When it comes to a game of soccer, every player’s role on the pitch is important. Whether you’re a center, a midfielder, a striker, or another position, then you’re going to be crucial to the game and the success (or not!) of your team.
This is certainly true when it comes to wingers.
A winger’s job in soccer is to give support to the forward players, running up and down the sides of the pitch and hoping to pass the ball into areas where goals can be scored.
Though they play along the sidelines, they’re no less a part of the team’s success, and as a result there have been many brilliant wingers in soccer history. However, it can be hard to narrow them down to the very best, since there are so many options.
Thankfully, we’ve done it for you! In our fun guide below, we’ve got a list of the best wingers in soccer, with information on why each player was so great.
Best Winger In Soccer
1. John Barnes
We’re starting our list off with John Barnes, a now retired professional soccer player who began his career as a left winger, before moving to central midfield later on. He made a lot of waves as a winger, particularly for his ability to score goals in the position.
He is primarily known for playing for Liverpool, where he scored 106 goals across 403 matches, but he also played for England’s national team.
The unfortunate reason for him eventually hanging up his winger’s boots and taking on the position of central midfield instead was because he had injuries, so needed a less demanding position.
Either way, the incredible skill and rapid pace that he brought to being a winger was still on full display after the move.
2. Marc Overmars
Overmars is a Dutch soccer player who has become renowned as one of the best wingers in the sport’s history. He has played for a wide variety of teams, demonstrating his winger abilities on each of them.
He takes particularly well to the position because he holds all the key skills necessary: great speed, vision, terrific dribbling, and more. In fact, when he moved to Arsenal in 1997, he said he was looking forward to it because they had a greater pace there, that would match his speed.
3. David Beckham
David Beckham is one of the most famous soccer players of all time, (see also: Best Chelsea Players Of All Time)and demonstrated skill in both midfielder and right wing positions. He proved to be especially good at being a winger thanks to his ability to cross and pass well, as well as his bending free-kicks.
These types of kicks involve the ball curving through the air, which is really useful when you’re shooting from the wing.
4. Luis Figo
Figo is regarded as not just one of the greatest wingers of all time in soccer, but one of the best soccer players, period. Part of his success is thanks to his astonishing amount of assists, helping teammates to then hit the ball into the goal.
He performed 106 assists, the second highest amount in the history of La Liga.
5. Roberto Rivellino
The famous Brazilian soccer player Roberto Rivellino is arguably one of the best wingers of all time, thanks to fine footwork and his rapid pace. He was on the Brazilian national team that became champions of the 1970 FIFA World Cup, and his winger abilities certainly helped.
On top of that, he also created and popularized “The Elastico”, also known as the “flip-flap”, which is a great soccer trick still popular with players and fans today.
6. Dragan Džajić
Not only does he have a great name, but this Yugoslavian soccer player was one of the most talented wingers in soccer history.
He was a left winger, specifically, and he spent most of his career playing this position for the Red Star Belgrade team. He played 590 games for them, scoring 287 goals across those.
Clearly, that high number of goals was a testament to his impressive abilities as a winger. In the position, he had a rapid pace, great dribbling skills, and was able to accurately pass and cross.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is one of the most famous soccer players in the world, having made over 1,1000 professional career appearances. Though he isn’t used as a winger now, the early days of his career at Sporting and Manchester United were frequently spent as a winger.
This was understandable, because Ronaldo had a great acceleration and space to him that would allow him to run along the sidelines efficiently. His skill for dribbling, coupled with his impressive agility, also helped him to do well.
Ronaldhino is a massively famous retired Brazilian soccer player, who was mainly used as a midfielder, but did very well whenever he was used as a winger.
At Barcelona, the right-footed Ronadlhino would be used as an inverted winger, allowing him to cross the ball and shoot towards the goal with his stronger foot.
9. Johan Cruyuff
Cruyuff, a Dutch soccer player, is considered one of the most influential soccer figures ever – and his role as a wing helped to solidify that reputation.
This is interesting, because he spent more time in other positions, but he actually helped to popularize the “Total Footballer” style – where a soccer player would switch through roles.
10. George Best
We’re finishing our list of the BEST wingers in soccer with George BEST – see what we did there? Best has made his name as one of the best players in the history of soccer, and his skills as a winger helped get him there.
He had it all: balance, great footwork, rapid pace, and goal scoring abilities. He had always widely been considered to be one of the best dribblers in soccer ever, which certainly helped his success in the winger position.
The winger is an essential position in soccer – our list offers up the very best wingers in the history of the sport!