Ranking The Top 10 Defenders in World Football

Nick DaviesCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2010

Ranking The Top 10 Defenders in World Football

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    Defence is often seen as the unfashionable part of football.

    There is less glory to be had, it's true, but what could be more vital for a team effort?

    This is an attempt to recognise the top 10 defenders in the world at this moment in time. Any top 10 draws inevitable criticism, but I've tried to be as neutral and fair as possible and add the top defenders who are drawing praise at the present.  

Carlos Puyol

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    The Catalan defender has won everything going—Champions League, European Championship and World Cup—not to mention several domestic honours.

    Age has taken a yard of pace from Puyol, but it has given him wisdom. He has great reading of the game as is capable with the ball at his feet. It was Puyol who scored the vital goal against Germany to take Spain to the World Cup final and it was a Puyol inspired defence which flattened Madrid in the last "Classico" derby.

    Puyol is one of the most successful defenders ever. 

Phillip Lahm

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    Mr. Dependable, Bayern Munich full-back Phillip Lahm, is one of, if not the, best attacking full-backs in the world.

    He is notably clean in the tackle, yet also remarkable successful. He is also constantly a danger charging through the channels into attacking positions. His stats are impressive, with him rarely losing the ball or misplacing a pass, and as such, he certainly deserves a place on this list.  

Ashley Cole

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    Love him or hate him (and its normally the latter), one cannot attack Cole purely as a footballer.

    He is strong and very quick, good in the tackle and excellent in attack, linking fearsomely with the likes of Anelka and Malouda with incisive passing and accurate crossing.

    England's World Cup campaign certainly suffered because of the lack of a full-back on Cole's quality to step up. 

Nemanja Vidic

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    The Serbian hard-man has had some injury difficulties this season, but when playing he shows why he well worth it.

    Imposing in the air, aggressive on the ground and able to chip in with goals, it is no wonder that this player is linked with the world's top clubs on a regular basis. 

Javier Zanetti

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    Zanetti may well be rapidly approaching the end of his career, but he has proven himself one of the best.

    A key figure in Inter Milan's incredible triple winning season, his international dropping was cited by many as one of the main reasons for Argentina's dismal World Cup showing.

    Able to play either side of defence or defensive midfield, this versatile defender has etched his name into the defenders Hall of Fame.   

Sergio Ramos

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    Perhaps more useful in attack than defence, Ramos has certainly proved his worth, playing a role in the all-conquering Spanish side.

    He is particularly fast and strong and his quick and skillful feet make him a versatile player.

    Sometimes his defensive abilities are questioned, as is his temperament (those who saw Barcelona demolish Madrid saw both of these faults), but his offensive excellence and defensive capability make him a top player. 

Evra

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    The pacey French left-wing-back has proved his worth at Manchester United, offering great defensive cover and some inspired forward play, chipping in with an occasional goal and some assists via his accurate crossing.

    He has also started to fire again in time with the revitalised French international team, where he recently showcased his ability against England. 

Gabriel Heinze

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    The Argentine veteran has been in good form for Olympic Marseilles and was a key element in his teams beating of Chelsea mid-week, even scoring a perfectly good goal which was incorrectly ruled offside.

    His performances for Argentina were better than many of his teammates and he has been something of a rock in the league.    

Vincent Kompany

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    Maybe not as big a name as others on this list, Kompany has excelled this season.

    Manchester City have been criticised for not scoring enough, but their defence has been praised, and this man is largely why.

    He is powerful in the air and strong in the tackle—add to this his great defensive positioning and nous and you see why he belongs on this list. Manchester City's defensive prowess owes a lot to Kompany.  

Mats Hummels

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    The Bayern reject has been in absolutely blistering form for surprise league-leaders Borussia Dortmund this season.

    At only the tender age of 21, he has cemented his first-team spot with imperious performances. He scores goals, he is a uncompromising defender and he is a capable footballer, often cited as a libero-type player.

    He is still fighting for a regular national spot, but with his current performances in mind, it is only a matter of time.