Top 10 Best Football Defenders In The World 2020

A top attacking team can be very lethal for the opposition but it is never a title threat to its opponents while a top defensive team might just seem like its ploughing its way through the competition but has the capability of posing a serious challenge for both the league title as well as the highly coveted UEFA Champions League title. Live examples can be seen in Barcelona’s recent downfall in UCL when they blew 3 goal leads going into away games twice in a row. Ironically both the times their downfall was caused not by forwards but the defenders. For AS Roma, the hero was Kostas Manolas and for Liverpool the hero was Trent Alexander Arnold. This clearly shows just how important it is to have a world class defence along with a great forward line. With that in mind, lets look at the top ten great defenders in the world.

List of Top 10 Best Defenders in the world

10. David Alaba (CB, LB) – Bayern Munich, Austria

David Alaba - Best Defender in the World

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Possibly the best on ball defender in the Bundesliga, David Alaba has been a starlet for the Bayern Munich team ever since he joined them all the way back in 2010. A prolific on ball player he possesses the knack of dribbling the ball. He is also known as a person capable of holding the ball and slowing down the pace during opposition counter attacks and is an excellent passer of the ball. He may not have a stellar stat sheet in the defensive side of the game, but his presence is one of the reasons Bayern Munich are almost certain to win the 2019-20 Bundesliga season.

9. Harry Maguire (CB) – Manchester United, England

Harry Maguire - Best Defender in the World

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Manchester United seem to have found themselves a defensive cornerstone in Harry Maguire. Ever since joining the team, Harry has had almost a similar impact if not the same as Virgil Van Dijk had when he joined the Liverpool side. He possesses an almost sixth sense when it comes to intercepting the opposition passes and averages about 1.7 interceptions per game in 41 matches played this season. He also has great positional awareness and that can be seen with his whooping 4.4 clearances per game. Apart from his defensive duties, he also joins in the attack and is an aerial threat. If United develop him nicely then still only 27, Maguire can give them at least 5 years of top defensive display.

8. Trent Alexander Arnold (RB) – Liverpool, England

Trent Alexander Arnold - Best Defender in the World

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Arguably the best right back in the world currently, the story of Alexander Arnold is one to be told. Before making a name for himself at the world stage, the hype had been building for Arnold to take the world by storm with his attacking awareness and blistering speed but all that got side-tracked when he got injured in his debut season with the senior squad. When he returned however, the story was entirely different. He was one of the best players on the pitch for Liverpool as was the hero of the last goal scored by Liverpool in their second leg match with Barcelona during the semi final of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League. Having played 39 matches this season, the player has bagged 13 assists and 1.9 clearances per game. Arnold for some may be viewed as an attacking minded player but according to us he is one of the best defenders in the world.

7. Gerard Piqué (CB) – Barcelona, Spain

Gerard Piqué - Best Defender in the World

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The 33-year-old Spanish defender retired from international football at the start of the 2019-20 campaign in order to focus on his club career. Piqué is now in the twilight years of his football career. Yet, he is still the Backbone of the Barcelona defence. The Catalan player has rescued Barcelona in many difficult situations and has been a cornerstone of the team ever since the retirement of Carles Puyol. Piqué is an excellent passer of the ball and is a big aerial threat. He is also equally adept at using his body to block shots and forwards alike. Managing a whooping 4.5 clearances per game in 33 games played this season show just how many times he has come to the rescue of the Barcelona side.

6. Aymeric Laporte (CB, LB) – Manchester City, France

Aymeric Laporte - Best defender in the world

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The French defensive starlet has been one of the most influential players in the Manchester City Squad. He was an integral part of the squad that went on to win the Premier League 2018-19 season and has only improved his role in the organization ever since. Laporte is an excellent passer of the ball and fits well into the Guardiola style of play. He also has the positional awareness of a veteran which is evident by his 1.6 interceptions per game. This season however, he has mostly been plagued with injuries. Having sat out almost the entirety of the first half of this Premier League season, he has had only 8 appearances for City in all competitions. The only good news for City fans is that when the League restarts, he will be in full form. His absence is one of the reasons for City sitting below Liverpool in the standings and had he been in full form, the picture might have been different.

5. Milan Skriniar (CB) – Inter, Slovakia

Milan Skriniar - Best Defender in the World

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Skriniar is one of the best defenders in the Serie A this season and has garnered a lot of attention from top clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid. He is a highly technical player who likes to perform at top level every time he takes to the pitch. A good on ball player for his position, he is highly regarded for his passing abilities and running the play from the back. He also possesses great positional awareness and is someone who is not afraid to do the dirty work by diving into tackles and getting clearances. In 32 games played this season, he has 2.8 clearances per game and 1.4 tackles per game. Still only 25, he has a lot of room to grow and if developed well, he has the potential to grow into a top 3 defensive players of the world.

