Some might believe that the best defense is a good offense. But what if the offense fails? That is when the centre-backs prove their worth. Let us see who the best current centre-backs in the world are.
In many countries, or even all over the world, children usually grow up dreaming about being a legendary striker, winger, or an attacking midfielder scoring lots of goals. But there are others among them that dream about becoming one of the best defenders the world has ever seen, as they understand the importance of solid centre-back in a successful team.
The game of football has seen many legendary centre-backs over the decades, with the likes of Alessandro Nesta, Franz Beckenbauer, Fabio Cannavaro, Carles Puyol and Fernando Hierro having a special place in the fans’ memories and hearts. These former players are all legends now, which leaves us with one question: Who are the best centre backs in football in 2020?
Let us have a look at the top 10 best centre-backs in the world in 2020.
When there is talk of solid centre-backs, there are always a couple names mentioned from the country of Italy. Serie A has seen many world-famous defenders through the years, many of which were in fact Italian players. One such player is Leonardo Bonucci who plays for the Italian side Juventus, and is considered to be one of the best centre-backs in the world in 2020.
The 33-year-old began his career with Inter Milan in 2005 as he spent the next five years on loan at Treviso, Pisa and then Bari. He proved to be a phenomenal defender who could use his heading ability for both offense and defense.
His technique earned him a move to the Italian giants back in 2010, which only saw him improve even more as he won a mind blowing six consecutive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2017. His prowess as a defensive player and as someone who is lethal with his headers during corners has earned him a place as one of the top centre backs of 2020.
The future looks to be bright at the hands of wonderkids such as the Dutch international Matthijs de Ligt. He is as difficult to get past by as his name is to pronounce. The 21-year-old has undoubtedly got an immense amount of potential that he is yet to realize, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one the best centre backs in the world in 2020.
As the only defender to ever win the Golden Boy award, de Ligt has proven to be one the future’s shiniest stars. He joined the Italian side Juventus in 2019 and helped his team win the Serie A in his first season with his outstanding performances week in week out, even bagging 4 goals this season.
David Alaba might not be a natural centre-back as he is a left-back. But he has certainly proven himself to possess such versatility that he has become one of the best centre backs in football of 2020. With Bayern Munich’s shortcomings in their defensive roster, the Austrian was called up to play as a centre-back this season, which you can see how impressive his performance has been by having a look at his 50% Clean Sheets Ratio which is absolutely out of this world.
Alaba’s market value has also seen a rise during the 2019-20 season due to his outstanding performance at the German club. Not only is he one of the world's best centre backs of 2020, he is also considered to be one of the best left-backs in the world thanks to his immense versatility.
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The country of Slovakia is blessed to have such a young talent at the back to hold off the opposition strikers. Inter Milan are also lucky to have one of the best centre backs in soccer of 2020 at their service. Milan Škriniar has been absolutely incredible this season for his side as he has become a solid wall that does not break that easily.
The most expensive Slovak player of all time joined Inter in 2017 on a five-year contract for a reported fee of €20M. He has only gone up from that day forward as he has now made over 120 appearances for Inter and his market value has sky-rocketed to being around €50-60M.
Not many players can claim that they have won not one, but two continental trebles in their careers. But the German defender Jerome Boateng can certainly boast about his achievements as much as he wants. As one of the best centre backs of 2020, he has won it all. His trophy cabinet includes a World Cup, two Champions League trophies, one English FA Cup, eight Bundesliga titles, one FIFA Club World Cup, four German Super Cups and many more.
He might not be at his highest transfer market value, but he is still highly valued at his team as he has proven himself to be one of the best centre-backs in the world in 2020. We can only wait and see if the 31-year-old can continue his good form and carry on with his incredible performance in the 2020-21 season to still be one of the best current centre backs in the world or not.
Next on our list of best centre-backs in the world in 2020 is the French defender Aymeric Laporte. It is safe to say that Manchester City owe much of their success to their solid defenders, specially Laporte, in recent seasons, as he has helped his side become the first team to win the domestic treble in English football in 2019.
