8. David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
It’s a transformation that’s been five years in the making, but Pep Guardiola’s prediction that Bayern Munich all-rounder David Alaba can become one of the world’s best centre-backs may just have come to pass. Alaba’s key metrics as a centre-back – aerial and slide tackles won, passing accuracy and touches – are superior to his efforts as a defensive midfielder, central midfielder, winger and left-back.
7. Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
The Portugal international had come through the academy ranks at the Lisbon side to establish himself as one of the best young defenders outside of Europe’s major leagues, helping Benfica to the league title during the 2018/19 campaign and winning the Nations League at international level. Dias has instantly improved City’s backline and has forged a promising partnership with the impressive Aymeric Laporte.
6. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
The Frenchman may well be the fastest top-level centre-back around but doesn’t rely on his pace to read the game and smartly intercept dangerous attacks. He is excellent in the air, strong on the ground, accomplished on the ball. There’s no real flaw in Varane’s game and that’s what sets him apart from the rest.
5. Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Laporte is a world-class defender, who is not appreciated as much as the likes of Van Dijk or Varane. The French centre-back was one of the major reasons why Manchester City won the domestic treble in 2019. Laporte proved an instant hit when joining from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018 with his ability to start attacks. He as ably filled the shoes of Vincent Kompany.
4. Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Thiago Silva has long been regarded as one of the world’s best centre-backs but is approaching the twilight of a hugely successful career. However, age hasn’t affected his performances. Silva has shown that class remains permanent and has made a huge difference to the Chelsea backline so far this season, his leadership and authoritative presence helping the Blues improve their defensive record following a worrying opening period.