Name: Ashley Cole
International Caps: 89
The Chelsea and England defender has earned his title as the world's No. 1 left-back. Cole has been named to the PFA Premier League Team of the Year four times, and the UEFA Team of the Year twice, on his way to becoming the best player at his position.
The Chelsea star had a stellar season at the club level, setting himself apart from the other top left-backs in England. Cole has been amongst the best left-backs in football since his days in the Arsenal Invincibles side. The England international has continued to improve and solidify his place amongst the elite fullbacks in Europe.
Cole's natural defensive instincts make him a special talent at the position. The Englishman boasts exceptional tenacity and determination. The Chelsea star closes down opponents with lightning quickness, hounding attackers for the full 90 minutes.
Cole is a tough-tackling left-back with a hard-working mentality. He never pulls out of a challenge, showing good strength in the tackle. With his tenacity, tackling technique and timing, the Englishman has become an outstanding defensive left-back.
Cole has blistering pace and quickness to complement his spirited style of defending. The Chelsea star has the speed and agility to make key interceptions and recover if necessary.
His combination of defensive prowess and pace makes him the toughest left-back to beat in one-on-one situations. Although the Englishman's quickness allows him to track back and get behind the ball, it is beneficial moving into the attack as well.
The Chelsea star marauds up and down the left flank for club and country. With his speed and stamina, Cole is able to frequently provide overlapping runs and support in the attack. While his delivery from wide positions may not be world-class, the England international provides good crosses from the flank. Cole's energy and quickness in the final third creates problems for opposing defenders.
The England international has been considered one of the top three left-backs in football over the past few years. However, Cole has distanced himself from the rest of the pack with a stellar season for the Blues. The Englishman has once again proven that he is the best left-back in the world.
While Evra is a serious contender and yearly challenger for the No. 1 ranking, Cole has emerged as the top player at the position. The Englishman consistently played at an unbelievable level this year, capitalizing on his United counterpart's dip in form.
Cole has been a standout performer for nearly a decade in the EPL, winning trophies for both Arsenal and Chelsea. The Englishman's natural defensive instincts, pace and attacking forays make him the best left-back in football.
The Chelsea star is undoubtedly one of the best defensive fullbacks in Europe. Although he lacks the leaping ability of Evra to win headers, Cole boasts unbelievable tenacity and world-class tackling ability. The Englishman has the recovery speed to cope with the world's fastest wingers as well.
Cole's pace and endurance give him the freedom to join the attack as well. The Englishman provides genuine width out on the left and quality support in the final third. He may not be the most accomplished attacking player on this list, but he is a solid contributor going forward.
Although Marcelo, Taiwo and Coentrão have the potential to challenge for a higher spot in the future, there were two clear front-runners for the No. 1 ranking. Evra makes a strong case to move up on the list, as the Frenchman has all the tools to be the world's best left-back. However, Cole edges out the United star with his polished defensive skills and exceptional level of form.
While Evra was a serious contender and worthy candidate for the top ranking, Cole is the No. 1 left-back in the world.