Who is the world’s best center-back? You undoubtedly have an idea.
It’s a challenging aspect of the pitch to assess, though. While some defenders may not be the finest players but are protected by their side’s shape, others may not be as good as they appear to be and are merely playing in a complex system.
Best Center-Backs in the World
Laporte is the archetypal Guardiola center-back: stylish, at ease in possession, and not afraid to put his head where it hurts when necessary. He plays for arguably the best Premier League team ever and is a classy yet understated operator.
Laporte, who joined Manchester City for £57 million in January 2018 from Athletic Bilbao, has always kept the defense in check. He would fit in with any team in the world, possibly except his own because Pep prefers Stones. He is currently Spain’s replacement for Sergio Ramos. There is no doubt that he has enormous shoes to fill.
- Milan Skriniar
Which European powerhouse Milan Skriniar will join in the future has been a topic of conversation among many over the past few years. Although he is still developing into one of Serie A’s most threatening defenders, the 25-year-old is still an essential player for Antonio Conte’s Inter for the time being. The Slovakian center-back has always been an exceptional athlete, able to keep up with the fastest strikers, but over the past few seasons, he has become much more at reading the game. He is a part of one of Italy’s top defenses, and he may be the only player who plays in the city that shares his name.
- David Alaba
Give David Alaba some gloves, and he’d probably maintain a clean sheet as well. He’s not just one of the best center-backs in the world; he’s also one of the best left-backs, a competent midfielder, and a decent left winger.
Although the Austrian’s adaptability has always been advantageous, he was simply too effective at left-back to be moved elsewhere. Alaba, though, found a place in the middle, where he is presently playing for Real Madrid, following the development of Alphonso Davies and a defensive crisis at Bayern. Even Ancelotti has said it is his preferred location to use the 29-year-old.
- Jules Kounde
As everyone else around them struggled defensively in the fall of 2017, Sevilla solidified itself as one of the most dependable teams in Europe. The rock in the middle of that backline was Jules Kounde, and he has only become better since then.
Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea continues to desire the Frenchman to strengthen his team. It’s evidence of Kounde’s 22, who is becoming better all the time, being able to read the game, intercept, and tackle.
- Raphael Varane
Varane has confirmed his status as one of the finest players in the world at his position after experiencing a bit of a slump in the season immediately following the 2018 World Cup, where he was consistently outstanding as France won football’s top award. Before leading most of this season at Real’s core in Ramos’ absence, he had a great 2019–20 season, which was finished by a third La Liga title.
The 27-year-old center defender is essential to Manchester United’s chances of finishing the season with any kind of success. He has a keen sense of game reading, the speed to recover from mistakes made by teammates, and the ability to step into midfield with the ball and launch his team’s attack.
- Virgil van Dijk
The Netherlands did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and the Dutchman was unable to participate in Euro 2020 due to injury. As a result, he has yet to play in an international competition. Medals from the Champions League and Premier League will have helped to make up for it, though.
Since moving to Anfield, he has made enormous gains and grown tremendously for his country. The 28-year-old is frequently regarded as the first center-back to win the Ballon d’Or since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. Van Dijk possesses all the qualities you’d want in a modern center-back, including strength, speed, aerial brilliance, leadership skills, and ball-handling prowess. He was the finest in the world at his unstoppable peak for the following five reasons.