After looking at the goalkeeper, right-back, and left-back positions, it’s time to look at another defensive position: centre-backs.
The individuals who wear numbers four and five are frequently the defensive captains of teams, expertly marshalling the backline. As most great leaders in football history were centre-backs or defenders, it is undoubtedly one of the more heroic positions in the game.
The position of centre-back has developed over time. Back in the day, it was normal practice to use a ‘libero,’ also known as a sweeper,’ as a third centre-back.
Franz Beckenbauer, a legendary German defender and one of the best of all time, excelled in this capacity. However, in modern football, clubs like both centre-backs to be competent with the ball on their feet, rather than needing to play a specialist sweeper.’
The objective behind using a sweeper was to allow a team to launch attacks from defence, defeating the first press with a ball through the channels directly into midfield. A similar concept exists today, but instead of wasting a position on a sweeper, normal centre-backs are expected to take on that task.
Which country has the best defenders ? National teams with the best center-backs:
It’s impossible to discuss defenders without mentioning the Italians, who are most recognized for their defensive skills. It’s no wonder that Italy continues to produce some of the world’s best defenders.
However, the current crop of Italian centre-backs falls short of their extraordinarily high standards. Captain Giorgio Chiellini is the current generation’s only truly “world-class” Italian centre-back.
His Juventus colleague Leonardo Bonucci is one of the world’s most complete centre-backs and is incredibly adept with the ball, but his peak as a top-tier defender was brief. Francesco Acerbi is another no-nonsense centre-back who is a team captain.
Alessio Romagnoli’s ascent has come at an opportune moment for the Azzurri. The 24-year-old AC Milan star is one of the team’s greatest players and will undoubtedly be at the heart of Italy’s defence for many years to come.
Daniel Rugani, another Juventus defender, is a good youthful choice for a centre-back in Roberto Mancini’s club, albeit his development has slowed in recent years.
Notable players include Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij, and Daley Blind.
The Netherlands have perhaps the best centre-back in the world in Virgil Van Dijk.
The Netherlands has a long tradition of producing outstanding centre-backs, including Jaap Stam, Ruud Krol, Frank de Boer, and Ronald Koeman.
Since the retirement of Jaap Stam in 2004, the Oranje have been waiting for another world-class centre-back. Virgil van Dijk is more than one, and he may be the finest centre-back in the world right now.
Furthermore, the Netherlands have discovered three outstanding players to complement their national team skipper. Matthijs de Ligt, a 20-year-old super-talent, has the potential to become one of the finest centre-backs of his age if he lives up to his full ability.
The 1988 European winners have expertise at centre-back in Inter’s Stefan de Vrij and Ajax’s Daley Blind, who can also play left-back.
The trio, along with De Ligt, are all great alternatives to team captain Virgil van Dijk in central defence, ensuring that the Netherlands can name a solid centre-back pairing. The Oranje have an intriguing team with a world-class defence under the capable direction of Ronald Koeman.
Aymeric Laporte, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, Lucas Hernandez, and Presnel Kimpembe are among the notable players. Rafael Varane, 26, is one of France’s oldest centre-backs.
Rafael Varane, 26, is one of France’s oldest centre-backs.
It is practically difficult to discuss national teams right now without mentioning France, regardless of the position under consideration.
As has been stated several times, France is in their golden years, with multiple world-class players at every position on its squad. Rafael Varane and Samuel Umtiti are the current world champions’ centre-back tandem, having won the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Aymeric Laporte, one of the top centre-backs in the world and maybe the best left-footed central defender right now, was notably excluded from the French World Cup roster. The fact that Didier Deschamps was able to win the World Cup without even having Laporte in the team speaks eloquently about the depth in the French ranks.
Clement Lenglet of Barcelona has since established himself as a top-level centre-back and is a significant factor in much of the fine work Barcelona does defensively.
Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Raul Albiol, Pau Torres, and Inigo Martinez are among the notable players. Spain has the most recognizable centre-back combo of any country.
Spain has the most recognizable centre-back combo of any country.
Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, two of the ever-presents on Spain’s famed World Cup-winning squad in 2010, are still going strong a full decade after their triumphs in South Africa.
At the ages of 33 and 32, Ramos and Pique are no longer at their peak. Despite this, they remain two of the finest Spanish centre-backs in the game today, demonstrating that it is not agility and physique that create a great defender.
Ramos has 170 international caps to his record, which is an incredible number regardless of whose country you represent, let alone a footballing powerhouse like Spain. Pique has also amassed an incredible 102 caps so far.
Spain has by far the finest centre-back partnership in international football-based just on size. However, the in-depth quality is inadequate. After the two veterans, the versatile Cesar Azpilicueta is undoubtedly their finest centre-back. But the Chelsea player hasn’t played for La Roja in two years and isn’t in their plans for the future.
Which country has the best defenders ? Which International team has the best Defenders in the world ?
Clearly, a lot of national teams can identify a good pair of centre-backs, or even a solid back-three, if necessary. However, no other team in international football can match France’s incredible depth without sacrificing quality.
The Netherlands are also a very good defensive unit, but they are simply too far behind France’s lineup right now.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup victors feature six outstanding central defenders, the oldest of them is 26 years old. France could choose three different centre-back pairings and still defeat any other team in the world. That’s unique.
Last but not least, becoming one of the best defenders in the world is not an easy task. These players are successful because they are industrious and consistent. Football is not an easy game, especially if you want to pursue it as a profession; you must go through football trials, and you may encounter rejection and demotivation in the beginning, but you must stand up for yourself because no one will stop you from accomplishing your goals.