Top 10 best football defenders in the world

Top 10 best football defenders in the world
Credit: Iconsport

Discover the elite list of the top 10 best football defenders in the world in our comprehensive article. Explore the profiles and achievements of these defensive stalwarts who dominate the global football stage. Uncover the remarkable defensive statistics, tactical prowess, and impact these players have on their teams. 

A strong defense is often the foundation of a successful team, and top-quality defenders can make a significant impact on a match. Their ability to read the game, anticipate the movements of opposing players, and execute well-timed tackles or interceptions can turn the tide in favor of their team.

Choosing the top 10 best defenders in the world is a subjective task, as different individuals may prioritize different attributes and playing styles. However, certain factors can be considered when evaluating defenders.

Firstly, consistency is key. The best defenders maintain a high level of performance over an extended period, showcasing their defensive prowess consistently.

Additionally, their defensive skills and technical abilities, such as positioning, marking, tackling, and aerial dominance, should be exceptional. 

Leadership qualities are also vital for top defenders. They should be able to organize the defense, communicate effectively with teammates, and provide a calming influence during high-pressure situations.

Furthermore, their contribution to the team's success, both defensively and offensively, should be taken into account. This includes their ability to initiate attacks, distribute the ball effectively, and contribute goals or assists from set-pieces.

Current Top 10 Best Football Defenders In The World

Sergio Ramos ( Paris Saint-Germain)

Icon DIB 140223 10 172
Credit: Iconsport

Sergio Ramos, named the best defender of our his generation and one of the best in history. Over the course of 33 matches, PSG with Ramos conceded a total of 30 goals conceded while managing to keep 11 clean sheets. On average, Ramos's team conceded a goal approximately every 90 minutes when he was on the pitch.

 With an average of 1.10 tackles and 1.00 interceptions per 90 minutes played, he has demonstrated his defensive instincts and the capability to disrupt opposing attacks.

These statistics provide insight into Ramos's defensive performance during the Ligue 1 2022/2023 season and they are enough to secure him a place in the list of Top10 best defenders in the world. It is important to note that individual statistics cannot solely determine a player's overall contribution or the effectiveness of a defense.

Sergio Ramos Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 30 1
 
78
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 90 min'  
 
78
Clean Sheets 11 33%
 
82
Tackles 33 1.10
 
29
Interceptions 30 1.00
 
57
Ground Duels 214 7.11
 
23
Ground Duels Won 118 3.92
 
32
Aerial Duels Won 56 1.86
 
80
Dribbled Past 16 0.53
 
65
Clearances 94 3.12
 
86
Shots Blocked 13 0.43
 
78

Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Icon SPI 030 GO City Parade
Credit: Iconsport

Ruben Dias, a formidable defender, has made a significant impact in the Premier League during the 2022/2023 season. Over the course of 26 matches, Dias has been part of a defense that conceded a total of 16 goals while achieving an impressive 10 clean sheets.

These statistics reveal that, on average, Dias's team conceded a goal approximately every 125 minutes when he was on the pitch, highlighting his ability to limit opposition goalscoring opportunities.

 On average, he has made 0.95 tackles and 0.81 interceptions per 90 minutes played.Dias's contribution to the team's defensive efforts is evident in his high number of clearances with an average of approximately 2.52 clearances per game.

Rubin Dias Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 16 0.72
 
92
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 125 min'  
 
92
Clean Sheets 10 38%
 
82
Tackles 21 0.95
 
27
Interceptions 18 0.81
 
51
Ground Duels 133 5.99
 
13
Ground Duels Won 77 3.47
 
21
Aerial Duels Won 43 1.94
 
75
Dribbled Past 5 0.23
 
83
Clearances 56 2.52
 
80
Shots Blocked 13 0.59
 
85

Thiago Silva (Chelsea)

Icon 71911424
Credit: Iconsport

In a season where Chelsea faced challenges and fluctuating form, Thiago Silva emerged as a beacon of consistency and defensive excellence. Silva's contributions were instrumental in the team's performance during the Premier League 2022/2023 season.

