This is the third article in a series looking at the top 5 footballers in each position in the last decade. Those will ultimately be combined to form the best starting XI of the last decade. It has to be mentioned that a footballer’s overall impact on the maximum number of years in the decade is to be considered.
5) Leighton Baines: The English left-back Baines joined Everton in 2007 from Wigan Athletic and left the club with his retirement this year itself. Throughout these 13 years, Baines has been an extremely reliable, consistent, and mature presence in the starting XI. He has been a member of the PFA Team of the Year twice, Everton Player of the Season twice, and Everton Player’s Player of the Season thrice all within the decade.
4) Aleksandar Kolarov: Kolarov has spent the majority of the decade with Manchester City while the last 3 years were with AS Roma. He has been very effective not just as a defensively solid left-back but has also been involved in goals and assists. He has won 6 trophies with City in 7 years in spite of not winning an individual accolade in England. He has won the Serbian Player of the Year in 2011 and was a member of the Serie A Team of the Year in 2018-19.
3) Jordi Alba: Alba was bought by Barcelona in 2012 and he has been with the Catalan giants since then. He has won 14 trophies at Camp Nou and has been a member of the UCL Team of the Season and La Liga Team of the Season in 2014-15. He has also won the Euro Cup for his country in 2012 and was selected in the Euro Team of the Tournament. He has contributed particularly with his link-up play and burst of runs apart from his fundamental duties as a defender for both his club and country.
2) David Alaba: Barring a short spell with Hoffenheim in 2011, Alaba has been a part of Bayern Munich throughout the decade. His place in the starting XI has never been questioned and the full-back has won 21 trophies with the Bavarian outfit. He has also won the Austrian Footballer of the Year 6 times and has been a member of the UEFA Team of the Year 3 times, UCL Squad of the Season once, France Football World 11 once, and Bundesliga Team of the Season twice.
1) Marcelo: Just like what his Brazilian counterpart Dani Alves has done with the right-back position, Marcelo has done the same with the left-back position – revolutionize it in the modern era. He is still a crucial member of the Real Madrid squad, which he joined in 2007. He has won 22 trophies with Los Blancos out of which 19 came in the last decade. He has been selected in the France Football Team of the Decade (2010-19), UEFA Team of the Year thrice, FIFA FIFPro World11 6 times, FIFA World Cup Dream Team twice, UCL Squad of the Season 4 times, EA Sports FIFA Team of the Year 5 times, IFFHS World’s Best Team twice and La Liga Team of the Season once, all within the last decade. If these were not enough, he has won the ESPN FC 100 Best Left Back of the Year twice.