Europe has some top quality defenders playing in its leagues, in fact arguably the best in the world. While it's always been difficult to try to rank the top defenders (or any players) in the world, here is one version of the top 25 defenders currently plying their trade in Europe.
Apart from the South American leagues, the majority of other continents struggle to attract stars to the standard that many of the European leagues can.
While a number of other leagues are growing quickly, it could safely be argued that these top 25 defenders are not only the best in Europe but also, in the world.
Finally, it should be made clear that these rankings are always a matter of opinion. In this case, half of the list was put together by polling a significant number of football fans.
Reason: The Chelsea right back, who also plays as part of a very talented Serbian defence, has rapidly developed his game since moving to London, making him one of the finest full backs in the world.
Many of the best fullbacks are mainly attacking players, but Ivanovic has a very good ability to defend to a very high quality as well as being able to place accurate passes and set opportunities farther up field.
Ivanovic also has the ability to play right along the back line as well as in a defensive midfield role, making him a very valuable asset for any team to have on board.
Club: Manchester City
Reason: The left back for one of the richest teams in the world, Aleksandar Kolarov has made a very good impression at Eastlands over the past year.
The Serbian international was a key part of his nation's defence both before and during the 2010 World Cup, and since then, he has secured a regular place in the starting lineup.
Kolarov is also capable of playing at left midfield or centre back for Manchester City, making him another very valuable player.
Reason: In a season that has been marred by injuries for Arsenal, Sagna has proved to be a solid rock at the back for the North London club.
Having helped lead them on impressive title challenges on four different fronts, Sagna is a regular in the Arsenal starting lineup and is rapidly making himself one of the first names to be put on the team sheet each week.
As a France international player as well, Sagna has been a loyal defender for the country since 2007, and he remains one of the few players in the squad still present after the World Cup fiasco.
Club: Manchester City
Reason: Having shown so much potential during his youth at Anderlecht, Kompany took a little while to finally reach his best form. This season he finally seems to be doing so, giving a welcome boost to Manchester City.
He has been a shining example in the club's defence so far this term and is one of the key reasons that they have one of the lowest amounts of goals conceded in the entire league.
He is also a regular starter for the Belgium national team, acting as vice captain in many of the squad selections.
Club: Vfl Wolfsburg
Reason: One of the most talked about young defenders in the game, Simon Kjaer has already drawn the interest of Tottenham and Arsenal amongst other clubs.
He was first called up to the Denmark squad at just 19 years of age, as a long term replacement for the retiring Martin Laursen.
Following a good showing at the World Cup, Kjaer has cemented his place in the Denmark lineup and looks to be a key player both there and domestically for a long time to come yet.
Club: Real Madrid
Reason: A man that people should need no introduction to, Ricardo Carvalho was on Jose Mourinho's famous Chelsea squad between 2004 and 2010 when he left the club to rejoin the Portuguese coach at Real Madrid.
Having also been an established member of the Portugal squad, Carvalho played an important role in his nation conceding just one goal in the four World Cup games they played.
Having also played in many large competitions in the past, Carvalho is a very reliable pair of legs if nothing else.
Reason: Like all the other top left backs in the world, Fabio Coentrao has the ability to also push up into left midfield should he be needed, which assists with his very impressive style of play.
He constantly runs up and down the touchline causing havoc with his final ball into the box for any waiting strikers to latch onto.
His dribbling and crossing ability has earned him a regular place in the Portuguese starting lineups as well as playing a key role in the Benfica squad.
Club: Inter Milan
Reason: Walter Samuel is one of the most reliable defenders around nowadays. Having been around for as long as he has, there's very few concerns of him ever making any mistakes.
His ability on the pitch earned him the nickname "The Wall" as he was always an intimidating presence around strikers.
He has made over 50 appearances for the Argentine national team despite having had to contend with a number of injuries and currently holds a place in both his nation's and Inter Milan's starting lineups.
Club: Real Madrid
Nationality: Portuguese (Brazilian born)
Reason: One of Real Madrid's top defenders, Pepe is a very under rated player by many fans. His ability to play both centre back and defensive midfield add to his capabilities making him an important player for both Portugal and Real Madrid.
At the start of this most recent season, he linked up with Ricardo Carvalho in the Madrid defence, helping for one of the strongest defences in the Spanish Primera Division.
Despite never representing his native Brazil, Pepe earned Portuguese citizenship and has proved to be a valuable player for the country, replicating his club form.
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Reason: Another one of the great defenders that Serbia have been blessed with, and in his case, youth is on his side.
Neven Subotic has drawn the attention of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United recently, and the young centre back definitely has a promising future.
He has already achieved much as well, becoming one of Serbia's regular starting XI during the World Cup. His ability and awareness are shown by the £17.5 million bid that Chelsea made for him, and even that was turned down.
Reason: The new Chelsea full back has already made a big impact on a team that had previously been struggling to earn any good results in the Premier League.
Luiz (also commonly called Sideshow Bob) was signed for over £20million by Chelsea, despite being relatively inexperienced at the highest level of European football.
Since then, the fullback has proved why he was valued so highly by both the selling and buying clubs, with a number of very strong performances that have put him firmly on the radar.
Reason: Often labelled as Cannavaro's successor, Chiellini has proved that he has no problem stepping up to fill the boots of the world cup winner.
At 26, Chiellini has already earned much experience at the very highest level of football in Italy, while also having achieved a certain degree of success with Juventus in the Europa League.
