Top 20 Best Defenders In The World Currently 2019 – In football, defenders are very important for the roles they play in strengthening defense lines and preventing their teams from conceding goals. Some defenders are as important as attackers and they are still praised for the technical ability to resist opposing attackers. In this article, we are going to put the spotlight on a special kind of players, the top best defenders in the world, theses professional football defenders are impressive athletes and their defensive capabilities are key to the success of their respective teams. In point of fact, each of these players buttresses his team’s ability to come up against offensive sides and their absence usually means something unpleasant.
Sir Alex Ferguson famously said ‘Attack wins you games, defense wins you titles.’
Every year, FIFA releases its list of the world’s best defenders based on recent performances and the great impacts these defenders have in their respective football sides. As to the main focus of this article, we have compiled the names of the Top 20 Best Defenders in the World but in no actual order. Interestingly, most of these defenders play in some of the biggest European teams.
TOP 20 BEST DEFENDERS IN THE WORLD 2019
1. Virgil Van Dijk
Virgil Van Dijk is a 26-year-old Dutch footballer born in Breda, the Netherlands in 1991. He serves in the position of a centre-back for The Dutch national team as well as Liverpool FC of England. Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton for a whopping sum of £75 million during the winter transfer of 2018.
This is a player who has had to put aside a poor showing at the world cup to dish out consistently sterling performances for his club, justifying the 75 million pounds Liverpool paid for his services. At well over 6ft 2 inches, he has very good abilities in the air. Coupled with his athleticism and pace, he is by far above many a player in his position.
Virgil van Dyke possesses vision and can turn defense into attack in the blink of an eye with top-notch passing ability. He is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and can carry the ball from his own danger area well into midfield. With his ability in the air, he can also pose a serious threat to opposition defenders through set pieces.
He has proven himself the savior of Liverpool on different occasions, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with a headed goal every now and then. Virgil Van Dyke has been pivotal in Liverpool’s title chase, with his consistently outstanding performances, and has been in the forefront in Liverpool’s exploits in the Champions League this season.
2. Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus – Italy
Giorgio Chiellini is a professional footballer born in the Italian area of Pisa in 1984. Currently, he plays only at the club level for Juventus and he is most acclaimed for his defending versatility and aggressiveness. Giorgio Chiellini can perfectly fit into any defense line as a left-back or centre-back. Since he joined Juventus from Roma in 2005, Chiellini has had over 350 appearances for the Serie A side. Georgio Chiellini, who has retired from Italy’s national team, is considered one of the best defenders in FIFA’s rankings.
Experienced. Dependable. Trusted. Those words do justice to the man Georgio Chiellini. Although the World Cup failed to happen for Italy, let us weigh that with his recent successes.
You don’t get to conquer Italy again and again and again if you don’t have quality. Georgio Chiellini does, with his aerial power he is the Rock of Gibraltar. Talk about pace, precise tackling ability, interceptions and quick passing, Georgio Chiellini has it all. In fact, you would not guess that he turns 35 in August.
Juve’s defensive rock is captain and paragon of his side. His defensive play so outstanding that it is difficult to point out any player in his position who is doing better than him. When he has played Juventus have prospered, whereas his absence has usually been a recipe for trouble for Juventus.
3. Raphael Varane – Real Madrid- France
Professionally known as Varane, Raphael Xavier Varane is a footballer born in the French region of Lille in 1993. Currently, he serves in the position of a center-back for the France national team as well as Real Madrid FC of Spain. 24-year-old Varane began his senior club-level career in 2010. Having spent one season in French side Lens, he joined Spanish side Real Madrid in 2011. Since he became part of Real Madrid’s starting XI, he has remained a solidly consistent defender and has had 131 appearances for the Spanish side.
Despite the failed run going on at Real Madrid in La Liga, we cannot overlook Raphael Varane. You do not win the Champions League three times if you are not good, neither do you win the World Cup if you cannot deliver. Raphael Varane can deliver. He is confident with the ball at his feet and bold to approach attackers. Raphael Varane is good at anticipating opponents attacking moves, and presenting a challenge to strikers. He has good pace, and interceptions.
4. Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli – Senegal
Kalidou Koulibaly is arguably the finest defender in Napoli’s improved squad. And statistics clearly show that his consistency has had a great hand in Napoli’s impressive form for the current Serie A campaign. Besides being a sturdy centre-back who hardly gives in to the offensive threats from attackers, Kalidou Koulibaly is highly rated for his distinct passing ability –a quality many defenders lack.
