Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr.
Wingers are arguably the most exciting players to watch on a football pitch. They are tasked with providing width on the flanks but that doesn’t mean that hugging the touchline is all they do.
Wingers are the ones who try to create openings in the final third using their burst of pace, trickery and ability to whip the ball into dangerous areas.
The role of wingers has evolved over the years
There are primarily two types of wingers. One is the traditional winger who makes a beeline for the byline after beating defenders to whip crosses into the box. The other is the inverted winger who tries to cut in from the flank before going for goal or playing a nimble, defence-splitting pass to create a chance.
There are plenty of world-class wingers in the world right now. Without further ado, let’s take a look at five of the best wingers in football this season.
#5 Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion – Premier League
At this point, we have to admit that Son Heung-Min has largely dispelled the myth that Tottenham Hotspur are a ‘Harry Kane team’. The South Korean international has been phenomenal for Spurs since joining them from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015.
Harry Kane struggled massively in the first half of the ongoing campaign and it was Son who stepped up and delivered for the Lilywhites. He continues to do so as well and is one of the most in-form wingers in the world right now.
Son is a world-class example of an inverted winger. He has plenty of pace and is excellent with the ball at his feet. The 29-year-old also possesses a great shooting range and is adept at finding the back of the net from anywhere in the final third.
He has scored 18 goals and provided eight assists in 40 appearances across all competitions for Antonio Conte’s side.
#4 Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Liverpool v Manchester United – Premier League
Liverpool have been at their belligerent best in attack this season. They have one of the most intimidating frontlines in the world today and also have enviable depth up top. Jurgen Klopp has to be one of the luckiest managers in that regard.
He gets to choose three from Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Harvey Elliott for every game.
New signing Luis Diaz has been purported to be Mane’s successor, but the latter has proven this term that it’s too early to draw up plans for a future without him.
The Senegalese international won the AFCON 2021 earlier this year. He has been in great form for the Merseysiders as well and this could very well be one of the most memorable seasons of his career.
In 43 appearances across all competitions so far this season, Mane has scored 19 goas and provided three assists.
#3 Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion – Premier League
Riyad Mahrez is one of the most elegant players on the planet. The Algerian international possesses exquisite technique and it is reflected in his deft first touch, body feints and ability to take defenders on and beat them.
Mahrez has been a force to be reckoned with down the right wing for Manchester City so far this season. He has scored several stunning goals this term and despite turning 31, he continues to be one of City’s best attacking outlets.
In 42 appearances across all competitions so far this term for Manchester City, Mahrez has scored 23 goals and provided eight assists.
#2 Vinicius Jr. (Real Madrid)
CA Osasuna v Real Madrid CF – La Liga Santander
Real Madrid are presently a point away from clinching their 35th La Liga title. A major chunk of the credit for getting them closer to their earliest title win in 32 years goes to two of their attackers – Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr.
While Benzema has been Real Madrid’s main man for a few seasons now, they desperately needed one of their youngsters to finally come through. We have seen flashes of genius from Vinicius Jr., but over the past couple of years, he has also been limited to just that.
However, the 21-year-old has managed to double down on his strength and blossom into one of the finest wingers in the world today. He possesses the ‘samba’ flair we’ve come to associate with the greatest Brazilian footballers to have graced the game.
It is a joy to watch Vinicius Jr. get up to his tricks when he is on song. He has scored 17 goals and provided 18 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions for Los Blancos so far this season.
#1 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Liverpool v Manchester United – Premier League
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has undoubtedly been one of the standout performers of the 2021-22 season. He has been in sublime form for Liverpool and this could very well be the best season of his career as well.
Salah has been a menacing presence down the right wing for Jurgen Klopp’s men. His electric pace, skill to beat defenders and inimitable ability to find the back of the net from extremely difficult situations make him one of the greatest forwards of the modern era.
Salah could yet finish the season with a quadruple as Liverpool remain in contention for all the remaining titles. They’ve already won the League Cup and this could be the year where Jurgen Klopp truly etches his name in Merseyside folklore.
In 43 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool so far this season, Salah has scored 30 goals and provided 13 assists.