Over the course of 27 matches, Silva was part of a defense that conceded a total of 29 goals, managing to keep six clean sheets along the way. This statistical analysis reveals that, on average, Silva's team conceded a goal approximately every 81 minutes when he was on the pitch.

Silva has demonstrated his tackling and interception abilities with an average of 1.49 tackles and 1.34 interceptions per 90 minutes played. 

Furthermore, Silva's commitment to defensive duties is evident in his high number of clearances, with an average of approximately 4.09 clearances per game. 

Thiago Silva Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 29 1.11
 
62
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 81 min'  
 
62
Clean Sheets 6 22%
 
37
Tackles 39 1.49
 
52
Interceptions 35 1.34
 
81
Ground Duels 157 6.01
 
13
Ground Duels Won 116 4.44
 
45
Aerial Duels Won 62 2.37
 
83
Dribbled Past 8 0.31
 
76
Clearances 107 4.09
 
93
Shots Blocked 29 1.11
 
98

William Saliba (Arsenal)

Icon SPI DK 062 Arsenal V Everton.JPG
Credit: Iconsport

In 27 matches, Saliba conceded a total of 25 goals while securing 12 clean sheets. On average, when Saliba was on the pitch, his team conceded a goal approximately every 97 minutes.

Saliba demonstrated his defensive qualities through his tackling and interception statistics. On average, he made 1.27 tackles and 0.71 interceptions per 90 minutes played.

Additionally, Saliba showcased his capability to clear the ball effectively, recording approximately 3.05 clearances per game.

William Saliba Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 25 0.93
 
78
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 97 min'  
 
78
Clean Sheets 12 44%
 
91
Tackles 34 1.27
 
41
Interceptions 19 0.71
 
45
Ground Duels 175 6.52
 
17
Ground Duels Won 105 3.91
 
31
Aerial Duels Won 50 1.86
 
73
Dribbled Past 3 0.11
 
90
Clearances 82 3.05
 
85
Shots Blocked 10 0.37
 
71
Penalties Given Away 2 0.07
 
8

Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig, Croatia)

Icon 541 RBLBVB20230405 091
Credit: Iconsport

 In 30 matches, Gvardiol's team conceded a total of 32 goals, while managing to secure 9 clean sheets. This statistical analysis reveals that, on average, when Gvardiol was on the pitch, RB Leipzig conceded a goal approximately every 68 minutes, indicating his presence and influence in the team's defensive performance.

 On average, he made 0.98 tackles and 1.42 interceptions per 90 minutes played. Gvardiol approximately made 2.84 clearances per game, further emphasizing his contribution to defensive stability.

In addition to his club performances, Gvardiol represented Croatia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where the team reached the semi-finals. 

Josko Gvardiol Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 32 1.33
 
35
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 68 min'  
 
37
Clean Sheets 9 30%
 
61
Tackles 22 0.98
 
27
Interceptions 32 1.42
 
82
Ground Duels 154 6.83
 
18
Ground Duels Won 88 3.90
 
29
Aerial Duels Won 40 1.77
 
70
Dribbled Past 11 0.49
 
61
Clearances 64 2.84
 
82
Shots Blocked 14 0.62
 
86
Penalties Given Away 1 0.04
 
17

Matthijs De Ligt ( Bayern Munich)

Icon 230309 99 883550 dpai
Credit: Iconsport

 Over the course of 31 matches, De Light conceded a total of 25 goals and managed to keep an impressive 10 clean sheets.

On average, when de Ligt was on the pitch, his team conceded a goal approximately every 96 minutes. He made 1.11 tackles and 0.84 interceptions per 90 minutes played. Additionally, de Ligt exhibited his aerial prowess and defensive presence through approximately 2.83 clearances per game, further solidifying his role as a reliable defender.

Teaming up with Dayot Upamecano, de Ligt played a crucial role in Bayern's journey to the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals. Their performances helped secure clean sheets against formidable opponents such as PSG, Inter Milan, and FC Barcelona.

