As the saying goes ”Attack wins you games, Defense win you titles” , defenders are the pillars of a football team. Centrebacks act as a shield to stop the opposition from scoring , while the fullbacks not only stop the wingers from crossing but also themselves go forward to contribute in attack.
Here are the top 15 defenders in World football comprised of full backs and centre backs of the top football clubs.
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15. Benjamin Mendy
Mendy never stops working. In all phases of play, and in all situations, he’s always running. That, combined with his top-notch athleticism, means he’s almost always affecting play in some way. Last season he was instrumental in Monaco’s success. Mendy’s surging runs down the left flank bore rich fruit for Monaco’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao. After joining Manchester City in the summer ,he made a fine start to his career but was unfortunately injured and is still recovering from it.
14. Samuel Umtiti
The French International partners Gerard Pique in the backline of Barcelona. According to the Barcelona fans, he plays with a lion’s heart in the defense. His tackling quality is the strength of his game. Signed from Lyon in 2016, he is now a regular starter.
13. Toby Alderweireld
The Belgian International was a right back at the beginning of his career but he was turned to a centre back by Mauricio Pochettino. He is now the main man in the defense for Tottenham Hotspur and with his presence at the back Spurs have one of the most formidable defense in the Premier League.
12. Jerome Boateng
The German International got all of the physical attributes one could look for in a defender. Strong in the tackle, consistently well-timed. Plus, his reading of the game is fantastic. He is an experienced campaigner and have won the World Cup for Germany in 2014.
11. Diego Godin
The Uruguayan has been consistently excellent for a number of years. His presence in the backline of Atletico Madrid helped them to the La-Liga title in 2013 as well as two UCL finals. An Uruguay international since 2005, Godín appeared for the country at two World Cups and four Copa América tournaments, winning the 2011 edition of the latter competition.
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10. Cesar Azpilicueta
Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the most underrated defenders in the World football right now. He can play in both right back and centre back position. His defensive quality is phenomenal and his crosses in the box are helping Alvaro Morata to score headers for Chelsea this season. The workload Azpilicueta bears in a match is really one the major reasons for Chelsea’s two Premier League titles wins in the last 3 seasons.
9. Dani Alves
The PSG full back has been the best right back in the world for sometime now. The Brazilian right back have both the attacking and defensive qualities under his belt. Alves is the second-most decorated defender of all-time in European competitions with nine European medals, leaving him one behind Paolo Maldini on the all-time list. He won numerous trophies with Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus and is now set to do the same with PSG.
8. Mats Hummels
He came through the Bayern Munich youth academy before joining Borussia Dortmund on loan in January 2008 and officially signing for Dortmund in February 2009, but in 2016 he returned to Bayern. The German International is a formidable centre back and an experienced campaigner. He is a large, consistent, and physically strong player, with good ability to read the game and intercept loose balls He is the main man in the defense of Bayern Munich and has battled out many big occasions for the team.
7. Gerard Pique
The Spanish International an experienced centre back for Barcelona. A product of BLa Masia, Pique initially left the club for Manchester United in 2004, where he remained for four years, before returning to Barcelona in 2008 under Pep Guardiola’s leadership, helping the club win trebles in 2008–09 and 2014–15. Although he is primarily deployed as a centre back, he is a tactically versatile player who is capable of playing as a defensive midfielder; he has also been deployed as a sweeper on occasion.
6. Thiago Silva
The Brazilian centre back is a defensive pillar for the Ligue 1 side Paris Saint Germain. Silva has been recognized as a complete defender by his pundits and critics. He has been described as a consistent defender, without any flaws, and someone who can lead any defence. He is a true leader on the field. With PSG, Silva has won four consecutive Ligue 1 championships, four consecutive Coupes de la Ligue and three consecutive Coupe de France.
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5. Sergio Ramos
The Spanish centre back is one of the best centre backs in the world right now. Apart from defending, he possess the potential to score goals from set-pieces. He has scored many crucial goals for Real Madrid ,including a stoppage minute equaliser in the UCL final against rivals Atletico Madrid.
4. David Alaba
The Bayern Munich star is one of the best full backs. Alaba’s versatility is the stuff of legend: he started as a playmaker at Austria Wien and has since reprised that role for his national team; he played as a defensive midfielder at Hoffenheim and has featured at centre-back for Bayern, but it is at left-back where he has excelled. His crosses in the box are dangerous and he can also track back to help the defense at right time. Six Bundesligas, four DFB Cups, and a UEFA Champions League sit alongside a trio of Supercups, one UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup in the Alaba trophy cabinet.
The Brazilian fullback of Real Madrid is undoubtedly the best left back right now. He is frequently compared to Roberto Carlos, who himself said Marcelo was his heir, the world’s best left back and that “Marcelo possesses a better technical ability than me”.
2. Giorgio Chiellini
The Italian centre-back is a master of the defensive arts, and is not unfamiliar with the dark arts when required. Chiellini was one of the stand-out performers for Juventus last season. He is 33, but is such a canny operator that pace is of little importance to him, plus Italian defenders seem more durable. He only needs to look across the dressing room at team-mate Andrea Barzagli, who turns 37 in May, for inspiration.
1. Leonardo Bonucci
The Italian was one of the most demanded defender in the past summer with many clubs trying to acquire his signature. He was the pillar of the Juventus that won the league and reached the final of UCL last season. He joined AC Milan in the summer transfer window as he didn’t want to leave the country.