More and more observers of the game suggest that there aren’t any good defenders out there these days, hence the astronomically high amount of money charged for the ones who can actually do the job.
With Kyle Walker becoming the world’s most expensive ever defender following his £50 million move from Tottenham to Manchester City, RealSport take a look at the world’s best central defenders.
1 Leonardo Bonucci [AC Milan]
It’s not often that you can get pleasure from watching a defence in action, but when you watch Juventus and Italy over the last few years, you are getting a masterclass in how to defend, and Bonucci is very much at the centre of those teams successes.
He has superb timing, excellent positioning, perfect anticipation, bravery and the discipline to not make any mistakes even after spending most of 90 minutes in his own penalty area. This is a player that seems as if he loves and takes joy in defending and all of its technical aspects and tricks.
Furthermore he’s also one of the best in the business at bringing the ball out from the back. How he’ll do at his new club will be interesting to see, but I imagine he’ll bring about a massive improvement in their defensive record.
2 Sergio Ramos [Real Madrid]
We all know about his discipline issues over the years (I think he’s up to 22 red cards over the course of his career), but in order to have played for so long at one of the world’s most demanding clubs and to have had the success that he has had over the years for both club and country shows someone who must be doing something right.
The will and passion which he shows, allied to aggression and technical ability, is not only shown at the back, but also by the amount of key goals he gets.
He’s so good at judging the flight of a ball that he managed ten goals last season and has scored at key moments in many a big game. If you’re looking for a player to step up in a final, Ramos is your man.
3 Gerard Pique [Barcelona]
It’s easy to overlook the Spaniard since he’s been at the heart of the Catalans’ defence for so long now and Pique not only possesses excellent passing ability, but also the capacity to be there at the right moment at the right time.
As many people know, Barcelona like to commit plenty of men forward, often leaving Piqué and another defender at the back on their own. Yet through timing and a fine ability to read the play, he is almost never beaten in one on one situations by opponents.
4 Diego Godin [Atletico Madrid]
The Uruguayan is a nightmare for opposing strikers and has been at the heart of Atletico Madrid’s fine performances since 2010. Here is a player that never shies away from the battle, who never lets his standards drop and is a veritable leader from the back.
His side is one that has built a lot of its success on defence, and from time to time, giving up possession of the ball. Such is the quality of Godin that they have no worries about giving up the ball, since they know that they can trust him.
5 Mats Hummels [Bayern Munich]
The best defenders don’t tend to be the ones who go diving in, since that is because they have already made a mistake in their positioning and are looking to make up for their error at the last second.
You rarely, if ever, see Hummels diving in. He is calmness personified, with immaculate levels of concentration that you need to have when you play for a side like Bayern. Most of the time you won’t be defending, so you have to make sure that you don’t lose that awareness, something Hummels never does.
He’s always in the right place at the right time and when he has to make a tackle, he wins them. An extra string to his bow is his distribution quality, an ever more necessary attribute for a centre half at a big club, and the German international can perform an almost quarterback role for both club and country.
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