Matthijs De Ligt Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 25 0.94
 
77
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 96 min'  
 
77
Clean Sheets 10 32%
 
67
Tackles 29 1.11
 
33
Interceptions 22 0.84
 
51
Ground Duels 225 8.60
 
40
Ground Duels Won 133 5.08
 
60
Aerial Duels Won 86 3.29
 
91
Dribbled Past 9 0.34
 
75
Clearances 74 2.83
 
82
Shots Blocked 20 0.76
 
91
Penalties Given Away 2 0.08
 
6

John Stones ( Manchester City)

Icon sipausa 46790382
Credit: Iconsport

John Stones, a key figure in the treble-winning campaign, showcased his defensive prowess as a defender during the Premier League 2022/2023 season. In 23 matches, Stones was part of a defense that conceded a total of 16 goals while achieving 9 clean sheets.

On average, Stones's team conceded a goal approximately every 116 minutes when he was on the pitch. He made 1.12 tackles and 0.39 interceptions per 90 minutes played, showcasing his effectiveness in breaking up opposition attacks and regaining possession for his team. Additionally, Stones consistently provided approximately 1.80 clearances per game.

John Stones Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 16 0.78
 
88
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 116 min'  
 
89
Clean Sheets 9 39%
 
84
Tackles 23 1.12
 
34
Interceptions 8 0.39
 
28
Ground Duels 101 4.92
 
9
Ground Duels Won 68 3.31
 
18
Aerial Duels Won 32 1.56
 
65
Dribbled Past 1 0.05
 
93
Clearances 37 1.80
 
69
Shots Blocked 11 0.54
 
82

Min Jae Kim ( Napoli)

Icon LP 21061574
Credit: Iconsport

Min Jae Kim, the talented defender of Napoli, had an outstanding season in the Serie A 2022/2023. In 35 matches, Kim was part of a resolute defense that conceded only 24 goals and kept an impressive 16 clean sheets.

On average, when Kim was on the pitch, his team conceded a goal approximately every 127 minutes, highlighting his ability to maintain defensive solidity.

Kim showcased his defensive abilities through his tackling and interception statistics. On average, he made 1.62 tackles and 1.24 interceptions per 90 minutes played. Additionally, Kim displayed his ability to relieve pressure on the defensive end by recording approximately 3.59 clearances per game.

Min Jae Kim Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 24 0.71
 
88
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 127 min'  
 
88
Clean Sheets 16 46%
 
89
Tackles 55 1.62
 
57
Interceptions 42 1.24
 
82
Ground Duels 254 7.48
 
27
Ground Duels Won 156 4.60
 
51
Aerial Duels Won 92 2.71
 
90
Dribbled Past 4 0.12
 
91
Clearances 122 3.59
 
90
Shots Blocked 26 0.77
 
92

Cristian Romero ( Tottenham Hotspur, Argentina)

Icon BAP 181222 93 273
Credit: Iconsport

Cristian Romero, a FIFA World Cup champion and a formidable defender, showcased his skills during the Premier League 2022/2023 season. In 27 matches, Tottenham conceded a total of 36 goals, managing to keep 8 clean sheets.

On average, when Romero was on the pitch, his team conceded a goal approximately every 66 minutes, reflecting his influence in minimizing opposition scoring opportunities.

Romero demonstrated his defensive capabilities through his impressive tackling and interception numbers. On average, he made 2.57 tackles and 1.38 interceptions per 90 minutes played.

Cristian Romero Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 36 1.37
 
36
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 66 min'  
 
37
Clean Sheets 8 30%
 
63
Tackles 65 2.57
 
90
Interceptions 35 1.38
 
83
Ground Duels 240 9.49
 
53
Ground Duels Won 145 5.74
 
76
Aerial Duels Won 56 2.22
 
81
Dribbled Past 14 0.55
 
54
Clearances 93 3.68
 
90
Shots Blocked 18 0.71
 
90

Ronald Araujo ( FC Barcelona)

Icon PS 230502 011
Credit: Iconsport

Ronald Araujo, a key contributor to Barcelona's La Liga championship, had an exceptional season as a defender in the La Liga 2022/2023. In 22 matches, FC Barcelona conceded a mere 5 goals and kept an impressive 16 clean sheets. This statistical analysis reveals that, on average, when Araujo da Silva was on the pitch, his team conceded a goal approximately every 361 minutes, highlighting his role in maintaining a solid defensive line.

