Defense is an integral part of football. A solid and unbreakable defense is a crucial part of a successful team in football. The player who plays in the defensive position is termed as a defender. The primary role of the defender is never to lose sight of the ball. The defender helps the team by preventing the attacker from either passing or dribbling towards the goal or shooting. A defender would be concerned about few things like whether or not to make contact with the ball and positioning. There are four types of defenders in football and the most crucial position is center back (CB) (also known as central defenders), who plays at the heart of the defense to defend the area in-front of the goal. A good central defender will always rush, put pressure and confuse the attackers to make mistakes. The skill set for a central defender includes being more physical, quicker and comfortable in possession. This is the most physically demanding position on the field. Defenders must protect the goal keeper at all cost and never let the opponents get near to the post.
Central Defender – Most Crucial Position
Carlos Puyol – Defender
I’ve rarely seen a footballer as committed, passionate and talented as Carlos Puyol. Puyol was a significant part of the Spanish team which won the football world cup tournament in 2010. This retired footballer played his entire professional career with Barcelona (one club men) and served as a team captain for a long time. His attitude towards the game and leadership skills is second to none. His maturity, commanding presence and intense commitment is what made him so special in this position. Puyol is arguably the greatest of all time. His records speak for itself and remained an example for his teammates throughout his entire career. He formed a very strong partnership with pique at the center back which rejuvenated Barcelona. Like Pique said in they can look all they want but they will never find a new Puyol. In opinion he is the greatest captain of the 21st century be it any sport.
John Terry – Defender
It is impossible to leave out Terry when talking about greatest center backs of football. Terry is strong, fearless and good at timing tackles. This physical defender was the captain of Chelsea and English football team. He is the most successful captain in Chelsea’s history who had won 5 premier league titles and a champion league title since 2004. He is currently playing for Aston villa who had been loyal to Chelsea for so many years. His ability to read the game and a strong winning mentality is what makes him unique when compared to others. He had been accused of several minor charges over the years which hardly affected his career at Chelsea. Even though the current Chelsea team is doing well under the supervision of Antonio Conte, still it’s hard to imagine a team without Terry.
Paolo Maldini – Defender
Maldini is the most technically gifted defender the football has ever seen. The former Italian professional has played as a central defender for A.C Milan. He spent 25 years with A.C Milan winning all the major trophies with them. The 5 time champions’ league winner is undoubtedly the greatest player of all time. Maldini is the prime example of one club man. This left footed defender played this awesome game as if it were a chess match. He always had a plot to catch the opponent moves well before it happened. To me, he’s the most elegant center back in the history of football. We may never see a player like him ever again. He has an ability to defend the ball without needing to tackle is what makes him so special. One of the classiest defender in the history of football.
Fabio Cannavaro – Defender
When it comes to defending, Cannavaro has an ability to be in the right place at the right time. By many, he is considered to be one of the greatest defenders of all time. He captained Italy and won the world cup in the year 2006. Only the 3rd defender in the history of football to win the ballon d’or award in the very same year. He played for some of the European elites such as Inter Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid and Napoli. His resume speaks volume of who and what he is. Cannavaro’s defensive instincts allow him to keep up with anyone he comes up against.
Alessandro Nesta – Defender
Watching him in action is a lesson for everyone who wants to be defender. Nesta’s defensive skill speaks volume about how good he was during his era. I consider him to be one of the best CB of his time and also the greatest defender ever. His pace was quite unusual for a center back which made him highly influential both in attack and defense. Very few in today’s game can match with his defensive abilities. He would go down as one of the legends of the sport. Nesta had pace to catch up with anyone who managed to get around him. His years at A.C Milan is a testament to prove how good he was as a defender.
Football has many different positions and each position has its own specific task. Positions in football is decided by what kind of skill a player has. The main role of the center back is to hold the line and not to concede any goals. A classic match up between a skilled dribbler and a tough defender is always such a pleasure to watch.