The best one-footed players – ranked

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One of the first things you’re taught in football growing up is how invaluable it is to not have a weak foot.

But no matter how often your mum or dads makes you kick a ball against the wall with your left peg, it doesn’t get anymore fun. While it would be great if the beautiful game was full of well balanced, two footed wizards, one footed players bring another level of expertise and craft to the pitch.

Rather predictable, but always fun and usually full of flair. Being one footed hasn’t stopped players from going to the very top, so it can’t be that important. 90min has pulled together the best of the bunch.

Brazilian Football League Serie A - Brasileirao Assai 2019Brazilian Football League Serie A - Brasileirao Assai 2019

Dede plays his football in Brazil / MB Media/Getty Images

The Brazilian defender has managed 11 caps for his nation which is a fine pedigree, but has just one foot to show for it.

The centre back was great at keeping things simple, but don’t expect anymore.

Leighton BainesLeighton Baines

Baines loves a set piece / Alex Broadway/Getty Images

Everton legend and Premier League dead ball hero Baines was slightly ahead of his time in the attacking full back role.

His best years came bombing it down the wing for the Toffees and whipping in crosses with a menacing left foot that was also good for a free-kick. Just a shame his right foot was the opposite.

Jose Luis GayaJose Luis Gaya

Gaya is a solid hand / Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Full backs are often vulnerable to becoming the most one footed players on the pitch.

Valencia’s Gaya is no exception; brilliant at his job, but let’s keep things simple. Either avoid that right peg entirely or get smashing a ball against the wall with it.

Nemanja MaticNemanja Matic

Matic avoids his right foot like the plague / Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

At his peak, Matic was a physical and dominant defensive midfielder who could break up play and relieve pressure on his side by worming his way out of danger.

He’s still doing it – albeit fleetingly – and does so with a decent left foot. But catch him on his right side, and he’s going to do everything in his power to either shuffle it over or pass the baton.

Aaron Wan-bissakaAaron Wan-bissaka

Wan-Bissaka’s left foot doesn’t exist / BSR Agency/Getty Images

There is a good player in Wan-Bissaka. There’s just a lot of work to do to find it.

Slide tackles are his strongest asset, and while his positioning leaves a lot to be desired, his attacking play is steadily improving at Manchester United. Being able to throw in a cut inside onto the left foot would be of huge benefit, though.

Nabil FekirNabil Fekir

Streets won’t forget / Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Injuries have seriously dampened the impact Fekir was set to have in the European game, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not a massively fun footballer.

The attacking midfielder is full of flair and possesses a wicked left foot that mesmerises defences at a variety of ranges. His right foot isn’t quite as strong, though, which is perhaps another flaw to his game.

FC Dallas v Los Angeles FCFC Dallas v Los Angeles FC

The MLS loves Vela / Shaun Clark/Getty Images

While it never quite worked out for Vela in England, he’s been a superstar in Spain and on the other side of the Atlantic with Los Angeles FC.

A lacking right foot and ability to do it at the very top has kept him at cult hero status, but MLS and Mexico fans don’t mind. Vela’s left foot has continually provided scorchers and created endless highlight reels.

Willian - Soccer Player for Chelsea and Brazil, Serge AurierWillian - Soccer Player for Chelsea and Brazil, Serge Aurier

Willian is infuriating to watch / Visionhaus/Getty Images

The Brazilian isn’t that one footed compared to some in this list, but what he has in both feet, he makes up for in frustration levels.

Willian could probably be even more capable than anyone imagines, but his inconsistency hinders that. He does also massively favour that right foot, but when he’s at his best, you can’t blame him.

Anthony MartialAnthony Martial

He doesn’t dare use that left foot / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

As the seasons go by, that Ballon d’Or clause inserted by Monaco is looking less and less likely when discussing Martial.

The Frenchman is infuriatingly inconsistent, a story which has become too much of a feature in his career. And while wicked with his right foot, coming inside and leaving defenders for dead, his left foot is nowhere to be seen and it’s very rare that Martial tries to use it to beat a man. Sums him up.

Ricardo QuaresmaRicardo Quaresma

Trick shots only / Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Ah yes, the master of the YouTube compilation.

