In the last few years only forwards and midfielders have won the World Player of the Year award. Goalkeepers and defenders have always been behind the hype due to the stats highlighting only goals and assists. Full-backs are now playing a forward role on wings, leaving centre-backs to deal with most of the opposition attacks. Many centre-backs have reached the highest level of football recently. Most of them are from the English Premier League i.e four from the top 10, according to a report from Four Four Two.
Here is the list of top 10 defenders:
10. Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus):
The all-time greatest defender of Juventus, Giorgio Chiellini has always been excellent in Serie A. He is a versatile defender who can play at numerous positions like left-back, centre-back along three or four-man defence. Since 2005 with Juventus he is in the fifth position for record-breaking appearances for the club.
09. Gerard Pique (Barcelona):
Spanish player Gerard Pique stands in the legendary defenders line of the Barcelona football club. One of the top defenders of Spain has appeared in more than 600 matches for Spain national team and Barcelona football club. He has won almost all the trophies possible and remains the consistent defender for Catalans since 2008 despite his knee injury this season.
08. John Stones (Manchester City):
Manchester City comes under the limelight since the arrival of Pep Guardiola as their manager. As they always manage to stay in the title race and John Stones is the part of the journey since 2016 with Manchester City. The 26-year-old young defender always manages to stay at top-flight and had plenty of experience with him.
07. Harry Maguire (Manchester United):
Manchester United paid the highest amount for bringing him to Old Trafford. Though he was not consistent with his performances for Red Devils but remains a part of the table topper squad this season. Apart from this, his previous performance calculates him in the top defenders list.
06. Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan):
Being just 25 years, Slovakian centre-back has impressed everyone in the Serie A. He remains the permanent member of the Antonio Conte’s lineup who had always proved himself better and better as the days passes. Therefore, Inter Milan star defender stands in the sixth position of the list.
05. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid):
The wall of the Real Madrid squad, skipper Sergio Ramos stands on the number five position of the list. Spanish leader won all the trophies for Real Madrid and always lead the club from the front. He didn’t get more solo awards but always remains the favourite for the Los Blancos fans and stood at the heart of Madrid’s defence.
04. Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City):
Another typical Manchester City defender who established himself under Pep Guardiola, stood’s in the top defender’s list. Joined the Man City in 2018 for £57m from Athletic Club. He spends almost two seasons with the club and became the club’s backbone at the age of 26-years-old.
03. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid):
Three times La Liga winner, Real Madrid’s defender Raphael Varane is one of the complete centre-back. He was also part of the France world cup winning team. Therefore, a 27-years-old defender counts as one of the best in the world ahead of Sergio Ramos and stood at number three position.
02. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli):
Napoli defender is 2nd best defender in the world. Most of the clubs tipped to link with the Senegal star but his higher transfer value keeps him away from the reach of buyers. Napoli didn’t want to sell him due to his strong defending strength and also manage to keep key passes during the game.
01. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool):
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk joined the club in 2018 with the then-record transfer fee for a defender i.e £75 million from Southampton. He won the English Premier League title last season along with UEFA Champions League. He has yet to win the world cup as his national team Netherland failed to qualify for the 2018 football world cup. His aerial prowess, leadership qualities, speed, strength, and ability on the ball make him the world’s best defender.