Top 10 Best Defenders In The World 2023

The best defenders in the world do much more than stopping attacking opponents from scoring against them; they provide the confidence that allow their team mates to dash forward in search of goals. Sadly, though, most teams spend more time and money searching for the best strikers and forwards they can get, and so the media and fans sometimes forget that defenders are equally important.

Nevertheless, quality managers and clubs know what impact defender can have on football teams; they know that teams can only achieve great things when they have adequate defensive cover; forwards can only do well when they are sure that they have solid players behind them.

Rankings like these have to change with the recent performances of the players, which is why the players below have been assembled as they have.


1. Antonio Rudiger

Club: Real Madrid

Country: Germany

Antonio Rudiger is a machine, a flawless, calculating and powerful machine that is built for excellence. Chelsea did their level best to persuade him to stay at the club, but he knew he could achieve greater things with Real Madrid. He has everything; speed, power, interceptions, tackling, marking, and composure.

Antonio Rudiger is a natural carrier of the ball; he drives forward effortlessly; turning defensive situations into attacking ones. He is naturally a defender, but moves forward, and holds the ball, thus helping his team mates to get forward.

Antonio Rudiger has the heart of a lion; he is always seen rallying the troops, taking absolute command of the game, pointing to his team mates where they need to be. He is a big game player who adds goals to his game every now and then.

2. Virgil van Dijk

Club: Liverpool

Country: Netherlands

Virgil Van Dijk is regularly mentioned as the best defender in the world; and he very well might be. His physical presence, supreme ability in the air, composure, agility, and command of the defensive area are hard to beat. His best game is as a sweeper; picking up the ball after an initial tackle by a team mate.

That means Van Dijk needs to have other decent defenders with him. Since his arrival at Liverpool from Southampton back in 2018, he has transformed the team into a brutal, absolutely dominating unit.

Virgil Van Dijk is like a defensive general; he points out where his defenders need to be, and they obey his commands immediately. He is the mountain at the back that gives Liverpool the confidence to press forward.

3. Ruben Dias

Club: Man City

Country: Spain

In order to understand the impact made by Ruben Dias at Manchester City, one only has to look at the club’s performance since when Vincent Kompany left the club, until his arrival. With him at the back, the club has regained its defensive robustness, and has retaken its rightful place on top of the English football scene.

Ruben Dias is a top class defender; he is very hard to beat both for pace and in one on one situations. He is very quick and agile, and stubbornly stays with his man, until he gets the ball. Going forward he is very calm on the ball, he has very good passing ability, and he is a leader on the pitch.

With Ruben Dias on the pitch, Manchester City’ boys can run forward looking for the goals.

4. David Alaba

Club: Real Madrid

Country: Austria

David Alaba is a monster; he has been one of the best defenders in the world since his days at Bayern Munich. He is a utility player; and a very good one in any position. David Alaba is a very good left-back, a good defensive midfielder, a decent left-winger, and a charismatic leader.

He is excellent at tracking back and getting the ball off the feet of attackers, and he is adept at marking and making interceptions. He has adapted really well with life at Real Madrid where the team spends more time on the back foot soaking up pressure.

David Alaba contributes to the team not just by marking and tackling; he swings accurate long balls, just like the one he produced, which led to Karim Benzema’s disallowed goal in the Champions League final (2021/22)against Liverpool.

David Alaba has been Real Madrid’s anchor man at the back; he has marshaled the backline; taking charge of the young starlets that have been brought in to solidify the team.

5. Thiago Silva

Club: Chelsea

Country: Brazil

Still talking about a defensive marshal, Thiago Silva fits the bill perfectly. The Chelsea and Brazil man was already a top defender while he was at PSG; it would be difficult to forget his performances in the Champions League Semi Final a few seasons ago, and how he fought gallantly only to lose the match because of other player’s unserious showboating.

Even at his senior age, his stock as a defender has risen sharply with his displays and achievements at Chelsea; under his old boss at PSG. This shows he always had the class; he just needed to be in the right environment, with an ambitious club, and with serious players.

Thiago Silva is extremely hard to beat; he is very good at sorting his feet, and poking at the ball while the opponent is trying to dribble past him. He shouts instructions to team mates, and points out where they need to be. He boldly faces opponents no matter how talented they are, rather than shy away from them.

6. Kalidou Koulibaly

Club: Chelsea

Country: Senegal

Kalidou Koulibaly is a historic name in Africa; he captained Senegal to their first ever AFCON win just a few months ago. He has been the best defender in Italy for some time, causing Chelsea to tempt him over. Now he stands as a replacement for Antonio Rudiger who has gone to achieve great things at Madrid.

Kalidou Koulibaly has strength, speed, aerial ability, and he is extremely difficult to dribble past. These rock solid attributes have made him a super acquisition at Chelsea. He has brought defensive solidity to the team; he makes opponents think twice before running forward.

Even the best defenders need to play with decent forwards to keep the games balanced. It is yet early days to decide what his time at Chelsea will mean.

7. Aymeric Laporte

Club: Manchester City

Country: Spain

Aymeric Laporte is the kind of person who does the dirty work, and lets others get the credit. The focus has always been on Manchester City’s forward line; players like Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Harlaand will always be the focus of media attention, but it is players like Aymeric Laporte who trade tackles, and track back, and sweep and cover up so that the guys up front can win the game.

Aymeric Laporte does all these with exceptional class. Add that to his ability to string accurate passes, and you can understand why Manchester City is very hard to beat. One moment it looks like they are on the back foot, and the next moment they have scored a goal.

8. Jules Kounde

Club: Barcelona

Country: France

Jules Kounde is arguably the most sought after defender in the world right now; every team wants this man to line up in its colors; and with good reason. He is calm and composed, and knows when to step on the gas so as to produce those intense bursts of pace.

He is very difficult to beat, and quickly sorts out his feet so as to poke at the ball so as to destabilize attackers.

The French man has already made a statement at Sevilla, but he is now with Barcelona, where he is set to win his share of glory with the club.

9. Marquinhos

Club: PSG

Country: Brazil

Marquinhos has taken over Thiago Silva’s job at Paris Saint-Germain. He is not just the man entrusted with winning the ball whenever the team loses it; his job also includes rallying the troops, leader from the back, and squaring up to the most challenging situations. He wears the captains armband; so they trust him to do the job.

He has done everything right so far, as PSG charge for some glory this term.

10. Eder Militao

Club: Real Madrid

Country: Brazil

Eder Militao has not been appreciated recently; maybe because he is compared to Sergio Ramos, or maybe because he is just being outshined in a club that has bright stars like Luka Modric, David Alaba, and Karim Benzema.

Nevertheless, he is a monster on his day. He has the speed, the composure, and the passing ability to change the game. Militao is also very difficult to beat, and he has the ability to read the game.



The best defenders in the world are class acts that have proved themselves over time to be dependable and authoritative. Sometimes, defenders need to leave a club and play at another one for their true impact to be seen. At the former club the vacuum needs to be seen, while at the new club the effect has to be clear to everyone.