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Top 10 Central Defenders in World Football

Central defenders are naturally the toughest and strongest players on the field and here we learn about the top 10 central defenders in world football.

10. Matthijs de Ligt

Matthijs de Ligt (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Matthijs de Ligt became one of the hottest commodities in football after a brilliant 18-19 season, with teams such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Juventus vying for his signature.

De Ligt has shown to be one of the brightest talents of the future as the first defender to ever receive the Golden Boy award. He joined Juventus in 2019 and, because of his fantastic performances, helped his team win Serie A in his first season.

9. Leonardo Bonucci

Leonardo Bonucci (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)

Bonucci began his career as a midfielder before moving to defence, which may explain why his composure under pressure when in control ranks among the greatest in the game. Bonucci is recognised for his passing range, skill, and ability to attack from behind with long passes.

He’s a tall, strong defender with superb anticipation, solid tackling, and the ability to understand the game. He has excellent marking skills, thrives in the air, and is a constant danger from set-pieces.

8. Milan Skriniar

Milan Skriniar (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Since joining Inter Milan in 2017, the Slovakian has progressed from strength to strength, establishing himself as one of Europe’s greatest centre-backs.

He’s the whole deal. Skriniar’s one-on-one defence is his most notable trait. The centre-back is generally perfectly positioned and has excellent game reading skills. The teenage defender is fantastic in individual ground fights, sturdy in the air, nimble in his mobility, and has incredible placement. When you add in his passing ability, you have a defender capable of playing for any top club in the world.

7. Eder Militao

Eder Militao (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In his early Real Madrid days, Eder Militao took a lot of heat for specific errors or teething difficulties. However, the fact that Brazilians are so prevalent is revealing.

Real Madrid lost Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane at the same time, with neither being replaced by a strong defensive leader in the same mould. Although Los Blancos signed David Alaba, a different type of defender, Militao has been counted on as the defensive bite. This season, he’s developed into a more certain, confident player and has been a major component of a title-winning team.

6. Thiago Silva

Thiago Silva (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Thiago Silva has long been considered as one of the finest centre-backs in the world, but he is nearing the end of an illustrious career. His performance has not been hindered by his age. Silva has proven that class never fades and has made a significant impact to the Chelsea backline thus far this season, with his leadership and forceful presence assisting the Blues in improving their defensive record after a shaky start.

5. Aymeric Laporte

Aymeric Laporte (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

Aymeric Laporte is the quintessential Guardiola centre-back: elegant, at ease in possession, and not afraid to put his head where it hurts when the situation calls for it.

Manchester City’s defence has been a tight ship anytime Laporte, who joined them for £57 million from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018, has been at the helm. He’d fit in with any team in the world – except his own, where Pep preferred Stones – and is now Spain’s substitute for Sergio Ramos. He’ll have enormous shoes to fill, to be sure.

4. Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Kalidou Koulibaly is a ‘Colossal Beast’ simply because of the way he plays. He is a huge, energetic, fast, and physically strong yet exquisite player. His awareness, positioning, tackling, attitude, skill, and passing are all outstanding. Koulibaly has grown into one of the most exceptional athletes in modern football after being questioned by practically everyone as a teenager.

Koulibaly is one of the finest defenders in the world, combining enormous power, quickness, aggressiveness on and off the ball, remarkable control, and excellent passing range. He is a player who is covered by practically every major European team for a reason.

3. Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Portugal international has progressed through the Lisbon club’s youth systems to become one of the top young defenders outside of Europe’s big leagues, helping Benfica win the league title and the Nations League at international level during the 2018/19 season. Dias has had an immediate impact on City’s defence, forming a promising connection with Aymeric Laporte.

2. David Alaba

David Alaba (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

David Alaba is not just one of the finest centre-backs in the world, but also one of the best left-backs, a competent midfielder, a passable left-winger… and if you gave him some gloves, he’d probably maintain a clean sheet as well.

Alaba has been heralded as one of the best free signings of the season after switching from Munich to Real Madrid last summer. The Austrian has been a constant in a Real backline that has won La Liga and reached the Champions League final. If Spain want to dominate Europe, Alaba must be at his best against Liverpool on May 28.

1. Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Liverpool has become a superpower thanks to the arrival of Virgil Van Dijk. After his record-breaking move to Anfield, almost everyone doubted the Dutchman would live up to the price tag. Years of setbacks and tribulations have taught him how to silence the sceptics.

He is a defender who can evaluate his timing and challenge at the appropriate time. Given his massive frame, his speed is astonishing. Van Dijk, in addition to being a great ball distributor, poses a threat to the opponent when moving out of the defensive line with the ball. He can dribble well and force opponents to break their defensive blocks.

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