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Name: Gerard Piqué
International Caps: 33
At only 24 years of age, Piqué has already become one of the most talented central defenders in the world. The Spanish centre-back has played alongside some of the best players in football, winning trophies with former club Manchester United and Barcelona.
Piqué learned from some of the best central defenders of the generation, such as Rio Ferdinand and Carles Puyol. With great tutelage and natural ability, the Spaniard has quickly become an elite centre-back.
The Barcelona star's skill on the ball and distribution have become trademarks of his game. Piqué is arguably the most technically gifted ball-playing centre-back in the world. The Spaniard boasts exceptional passing range and solid vision from the back. He has a soft touch as well, showing good composure under pressure.
The Barcelona star also contributes a couple of goals per season, showing good finishing ability in the box. Piqué can spread the play and bring the ball out of the defense. His ability with the ball at his feet has drawn comparisons to German legend Franz Beckenbauer.
Although known for his technical skill, Piqué has the physical presence and defensive qualities of a world-class centre-back. The Spaniard has good upper-body strength and aerial ability. He does not play with the tenacity and grit of other defenders, but he is a commanding presence at the back.
Piqué reads the game well, anticipating play and extinguishing danger. The Barcelona star has improved his positional play over the past two years, emerging as a more complete centre-back.
Piqué's technical ability and distribution separate him from the vast majority of central defenders. The Spaniard has the passing range and skill of a defensive midfielder, but has the size, strength and defensive qualities of a top-quality centre-back.
The Spaniard's combination of attacking skill and defensive ability makes him one of the top overall players in world football and a dynamic, elite central defender.
Although all the centre-backs on this list are world-class defenders, the top two players have emerged as clear front-runners. With his passing range and technical ability, Piqué makes a strong case to be No. 1.
The centre-back has been a key part of Barcelona and Spain's recent dominance. Piqué provides a unique balance of ball-playing skill and physical strength at the back. With his consistent level of top form and individual ability, the Spaniard is arguably the best defender in world football.
While he may not be the most defensive-minded centre-back on this list, he is more than deserving of his No. 2 ranking.
Piqué climbs above Chiellini and Pepe with his composed defending and invaluable contribution to the team's buildup and possession play. The Spaniard brings a different dimension to the defense, helping keep possession and distribute from the back.
Piqué's reading of the game and anticipation usually compensate for the defender's lack of genuine pace. However, the Spaniard can be beaten for pace and exposed in one-on-one situations. The Spaniard's lack of agility and quickness is the only real weakness in his game.
The Barcelona star has bags of potential and class. Only 24 years of age, he is already considered amongst the top centre-backs in football. With his success at the club and international level, the Spaniard could easily claim the top spot on this list.
While the Spaniard may play for the best team in the world, individually speaking, he is not the best centre-back in football.
Piqué has the talent to be the top player on this list. In the next few years he will most likely assume the title as football's best central defender.
Although the Spaniard is on track to become the best player at his position in the next few years, at this point in time there is one man who is clearly the No. 1 centre-back in the world.