The centre back is now a key player for Juventus and has also begun to hold down a regular place in the Italy starting lineup, proving his worth to both teams.
Reason: A defender no football fan should need an introduction to, John Terry appears to be just as famous for his off pitch exploits as his is for his on pitch performances.
Regardless, when on top form Terry has the ability to stop almost any striker in their stride. While he's gradually getting past his prime, he is still a top quality defender.
The centre back has won numerous Premier League titles with Chelsea, as well as a number of FA Cup and League Cup trophies. Just one thing still eludes him, the Champions League.
Club: Werder Bremen
Reason: Two time World Cup bronze medallist, Per Mertesacker is at the heart of both Germany's and Werder Bremen's defence.
The 6'6" defender is notoriously lethal from set pieces having an ability to beat other players to headers due to his height.
Despite some injury problems in recent years Mertesacker has managed to hold down a regular starting XI place both internationally and domestically, while also having a very clean fair play record.
Club: Manchester United
Reason: The former England captain has a slew of trophies to his name and, while in the twilight of his career, he will still have far more opportunities to add to that collection.
In 2008, Ferdinand was the captain of the Champions League winning Manchester United team and accepted the trophy with Old Trafford legend Ryan Giggs.
The defender has made 80 appearances in England colours and still has time to earn many more caps for his country.
Club: Manchester United
Reason: Patrice Evra's stock has been continually growing since he joined Manchester United in 2006. The left back has proved to be one of the key ingredients in a United side which even when not scoring, still finds a way to win.
Able to move up field confidently, Evra also provides valuable assists to his team mates. Internationally, Evra easily holds his own in the left back position for France, with the talented Gael Clichy having to remain as a backup.
He has won the Champions League and Premier League with United and fully deserves both trophies.
Club: Real Madrid
Reason: Another one of Spain's World Cup winning defenders, Sergio Ramos has already been in the spotlight for many years, despite being only 24.
He gained his first international cap at the age of 18, showing his early potential. He has gone on to make the right back position his own, having made over 70 appearances for the team already.
Ramos can also play in the centre back position if needed, providing more versatility.
Reason: Dani Alves is another player who should need very little introduction to anyone who's followed European football over recent years.
Having performed magnificently in a Barcelona team, which has often been dubbed as the "best club side ever," Alves has attracted attention from other clubs who are rumoured to have made bids of up to £35 million.
The right back is also a regular in a very talented Brazil squad, proving how good he really is.
Club: Inter Milan
Reason: Another Brazilian right back who alternates with Dani Alves for the starting role. For those who have never heard the name Maicon, he was the defender who scored for Brazil in their World Cup clash against North Korea from the most impossible of angles.
Maicon was a part of the treble winning Inter Milan squad from last season having played a key role in many of the team's games. His performances in the 2009-2010 Champions League earned him the UEFA Club Defender of the Year award.
Since then Maicon has remained at the top of his game, helping Inter Milan through to the Champions League quarterfinals.
Reason: Rated by some as the best left back in the World, Cole is one of England's few consistently top quality players.
Despite his off pitch exploits, and the fact that he is disliked by many English fans, Cole has proven himself to be a very reliable left back.
The player is one of England's most capped defender's of all time having made nearly 90 appearances for the national team. Despite never having won the Champions League or World Cup, Cole has still proved he is an unbelievably talented fullback.
Club: Inter Milan
Reason: Another top class Brazilian defender, Lucio is recognised by many people as one of the greatest centre backs of recent years.
His presence on the pitch has led to his appointment as Brazil captain, a position he has held since 2006.
Lucio was also a part of Inter Milan's Champions League winning squad from last year and proved himself another valuable part of that team. Lucio holds the FIFA record for the most minutes played without committing a foul, set at 386 minutes.
Reason: One of the few one club men still in football, Carles Puyol has been playing for Barcelona since 1999 making around 350 appearances for the club. He is also just short of 100 international caps but has said he has no plans for retirement in the near future.
He was a regular player in the Spain squad that won the 2010 World Cup and has also won most major trophies going with Barcelona. Puyol has been club captain of Barcelona since 2004.
He is renowned for his on field commitment, earning the nicknames "Sir Charles," "The Wall" and "Lion's Heart" in the process.
Club: Bayern Munich
Reason: As one of the most consistently under rated defenders in the world, Lahm is actually one of the finest fullbacks of the recent era. He was trusted with the German captaincy during the World Cup in the place of the absent Michael Ballack.
Despite being small in size, Lahm's dribbling abilities are rarely seen in defenders and his tackling technique is second to none.
He has been nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year in the past, a rarity for defenders, and has also been in the World Cup all-star team for both 2006 and 2010.
Club: Manchester United
Reason: Vidic is currently the Serbian national team captain as well as Manchester United's captain and he has proved himself more than worthy of holding both positions.
Having had an exceptional season last year few people thought he would be able to top it again this season, but he has done just that being a major part of United's unbeaten run in the early part of the season.
He has won the Champions League with United before as well as numerous Premier League titles and team of the year awards.
Reason: With Carles Puyol as his mentor, Pique could not really do much wrong. Last year he lined up alongside his team mate in the Spanish national team's defence, going on to become a World Cup winner.
Pique has also won the Champions League with Barcelona, and at just 24, he still has plenty of time left to earn further awards.
He featured in the 2010 FIFA World XI and the UEFA team of the year as well as having won the 2009 Don Balon Award for being the best breakthrough player.
Based on his performances over the past year and what he has already achieved at such a young age, Pique fully deserves to be topping this list.