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Who ranks among the best centre backs in the world?

Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk is still considered to be among the best centre-backs in the world.

A top-tier centre-back has become essential for any big team in the world. Center-backs not only provide security and control at the back, but in the modern game, they are responsible for building out from the back, finding midfielders and forwards and breaking the opposition’s defensive lines either with runs or with precise forward passes.

Good centre-backs can have an immensely positive effect on any squad and improve the on-field game exponentially. The 2022/23 season has also witnessed plenty of great defensive performances which range from constantly pressing the opposition forwards to making last-ditch tackles and goal-line clearances.

But who are the top 10 centre-backs in 2023 and who tops the list? Stay tuned to find out!

Best centre backs in the world: Top 10 list

Virgil Van DijkLiverpoolThe Netherlands31
John StonesManchester CityEngland28
David AlabaReal MadridAustria30
Jules KoundeBarcelonaFrance24
Cristian RomeroTottenham HotspurArgentina24
Ruben DiasManchester CityPortugal25
Thiago SilvaChelseaBrazil38
Josko GvardiolRB LeipzigCroatia21
Lisandro MartinezManchester UnitedArgentina25
William SalibaArsenalFrance21

Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool and the Netherlands

Virgil Van Dijk is without a doubt, one of the best centre backs of his generation, and up until last year his position as the best in the game was taken for granted. Over the last season, however, he has failed to live up to the outrageous standards that he had set for himself since moving to Liverpool in 2018 and has also suffered with injuries.

Despite that, the Dutchman continues to be smart and intelligent and single-handedly commands the backline. He was a major force behind Liverpool finishing just one point short of the Premier League champions Manchester City and finishing as runners-up in the UEFA Champions League to Real Madrid. Van Dijk has also won the player of the year award in England the season Liverpool became champions.

Also Read: Champions League winners list

John Stones, Manchester City and England

John Stones has, once again, recovered his lost prominence and has become a rock at the back for Manchester City. Stones has been phenomenal throughout the Premier League season and has been extremely dependable for Pep Guardiola. His ball-playing abilities allows the defending English champions to play with an extremely high line and Stones is also capable of wreaking havoc with forward forays and long diagonal balls.

Add to that the fact that he is very dangerous from set pieces and has excellent recovery pace to thwart opposition counter-attacks and it becomes abundantly clear why he is rated so high in England.

David Alaba, Real Madrid and Austria

David Alaba has had a memorable season with Real Madrid last year. The Austrian, who started his career as a left-back and has often played as a winger or even a midfielder, is now one of the best centre-backs in the world. Last season, he led the backline as Los Blancos won the UEFA Champions League and also lifted La Liga in Spain.

Despite not being blessed with the height and the physique of a traditional centre-back, Alaba has the necessary skillset to shine bright. His comfort on the ball also results in him being utilised as a channel on the left for Real Madrid.

Jules Kounde, Barcelona and France

Jules Kounde has been one of the best centre backs in La Liga for a couple of years and since his high-profile move to Barcelona this summer, he has proven that he is among the best in the world. The 24-year-old oozes class and composure on the ball and hardly puts a foot wrong. This season, he has mostly been deployed as a right-back in Barcelona because of the absence of a proper replacement and despite being played out of position, Kounde has done tremendously well.

His line-breaking passes are extremely difficult to read and they often end up threading one or two defensive lines. When played as a right-back, Kounde has also made overlapping runs and his crosses into the box are accurate. Moreover, the Frenchman is a great header of the ball and he has been a massive signing for the Blaugrana.

Cristian Romero, Tottenham Hotspur and Argentina

What a fantastic couple of years Cristian Romero has been having! From being an obscure talent in the Serie A with Atalanta to securing a high-profile move to Tottenham Hotspur in England and more importantly, winning the Copa America and FIFA World Cup with Argentina, it has been a fairytale rise to stardom for Cristian Romero.