Koulibaly’s fine form has indeed contributed to Napoli’s stance as the best defensive team in the Italian Serie A so far this season. And despite interest from other top European teams including Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Chelsea, the Senegalese hasn’t shown any strong insistence to leave the club anytime soon. With this, it is believed that Napoli has succeeded in retaining one of the key players who could help it in clinching the Serie A title for the first time since 1990. As stated by Kalidou Koulibaly’s transfer agent, the Senegalese centre-back and his teammates have chosen to remain together in the quest to clinch this season’s Serie A title for Napoli.
This guy is strong. He may not jump up and down the field with sliding tackles, but he stays with his man. Turn right, left, and right again, he will stay with you, and at the end of the day, he will get the ball from you. Pure class!
He needs more exposure to the big games however, if only Napoli would sell him, then maybe Manchester United would sign him up and maybe give him the much-needed environment to win laurels.
- 5. Samuel Umtiti – Barcelona – France
Born Samuel Yves Umtiti; Samuel Umtiti is a footballer of French descent but he was born in the Cameroonian city of Yaounde in 1993. Currently, he serves in the position of a centre-back for the French national team as well as Barcelona FC of Spain. Samuel Umtiti began his senior club-level career in 2011. At the time, he played for Lyon and had 131 appearances for the French side before moving to Barcelona in 2016. Following the €25 million deal which saw him leave the French league for Spanish La Liga, Umtiti marked his debut appearance for Barcelona in 2016. Meanwhile, this came at a Supercopa de Espana match at which Barcelona claimed a 3-0 victory over Sevilla.
6. Diego Godin – Uruguay – Atletico Madrid
Diego Godin is a professional footballer born in the Uruguayan area of Rosario in 1986. At the international level, he represents the Uruguay national team as a central defender. Currently, he is one of the best defenders in the Spanish La Liga where he plays for Atletico Madrid. In 2007, he was sold by his club side Nacional to Spanish side Villarreal. He served three seasons on the side before completing a move to Atletico Madrid in 2010. So far so good, he has had 232 appearances for his current club side Atletico Madrid. Among FIFA’s latest rankings of world’s best defenders.
Without Diego Godin, Diego Simeone’s dogged defense line may have dwindled drastically but thanks to the Uruguayan’s presence which has contributed to Atletico Madrid’s brilliant form in the Spanish La Liga this season 2017-18. Atletico Madrid’s defensive capability might not be as strong as it was a few years back while the Spanish team appeared constantly in the semi-finals and finals of the UEFA Champions League, Diego Godin is yet to lose his ground among the best defenders in the world.
Under Diego Simeone’s management, Godin has buttressed the defense mentality of Atletico Madrid, making the team one of the clubs which hardly concede goals even when facing an extremely offensive side. At the current age of 31, one would easily agree that Diego Godin’s slight form decline is due to his age but this hasn’t concealed the fact that the Uruguayan is one of the defenders many attackers detest coming up against.
7. Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham – England
Jan Vertonghen is a professional footballer born in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium in 1987. Currently, he plays majorly as a central defender for the Belgium national team and Tottenham Hotspur of England. Though playing as a full-back is Vertonghen’s primary role, the Belgian star also fits well as a left-back. At the club level, Vertonghen began his senior career at Ajax in 2006. Having spent a number of seasons and had 155 appearances for Ajax, Vertonghen joined Tottenham in 2012. Within his Ajax spell, Vertonghen was loaned to RKC Waalwijk in 2006 but returned to Ajax in 2007. Since he became a Tottenham player in 2012, Jan Vertonghen has had 177 appearances for the English side.
Together with teammate Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen is obviously one of the world’s best centre-backs strengthening Tottenham’s defense line. Meanwhile, it could be easily recalled that the Belgian was the one who pioneered the foundations of his team’s current impressive defensive line. Jan Vertonghen, who joined Tottenham from Ajax in 2012, is undoubtedly one of the finest EPL defenders and his presence has added great significance to Pochettino’s success at Tottenham.
8. Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham – Belgium
With Toby Alderweireld’s presence, Pochettino is obviously calm that his team’s defense is tight and wouldn’t concede goals unreasonably.
Interestingly, Alderweireld possesses some athletic proficiency such as his passing ability which enables him to deliver long-distance passes to his team’s forwards. Besides, the brilliant Belgian centre-back is always at ease, especially when in possession of the ball in Tottenham’s defense line.
He enjoyed a good World Cup with Belgium and was an important part of the Bronze winning team. He has been an integral part of Tottenham’s brilliant run of form both in the English Premier League and in the Champions League.
When Manchester United came with their offer to buy him from the club, Mauricio Pochettino stood firm in his refusal to let Toby Aderweireld leave, showing how much importance he attaches to the player.