4. Sergio Ramos (CB) – Real Madrid, Spain

Sergio Ramos - Best Defender in the World

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The only Captain in the world to win 3 consecutive UEFA Champions League Titles. If that’s not enough, he also has a FIFA world cup to show in his closet and not to forget multiple UEFA team of the year selections. Sergio Ramos is one of the most decorated defensive players of all time and he is still going strong at 34 years of age. Having played 33 games this season, he has averaged 3 clearances per game and has also managed to score 7 goals. That is the highest number of goals scored by any defender on this list. He is a threat both in the defensive half as well as from set pieces. A clutch moment goal scorer, Sergio Ramos in his prime was a contender for top 5 defensive players of all time.

3. Kalidou Koulibaly (CB) – Napoli, Senegal

Kalidou Koulibaly - Best Defender in the World

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Incredible Passer – Check, Wonderful Tackler – Check, Does all the dirty work – Check. What else do you want from a centre back. Koulibaly is one of the absolute best defensive players in the world currently and his performance throughout the 2019-20 Serie A season has been nothing short of exquisite. He has 2.5 tackles per game and 3.5 clearances per game in 24 games played for the Napoli side this season in all competitions. Just like Piqué, he is also incredible at blocking shots and opposition along with ruining opportunities of counterattacks. If one really needs the testament to his performance, then they must ask Lionel Messi from Barcelona on how Koulibaly completely made him disappear in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie between Napoli and Barcelona this season. One of the most complete players in the world, Koulibaly is definitely a member of the elite defensive player club of all time.

2. Raphael Varane (CB) – Real Madrid, France

Raphael Varane - Best Defender in the World

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France is gifted with all sorts of talents and from this golden generation of talented players coming out of France, we have Raphael Varane. A player who is almost there and still not there yet. Varane has been one of the most dominant defensive players in the world and was an active part of the Real Madrid side that won 3 consecutive UCL titles from 2016 to 2018. In his 34 games played this season, he has averaged over 3.7 clearances per game and 1.2 tackles per game. That said, his only weakness is his tackling ability. The moment he masters his tackling, there is no stopping the French international from becoming the best defender in the world. He was also the defensive cornerstone of the French side when they won the world cup in 2018. Still only 27, Varane has at least 5 more years of top classes performances left in him and if the mentorship of Sergio Ramos pays off, he is sure to be a force of nature in the future.

1. Virgil Van Dijk (CB) – Liverpool, Netherlands

Virgil Van Dijk - Best Defender in the World

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There is not a single player outside of the forward position who can take the side from a top 4 finishing side in the national league to a UCL winning team. But then we talk about Virgil Van Dijk and that is exactly what he did. He morphed the Liverpool defence into a wall. A wall so big that one of the best attacking teams in the world FC Barcelona could not break this wall and succumbed to a 4-0 loss to Liverpool in the 2018-19 UCL semi final second leg. A vocal player and a leader both on and off the pitch, VVD has transformed the way this world views Liverpool. In his 40 games played this season, he has averaged a staggering 4.5 clearances per game. Further, he was also in the second spot in the 2019 Ballon D’or rankings falling short to only Lionel Messi. He was also responsible to leading the Netherlands to a UEFA Nations League championship and is arguably the best defender and one of the top 5 players on the planet.

Honorable Mentions

Diego Godín (CB) – Inter Milan, Uruguay

Season Stats – 32 Games Played, 2 Tackles per game, 2.9 Clearances per game

Toby Alderweireld (CB) – Tottenham Hotspurs, Belgium

Season Stats – 36 Games Played, 1.2 Tackles per game, 5.3 Clearances per game

Dayot Upamecano (CB) – RB Leipzig, France

Season Stats – 35 Games Played, 2.3 Tackles per game, 3.1 Clearances per game

Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – Juventus, Italy

Season Stats – 1 Tackle per game, 2.3 Clearances per game

Thiago Silva (CB) – PSG, Brazil

Season Stats – 36 Games Played, 1.4 Tackles per game, 2.7 Clearances per game

With this we round up our list of the top 10 best football defenders in the world.

10. David Alaba (CB, LB) – Bayern Munich, Austria

9. Harry Maguire (CB) – Manchester United, England

8. Trent Alexander Arnold (RB) – Liverpool, England

7. Gerard Piqué (CB) – Barcelona, Spain

6. Aymeric Laporte (CB, LB) – Manchester City, France

5. Milan Skriniar (CB) – Inter, Slovakia

4. Sergio Ramos (CB) – Real Madrid, Spain

3. Kalidou Koulibaly (CB) – Napoli, Senegal

2. Raphael Varane (CB) – Real Madrid, France

1. Virgil Van Dijk (CB) – Liverpool, Netherlands

Do let us know down below who according to you should or should not deserve a spot in this list.


- By Aditya Bharadwaj

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