5 Best right-left winger combinations since 2000
A winger is very important for the success of a football team. They usually provide the necessary width for a team’s attack and stretch the opposition’s defence. They also cut in from the flanks at times to increase numbers around the penalty box and thereby break through the back line.
A winger is different from a side-midfielder in the sense that he usually has less defensive responsibilities and spends more time in the opposition half. He does not have to fall back as frequently as a side-midfielder to retrieve balls from his half. He should also be able to dribble past the opposition full-back to go near their goal-line.
However, in modern day football, the wingers also have their share of defensive duties and often help in employing the high-press on the opposition.
There have been many great right and left wing combinations in world football. We would take a look at the top 5 of them since 2000:
1. Luis Figo – Cristiano Ronaldo:
Figo was in the twilight of his career when an 18 year old Ronaldo made his debut for the Portuguese national team. The great man took the young man under his wings almost quite literally, and helped him develop into a great player himself.
Figo and Ronaldo played together in the Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. Portugal lost to Greece in the final of Euro 2004 on their home soil. They again lost to losing finalists, France in the semifinal of the 2006 World Cup. However, they impressed with their attractive style of football and won over many football lovers worldwide.
Figo usually played in the right wing and Ronaldo started on the left. However, they switched flanks at times and kept delivering crosses to strikers like Nuno Gomes and Pauleta. Figo was a consummate dribbler and a great crosser, whereas Ronaldo was faster than him and a brilliant dribbler too.
Moreover, they had powerful shots on them and scored many goals for their national team. Figo retired in 2006 after having scored 32 goals in 127 matches for Portugal, whereas Ronaldo became their highest capped player and has scored 85 goals in 154 matches for them till date. It remains a pity that they could not win any major silverware for their national team.