Alderweireld is rarely caught out of position even when he overlaps to assist the attackers, his tracking back is very good. He is quite happy to play as part of a back three or a back four. He is a very confident passer of the ball, always sending long diagonal balls to the flanks.
9. Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid – Spain
Sergio Ramos plays as the central defender for both Real Madrid and the Spain national team. At both international and club levels, Sergio Ramos serves as the captain of his teams. Sergio Ramos, who has played for his country in three World Cup tournaments, has been in Real Madrid since he joined the Spanish giants from Sevilla in 2005. In accordance with the most recent FIFA rankings, as released in 2017, Sergio Ramos is one of the world’s best defenders. So far in his career, Sergio Ramos has had over 400 appearances for Real Madrid and coupled with this are 149 caps for the Spain national team.
Is his case a matter of past glory? Sergio Ramos endured a completely humiliating World Cup experience and continued the story of woe with Real Madrid with a series of humbling defeats both in the Champions League and La Liga.
10. Harry Maguire – Leicester City – England
He absolutely dominates in the air. This guy is 6ft 2′ and his height does not go to waste. He is strong and quite pacy for such a big guy. He knows how to block shots, intercept passes and make tackles. Harry Maguire is quite comfortable with the ball at his feet, and has time and again shown his ability to take the ball from his danger area deep into his opponents half.
He loves to join in the attack particularly during set pieces, and he will give opponents something to worry about. This part of his play came to the fore at the World Cup and if only there was a fouth place medal Harry Maguire would have one now.
He is just 26 years old and already regarded as 10th among the best defenders in the world, and may soon make a switch to a bigger club where he can make a challenge for some medals.
11. Gerard Pique
Gerrard Pique is a professional footballer who currently plays as a defender for Spain national team and Spanish giants Barcelona. He was born in the Spanish region of Barcelona where he served his youth career from 1997 to 2004. He began his senior career for Manchester United in 2004 and eventually returned to Spain in 2006, playing on loan as a Zaragoza player. In 2008, Gerrard Pique secured his return to Barcelona and since then, he has had 264 appearances for Barcelona. In FIFA’s latest rankings, he has featured alongside few other La Liga defenders among the world’s best defenders.
Thiago Silva plays as a defender captaining the pair of Brazil national team and France’s Paris Saint-Germain. He was born in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in 1984 and has been a PSG player since he joined the French side from Milan in 2012. In 2011, he earned votes which placed him in 2011 UEFA Team of the Year. He was part of the Brazilian squad that won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013.
Thiago Silva is unarguably the best defender in PSG’s defense line. Though a number of crucial factors including age and slight injuries have made him decline in form, the Brazilian star is yet one of the finest centre-backs in the world.
PSG is certainly the biggest-spending French club and this spending flair has brought in the presence of star footballers such as Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Taking a look at PSG’s current squad, one would easily agree that Thiago Silva constitutes the most acclaimed players alongside Neymar, Cavani, and Mbappe. 33-year-old Silva, who is in his 6th season for PSG, has contributed massively particularly as the captain and in helping the French side to win the Ligue 1 title on several occasions.
Leonardo Bonucci is a professional footballer born in the Italian area of Vertibo in 1987. Currently, he represents the Italy national team as a defender. Both for his country [Italy] and his current club [AC Milan], Bonucci serves as the captain. At the club level, Bonucci began his senior career at Viterbese in 2005 but was sent to Internazionale to serve a loan spell until 2007. In 2010, he completed a move from Bari to Juventus and remained a Juventus player until 2017. Since 2017, he has been playing for AC Milan as a centre-back.
- Mats Hummels
Mats Hummels is a professional footballer born in West Germany in 1988. At the international level, he represents the Germany national team as a central defender. He began his club-level senior career at Bayern Munich II. In 2007, he was promoted to Bayern Munich’s senior squad whereupon he spent 2 seasons before completing a loan move to German rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2008. After his one-year loan deal, Mats Hummels was signed by Borussia Dortmund where he spent about 7 seasons before eventually returning to Bayern Munich in 2016. His spell at Dortmund saw him recording the total of 225 appearances and he is among the best defenders in the world presently.
Cesar Azpilicueta is a professional footballer born in Pamplona, Spain in 1989. Besides being one of the players in the Spain national team, Azpilicueta plays as a full-back for Chelsea FC of England and one of the best defenders in the world currently. Though playing as a full-back is his major role, Azpilicueta is sometimes used as a centre-back. In 2006, Azpilicueta began his senior career at the club level playing for Osasuna B. In 2007, he was promoted to the club’s senior squad where he spent 3 years before joining Marseille in 2010. His spell in the French Ligue –where he played for Marseille –lasted only two years before he was signed by Chelsea in 2012. Since 2012, Cezar Azpilicueta has had 186 appearances for Chelsea.
