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Ranked: Here are the best defenders in the world right now

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Best defenders in the world
Ranked: Here are the best defenders in the world right now. Photo/ Just Arsenal.

From Virgil van Dijk to William Saliba to John Stones to Marquinhos to Eder Militao, ranking the best defenders in the world might be a difficult task.

All the aforementioned defenders and others who will be ranked below have successfully fit in this era of football where managers are signing ball-playing central defenders and inverted full-backs. The defending they have shown this season has been crucial in winning their respective teams matches and points.

And with that said, here is the list of the top ten best defenders in the world right now, as ranked by RadioTimes.

1. John Stones – Manchester City

John Stones

John Stones Photo/ The Independent

No surprises here. John Stones has been consistent since joining Manchester City and has played a crucial role in City’s impressive 2023-24 campaign.

One thing that the England international has become synonymous with in recent years is contributing in attacks. It’s nowadays normal to see him in the midfield during matches and Pep Guardiola allows him to do so considering his good passing range and ability to retain possession.

2. David Alaba – Real Madrid

David Alaba will go down in history as one of the greatest defenders of his generation. The former FC Bayern Munich man has played a key role at Santiago Bernabeu since his arrival in 2019. A trophy-winning machine, there’s no doubting the fact that Alaba is one of the best defenders in the world right bow.

David Alaba

David Alaba. Photo/ Planet Sport.

3. Ruben Dias – Manchester City

Named the Premier League Player of the Season in his first season in England, Ruben Dias is undoubtedly one of the best signings Pep Guardiola has made in his entire managerial career. Dias’ amazing composure combined with pace and strength makes him rank among the best defenders in the world.

4. William Saliba 

Mikel Arteta has done a great job at Arsenal. The Gunners came close to winning the title last season and only lost the top spot after Saliba suffered a serious injury that kept him out.

Arsenal are once again in the race for this season’s Premier League title and one man who is ensuring they remain at the top is Saliba. The Frenchman’s solid play at the back not only makes him one of the most important players in Arteta’s squad but also one of the best defenders in the world.

5. Marquinhos – PSG


Marquinhos is the captain of Paris Saint-Germain. Photo/

Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos has been on the debate for the best defenders for several years now. The Rolls Royce of defenders in Ligue 1 has played a key role in ensuring Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) continue to dominate the league. Marquinhos has so far won over 20 major titles playing for club and country.

6. Eder Militao – Real Madrid 

Despite struggling with injuries, Eder Militao is still acknowledged as one of the best defenders in the world. His blend of athleticism, intelligence and determination have made him a regular in Real Madrid’s starting line-up since his arrival. With players such as Militao and Alaba in defence, it’s not surprising that Real Madrid are a dominant force in Europe.

7. Alphonso Davies – Bayern Munich 

Real Madrid are planning to add Alphonso Davies to their squad this summer. Well, there is only one explanation for that – he is one of the best. Since playing a huge role in Bayern Munich’s thrashing of FC Barcelona 8-2 back in 2020, Davies has been producing outstanding performances that leave fans stunned. His electrifying pace and technical brilliance make him a joy to watch.

Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Davies. Photo/ Eurosport.

8. Kyle Walker – Manchester City 

Kyle Walker is one of the defenders who have been at the top of their game for several seasons now. Walker’s leadership qualities in addition to blistering pace and tactical acumen make him one of those players every manager would love to have in their team.

9. Kim Min-jae – Bayern Munich

One of the finest talents to emerge from Asia, Kim Min-jae has already left an indelible mark in the football world despite being in Europe for just three seasons. His heroic performances at the back helped Napoli win the Serie A title last season.

Kim Min-jae

Kim Min-jae. Photo/ Koha Ditore.

10. Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool

Many would argue that Virgil has lost a bit of the aura that made him one of the best defenders in the world. However, he is still the main man in Liverpool’s defence and scored the winner as the Reds beat Chelsea to win the Carabao Cup last month. The Dutchman will be turning 33 later this year but he is still feared by opposition strikers.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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