When it comes to full-backs, there are ones who can score goals, run the flank, and others who focus on the dirty work and pass it swiftly out of the back. Whatever the type of defender, the back four are the engine of the team. Let us introduce the top defenders so far this decade.
Ramos succeeded Iker Casillas as Real Madrid captain in 2015, helping guide Los Blancos to four of the five last Champions League victories. Love him or hate him for the occasional dubious foul, he has been consistent at the top level for 14 years and scored some crucial goals along the way. He also played a vital role in helping Spain win the World Cup in 2010.
Known for his exquisite first touch, the Brazilian left-back has spent the past 11 seasons at the Bernabeu. A four-time Champions League winner and La Liga champion, he’s also won two Copa Del Rey as well as a World Cup.
Not known for his pace, Gerard Piqué has nonetheless morphed into one of Barcelona’s most versatile defenders given his dependability in the air and sharp passing abilities. In his 456 caps in his nine years with the squad, he’s won the Treble of Champions League, Spanish Cup, and La Liga twice. He also played a critical role in helping Spain win the World Cup.
The Brazilian right-back Dani Alves won 24 different trophies in his eight years at Nou Camp, including the treble in his first season. Recognized for his technical skills and pace, he’d add to his trophy collection a total of three Champions League titles, six League titles, four Spanish Cups, five Spanish Super Cups, and four UEFA Supercups. He also played a vital role in getting Juventus to the 2017 Champions League final before losing to Real Madrid.
The tall and tough-tackling German Jerome Boateng played an important role in helping Germany win its 2014 World Cup. He’s been instrumental at the club level as well, winning the Bundesliga six times with Bayern Munich, including a Champions League in the 2012/13 season.
The Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini has helped turn the Juventus back line into a fortress. He played an instrumental role in leading the team to seven consecutive Scudetto and four Coppa Italia. He was also a victim of a Luis Suarez bite at the 2014 World Cup.
The winner of seven titles at Atletico Madrid, Diego Godin is a traditional rugged defender with the ability to bag a goal in key set pieces. His 357 appearances for Atletico over the last eight years have helped lead the team to two Europa League titles, one La Liga, a Copa del Rey, and two Champions League runner-up finishes.
A top ball-playing defender, the German Mats Hummels also excels in powerful tackles and perfectly timed interceptions. A valuable component of the German team that won the World Cup in 2014, he’s also powered Bayern Munich to two league titles and his former side Borussia Dortmund to two titles, a German Cup, and a UEFA Champions League runners-up in 2013.
Once a promising young defender is now a dependable rock in the back, having helped France win the 2018 World Cup and led Barcelona to a La Liga and two Copa del Rey in his first two years with the club. Having penned 5-year contract this year, Umtiti looks ready to add more silverware.
A solid defender, the Brazilian Thiago Silva has been a cornerstone of Paris St. Germain’s revival with five French League titles, four French Cups, five French League Cups, and is a six-time French Super Cup winner. He also captained the Brazil side that won the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Virgil Van Dijk
Winner of two consecutive Scottish Premierships and a Scottish League Cup, Virgil Van Dijk has gone on to impress in the English Premiership as a star for Southhampton before Liverpool broke the transfer record for a defender by signing for £75 million. The defender has already helped the Reds get to the Champion League final in 2018 before losing out to Real Madrid.
Often considered one of the best defenders in the world with partner in crime Sergio Ramos, the Portuguese defender Pepe helped Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles, three league titles, and two Copa del Rey. He’s also participated in three World Cups, winning Man of the Match for helping his side win its first major international trophy with a European Championship in 2016.