The 24th installment of Barney Corkhill's Greatest Ever series is here!
In this series, I will look at the greatest talents to grace various sports. Here, I continue to look at football, this time counting down the top 10 left midfielders of all time.
As with the right midfielders list, I have included left wingers in the left midfielders category to avoid confusion.
10. Billy Liddell (SCO)
A free-scoring left-winger, Billy Liddell spent 23 years as a Liverpool player between 1938 and 1961. His speed, strength, and goal-scoring ability made him a Liverpool legend, and he is still remembered as one of the greatest players in the club's illustrious history.
He played 28 times for Scotland, scoring six goals, and is one of only two players to have represented a Great Britain XI twice, the other being Stanley Matthews. For Liverpool he scored 228 goals in 534 appearances, helping the club to a First Division title.
His legacy remains to this day, shown by his sixth place in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop countdown.
9. Lennart Skoglund (SWE)
Lennart Skoglund, known as "Nacka" throughout his career, amassed few international caps during his career, despite his obvious talent. The reason for this was Sweden's policy of refusing to pick players who plied their trade overseas.
His 11 caps did include two World Cups, however, in which he made a big impact. His performances in 1950 won him many plaudits, and eight years later he helped Sweden to the final on home turf.
8. Rob Rensenbrink (NED)
Although a key part of the "Total Footballers" of 1974, Rob Rensenbrink made an even bigger impact four years later, scoring a hat-trick in the opening match and the 1000th goal in World Cup history in the second match.
He played 46 times for Holland, which included the final of both the 1974 and 1978 World Cups. He came within a post's width of winning the '78 World Cup for Holland, but he didn't have lady luck on his side and Argentina went on to win in extra time.
During his club career he won two Belgian league titles, five Belgian Cups and two Cup Winners' Cups.
7. John Barnes (ENG)
John Barnes is perhaps remembered mainly for that goal against Brazil, which demonstrated his magnificent balance, control, and dribbling skills that the likes of Garrincha would be proud of.
He went on to win 79 caps for England, but his best performances came in the red of Liverpool. While at Liverpool, he won two league titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup. Individually, he was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year twice, and the PFA Players' Player of the Year once.
He was voted fifth in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop countdown.
6. Pavel Nedved (CZE)
Equally adept on the left as he is in central midfield, Pavel Nedved was the front-runner of the Czech Republic's "golden generation." His performances for Lazio and Juventus have ensured his ability is known throughout the world.
He was part of the Czech Republic side that reached the final of Euro '96 and went on to win 91 caps for his country. At club level, he was won three Czech leagues, a Czech Cup, three Serie A titles, two Italian Cups, and a Cup Winners' Cup.
That Cup Winners' Cup success was the last in the tournament's history, and Nedved had the honour of scoring the competition's last ever goal. He was voted the Czech Player of the Year on five occasions and, in 2003, Nedved won the prestigious Ballon d'Or.
5. Gheorghe Hagi (ROM)
Another who could play on the left and in the centre, Gheorghe Hagi is arguably the greatest Romanian player in history. His passing, shooting, and dribbling brought him to worldwide acclaim, and he took full advantage.
He participated in three World Cups for Romania, going on to win 125 caps, the second highest in the country's history. At club level he won three Romanian League titles, three Romanian Cups, two Turkish Cups and a UEFA Cup.
He was named Romanian Player of the Year seven times during his illustrious career.
4. Ryan Giggs (WAL)
The most decorated player in the history of English football, Ryan Giggs has been a mainstay of Manchester United's highly successful era under Sir Alex Ferguson. He holds a plethora of records in both English and European football.
With United, Giggs has won ten league titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions Leagues. He also played 64 times for Wales. Individually, Giggs was named PFA Young Player of the Year in 1992 and 1993 and was named in the PFA Team of the Century.
He is the only player to have scored in 11 consecutive Champions League campaigns, the only player to score in 13 different Champions League tournaments, and the only player to have scored in every Premier League season.
3. Roberto Rivelino (BRA)
One of the greatest free-kick takers and passers of the ball the football world has ever seen, Roberto Rivelino was as famous for his moustache as he was for his prodigious skills.
His "elastico" move amazed spectators for years, and all too often, made defenders into those spectators. He made 92 appearances for Brazil, including the 1970 World Cup, where he was a key part of perhaps the greatest side ever assembled.
They went on to win that tournament, with Rivelino playing an important role.
2. Zoltan Czibor (HUN)
"The Magical Magyars" were one of the greatest teams in football history, and Czibor was one of the stars of that Hungary side, which included the likes of Ferenc Puskas. Czibor's superb dribbling and finishing made him one of the most feared wingers in the world.
He was part of the 1952 Olympic gold medal winning Hungary team, and played in the World Cup final two years later, which was won by West Germany. At club level he won three Hungarian league titles, two Spanish league titles, and an Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
1. Francisco Gento (SPA)
Franciso Gento is another player who played alongside the great Ferenc Puskas, but this time at club level, and he was accompanied by Alfredo Di Stefano to create one of the best forward lines ever.
Gento was the captain of that side, and his accomplishments dwarf almost every other footballer in history. He won 12 La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, and a record six European Cups. At international level it was more of the same, as he helped Spain to the 1964 European Championship title.
He went on to make 43 appearances for Spain, and over 500 in his 17 years with Real Madrid.
Francisco Gento—the greatest left-midfielder of all time!
Other articles from this series include: