During his prime, few would argue against Liverpool’s defender Virgil van Dijk being the world’s best center-back, with his exceptional aerial abilities, ball-winning skills, and an impressive record of going 50 games without being dribbled past.
However, Liverpool’s defense has shown vulnerability this season, with defeats against Brighton and Wolves, and conceding five goals to Real Madrid in the Champions League at Anfield.
And now,FourFourTwohave ranked the ten best centre-backs in the world – but although Van Dijk makes the list, he has fallen down the rankings…
The ten best Centre-Backs in the world
10 Cristian Romero9 Eder Militao8 Dayot Upamecano
The top ten defenders list includes the first three players who are all 25 years old or younger, with their best years potentially yet to come. Among them, Romero has emerged as the outstanding defender for Tottenham this season. The World Cup winner was praised by former manager Antonio Conte as “perfect for the Premier League.”
Militao, on the other hand, is currently in his fourth season with the Spanish giants, Real Madrid, having transferred from Porto in 2019.
With a Champions League and two La Liga titles already under his belt, he has been a consistent starter for the team over the last two seasons.
Coupled with experienced defenders such as Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba, Militao has the potential to further develop and become an even better center-back.
Lo de Eder Militao comienza a ser muy muy serio, que auténtica pasada de futbolista defendiendo y a veces en ataque. pic.twitter.com/70tYdt6eQS
— David🇦🇹🤍 (@Alabismo__) October 6, 2022
Upamecano is yet another young defender playing for a top-tier team, currently with Bayern Munich. He is known for being confident on the ball, quick, and played a crucial role in helping his team keep two clean sheets against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
7 Virgil Van Dijk6 William Saliba5 Kim Min-Jae
It is a matter of controversy that Van Dijk ranks lower on the list, considering that he was widely regarded as the world’s best center-back before.
However, after leading Liverpool in pushing Manchester City for the league and competing in the Champions League final, the team’s defense as a whole has struggled this season.
Van Dijk’s impact within the backline seems to have diminished compared to the effect he had when he first joined the team.
Although Van Dijk’s current form is not good, but there is no doubt about his class and ability as a player. Fans and analysts alike hope to see the Dutchman back to his best, having won both the Premier League and the Champions League in his career.
This season, Arsenal defender Saliba has had a unique trajectory compared to other players.
Gunners fans have been thoroughly impressed by the Frenchman, who has been a regular starter in his first year.
Saliba was voted as Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year last season while playing for Marseille.
He currently boasts an impressive 83% tackle success rate in the league, while Ben White and Gabriel have success rates of 65% and 68%, respectively (viaFBref)..
At just 22 years of age, Saliba seems to be well on his way to becoming one of the top five defenders in the coming years.
Bon anniversaire, Wilo 🥳 pic.twitter.com/YT0DOw2Uao
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 24, 2023
Kim Min-Jae has emerged as another sensation this season, proving to be a dependable defender for Serie A leaders Napoli.
Napoli has conceded the fewest number of goals in the Serie A, and the South Korean center-back’s consistent performance has played a crucial role in leading Gli Azzurri to the top of the table and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
4 Antonio Rudiger3 Ruben Dias2 Marquinhos
The departure of Rudiger from Chelsea has left a significant gap for the club to fill, and the decision not to meet the German’s demands seems to have backfired, with the Blues currently lying in 10th place in the league.
In contrast, Rudiger has made a seamless transition into the Madrid defense, and although they may still be chasing down Barcelona in La Liga, his aggressive defending, ball-carrying ability, and passing skills have all benefited his new team.
Although Pep Guardiola may not be playing Dias as frequently this season, the Portuguese player has still looked just as dependable as he did in his first two seasons at the Etihad, and he currently ranks third in the list.
Dias has been Guardiola’s preferred defensive option in the Champions League this season, playing in seven out of eight games in Europe.
With City set to face Bayern Munich in the next round, Dias will need to maintain his solid form.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Ruben Dias. pic.twitter.com/4HlfPgm6Vk
— ¹⁹ (@Alvarez19SZN) March 20, 2023
Marquinhos just narrowly misses out on the top spot, with the PSG defender playing just as crucial a role in defense as the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe play up front.
As Thiago Silva’s heir at PSG, Marquinhos has become a cornerstone of their backline, showcasing his aerial prowess, his ability to read the game, and his leadership qualities.
The captain of the Parisian club exhibits leadership, great tackling and positioning, and quality on the ball with a pass completion rate of 95% this season (viaFBref).
1 David Alaba
Hailed as a “complete player” by Carlo Ancelotti when he first arrived at Real Madrid, Alaba has been key to Madrid’s success over the last two seasons.
Alaba’s conversion from a full-back to a centre-back has proven to be a success, as his ability on the ball and in-game intelligence make him a complete defender.
The Austrian’s passing range and vision, coupled with his defensive awareness and physicality, have made him a valuable asset to any team he plays for.