World Football: Ranking the Top Defenders in the World

Ricky SantillanContributor IIJanuary 11, 2011

World Football: Ranking the Top Defenders in the World

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    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11: Mark Van Bommel of the Netherlands tackles Carles Puyol of Spain during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Afr
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Defense wins championships. We've all heard that phrase over and over again. Who could argue with it? With a solid and strong defense at your disposal it's very hard for the opposition to beat you. With all the praise strikers and midfielders get these days, I think its time to show a little love to the players in world football that make defending look like its a walk in the park.

    Here's my top 12 list for the best defenders in world football right now. The tough tacklers and the impenetrable defenders in the world for your viewing pleasure.

12: Ricardo Carvalho

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 29:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona (R) lays on the pitch after being hit by Ricardo Carvalho of Real Madrid during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou Stadium on November 29, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    The Portugeuse man has impressed so far with Real Madrid this season. Many might have thought his better days were behind him as he switched for a move away for his former boss Jose Mourinho.

    Carvalho still wreaks havoc on opposing forwards and is very hard to get by. He seems to be getting better with age it seems.

11. Vincent Kompany

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal battles with Vincent Kompany of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on January 5, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    An absolute great young defender for City. He helps City maintain one of the best defenses in the world which allow the fewest of goals in the premier league so far.

    Strong in the air and with his feet, he is a nightmare for opposing strikers all game long. He's only going to get better and has not even hit his Defensive Prime.

10. Rio Ferdinand

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    The London-born player has been a great asset to United and instrumental to their recent success since United bought him back in 2002.

    An excellent reader of the game, he has great positional sense and shows composure on the ball. Although his languid style can get him in trouble sometimes, he still possesses a defensive prowess that few Center backs have.

9. Gerard Pique

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 21:  Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona shoots at goal during the round of last 16 Copa del Rey match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou on December 21, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. The match ended 0-0.  (Photo by Davi
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Gerard Pique is one of the most skilled defenders in all of football. The time he spent as a young lad in Manchester has helped him become a stronger and a more physical defender before he made his way back to The Catalan outfit.

    Truly one of Fergie's regrets for letting him leave while still young, Pique is a regular for both Barcelona and the world champions in Spain.

8. Dani Alves

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 18: Dani Alves of Barcelona (L) and Victor Ruiz of Espanyol duel for a ball during the La Liga match between Espanyol and Barcelona at Cornella - El Prat stadium on December 18, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Alves can consider himself unlucky that he has a player of Maicon’s caliber ahead of him in the Brazil team. In any other national team in the world, Alves would be an undisputed first-choice at right-back.

    Supporters at Camp Nou see Alves dominate the right-side on a regular basis, his pace, crossing ability and free-kick taking prowess helps him score at least four or five goals a season.

7. Ashley Cole

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    Cole has developed into arguably one the best left-backs in the world. He can get forward, score goals, cross the ball, and is Mr Reliable when on the back foot.

    One of the faster defenders in the world out there, Ashley Cole is on you quicker than a rabbit gets f*##!ed. One of the few defenders that has locked down Cristiano Ronaldo in Club matches as well as the International stage, Ashley Cole proves worthy to be on this list.

6. Giorgio Chiellini

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    TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 12:  Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus FC clashes with Stefano Mauri of SS Lazio during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and SS Lazio at Olimpico Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Ima
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    The Juventus man has one mission in mind when he steps onto the pitch, and that is to destroy you. A tough Tackling and hard nosed defender, no one can doubt his ability to cover his spaces and run down a striker. 

    A fearless player who challenges everything that comes his way, Giorgio is one of the best defenders out there. 

5. John Terry

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    The Chelsea defender was stripped of the England captaincy in February 2010 after it was revealed that he had an affair with a teammate's ex-partner. But Terry is a highly influential figure on the pitch anyway, and coach Fabio Capello's decision has not diminished his leadership skills. He is dominant in the air and excellent in the tackle. Terry may lack pace but has been highly dependable for club and country over the years.

4. Patrice Evra

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    Rivals Cole as the best left-back in world soccer. Evra is a player who is reliable defensively and outstanding going forward as he regularly overlaps the midfielder before either crossing or passing the ball inside to a team-mate. A regular for Manchester United and France where he keeps Arsenal's Gael Clichy out of the team.

    He has unbelievable skills for a left back and scissors his way past defenders with ease as he makes his way down the flanks. Great crossing ability and passing along with his superb instincts and defensive skills make him one of the top defenders in the world.

3. Carles Puyol

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    What a great year its been for Carles Puyol. Arguably the best year for a defender out of them all. Winning La Liga and the World Cup with Barcelona and Spain respectively, Puyol continues to Punish attackers that cross his path. 

    His toughness and aerial ability are unmatched and he continues to show us how he harasses the opposing attackers.

    He seems to have a sixth sense in defending, always knowing the oppositions next move as you can see in the video.. Put him up with Terry for one of smartest defenders in the world.

2. Maicon

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01:  (EDITORS NOTE: THIS BLACK AND WHITE IMAGE WAS CREATED FROM ORIGINAL COLOUR FILE)  Maicon has steam rising from his head after the Inter Milan Training Session ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group A match against Totte
    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Tough decision not to put Maicon at number 1. (Especially with this picture being so sick).

    Not for a long time has there been a right-back capable of having so much influence on a game. The Inter Milan defender's forceful runs down the right provide a great avenue of attack, not only for him to cross the ball, but for his teammates who can occupy the space vacated by opposing players trying to arrest Maicon's attacking sorties. He has pace to burn and is also a solid defender. Keeps the outstanding Barcelona right-back Dani Alves out of the Brazil team. 

1. Nemanja Vidic

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    Number 1 in the world
    Number 1 in the world

    Yeah you guessed it. Nemanja vidic is the worlds most impenetrable and best defender in the world. Highly regarded by Sir Alex Ferguson and his Serbian teammates as he captains both his club and his country. He is undoubtebly paired with what most people would call the best Center back pairing in the world along with Rio Ferdinand.

    As the attributes of a defender are never ending, Vidic seems to possess them all. His defending skills are unmatched and that is what seperates him from Maicon.

    I guess Vidic thinks he's number one as well.....