Quaresma is the definition of football being fun. Why learn to use both feet when you could just master the art of bending one foot to every angle possible to strike the ball with? Trivelas for days, and we’re not mad. Hats off to you, Mr. Quaresma.

Ismael BennacerIsmael Bennacer

Bennacer has a fine passing range / Marco Canoniero/Getty Images

Milan’s defensive midfielder is seriously rated in Europe as a bright talent, and you can see why in how he breaks up play and recycles it with left foot diagonals.

Bennacer would benefit from sharpening the tools on his right side, though, or else it becomes a similar story to Nemanja Matic.

Jesus NavasJesus Navas

Navas is a right back these days / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Despite earning high praise in the early 2010s, Navas never quite hit it off when he arrived in the Premier League with Manchester City in 2013.

His four years in England were summarised by his blistering pace being hindered by a lack of end product; he had absolutely nothing beyond knocking it beyond a defender and trying to blast one in with his right foot. Still a versatile, reliable hand and a World Cup winner, though.

Erik Lamela, Adam IdahErik Lamela, Adam Idah

Just use your right foot mate / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Tottenham’s Argentine winger doesn’t come to mind straight away because he isn’t entirely one footed. Not on his good days, anyway.

Painfully inconsistent, Lamela shows his talent in spurts. He isn’t a fan of his right foot, though, so much so that he’s perfected the rabona to avoid using it.

Theo HernandezTheo Hernandez

Hernandez is a big threat from left back / Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Hernandez has impressed in a resurgent Milan side, lighting up Serie A with venomous attacking performances from left back.

He’s regularly among the goals and assists with a menacing left foot, but simply cannot come close to replicating it on his right. The definition of a one footed full back.

Lorenzo InsigneLorenzo Insigne

Insigne will do anything but use his left foot / SSC NAPOLI/Getty Images

A handsome chap with an insanely detailed leg sleeve, Insigne makes up for his non existent left peg with plenty of tattoos.

The Napoli winger’s low centre of gravity makes him a serious asset when cutting inside on his right foot, but show him left and he’s got very little (no pun intended).

Luis Antonio ValenciaLuis Antonio Valencia

A real one trick pony / James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images

An incredible and underrated servant to Manchester United, Valencia didn’t need a left foot in the early stages of his career; his pace, crossing from his right and consistency was good enough.

But time and injuries caught up to the Ecuadorian, which saw his party trick fade in effectiveness over the years and his left foot exposed for being non-existent. Brilliant in his peak, though.

Philippe CoutinhoPhilippe Coutinho

Coutinho was electric for Liverpool / Jan Kruger/Getty Images

A torrid time at Barcelona has made people forget just how electric Coutinho was at Liverpool. He lit up the Premier League with that right foot.

The Brazilian could carve a goal from improbable angles with his majestic right foot. The same can’t be said about his left side, though, which admittedly is a big flaw in his game for someone who was held in such high regard.

Ryan GiggsRyan Giggs

Ryan Giggs had a fine left foot / Getty Images/Getty Images

When your left foot is as good as Giggs’ was, you can get away with not having much in the way of a right foot.

The Welshman gave defenders splitting headaches exclusively with his left foot throughout his career, slaloming through the lines in his earlier years before pinging balls and dictating play with it later on.

Bernardo SilvaBernardo Silva

Silva is a frustrating one / Michael Steele/Getty Images

Bernardo Silva at his best is a nightmare for defenders. It’s virtually impossible to peel the ball away from his agile frame and mighty quick feet, which has proved ideal in an incredible Manchester City side.

Beyond those tight areas and intricate passing moves, though, he struggles. And that’s because the Portugal international isn’t blessed with physical dominance or – more importantly – a right foot that allows him to dictate from both sides.

Giorgio ChielliniGiorgio Chiellini

A one footed veteran / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Central defenders aren’t thought about enough when it comes to needing to be more than one footed, but it’s becoming more and more important.

Chiellini continues to operate at the top level with his high level IQ and has long been one of the game’s greats. The veteran Italian has never been blessed with the strongest right foot, though, which fortunately hasn’t proved calamitous alongside the partners he’s played with.

