Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Name: Dani Alves
International Caps: 47
Alves has been nothing short of brilliant for Barcelona and Brazil in recent seasons. The Brazilian was lauded as the world's best right-back following his move from Sevilla, and he has lived up to the title. Although Inter's Maicon edged out the Barcelona star for a starting place in Brazil's World Cup squad, Alves has emerged as the first-choice fullback under new manager Mano Menezes.
The Brazilian has become the most dangerous attacking right-back in the world. Seemingly built to play in Barcelona's passing and possession-based system, Alves is given freedom to roam down the right flank and provide genuine width. The Brazilian has formed a great understanding with Lionel Messi, which has been a large part of Barcelona's success.
Alves boasts exceptional pace, which allows him to get into the final third. When the team is in possession, the Brazilian pushes up in support of the attack, where he can pick out players running incisive diagonals or help keep possession.
When off the ball, the Barca star times his runs well and shows good movement in and around the area. Alves is a constant threat to break the offside trap and get through on goal.
The Brazilian's impressive assist's tally is testament to his ability to deliver a top-quality end product. Alves is the ultimate provider from the right-back position, chipping in with a few goals and roughly 10 assists per season.
Alves' skill distinguishes the right-back as an elite player at his position. The Brazilian boasts exceptional touch on the ball and close control. The Barca star has the composure to match the majority of midfielders as well. With his turn of pace and dribbling skill, Alves has the ability beat midfielders and defenders when isolated in 1 v. 1 situations.
In addition to his contributions from the run of play, the Brazilian provides quality set-pieces. Alves can hit a thunderous free-kick from distance and deliver dangerous corners.
Although Alves is not the most talented defender, he shows good tenacity and determination to close down defenders. The Barca star is frequently caught up-field, which leaves the team vulnerable at the back.
However, when playing for Brazil, Alves shows more defensive discipline and awareness. Alves is not the most balanced or best defensive right-back in the world. He occasionally fails to track back and assume responsibility behind the ball.
While the Brazilian is not the conventional or archetypal fullback, he is the best right-back in the world. Alves' attacking contributions are unmatched by other players at his position. The spark and creative threat that the Brazilian provides on the right flank are what distinguish him as football's top right-back.
Although Maicon could easily claim the top spot, Alves is deserving of the number one ranking. The Barca star has been in impressive form for club and country, consistently playing at the top of his game. Alves' attacking skills are off the charts, and his individual contributions on the pitch cannot be understated.
Alves may not be the ideal or defensive-minded right-back, but his creativity and ability to produce in the final third make him the best right-back in the world. Although the Brazilian is the perfect fit for Barca, he is still a world-class fullback individually.
For Brazil, Alves has shown a slightly more balanced approach to the position. He still marauds down the right, but also tracks back defensively.
Maicon is more than deserving of the top spot. Last year, he was the runaway number one right-back in the world. However, his dip in overall form and Alves' continued excellence pushes the Barca right-back ahead of the Inter star.
Maicon is undoubtedly the more complete and dynamic fullback. He has a strong case to climb ahead of his compatriot in the rankings. However, Alves has earned the title of football's best right-back.
The Brazilian is a special attacking talent, providing energy, width and quality down the flank. Alves needs to improve defensively to create space between him and the other elite right-backs. However, with his current abilities, he still edges out a close race amongst the top three players at the position.
Alves has been magnificent over the past few seasons and he deserves to be named the top right-back in the world.