For a lot of, greatness stops at one aim, one cross, one save. For the few, greatness is a default setting.

It’s time for reflection as the chapter closes on the decade. On this collection, we study the very best gamers, coaches, managers, groups, signings and extra which have formed the final 10 years in world soccer.

On this version, we concentrate on the foundations on which any nice staff is constructed – defenders.

Whether or not it’s the onerous-nosed centre-backs who’re decided to let nothing by or the liberating ahead play of attacking full-backs, solely the best of the best over the final 10 years make our record.


Giorgio Chiellini

The old-fashioned Italian centre-again is a dying breed and Giorgio Chiellini is one of the final of his form. With fast and athletically supreme defenders rising to the high in the trendy period, the Juventus man has proven exceptional consistency and self-discipline to set the bar.

The Bianconeri skipper has led his staff to an unprecedented eight consecutive Serie A titles, additionally securing eight home trophies alongside the method. No-one marshals a defence fairly like him. Hes famend for being onerous however clear in a deal with and infallible in the air.

On the subject of fundamentals of defending, Chiellini has been king actually over the final 10 years at the least.



The actual fact that he’s earned the nickname Piquenbauer ought to let you know every thing you should learn about the Catalan. His capacity to thrive with a excessive line, sweep up at the again and sometimes sniff out a aim has drawn similarities with German legend Franz Beckenbauer.

After being groomed at La Masia, Gerard Pique spent his childhood at Manchester United the place he would win his first Champions League title earlier than returning to Barcelona at the begin of a trophy-laden period.

He’s one of the most technically gifted centre-backs in the sport whereas his passing and capacity to hold the ball out from defence has made him indispensable to Barca. Pique has additionally remained a everlasting fixture for Spain, successful the World Cup and European Championship.


Sergio Ramos.

If you happen to needed to engineer a centre-again completely suited to the trendy sport, youd find yourself with one thing fairly near Sergio Ramos. The Spaniard has been at the high of his sport in the final decade, successful 18 trophies with Actual Madrid in that point together with 4 Champions League titles. He alsowon the World Cup in 2010 and a second Europeantitle two years later.

Ramos is a high-quality athletic specimen, blessed with the tempo and agility that strikers can be proud of. A supreme leap makes him dominant in the air however whereas his positioning has improved, its nonetheless a slight weak spot.

Nevertheless, his tempo compensates sufficiently as he has nice capacity to trace again swiftly whereas his recovering tackles are second to none.

Along with his aptitude, pure aggression and confidence Ramos is the form of participant Actual establish with. Hes much less fundamentals, extra flash, however in the end formidable.



Like Chiellini, Diego Godin is just not your typical trendy-day centre-again. However in the absence of tempo and mobility, an unwavering self-discipline manifests. He nonetheless boasts some spectacular bodily traits although, having been blessed with a naturally highly effective body whereas his sheer dedication to the trigger goes a great distance.

Godin retains up with forwards a lot sooner than him by studying the hazard early. Hes a magnet for the ball when it flies into the field and his impeccable positioning is the motive for that.

He was Diego Simeones normal for years earlier than transferring to Inter this summer season and was the rock on which the Atletico Madrid supervisor constructed a profitable staff that gained eight trophies.

The Uruguayan has been a stalwart for his nation as effectively, main them to a Copa America triumph in 2011.


Philipp Lahm

Suppose of the most full full-again and then add an entire lot of class and innovation into the combine that was Philipp Lahm.

He was an excellent defender and so clear had been his tackles that he retired with out ever being despatched off. Going ahead, his passing was exemplary and his crosses of the highest high quality.

Succesful with each ft, he had the versatility to play on both flank. His tactical understanding was so superior that Pep Guardiola as soon as labelled him the most clever participant he ever coached, with the German usually that includes in a deep-mendacity midfield playmaker position at the time.

He was additionally an inspirational chief, successful the 2014 World Cup with Germany after securing the Champions League with Bayern Munich the 12 months earlier than.


Jordi Alba

Such is Jordi Albas need to get ahead and capacity to harm the opposition when he does that his mixture with Lionel Messi has grow to be one of the deadliest in Europe.

Regardless of working from left-again, Albas overlapping runs and frequent reduce-backs have grow to be one of Messis best provide strains over the previous couple of seasons.

The Spain worldwide can understandably then be caught out of place however he normally boasts the tempo and power to get better.

His peak, or lack thereof, accompanied along with his slight body is at all times a priority particularly in aerial duels however he stays a superb defender one on one.

With 5 La Liga titles, one Champions League and a Euro 2012 medal to his identify, Alba has proved vastly profitable.


Dani alves

Earlier than Alba for Barca and Messi, there was Dani Alves. The Brazilian thrived inside the Catalans possession-based mostly system as he usually operated as an auxiliary winger, successful three Champions Leagues two in the final decade.

Alves would generate width on the proper whereas Messi tucked into the half-area or drifted additional into the center. His overlapping runs had been frequent and efficient whereas he additionally masterfully timed his diagonal runs in behind the defence.

Defensively, Alves remained robust and troublesome to beat however most of his contributions off the ball got here excessive up the pitch as Barca would press the opposition into surrendering possession.

The suitable-again has an ideal capacity to adapt and, at Juventus, was a playmaker of kinds. He wouldlaunch deep crosses or lengthy diagonal balls focused at Mario Mandzukic on the far aspect. After success at the San Siro extra silverware would observe at Paris Saint-Germain.



Marcelo is a mainstay in a Actual Madrid aspect that has loved a phenomenally profitable period in the Champions League, successful 4 of the final six tournaments.

Such is the aptitude he provides that he would match into any 5-a-aspect staff slightly comfortably. His defending is probably not as much as the mark at occasions however among full-backs, his approach, trickery and eye for aim is unparalleled.

In 2012, legendary Brazil left-again Roberto Carlos labelled Marcelo his inheritor and known as him the worlds best left-again. He even went so far as to say that Marcelos technical capacity was higher than his.

Maybe what actually makes him one of the all-time nice full-backs is his capacity to carry out in the huge video games and produce telling contributions.

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