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If you’re interested in knowing which are the best centre backs in the world of football, discover them now! Explore their most iconic moments and incredible skills here.
Legendary centre backs are the silent heroes of any great soccer team. Such defenders command respect on the field and build a wall that is almost impenetrable, allowing their teammates to take risks and push up field.
Notable names in this list include Linda Blanc, Diego Godin and Sergio Ramos who are some of the best centre backs in history.
Each of these stars had a natural gift for defensive play as well as total commitment to their teams and were able to read the game better than most.
Their sheer presence posed a major threat to opposing strikers, forcing them to think twice before venturing into uncharted territory.
No wonder these stars are still revered and remembered fondly long after they’ve retired from soccer!
Best centre backs in the world
We’ll take a look at some of the best center backs in the world who were feared by strikers for their intimidating presence on the pitch.
10. Billy Wright
British football legend Billy Wright is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
Not only was he the first footballer on earth to achieve 100 international caps, but his record of 90 matches as England captain is also unbeaten.
Billy spent his entire career at Wolverhampton Wanderers and made 490 appearances for them, cementing his status as their most renowned player ever.
He also represented England at three consecutive World Cups between 1950 and 1958.
9. Ronald Koeman
The renowned Dutch football player Ronald Koeman is known as one of the best centre backs in the world of all time and a set-piece specialist.
In his career, Koeman featured in 763 games in Holland and Spain, accumulating an impressive 252 goals.
He was also one of five European players to have achieved a treble with their club and cup with their national team in 1988, notably when partnered with fellow Dutchman Gus Hiddink at PSV Eindhoven.
Later on, Koeman joined Barcelona where he had four consecutive La Liga title successes and even scored the winning goal for the 1992 European Cup!
8. Daniel Passarella
Daniel Passarella is a legendary Argentine football player who had an illustrious career in his playing days.
He was the captain of the 1978 World Cup winning Argentina side and scored over 144 goals in 443 matches, at one time being the top-scoring defender in world football until Dutchman Ronald Koeman overtook him.
In 2004, FIFA named him as one of its charted ‘125 Greatest Living Footballers’.
Fabio Cannavaro is a renowned former Italian professional footballer and one of the most accomplished football players of all time.
Cannavaro, who rose to fame as a centerback, spent his career playing for teams such as Parma, Juventus, Napoli, Inter, and Real Madrid.
During his time with the Italian national team he took part in two UEFA European Under-21 Championships–winning the title consecutively in 1994 and 1996–and was named to the Team of the Tournament for Euro 2000 before captaining Italy to their triumphant win at 2006’s FIFA World Cup.
His accomplishments earned him the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year Award, making him the only defender ever to have won this distinction, as well as several other honors including becoming only the second defender ever to be presented with Ballon d’Or in a decade.
6. Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is a renowned Spanish professional football player who is considered one of the greatest defenders of all time.
He is especially known for his incredible defensive ability, technical ability, strength, personality and leadership.
After starting at Sevilla FC, Ramos went on to sign with Real Madrid in 2005 where he proved his value to the club by making numerous impressive plays.
His play earned him several awards such as eleven FIFPro World11 selections, nine UEFA Team of the Year selections, five La Liga Best Defender awards, and one La Liga Team of the Season selection.
5. Gaetano Scirea
Gaetano Scirea was an Italian football legend and one of the greatest defenders ever to grace the game.
He is part of an elite group of 6 players who have won all international club titles recognized by both UEFA and FIFA.
The 1982 FIFA World Cup-winning team, with Scirea at its heart, managed to make history by being one of the only 9 teams to have triumphed in three major UEFA competitions while playing for Juventus.
He will forever be remembered for being part of the squad that knocked out Brazil 3–2 in the second round, before going on to defeat Germany 3–1 in the final!
4. Alessandro Nesta
Alessandro Nesta is regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time. He was known for his skill, technique, and tactical brilliance.
Throughout his career in Italian football, he won Serie A titles with Lazio and AC Milan, as well as the Champions League in 2003 and 2007 with Milan.
Paolo Maldini praised him for contributing to both the technical, human and tactical level of Italian football.
In addition, he was also credited for “reinvigorating” the central defensive tradition at AC Milan which had previously been established two decades earlier by Maldini himself.
3. Franco Baresi
Franco Baresi is a legendary Italian player and coach whose entire 20-year career was spent playing for the Serie A club AC Milan.
Baresi was affectionately known as “Il Capitano” due to his time captaining the club for 15 seasons, and was widely recognized as one of the greatest players of all time.
He won numerous titles with Milan including three UEFA Champions League titles and six Serie A titles, as well as major international honors such as the 1982 FIFA World Cup with Italy.
In 2013, he joined an elite list of stars when he was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.
2. Bobby Moore
Bobby Moore was the legendary English footballer and is still regarded by many as one of the best defenders to ever play the game.
He captained the team that famously won England’s first and only World Cup in 1966, displaying calm and calculated performances when it mattered most.
His manager, Sir Alf Ramsey said of him, “He was the spirit and heartbeat of the team-the supreme professional, the one I could trust with my life”. Moore will always be remembered for his immense contribution to football both on and off the pitch.
1. Franz Beckenbauer
This is the number one best centre backs in the world of all time. Franz Beckenbauer, also known as Der Kaiser, was an undeniable force on the field.
Aside from being a great tackler and distributor of the ball, Bobby Charlton praised Der Kaiser for his composure under pressure—rarely looking flustered or stretched.
As proof of his skill and credentials, Beckenbauer became the first defender to ever win the prestigious Ballon D’Or in 1972, making a statement by winning it again in 1976. He also won the FIFA World Cup with Germany in 1974 as well as the Silver Ball in that tournament.
This article was updated 3 months ago