Van Dijk, Vidic, Terry: Premier League's greatest ever centre-backs ranked by MOTD pundits

  • Kobe Tong

The Premier League has played host to some of the greatest centre-backs of a generation.

You only have to look at Virgil van Dijk coming within a nose-hair of beating Lionel Messi to the 2019 Ballon d'Or to get a real sense of that and the Liverpool general was by no means breaking new ground.

Besides, were the biggest individual awards not naturally geared towards attacking players, then there's good reason to think that other Premier League icons would have matched Van Dijk's feat.

Premier League centre-halves

However, if there is anything difficult about the Premier League having so many incredible alumni at centre-half, then it's the challenging task of establishing who was the best of the best.

But try telling that to the team at the Match of the Day Top 10 podcast as they - true to their name - sought to establish the Premier League's top ten greatest centre-backs.

With Gary Lineker holding the mic, Micah Richards and Alan Shearer had the responsibility of picking their own top ten order from a list of pre-agreed Premier League juggernauts.


Top ten Premier League centre-backs

And with legendary defenders from Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and many more, it was only inevitable that Richards and Shearer would disagree on key rankings.

As such, we've had to separate their two top tens, though they did agree on one particularly controversial ordering that won't go down well at Old Trafford, which you can check out below:

Alan Shearer

10. Ricardo Carvalho

9. Gary Pallister

8. Jaap Stam


7. Marcel Desailly 

6. Nemanja Vidic

5. Vincent Kompany

4. Virgil van Dijk

3. Rio Ferdinand

2 John Terry

1. Tony Adams


Micah Richards

10. Marcel Desailly

9. Ricardo Carvalho

8. Gary Pallister

7. Jaap Stam

6. Nemanja Vidic


5. Virgil van Dijk

4. Vincent Kompany

3. Tony Adams

2. Rio Ferdinand

1. John Terry


GIVEMESPORT's Kobe tong says

For me, even as an Arsenal fan, I've got to agree with Richards that Terry is the best defender in Premier League history as opposed to Adams.

Sure, unlike Shearer, I can't attest to having played against both Adams and Terry (obviously), but the fact the Chelsea legend captained a record-breaking five Premier League title-winning sides is epic all by itself.

Combine that with helming the greatest defence the Premier League has ever seen, conceding just 15 goals, in a season so amazing he challenged for the Ballon d'Or and the evidence really starts to pile up.


However, I'm not going to pretend as though the real debate unfolding here isn't whether Richards and Shearer are correct in selecting Van Dijk above Vidic.

For me, I always tend to lead on broader significance at which point Vidic is the clear winner as a five-time Premier League winner and the only defender to win the division's Player of the Year award twice.

But did Vidic ever reach the dizzying peak that Van Dijk did during the 2018–19 campaign? I can't say that he did, so perhaps Shearer and Richards are on to something, after all.

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