Araujo's defensive capabilities were evident through his tackling and interception statistics. On average, he made 1.30 tackles and 0.55 interceptions per 90 minutes played, showcasing his effectiveness in breaking up opposition attacks and regaining possession for his team. Additionally, Araujo displayed his ability to clear the ball from danger with approximately 1.90 clearances per game, contributing to his team's defensive stability.

Ronald Araujo Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 5 0.25
 
99
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 361 min'  
 
99
Clean Sheets 16 73%
 
99
Tackles 26 1.30
 
40
Interceptions 11 0.55
 
37
Ground Duels 150 7.48
 
27
Ground Duels Won 96 4.79
 
56
Aerial Duels Won 44 2.20
 
84
Dribbled Past 3 0.15
 
89
Clearances 38 1.90
 
73
Shots Blocked 8 0.40
 
73

William Saliba (Arsenal)

Icon SPI DK 062 Arsenal V Everton.JPG
Credit: Iconsport

In 27 matches, Arsenal conceded a total of 25 goals while securing 12 clean sheets. This statistical analysis reveals that, on average, when Saliba was on the pitch, his team conceded a goal approximately every 97 minutes, indicating his contribution to maintaining a solid defensive line.

Saliba demonstrated his defensive qualities through his tackling and interception statistics. On average, he made 1.27 tackles and 0.71 interceptions per 90 minutes played, showcasing his ability to disrupt opposing attacks and regain possession for his team.

William Saliba Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 25 0.93
 
78
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 97 min'  
 
78
Clean Sheets 12 44%
 
91
Tackles 34 1.27
 
41
Interceptions 19 0.71
 
45
Ground Duels 175 6.52
 
17
Ground Duels Won 105 3.91
 
31
Aerial Duels Won 50 1.86
 
73
Dribbled Past 3 0.11
 
90
Clearances 82 3.05
 
85
Shots Blocked 10 0.37
 
71
Penalties Given Away 2 0.07
 
8

Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig, Croatia)

Icon 541 RBLBVB20230405 091
Credit: Iconsport

Josko Gvardiol, a talented defender, had an eventful season in the Bundesliga 2022/2023 with RB Leipzig. In 30 matches, Gvardiol's team conceded a total of 32 goals, while managing to secure 9 clean sheets. This statistical analysis reveals that, on average, when Gvardiol was on the pitch, RB Leipzig conceded a goal approximately every 68 minutes, indicating his presence and influence in the team's defensive performance.

Gvardiol showcased his defensive abilities through his tackling and interception numbers. On average, he made 0.98 tackles and 1.42 interceptions per 90 minutes played, highlighting his capability to disrupt opponent attacks and win back possession for his team. Additionally, Gvardiol exhibited his prowess in clearing the ball from dangerous areas, amassing approximately 2.84 clearances per game, further emphasizing his contribution to defensive stability.

In addition to his club performances, Gvardiol represented Croatia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where the team reached the semi-finals. This experience on the international stage demonstrates Gvardiol's ability to perform at the highest level and contribute to his team's success.

Josko Gvardiol Defending Stats, according to Footystats:

Defending Total Per 90 or % Percentile
Goals Conceded 32 1.33
 
35
Minutes Per Goal Conceded 68 min'  
 
37
Clean Sheets 9 30%
 
61
Tackles 22 0.98
 
27
Interceptions 32 1.42
 
82
Ground Duels 154 6.83
 
18
Ground Duels Won 88 3.90
 
29
Aerial Duels Won 40 1.77
 
70
Dribbled Past 11 0.49
 
61
Clearances 64 2.84
 
82
Shots Blocked 14 0.62
 
86
Penalties Given Away 1 0.04
 
17

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

Rababe Koussaimi, a 22-year-old football journalist, is deeply passionate about the world of sports. The Moroccan journalist channels her enthusiasm into writing and conducting extensive research, creating insightful and engaging content for GoalBallLive readers.

1 COMMENT