best centre backs in the world

Ranking the best centre backs in the world

An exceptional central defender is like a rare gem in a sea of stones in modern football. A role that requires the finest physical and mental attributes, added with the capacity to lead the defensive line.

Over the years, very few have mastered the craft, while only a handful can pull it off consistently. Nowadays, defenders are a kind of semi-midfielders who run back and forth, supplying the ball to all ends of the field.

This is why most of the time they are not headline grabbers winning titles for their side; however, their strong presence is something unmatchable because defending is a very cruel position.

There are a variety of centre backs gracing the game which makes building the list quite challenging. But here is the list based on trophies, current form, and key stats of the top 5 centre backs in the world.

5: Ruben Dias

best centre backs in the world
Ruben Dias (Getty Images)

Ruben Dias has arguably been the most talked-about signing in the Premier League since he joined Manchester City. His old-school style and ball composure are the perfect blend for Pep Guardiola, although he hasn’t been quite a revelation in recent times this season as Manchester City’s defense has not been quite as promising as their attack, they always find a way to win. This does not take away the contribution from the Portuguese pillar for the Blues.

4: John Stones

best centre backs in the world
John Stones (Getty Images)

John Stones’ transformation into a defender-cum-midfielder has been the story of last season. His ability to adapt to requirements is overshadowed by injuries. However, whenever he is on the field it’s a different narrative as he can distribute and defend all at once. An ankle injury has kept him sidelined this season, yet he remains an underrated asset for the blue side of Manchester.

3: Alessandro Bastoni

best centre backs in the world
Alessandro Bastoni (Getty Images)

All eyes are on Inter Milan as they have a central defender climbing up the pecking order, and he has contributed massively to their Serie A domination this season. Simone Inzaghi’s side has a firm grip on the title. In the domestic league, their defence has been first class conceding just 17 goals in 32 games while just having 17 clean sheets which is the most in the division.

Bastoni has ticked all the boxes you’d want in a modern defender, and at just 24 years old, all the big European clubs seem to have him as their next target.

2: Antonio Rudiger

best centre backs in the world
Antonio Rudiger (Getty Images)

Despite everybody knowing that Real Madrid snagged themselves a bargain when they signed Antonio Rudiger as a free agent when his deal with Chelsea expired in 2022, his on-field presence has been phenomenal. He is among the best centre backs in the world.

However, his first season for Los Blancos ended without a La Liga or Champions League winners medal, he has been superb this season as he is a key figure in their race to win both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. On their road to league number 36, the Spanish giants have lost only 20 goals so far which shows the tight line the defence has with the German playing a central role in everything.

1: Virgil van Dijk

best centre backs in the world
Virgil van Dijk (Getty Images)

You have to give it to the Liverpool fans, there’s currently no better central defender in the world than Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman dropped his form last season, but then so did his teammates as well. This season, wearing the captain’s armband, he has picked up his form and is leading from the front, aiming to secure a Premier League medal for Klopp in his last season. Even as the season has not gone as per plan the fight for the 20th league title is still alive.

Also Read: 5 best left backs in the world


Who is the best centre-back in the world?

Virgil Van Dijk is the best centre-back in the world.