Where Does John Terry Rank Among World's Best Centre-Backs Right Now?

Dan Levene@@blueschronicleFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2014

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 13: John Terry of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

As Chelsea battle through April, still contenders for the Premier League and Champions League double, one man has been hugely influential in getting them into this exalted position.

John Terry has had a season of vintage quality, lifting his game to very nearly the best we have seen in his decade-and-a-half at Chelsea.

He has featured in all but a handful of games for the Blues, largely consigning David Luiz to the bench, and marshalling the Premier League's tightest defence.

The 33-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, and boss Jose Mourinho says both he and the club are keen to re-sign their on-pitch leader, as reported by ESPN.co.uk.

But with all parties considering their options, where would Chelsea have to look to get better than their "Captain, Leader, Legend"?

When Roy Hodgson picks his first World Cup XI, the smart money is on Chelsea's Gary Cahill lining-up alongside Phil Jagielka.

It is probably the best available pairing to the England boss, but that is, of course, a sore point for all concerned.

Terry would waltz into that defence, in exchange for any other English defender, and he is presently streets ahead of any candidate to don the Three Lions shirt at centre-half on merit alone.

Thus, it is under very little doubt that the Blues' captain is England's best defender right now.

Push the search wider, to the many foreign stars in the Premier League, and Terry is almost as untouchable.

Earlier this season Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were being lauded as the Premier League's best pairing—right up to the point where they watched six goals fly past them at Stamford Bridge.

Given that they have also this season seen five go in at Anfield and six at Eastlands, it is a wonder anyone holds the Arsenal defence in any form of esteem.

It has now leaked 40 goals, which is more than Crystal Palace and the same number as Hull City.

Compare that with Chelsea's 24—the most miserly in the league and seven goals fewer than nearest contenders Evertonand it is clear where the quality lies.

For my money there is only one Premier League central defender who even comes close to Terry, and that is Manchester City's Vincent Kompany.

Eden Hazard summed up the Belgian perfectly, with the words, as reported by The Guardian: “When he plays, they win.”

Kompany is fearless, mobile, committed, and has perfect timing—these, for me, being the assets that make him the very best in the world right now.

Beyond the boundaries of these isles there are other pretenders, of course.

The preferred Borussia Dortmund pairing of Mats Hummels and the injured Neven Subotic is extremely impressive.

Barcelona's Gerard Pique probably remains the cream of the crop in La Liga—though Diego Godin at Atletico Madrid, whose game is no doubt under great scrutiny in the Mourinho household at the moment, is having a great season.

Giorgio Chiellini at Juventus has consistently laid a persuasive claim to be Italy's greatest.

And Thiago Silva of Paris Saint-Germain is often cited as one of the very best.

But it is the Premier League, with its physicality and speed, that tests centre-halves perhaps more than anywhere else—and thus credit must go to those who do battle here, beyond the lesser tests defenders face elsewhere in Europe.

Terry is not entirely peerless, but he is up there. And having spent a good 10 years in that place, few would argue against him being one of the best we have ever seen.