been nothing short of a revelation and was hugely responsible for the Lilywhites claiming a top-four spot by the season’s end. 

His ability to retain possession under pressure, glide beyond opponents, and seemingly always make the right decision in the final third means he slotted seamlessly into Antonio Conte’s transition-heavy system. Together with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, the trio combined to forge a deadly three-headed attack.

Kulusevski is a sublime player to watch, one that has an innate ‘feel’ for the game. 

8. Raphinha

Raphinha joined Barça from Leeds | Aitor Alcalde Colomer/GettyImages

Angel Di Maria lite. The stylistic similarities to the majestic Argentine are too distinct to ignore and following a wonderful two years with Leeds, Raphinha made the switch to Barcelona in the summer. 

The Brazilian was courted by several top Premier League clubs, but it was the Catalonians who won the hotly contested race for his services.

Raphinha is so technically proficient that he’s capable of dictating the tempo of proceedings from his wide position. He’s athletic enough to beat his man in a myriad of ways, but he prefers to drift inside and create from a more central position.

The Brazil international was excellent at Elland Road under Marcelo Bielsa, and Xavi will undoubtedly squeeze out every ounce of his talent at Camp Nou.

7. Federico Chiesa

Chiesa has had some time out with injuries | Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

Federico Chiesa’s stellar Euro 2020 campaign with eventual winners Italy thrust the electric winger to the forefront of these sorts of discussions.

Chiesa was once a precocious talent at Fiorentina before Juventus came in with an irresistible offer in 2020. It took some time for the Italian to settle in Turin, but he exploded down the stretch of the 2020/21 campaign which set the tone for his career-altering summer.

Chiesa is an indefatigable entertainer who was enjoying a quick rise to superstardom pre-injury. He’s equally brilliant off both flanks, is excellent on the counter-attack, runs in behind at will, and is now a wise decision-maker in the final third.

We cannot wait to see him back in action.

6. Serge Gnabry

Gnabry has enjoyed Champions League trips to London | Franz Kirchmayr/GettyImages

The Germany international was once the most feared winger on the planet, especially in London. Both Tottenham and Chelsea felt the insidious wrath of Serge Gnabry back in the 2019/20 season as Bayern Munich won the Champions League off the back of the former Arsenal winger’s sensational form. 

And while Gnabry remains one of the most potent wingers in the world, he perhaps didn’t build off that incredible campaign in the manner that many projected. The German seemed destined to join ‘best player in the world’ conversations, and while he certainly isn’t far off, his name has somewhat drifted out of mainstream football consciousness.

Gnabry has quietly gone about his work in Bavaria and has continued to score at an impressive rate for FC Hollywood. His two-footedness, turn of pace, and ferocious ball striking make him destructive on his day.

5. Ousmane Dembele

Dembele has reestablished himself at Barça | Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Ousmane Dembele is one of the most gifted footballers in the world, but injuries and inconsistency have prevented the Frenchman from reaching the stratospheric heights he was once destined to reach.

His time at Barcelona has been incredibly frustrating, but Xavi’s appointment offered the enigmatic winger a beacon of hope. The former midfielder recognised Dembele’s unordinary talent and has made him a key part of his project in Catalonia. As a result, Dembele is enjoying his best run of form in a Barcelona shirt. 

His stellar form has seen him draw comparisons to Neymar from his manager, and there’s no doubt the Frenchman could evolve into a player of the Brazilian’s standing at Camp Nou if he’s able to avoid the physio’s bench.

4. Federico Valverde

Valverde is as versatile as they come | Denis Doyle/GettyImages

A central midfielder by trade, Federico Valverde has made a name for himself as a winger at Real Madrid.

The Uruguayan is far from the archetypal wide man in that he’s a workhorse who tucks infield and hassles opponents relentlessly out of possession.

Madrid’s exceptional midfield, which has recently been rejuvenated by French sensations Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelian Tchouameni, thrust Valverde into an unfamiliar role but it’s one that he continues to perform brilliantly.

He contributes little by way of goals and assists, but his tactical significance is distinct, and he’s got a knack for showing up on the big occasion.

3. Bukayo Saka

Saka leads a promising Arsenal team | Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Bukayo Saka was just 19 when his spot kick was saved by Gigi Donnarumma to win Italy the Euros. A barrage of abuse came his way, but Arsenal’s starboy responded by leading the Gunners’ scoring charts in 2021/22.

To bounce back from what was undoubtedly the most difficult moment of his young senior career to date in the manner he did was nothing short of admirable. Saka was excellent for England at Euro 2020, and he’s been superb for Arsenal ever since Unai Emery handed him his debut in 2018. 

He has matured rapidly and quickly evolved into one of the world’s best right wingers. He’s capable of dominating his flank single-handedly as Mikel Arteta often isolates Saka down the right.

The Arsenal starlet is sneakily strong and masterful in one-vs-one situations.

2. Mohamed Salah

Salah is a lethal goalscorer | James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

The Liverpool hero may not boast the two-footedness of Son Heung-min, nor the grace and elegance of Riyad Mahrez, but there isn’t a ‘winger’ in the world that’s more ruthless in front of goal than Mo Salah.

There have been several crucial factors in Liverpool’s ascent under Jurgen Klopp, but the meteoric rise of the Egyptian at Anfield is certainly one of the most pivotal. His first stint in the Premier League was unsuccessful, to say the least, but Salah’s second term has thrust him into superstardom.

His goal returns each season since joining Liverpool are absurd, reading 32, 22, 19, 22 and 23 in the Premier League. He’s a two-time Golden Boot winner and his knack for pulling off the spectacular will only enhance his legacy when his time in England is looked back upon.

1. Lionel Messi

Messi is arguably the greatest of all time | Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

Reducing this man’s greatness to words is an impossibility. 

Some will disagree, of course, but Lionel Messi is the best there is, was, and probably ever will be. 

The little magician endured a ‘down’ year by his GOAT standards during his debut season in Paris, but business has resumed as normal at the start of 2022/23. Messi is, of course, not a right winger in the mould of his teenage self but Christophe Galtier is deploying him off the right in a Harlem Globetrotter-esque front three. 

The Argentine, though, has earned the right to do pretty much whatever he wants in the French capital. He’s still utterly incredible.

Source : 90min