Unless you’re Santi Cazorla, you’re either left-footed or right-footed. Despite there being more right-footed players in the world of football, the very elite players are both left and right-footed. This makes for a very intriguing hypothetical matchup, between the best right-footed players and the best left.
In this day and age, there isn’t one position on the pitch exclusively for a right-footed player and vice versa. Philip Lahm is arguably the world’s most able left-back despite being right-footed. Therefore this fantasy fixture has the potential to be played out in real life.
The sheer depth of talent in both categories is exceptional. An equally talented player from both teams occupies every single position. How do you split between Neuer and Lloris, or Matic and Busquets, Messi and Ronaldo?
Through footballing history the legends of the game have been both right and left-footed. Somehow this makes the great rivalries even more fascinating. Ronaldo vs Messi, Pele vs Maradona even Federer vs Nadal was more remarkable because of their contrasting styles, which at the core, stemmed from the fact that they held their respective racket’s in the opposite hand to the other.
There has always been something slightly different about left footed players though. Commentators and pundits often refer to the ‘cultured left foot’, as though it is a genetical advantage to be born left footed in the world of football.
This may be true, when you consider the fact that Cryuff, Puskas, Di Stefano, Maradona and Lionel Messi are all left-footed. You would be hard pressed to find a right-footed player from past or present better than those aforementioned. Therefore I forgive any commentator who refers to Robin van Persie’s ‘magic wand’ of a left foot.
To start the debate I’m going to select my Right-Footed XI vs Left-Footed XI from players playing today, then after assessing both team sheets I’ll let you decide who you think would come out on top. You may even disagree with my team selection.
It would also be interesting to do this with players from the past as well, although for now I want to suspend my disbelief and create a scenario where this hypothetical match could be played out in reality.
Manuel Neuer; Dani Alves, Matts Hummels, Sergio Ramos, Philip Lahm; Eden Hazard, Paul Pogba, Andres Iniesta, Cristiano Ronaldo; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez
Hugo Lloris; David Alaba, Giorgio Chiellini, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba; Arjen Robben, Nemanja Matic, David Silva, James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale; Lionel Messi