Soccer fans love a great goalscorer, but defense wins championships. Let’s take a look at the top 15 best defenders in soccer for 2023. These talented stoppers are the anchors of their teams and some of the very best players in the world.
15. Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan)
Alessandro Bastoni is a vital player of the Inter Milan side in the Italian Serie A. In the current season, the 23-year-old has shown to be a trustworthy performer for the Nerazzurri.
The Italian is a rising star. He is exceptionally gifted and continues to acquire experience.
He has appeared in 32 games for Inter Milan this season. Top European teams have expressed an interest in his performance.
14. Theo Hernandez (AC Milan)
Theo Hernandez is one of the better defenders in Serie A. The Frenchman is an important member of the Milan squad.
He helped Milan win the Serie A and was an important member of the squad. He is recognized for his confidence, speed, and physical presence, which makes opponents struggle in his position.
AC Milan’s Theo Hernandez has taken on a more advanced position. He is occasionally given more attacking opportunities, and he has been mainly effective.
13. Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Once he joined Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain, Thiago Silva has been an important player. The Brazilian showed an immediate effect, helping the team win the Super Cup, Club World Cup, and Champions League.
Because of his injuries, he was unable to participate much this season. However, the Blues benefited greatly from his time on the field.
12. Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich)
Bayern Munich’s Dayot Upamecano is a center defender. The Frenchman was one of the top young players at RB Leipzig until the Bavarians broke some records to obtain his services in 2021.
He has shown to be one of the world’s top defenders. He has excelled for the Bavarians, especially in the most important matches.
The Champions League round of 16 matchup with Paris Saint-Germain, where the Frenchman was undoubtedly one of the essential reasons in the defense of the German club, was one of the games that showcased his talent.
11. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Even if Trent Alexander-Arnold is having the most challenging season of his career, which is partially attributable to Liverpool’s latest bad slide, it would be unfair to criticize him too harshly.
The 24-year-old hasn’t exactly beaten Gareth Southgate at international level, but his incredible variety of passing and crossing has more than made his mark at club level. He has been chastised for his defensive abilities, but his offensive contributions elevate him to the status of modern-day full-back.
In 252 games for Liverpool, he has 64 assists and 15 goals, and his trophy cupboard is brimming with individual and team awards.
10. Kim Min-Jae
Kim Min-Jae of Napoli is one of the biggest surprises in Serie A this season. In 2022, the South Korean center defender joined Partenopei from Fenerbahçe.
Since joining the team, he has excelled for Napoli as the team strives to win the league title for the first time in 30 years. In the final third, the center-back is renowned for making deft decisions while defending aggressively.
Kim Min-Jae has participated in nearly all of the Serie A and Champions League games this season, and his contributions have helped the team build a sixteen-point advantage at the top of the standings.
9. Joao Cancelo (Bayern Munich)
Being one of the 30 nominees for the 2022 Ballon d’Or shows Joao Cancelo’s quality, who can play on either side of the defense.
The Portuguese international, who joined Manchester City in a part-exchange deal with Juventus that included Danilo in 2019, has won trophies at club and international level – the UEFA Nations League counts, after all – and has been chosen to the Premier League Team of the Year for the previous two seasons.
Cancelo is good with his feet and has received applaud for his passing range, which made him a good fit in a Pep Guardiola team, but a drop in form since the World Cup, as well as reported discontent behind the scenes, saw him leave on loan to Bayern Munich for the rest of the season – at least.
8. Eder Militao (Real Madrid)
Eder Militao is certainly not the first name that comes to mind when thinking of a top ten player, but he is a class act who has been instrumental in Real Madrid’s domestic and continental triumphs in recent years.
The 25-year-old has had to compete for a starting spot with Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba – more on those two later – but his smart defensive intellect and change of foot make him a tough centre-back for forwards to confront.
Militao, who has won silverware with Los Blancos, was also a member of Brazil’s Copa America-winning squad in 2019 and, most importantly, has age on his side to advance further on this list.
7. Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid)
Chelsea have looked vulnerable at the back since losing Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer to Real Madrid, and the 29-year-old has settled in like a duck to water at the Bernabeu.
The beauty of Rudiger is that he can play both sides of the ball so well. He is at ease on the ball and drags the rest of the squad up the pitch; he has a powerful shot, seldom gets beat in one-on-one situations, and has the speed to catch runners in behind.
At the time of writing, the Germany star’s lack of international honors and league titles weigh against him, despite being an important part of Chelsea’s victorious 2020/21 Champions League campaign.
6. Achraf Hakimi (PSG)
The best right-back in the world? Yes, without a doubt.
Achraf Hakimi, 24, has previously played for four of Europe’s greatest teams and won a Champions League, Serie A, and Ligue 1 title.
Hakimi is a scary threat for opposition full-backs, with pace to burn and an eye for goal, but he got an opportunity to demonstrate his defensive talents during Morocco’s historic run to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar last year.
5. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
The Dutchman was the final piece in Jurgen Klopp’s puzzle when Liverpool eventually won the Premier League in 2020, as well as the Champions League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup.
A dreadful season for the Reds in general may be ascribed in part to Van Dijk having his roughest season in a long time, but class survives, and he will be hailed as one of the Premier League’s finest ever when he hangs up his boots.
4. Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United)
One of the select few Manchester United players who has appeared in practically every game is Lisandro Martinez. At Old Trafford, the Argentine has made an immediate effect.
In the Argentine Men’s National team, which won the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, he was among the top players.
Because of his great contributions to the defense, the centre-back is undoubtedly one of the most loved players at Old Trafford. He is extremely skillful and has better ball possession.
3. Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
In his first season at the Etihad Stadium, he was voted Premier League Player of the Season as City surrendered the fewest goals on way to a comfortable title success, adding to the trophies he already won with Benfica and Portugal.
Dias seems to be an old-school centre-back in defensive circumstances, using his large body to outmuscle opponents, but it is in possession that he truly excels, owing to his pinpoint passing and calmness on the ball. A class act.
2. Marquinhos (PSG)
When you think about PSG players, names like Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar come to mind. Although Marquinhos lacks the star power of his celebrity teammates, he is nonetheless an important defender and the team’s captain.
Since joining the French capital club in 2013, the 76-cap Brazilian international has won 19 major trophies, including an Olympic Gold Medal and the 2019 Copa America with his country.
To gain a position in one of the continent’s top teams, you have to be a bit exceptional on the ball, but Marquinhos does the basics of defense to perfection, making him a completely dependable figure.
1. David Alaba (Real Madrid)
The ‘Honours’ section of David Alaba’s Wikipedia page is absurdly extensive, proving that he is the total deal.
After winning 10 Bundesliga championships with Bayern Munich, the nine-time Austrian Footballer of the Year chose a free move to Real Madrid in 2021, where he played a key role in their La Liga and Champions League triumphs last season.
Alaba began out as a left-back who could play farther up in midfield before successfully transitioning into a ball-playing center-back, in case that wasn’t proof enough that he’s the genuine deal.
He has all of the qualities you want in a defender: technique, ball control, pace, power, and, to top it all off, he perceives the game really well.