Born Jerome Agyenim Boateng; Jerome Boateng is a footballer born in West Berlin in 1988. He plays majorly in the position of a centre-back for the Germany international team as well as Bundesliga side Bayern Munich. Besides his primary role as a centre-back, Jerome Boateng can perfectly fit into his team’s defensive line as a right-back. Boateng is one of the world’s best defenders and has been praised for his impressive passing and tackling abilities. He joined Bayern Munich from Man City in 2011 and his Bundesliga spell so far has yielded him 151 appearances for Bayern Munich.
Born Marcelo Vieira da Silva Junior; Marcelo is a professional footballer born in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in 1988. He plays as a left-back for the Brazil national team. Though his primary role describes him as a left-back, Marcelo perfectly fits into playing as a left-winger. At the club level, Marcelo plays for Real Madrid –the Spanish club he joined in 2007. So far, Marcelo has had more than 300 appearances for Real Madrid.
Professionally known as Dani Alves, Daniel Alves da Silva was born in the Brazilian city of Juazeiro in 1983. He serves in the position of a right-back for the Brazil national team as well as French side Paris Saint Germain. Dani Alves joined Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and spent 8 seasons before leaving the former for Serie A side Juventus in 2016. His Juventus spell had only lasted one season when he was heading to his current club –Paris Saint-Germain –in 2017.
- David Alaba
Among the best defenders in the world, David Alaba. Born David Olatukunbo Alaba; a footballer born in Vienna in 1992. At the club level, he serves in the combined position of midfielder and defender for Bayern Munich. At the international level, David Alaba plays for the Austria national team. He began his senior career at Bayern Munich’s junior squad in 2009 and in the subsequent year , he was promoted to the senior squad where he plays till now. So far, he has had 184 appearances coupled with 15 goals for Bayern Munich.
- Jordi Alba
Born Jordi Alba Ramos in the Spanish area of L’Hospitalet in 1989; Jordi Alba is a professional who serves primarily in the position of a left-back for the Spain national team and Spanish side Barcelona. Though serving as a left-back is his major role, Jordi Alaba can be perfectly used as a left-winger. Jordi Alba, who joined Barcelona in 2012, has had 150 appearances for the Spanish side.
- Javier Mascherano
Born Javier Alejandro Mascherano; Javier Mascherano is a footballer born in the Argentine area of San Lorenzo in 1984. Professionally, he serves the combined role of centre-back and defensive midfielder for the Argentina national team and Hebei China Fortune –a professional club in the Chinese league. Having had 94 appearances for Liverpool, Mascherano left the English side for Barcelona in 2010 and thereupon, he spent 8 years before eventually leaving the latter in 2018.
- Antonio Valencia
Born Luis Antonio Valencia Mosquera; Antonio Valencia is a footballer born in the Ecuadorian area of Lago Agrio in 1985. In the past, Valencia served in the position of a right-winger for Manchester United but currently, he plays as a right-back for the English club. Internationally, he serves in the position of a defender for the Ecuador national team. Antonio Valencia joined Manchester United from Wigan Athletic in 2009 and so far, he has had 227 appearances coupled with 17 goals for the Red Devils.
Born Kepler Laveran Lima Ferreira; Pepe is a professional footballer whose birth came about in Maceio, Brazil in 1983. Pepe, a 34-year-old Portuguese, plays as a centre-back for the Portugal national team as well as Besiktas –a Turkish club side. He is best known for his successful career at Real Madrid where he won significant trophies including La Liga, UCL, Copa Del Rey, World Club Cup, and few others. He joined Real Madrid from Porto in 2007. He played for the Spanish side until 2017 when he finally sealed a move to Turkish side Besiktas. Throughout his ten-year spell at Real Madrid, Pepe recorded 229 appearances for the Spanish giants.
Finally On The Best Defenders In The World 2019
These players may not get all the media attention, they may not get the big money endorsement deals or the pomp and swagger that football poster boys get, but without them, no team can stand. Yes, you may get lucky wins against mediocre teams; but against quality opponents, with hungry players, looking to win a major competition, you cannot survive without them. No, your team would fall apart like a house of cards, and opponents would stroll casually into your goal like wolves stroll into an unguarded henhouse.
At first glance many football followers would shake their heads and point fingers, but if we cannot construct a list of the Best defenders in the World like this objectively, without bias as to past glory, then what is the point of the list in the first instance?
That’s all about Top 20 Best Defenders In The World 2019.
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