Opinion

Ranked: 10 Best Center Backs in the World Right Now

By Amreen
Ruben Dias is one of the best defenders in the world right now
Ruben Dias is one of the best defenders in the world right now / Jose Coelho - Pool/Getty Images
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Being a center-back is a role that requires not only exceptional mental and physical attributes, but also the ability to lead and organise a team's defense and overall set-up.

Manchester City won the Premier League last season, with Ruben Dias being one of the biggest reasons for Pep Guardiola's side's dominance in the league. With 17 clean sheets in the league, Dias is without a doubt one of the best defenders in the world today.

Here are the top 10 center backs in the world today, according to WhoScored.


10. Jose Fonte

Jose Fonte
Jose Fonte / Alex Pantling/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
36 appearances
3 goals
2.2 aerials won per game
3.8 clearances per game
1.9 interceptions per game
The 37-year-old captained a Lille side that won its first Ligue 1 title since 2010/11 and was a crucial part of Christophe Galtier's young team. His form was rewarded with a place in Fernando Santos' Portugal squad for Euro 2021.


9. Aymeric Laporte

Aymeric Laporte
Aymeric Laporte / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
14 appearances
0 goals
2.6 aerials won per game
1.8 clearances per game
0.7 interceptions per game
Laporte formed a dream partnership with Dias at the heart of City's defence before Covid and an injury opened the doors for John Stones' entry into the team.


8. Mats Hummels

Mats Hummels
Mats Hummels / BSR Agency/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
32 appearances
5 goals
2.2 aerials won per game
3.8 clearances per game
1.9 interceptions per game
The 2014 World Cup winner was the top player at Borussia Dortmund in blocks, aerial battles won, clearances, and interceptions, and chipped in with five Bundesliga goals.


7. John Stones

John Stones
John Stones / David Ramos/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
22 appearances
4 goals
1.7 aerials won per game
2.5 clearances per game
0.8 interceptions per game
Stones' partnership with Dias cleared away any doubts over his future at City. He helped Guardiola's side to the Premier League title and 19 clean sheets in the league.


6. Milan Skriniar

Milan Skriniar
Milan Skriniar / Marco Canoniero/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
31 appearances
3 goals
1 aerial won per game
2.7 clearances per game
0.9 interceptions per game
Skriniar was a vital cog in the Inter side that ended their 11-year wait for the Serie A title last season. The Slovakian conceded a league-low 35 goals and even pitched in in the midfield for his national side at times.


5. Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane
Raphael Varane / Denis Doyle/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
31 appearances
2 goals
2.4 aerials won per game
3.5 clearances per game
1.2 interceptions per game
Varane has been without a doubt one of the best Real Madrid defenders last season and for France during Euro 2020. With Sergio Ramos largely absent due to injury, Varane stepped up to the task of protecting Madrid's backline, and has been linked with a move to Manchester United this summer.


4. Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
34 appearances
2 goals
4 aerials won per game
3.6 clearances per game
1.8 interceptions per game
Maguire missed the opening two games of Euro 2020, but eventually returned to Gareth Southgate's squad and led the team to three more clean sheets and a semi-final victory. The world's most expensive defender was vital in 2020/21 for United, finishing second among Premier League defenders in aerial battles won.


3. Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
5 appearances
1 goal
2.4 aerials won per game
1.6 clearances per game
1 interception per game
Van Dijk spent majority of last season sidelined following a horror tackle from Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby in October. But his absence affected Liverpool's title defence and very nearly cost them a place in next season's Champions League.


2. Marquinhos

Marquinhos
Marquinhos / John Berry/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
24 appearances
3 goals
2 aerials won per game
2.9 clearances per game
1.1 interceptions per game
The PSG defender came so close to Champions League glory last season and impressed in the semi-final defeat to City this year. With Thiago Silva's departure, Marquinhos has taken the reigns at the heart of his team's defence.


1. Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias
Ruben Dias / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

2020/21 Season Stats:
32 appearances
1 goal
1.9 aerials won per game
2 clearances per game
1.5 interceptions per game
Dias was to City what Van Dijk was to Liverpool in 2018. His composure and ease helped City win the Premier League crown, and the Portugal international was named the Football Writers' Association and Premier League Player of the Season.

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