It’s been a big year for the centre-back – from Sergio Ramos’ deliberate suspension against Ajax to Harry Maguire’s blockbuster move to Manchester United. We might even see a centre-back win the Ballon d’Or later this year. If Virgil van Dijk were to win it, he’d be the first since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
But has van Dijk done enough not to win football’s top individual award but also to top this years’ PES best centre-back list?
RealSport ranks the best central defenders in this year’s game.
1. Virgil van Dijk (OVR 91)
Who else could be number 1? No defender in recent memory has elevated a team to another level as Virgil van Dijk has done with Liverpool since his arrival in January 2018.
He has a Champions League medal to his name, and may well have a Ballon d’Or by the end of the year, which would be remarkable considering how rarely defenders are even considered for the award. He’s the biggest climber on this list, rising to 91 and taking his place amongst the best players in the game.
2. Sergio Ramos (OVR 90)
Club: Madrid Chamartin B (Real Madrid)
PES 2019’s best defender bizarrely gets a one-point increase after what was a tumultuous 2018/19. Ramos’ season will be remembered for purposefully receiving a yellow card in Real Madrid’s first leg against Ajax in the Champions League Round of 16, thinking the tie as won.
It was not, and Ramos came under further criticism for having his documentary crew film as he watched his side crash out of Europe in the second leg. Things weren’t calm in La Liga either, as Real Madrid endured a torrid defensive season.
3. Gerard Pique (OVR 90)
One of several centre backs on this list over the age of 30, Gerard Pique proved last season that he’s still very much at the top of his game.
He’s still so crucial to Barcelona, solid at the back with the ability to start a passing move. His lack of pace means that some are hesitant to use him in the game, but his aerial and defensive ability should make up for it.
4. Kalidou Koulibaly (OVR 88)
Koulibaly used last season to establish himself as one of the finest centre-backs in the game, and in truth, his rating could have been higher.
It’s lucky for Napoli that he seems settled because Europe’s biggest clubs would love to get their hands on him. This season hasn’t started so smoothly for him, however, after scoring a shocking own goal against Juventus.
5. Mats Hummels (OVR 88)
Club: Free Agent
Last season will be remembered for being one where Mats Hummels wasn’t really wanted. He was unceremoniously retired from international duty by his manager Joachim Low and sold by Bayern Munich to rivals Borussia Dortmund (who aren’t on PES 2020).
His return to Dortmund is something of a homecoming, and despite being only 30, he’ll add some much-needed experience to a youthful backline.
6. Diego Godin (OVR 87)
Club: Inter Milan
Some were expecting Godin’s rating to fall after a slightly inconsistent final season at Atletico Madrid. However, his PES 2019 rating of 87 was harsh in the first place – such a stalwart doesn’t deserve to be any lower.
It will be worth watching how Godin, at the age of 33, adjusts to a new league as he embarks on a chapter with Inter Milan. Under Conte at Inter, he’ll form part of a stellar back three with Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij.
7. Giorgio Chiellini (OVR 87)
As he approaches the latter years of his career, Giorgio Chiellini suffers a one-point ratings drop. Even at the age of 35, Chiellini is still a fantastic leader and world-class defender.
Juventus fans would have been excited to see a “master and apprentice” type relationship between Chiellini and new signing Matthijs de Ligt, but Chiellini’s recent injury will mean they will have to wait at least another six months. Until then, it will be interesting to see if de Ligt can prove himself as a worthy successor to Chiellini.
Want to join the RS team? Become a RealGamer