Romero has been indispensable for Antonio Conte’s defence-heavy Spurs setup. Moreover, he has been massive for Argentina and has been a rock at the back for Lionel Scaloni. It is his strong partnership with Nicolas Otamendi and Lisandro Martinez that allowed Argentina to play with confidence and swagger at the World Cup in Qatar. Romero is on top of the world and there are no signs that he will slow down anytime soon.

Ruben Dias, Manchester City and Portugal

Ruben Dias may have gone somewhat under the radar over the last year and a half due to the prolific nature of his goal-scoring teammates at Manchester City but the Portuguese centre half remains a rock at the back for Pep Guardiola’s side. Since moving to Man City from Benfica in 2020 for a fee of €68 million, Dias quickly became one of the best defenders on the planet and was the standout centre-back that year.

He was named FWA Footballer of the Year, the Manchester City Player of the Year, the Premier League Player of the Season and the UEFA Champions League Defender of the Season. Dias’ positioning is almost exceptional and he is very calm and mature on the ball. The 25-year-old is also great at defending 1v1 situations and he offers steel and security to an already formidable Manchester City backline.

Thiago Silva, Chelsea and Brazil

There aren’t many players in the world who can belong in the conversation for the best defenders in the world while they are about to enter their 40s. But then again, Thiago Silva is no ordinary defender. The Brazilian captain was one of the best centre backs of the previous decade and even at the ripe old age of 38, he continues to lead the Chelsea and Brazil backline with distinction.

Silva led Chelsea to their second Champions League trophy in 21 and he proved his credentials in England. Although he has struggled with fitness and injury issues because of his age in recent years, Silva is extremely dependable and hardly puts a foot wrong when called upon to the task. He is also one of the most consistent players for Chelsea.

Josko Gvardiol, RB Leipzig and Croatia

If Thiago Silva is one of the old guards of his position, Josko Gvardiol is the rising young star destined for greatness. The 21-year-old has taken the world by storm and clubs are already lining up bids in excess of €90 million to acquire his services from RB Leipzig. Gvardiol was also arguably the best centre back at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and had a phenomenal campaign until the semi-final with Argentina.

Also Read: FIFA World Cup winners list

Despite that, he continues to excel at club level and is extremely consistent. Having made 13 appearances for RB Leipzig, he has won 82 tackles and 16 aerial duels. Clubs like Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Liverpool are all following him closely and Gvardiol is destined for a move to a big club this summer.

Lisandro Martinez, Manchester United and Argentina

Lisandro Martinez has had a massive impact since moving from Ajax to Manchester United last summer. While his initial signing was heavily criticised due to his lack of height and physique, ‘Licha’ is quickly proving his detractors wrong. The 25-year-old is a left-footed ball-playing centre-back who is a warrior on the pitch and leaves everything out on the field.

Before his move to Manchester United, Martinez averaged the most successful passes per game in the Eredivisie. He is also a crucial component of the Argentina national team and has won the Copa America and FIFA World Cup with La Albiceleste. At the recently held World Cup, Martinez was mostly used as a substitute and was relied upon to close out games while coming off the bench.

William Saliba, Arsenal and France

William Saliba has had to take the long route to success but it is starting to pay off well for the Frenchman. When he initially signed for Arsenal, the club didn’t place their trust on him and instead sent him on loan to several clubs. However, it was on his loan at Marseille last season where he managed to acquire the attention of Europe and was even elected as the Young Player of the Year in Ligue 1.

This forced Arsenal to give him more opportunities this season and he has reaped those rewards and has broken into the first team for Mikel Arteta. He has become the talk of the town this season and his high level performances at the back have helped Arsenal take a comfortable lead in the Premier League. Still just 21-year-old, Arsenal fans will hope that he continues to keep impress and add more skills to his locker.


Who is the best centre back on FIFA 23?

Virgil Van Dijk with an overall rating of 90 is the best centre back in FIFA 23.

Who is the best young centre back in the world?

Josko Gvardiol is being recognised as the best young centre back in the world of football.

What is the difference between a centre back and a full back?

A centre back occupies the central zones in the defence and is often the last man standing ahead of the goalkeeper. A full back primarily plays on either flank and have the licence to venture further forward.


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