”Attack wins you games, but defence wins you tournaments” is a very famous saying among football fans, players and managers. All the greatest sides ever were built on the basis of rock solid defences. And to be a good defender you need power, tactical intelligence, technical capability, organisational skills and a brave-heart to take on anyone. In this article, we will have a look at some of the best centre backs in the world.
Considering the performances over the past couple of seasons, here are the top 15 best centre backs in the world –
8. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur)
Alderweireld’s future with Spurs looks quite uncertian. But there’s no uncertainity about his class. Joining Spurs in 2015, Alderweireld has been rock solid in their defence. He helped Tottenham to achieve the best defensive record in the Premier League, with only 25 goals conceded from 34 games, in his first season at the club.
A full international since 2009, Alderweireld has earned over 90 caps for Belgium and represented the country at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups.
7. Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
Inter Milan’s new signing of summer transfer window of 2019, Godin is one of the best centre-backs in the world. He was an integral part of Atletico Madrid’s rise back to prominence under the guidance of Diego Simeone.
He is a rugged defender who will keep things together under even the most intense pressure. Godin excels in the air, also strong in the tackle, giving his team an almost impenetrable defense against crosses and providing a significant threat on set pieces.
He was voted La Liga’s best defender for the 2015-2016 season ahead of the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Marcelo etc. This shows the impact he can make on his new club and in the league.
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.
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. He played an important part in France’s world cup triumph.
5. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
Bonucci is known for his technique, passing range, and his ability to launch an attack from the back with long passes. A tall and strong defender, with a good positional sense, as well as good anticipation, solid tackling, and an ability to read the game. He mark opponents really well, he also excels in the air, and frequently poses a threat from set pieces.
Bonucci is rated very highly among the best centre-backs in the world and his performances has caught the attention of different clubs across Europe and it will be interesting to see whether the ”Serie A Footballer of the Year 2015-2016” will find himself a new club in the summer or snub offers to stay with The Old Lady.
4. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
Koulibaly is a large, quick and physically strong and elegant player. He is recognised for his aerial prowess, anticipation, passing ability and versatility, as he can play both as a central defender, or as a full-back on either the right or left flank.
Koulibaly began his professional club career with French side Metz in 2010, before moving to Belgian club Genk in 2012. He joined Italian side Napoli in 2014, where he soon established himself as one of the best defenders in Italy.