When considering which defenders are the best in the world, a number of factors must be considered.
For example, does their influence at the opposite end of the pitch have any influence on how good they are as a defender? The obvious answer is no, but in modern football full-backs have to push-on as much as possible to offer an attacking threat.
And yet, it’s centre backs who dominate this particular GiveMeFootball list, suggesting that old school defending is what matters most when it comes to judging who is the very best on our news desk at least.
There are some controversial omissions from the top five, with Chelsea captain John Terry and Arsenal rock Thomas Vermaelen both missing out. There is also no room for a Serie ‘A’ star, with Italian football continuing to slide following the sale of Thiago Silva.
Don’t forget to have your say on the top five at the bottom of the article, and let us know your choices as the best players in the world in this position…
Vincent Kompany – Manchester City & Belgium
The 26-year-old started his career at Anderlecht, spending three seasons with the club as a professional before moving to Hamburg in the Bundesliga. Injury hampered his progress in Germany, and the Citizens capitalised with a move in 2008 for a fee thought to be in the region of £6 million.
At the Etihad Stadium, Kompany has gone on to become the rock from which Roberto Mancini has looked to build success, handing the versatile defender the captain’s armband and occasionally utilising his ball skills as a holding midfielder.
Pepe – Real Madrid & Portugal
When Spanish giants Real Madrid spent €30 million on Pepe back in 2007, questions were being asked over just how good the former Maritimo starlet really was.
Injury and a ten-game suspension for stamping and hitting opponents in a clash against Getafe suggested he wasn’t the perfect defender, but Pepe has got better with age, and really flourished under Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Thiago Silva – PSG & Brazil
Having just signed for Paris Saint-Germain in a reported €42 million move, the hype around Brazilian defender Thiago Silva is about to go through the roof.
Born in Rio, Silva has played for Juventude, FC Porto, Dynamo Moscow, Fluminese and AC Milan, spending three seasons in Serie ‘A’ before making the big switch to France.
Solid in the tackle and strong in the air, Silva has all the attributes of a great defender and could help his country to World Cup glory on home soil in 2014.
Nemanja Vidic – Manchester United & Serbia
The former Red Star Belgrade and Spartak Moscow centre back has been a commanding presence at Manchester United since joining in 2006.
Vidic instantly created a strong partnership with England international Rio Ferdinand, and has gone on to overtake the world’s most expensive defender as the key component of the Red Devils side.
Formerly the club captain, Vidic damaged knee ligaments in December in the Champions League and will look to come back better than ever this summer.
Gerard Pique – Barcelona & Spain
Manchester United spotted the potential back in 2004, but couldn’t keep Gerard Pique for long enough to get the very best out of the 25-year-old, letting him go back to the Nou Camp in 2008.
At Barcelona, Pique has won it all, with three La Liga and two Champions League trophies to his name in his four years as a professional at the club. He also has a World Cup and European Championship to his name at international level.
Pique’s distribution of the ball is excellent, and he has speed to keep defenders at bay as well as get in position to make perfectly-timed tackles.