Jordi AlbaJordi Alba

Alba does it for Spain and Barcelona / David Ramos/Getty Images

Being one footed has very rarely proven a setback for Alba, whose modernised style of play and continued attacking threat from left back has served Barcelona tremendously well.

The Spaniard has spent the best years of his career bombing down the left flank for club and country, creating to no end with a seriously underrated left foot. Just don’t expect much if he swaps wings or cuts inside.

Paulo DybalaPaulo Dybala

Dybala can be a menace when on his game / Nicolò Campo/Getty Images

Quiffed hair, short socks and all the flair you could want, Dybala is your son’s favourite footballer.

A menacing left foot in both tight areas and from range has seen him held in supremely high regard for Juventus – particularly in the mid-2010s – but his struggles are definitely there. Dybala simply doesn’t have it on both sides, nor has he displayed the desired consistency to make it to the very top.

Andy RobertsonAndy Robertson

Belting left peg / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

A simplistic approach to the game has paid dividends for Robertson, who is ever reliable for Liverpool at left back.

Tackle well, remain fit and ping obscene balls across the field with an unworldly left foot. It’s that incredible left peg that keeps the Scot from having to use a rather underwhelming weaker side, but it’s worked perfectly considering he’s one of the best full backs in Europe.

Christian VieriChristian Vieri

Vieri was a gunman / Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

The grace of an Italian with the style of play of an English centre forward, Vieri was the perfect blend of footballer.

The man scored goals for fun pretty much wherever he went, rifling them in with an unforgiving left foot. His right wasn’t quite as punishing against the opposition, but it doesn’t matter when you can find the back of the net like Vieri could. Beast.

Mesut OzilMesut Ozil

Sauce / Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

A bitter end to his time at Arsenal clouds the fact that Mesut Ozil was nothing short of sublime in his peak, and regularly up their with the very best.

One of the last of a dying breed, Ozil was a relentless creator and provided teammates with avenue for goals in all sorts of obscene ways, crafting lanes and chances with his seriously skilled left foot, if not popping them in for himself. Didn’t even need a right peg.

David Beckham of EnglandDavid Beckham of England

Trademark / Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The man with the whip.

From the halfway line, from your back garden, Beckham’s right foot could find someone’s head or even the back of the net from anywhere. His left foot truly was just for standing and planting down into the ground for free-kicks that were inevitably going top bins.

Hristo Stoichkov of Barcelona and Adilson of Sao PauloHristo Stoichkov of Barcelona and Adilson of Sao Paulo

Stoichkov rifles one / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Winner of the 1994 Ballon d’Or, Stoichkov was one of the game’s greatest forwards in his playing days.

His time at Barcelona earned him the nickname ‘El Pistolero’, with his prolific fire rate coming from a tantalising left foot that was also armed with a bag of skills. He barely had a right foot and still managed to get to the top of the mountain, which tells you all you need to know.

TOPSHOT-FBL-CHN-FRA-CHAMPIONS-TROPHY-PSG-RENNESTOPSHOT-FBL-CHN-FRA-CHAMPIONS-TROPHY-PSG-RENNES

Pin point. / FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Despite only really having a left foot, Di Maria is so good that you can play him anywhere in an attacking position and he’ll still run riot.

If it’s from the right, attackers are getting unlimited service or he’s cutting in and having a go himself. From the left or down the middle and the Argentine is running at players, dropping shoulders and taking things to the the line for a late delivery. No right foot needed.

Arjen RobbenArjen Robben

Robben is notorious for his left foot / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Robben’s book of tricks was almost as predictable as a John Cena WWE title defence, but that didn’t make it any easier for defenders.

Run down the right flank, square up the man and cut inside. So simple, but there was no stopping it. It was the simplicity of Robben’s one-footed game that made him one of Bayern Munich‘s finest assets for years. The Dutchman was a menace.

Diego Maradona of ArgentinaDiego Maradona of Argentina

The greatest / Getty Images/Getty Images

Of all the people to be one footed, Maradona isn’t the first to spring to mind. But he was, and that was the beauty of it.

Maradona’s left foot belongs in the Louvre in the way it painted pitches across the world. Ripping defenders apart, slaloming his way to goal and finding the back of the net for fun. He was so good with it that you didn’t even notice he never needed to shift things to his right foot. Unimaginable talent.

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