All great teams are formed off a rock-solid base, an impermeable barrier between success and failure.
Defence wins championships, as they say, and a top-class central defender is paramount to any club with aspirations of winning titles and European Glory.
The role of a centre-back has changed down the years though, as have the requirements of a top defender in general.
Picking the Top 10 Centre-Backs is far from an easy task but after comparing stats and various other aspects, this is our Top 10:
1) Virgil Van Dijk
At the very top of the list of World’s Top 10 Centre-Backs is Liverpool’s lynchpin, Virgil Van Djik.
Van Dijk has had an immediate impact since his arrival at Anfield and reached the Champions League final with Liverpool in 2018.
No one believed he was worth £75 million, considering him to be Liverpool’s worst buy ever.
The Dutch international soon proved everyone wrong however, as he became one of the best centre backs in football, being the only defender to ever win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award, also finishing runner-up for the Ballon d’Or award.
The 29-year-old helped Liverpool to reach back to back UCL finals in 2018 and 2019, winning the latter. He also played a vital part in ending the club’s thirty-year Premier League title drought as they emerged victorious in the 2019-20 Premier League season.
That’s not to mention Van Dijk being named PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season.
2) Sergio Ramos
Number 2 on the list of Top 10 Centre-Backs in 2020 is Sergio Ramos.
When you think about a complete centre-back who is both solid in defense and effective in offense, Sergio Ramos is the first name that would come to your mind.
Not only is the Spanish international a solid defender at the back, but he is also a deadly finisher. Some believe that he is well past his prime, but he proves time and time again that he is nowhere near the finish line.
The 34-year-old is without a doubt one of the best centrebacks in the world 2020. He helped his side clinch their 34th La Liga title last season, alongside the Spanish Supercup. He might be one of the most-hated players in the world, but the captain holds a very special place in the hearts of the Los Blancos.
3) Kalidou Kouliably
Koulibaly is quick, strong and aggressive both on the ground and in the air. He can play out from the back with ease.
Koulibaly left Genk to sign for Napoli in 2014 for a fee of only £6.5 million, which considering his £63 million in market value nowadays, was a total bargain.
The 29-year-old has been in outstanding form for his club ever since he joined Napoli in 2014.
4) Giorgio Chiellini
The Juventus stalwart is one of the all-time greats, the biggest compliment we can pay Chiellini is that he’s a centre-back who could have played in any era.
The Italian has outstanding positional awareness and tackling technique, and is one of the most respected one-on-one opponents in world football. He may not be quick or gifted in possession, but the Italian provides balance in a world of ball-playing centre-backs. He makes it very difficult for opponents to threaten his goal through any means necessary.
5) Raphael Varane
Varane has turned himself to an absolute wall against the opposition strikers in Zidane’s new era at Real Madrid. He is physically imposing, good with the ball at his feet and unflappable in the most stressful of situations.
One might argue that with his horrible performance in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Manchester City, he should not be in the list of best centre-backs in the world in 2020, but one game does not define a player.
He is adored by Real Madrid fans and is sometimes seen as the heir-apparent to Sergio Ramos’ throne. He has won everything there is to win at Madrid while also getting his hands on the World Cup in 2018.
6) Aymeric Laporte
At number 6th in the list of Top 10 Centre-Backs is the Frenchman Aymeric Laporte.
Manchester City owe much of their success to Laporte. He has helped his side become the first team to win the domestic treble in English football in 2019.
His character and his winning mentality are top-notch. Laporte is fast, strong in the air and technically sound.
It speaks to Aymeric Laporte’s influence that City’s grip on the Premier League title has loosened dramatically with him being injured. He once had grounds to consider himself the best around, and while others have since narrowly ousted him from the top five, few can deny his credentials as one of the very best.
7) Dayot Upamecano
The 22-year-old Frenchman has a lot of Elite clubs going head to head for his signature. He’s got Champions League experience, he’s got the ability and he’s at the age he can be moulded into whatever a manager wants.
Upamecano is dominant in the air, winning 3.2 aerial duels per 90 during his time in Germany. He is the ninth best in the Bundesliga when it comes to interceptions per 90 minutes.
Upamecano is arguably the most sought-after central defender in world football right now. The 22-year-old is a complete defender who can win over attackers by both outmuscling and outpacing them.
8) Milan Skriniar
The Slovakian has gone from strength to strength and established himself as one of the best centre-backs in Europe at the Nerazzurri.
Skriniar is more than just a modern build-up centre-back. He’s excellent at defending and regaining possession. He also makes a lot of interceptions due to his anticipation abilities.
Skriniar is going to get better and better under the able tutelage of Antonio Conte.
9) Leonardo Bonucci
Leonardo Bonucci has been a rock for Juventus since joining the club in 2010. In that time he has won more than 14 trophies with the Bianconeri.
He won six consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus between 2012 and 2017. In 2017, he moved to A.C. Milan, and one season later returned to Juventus, winning two more consecutive league titles with the club.
The Italian’s positional sense, strength and aerial prowess makes him a tough man to get the better of.
10) David Alaba
Alaba has made over 350 appearances for Bayern Munich since 2010, winning 20 honours including nine Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Champions League in 2013 and 2020.He has been named in the UEFA Team of the Year three times.
Alaba differs from a conventional defender however, is in his passing and attacking movements. Being a supremely intelligent footballer, his reading of the game is exceptional.
David Alaba might not be a natural centre-back as he is a left-back. Though he has certainly proven himself to possess such versatility that he has become one of the best centre backs in football of 2020.
Alaba’s market value has also seen a rise due to his outstanding performance at Bayern Munich.