The 26-year-old joined Manchester City in the winter transfer window of the 2017-18 season for a record-breaking reported fee of €65M. Many doubted the board and the manager’s decision to buy a player with no major international appearances for such a hefty fee. But he has certainly proven them wrong by earning a place on the list of best centre-backs in the world in 2020.
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We are nearing the end of our list of best centre-backs in the world in 2020, but we still haven’t reached to the final third. It is of course getting tougher to analyze and judge the top four as they have all had brilliant seasons with their respective clubs. Number four on our list of best current centre backs in the world is the Senegalese international Kalidou Koulibaly, who plays for the Italian club S.S.C Napoli.
As one of the good centre backs of 2020, the 29-year-old has been in outstanding form for his club ever since he joined the Italian side in 2014, so much so that he earned a place in The Guardian's 100 Best Male Footballers in 2019, where he was listed as the third-best centre-back in the world.
Koulibaly left Genk to sign for Napoli in 2014 for a fee of only €7M, which considering his €65M market value nowadays, was a total bargain. We always hear rumors about him joining other more successful clubs, but they have always stayed as mere rumors, which is quite normal for one of the best current centre backs in the world.
We have finally reached the top three on our list of best centre-backs in the world in 2020. You cannot talk about the best young defenders in the world with high potential and not mention the French international Raphaël Varane. Varane has turned himself to an absolute wall against the opposition strikers in Zidane’s new era at Real Madrid.
A %50 clean sheet ratio, which has also helped his teammate Thibaut Courtois win the Zamora trophy, is undeniably impressive, considering he has played over 40 games this season. He has bagged 3 goals and one assist in the 2019-20 season, becoming more of an integral part of Los Blancos.
Although you 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 placed third on the list of best centre-backs in the world in 2020, but one game does not define a player as every man has his faults and you should judge his place based on his overall performance last season.
The Frenchman is certainly one of the good centre backs of 2020. He is also loved by Real Madrid fans and is sometimes seen as the heir-apparent to Sergio Ramos’ throne at the club. He has also won everything a footballer could dream of, including 4 Champions League trophies, 3 La Liga titles, 3 UEFA Supercups, 3 Spanish Supercups, 1 Copa del Rey trophy, 4 FIFA Club World Cups and the cherry on top of it all, the 2018 World Cup.
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The runner-up on our list of best centre-backs in the world in 2020 is Virgil van Dijk. Everyone in the footballing world lost their mind when the English club Liverpool splashed the cash to bring in the Dutchman from Southampton for an unbelievable fee of €80M. No one believed he was worth that much money, many 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 his current side reach back to back UCL finals in 2018 and 2019, winning the latter to take Liverpool’s UCL trophy count to 6. He’s 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.
Van Dijk is undoubtedly one of the best centre-backs in the world in 2020, and we will surely see him on next year’s top 10 best centre-backs in the world as well. We will just have to wait and see what other trophies he will win with The Reds.
When you think about a complete centre-back who is both solid in defense and effective in offense, Sergio Ramos, one of the top centre backs of 2020, is one of the few names that would come to your mind. The number one on our list of best centre-backs in the world in 2020 has certainly earned his place with class.
Since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from the Spanish giants Real Madrid, the team has been in some kind of a turmoil, especially last season as they suffered heavily from the absence of their star player. This season however, the Los Blancos’ beloved captain has been amongst the few who have stepped up to take on more intense and essential roles in Zidane’s squad.
Not only is the Spanish international a solid defender at the back, but he is also a deadly finisher at the frontlines. His goal tally confirms this claim as he has scored over 100 goals in his entire career, which is absolutely phenomenal for a central defender. Some might 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, as he helped his side clinch their 34th La Liga title this 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 Madrid fans and is a true legend to be remembered for decades.
That ends out list of best centre backs in the world in 2020. We hope to see new stars shine with each new season so that we can introduce the future of football to you all.