Friday, 19 Jul 2024

The Best Centre-Backs in Men’s Soccer for the 2022-23 Season

If you’re a football fan, you know that having a great centre-back is crucial for any successful team. They are the rock-solid defenders who not only possess size and strength but also exhibit exquisite timing and anticipation to regain possession from the opposition. These players are graceful on and off the ball, whether making a precise pass up-field or skillfully evading opponents to relieve pressure.

The FC 100 list of the best men’s soccer centre-backs for the 2022-23 season is out. This comprehensive ranking features the top players in their position from various leagues worldwide. The list was compiled by a panel of experts, including renowned football journalists and industry insiders.

Napoli/South Korea

Kim Min-Jae, also known as “The Monster,” makes the list due to his remarkable performances for Napoli in Serie A. The South Korean center-back demonstrated his ability to win duels, make key recoveries, and provide vital contributions in attack. Kim played a vital role in Napoli’s first Serie A title in 33 years, impressing fans and experts alike.

best defenders in soccer

For the upcoming 2023-24 season, expectations are high for Kim. His composure, passing accuracy, and defensive skills make him a valuable asset for any top club. As transfer rumors swirl around him, it remains to be seen if Kim will make a big-money move to one of Europe’s elite teams.


Alessandro Bastoni, an Italian center-back playing for Inter Milan, stands out with his dynamic style of play. He not only excels at defending but also contributes to his team’s attack with assists, shot-creating actions, and progressive passes. At the age of 24, Bastoni’s best years are yet to come, making him one to watch in the upcoming season.


Lisandro Martinez, a young Argentine talent, had a breakthrough season last year for Manchester United. Martinez’s defensive prowess and ability on the ball enabled him to become a key player for the team. His presence in the defense changed the tone and tenor of the dressing room, and his injury in April had a significant impact on United’s title charge.

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As Martinez aims to establish himself as a first-choice center-back for Argentina, he will continue to be a favorite under coach Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. Amidst transfer speculations and competition for spots, Martinez’s contributions will be crucial to United’s success in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.


Virgil van Dijk, the towering Dutch defender, is a familiar name in any conversation about the best center-backs in the world. Although he faced challenges during the 2022-23 campaign, including injury setbacks and tactical deficiencies in Liverpool’s defense, Van Dijk remains a formidable force. His presence and leadership on the pitch are crucial for Liverpool’s success, as evidenced by their drop in performance when he was sidelined.

Looking ahead to the 2023-24 season, Van Dijk’s individual performance will heavily depend on the team’s ability to rebuild and provide him with adequate support. With the Dutch national team, he will likely pair up with Nathan Ake and Matthijs de Ligt, creating a formidable defensive partnership. Van Dijk’s impact will be vital for both Liverpool and the Dutch national team.


Ronald Araujo, the Uruguayan center-back, challenges the notion that defensive stats define a player’s quality. Despite attempting fewer tackles, Araujo’s defensive abilities shine through his exceptional positioning and ability to block spaces. He excels at diverting opponents away from the goal, making it seem as if there is no direct path to strike.

After a solid defensive display during Barcelona’s LaLiga campaign, Araujo’s progress was hampered by injuries. However, if he can maintain his fitness in the upcoming season, he is poised to become an even more dominant force for both Barcelona and the Uruguayan national team.

Real Madrid/Brazil

Eder Militao, the Brazilian center-back at Real Madrid, possesses all the attributes of a top-class defender. With his speed, one-on-one defensive skills, ball control, and aerial ability, Militao has the potential to be among the best in the world. However, consistency and focus remain areas for improvement in his game.

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In the 2023-24 season, Militao aims to establish himself as a regular starter for both Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team. With the possibility of Carlo Ancelotti becoming his national team coach in the future, Militao’s potential is set to soar. Overcoming occasional lapses in judgment will be crucial for him to reach his true potential.


William Saliba, the young French center-back, burst onto the scene in the Premier League last season. Despite his age and lack of experience in English football, Saliba quickly adapted and impressed with his defensive abilities and ball-playing skills. His performances earned him a call-up to the French national team and even participation in the World Cup.

Unfortunately, a back injury sidelined Saliba during the critical final weeks of the season, leaving Arsenal to struggle without him. As he works towards full recovery, Arsenal will require his best form to compete against the top teams in the Premier League. With promising signings in midfield, Arsenal looks to build a stronger squad, with Saliba as a key component.


David Alaba, the Austrian defender with a wealth of experience, has been a pivotal figure for both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Despite his modest stature, Alaba’s intelligence and ball-playing abilities put him among the best center-backs in the game. He is known for his exceptional buildup skills and his ability to make his teammates excel.

In the 2023-24 season, Alaba will continue to be a vital cog in the Real Madrid machine. His steady performances, even in the face of injury setbacks, make him a crucial player in both defense and attack. With the support of his defensive partners, Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger, Alaba will be poised for another successful campaign.

RB Leipzig/Croatia

Josko Gvardiol, the Croatian defender playing for RB Leipzig, has rapidly risen to prominence in the footballing world. Gvardiol possesses exceptional passing skills, making him one of the best in terms of advancing the ball up the field. His performances in UEFA competitions and for the Croatian national team have earned him a reputation as a reliable and versatile defender.

As big clubs express interest in Gvardiol, the pressure on him will increase. However, with his proven talent and rising star status, he is expected to handle any move with ease. Gvardiol’s ability to play at the highest level at such a young age makes him an exciting prospect for the future.

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Ruben Dias, the Portuguese center-back for Manchester City, played a crucial role in his team’s success last season. He helped City achieve the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League and showcased his leadership abilities on and off the pitch. Dias played a vital part in City’s Champions League campaign, keeping clean sheets against formidable opponents.

In the 2023-24 season, Dias will look to defend City’s titles and further establish himself as a leader within the squad. With the potential captaincy in sight, Dias will continue to be instrumental in City’s defensive organization and their pursuit of domestic and European success.


Q: Where can I find the full FC 100 list of the best men’s soccer centre-backs?
A: You can find the full FC 100 list on the Pesstatsdatabase website.

Q: What criteria were used to determine the rankings in the FC 100 list?
A: The rankings were compiled by a panel of experts who considered a player’s performance in the 2022-23 season, their impact on their respective teams, and their individual abilities as center-backs.

Q: Are there any other notable center-backs that narrowly missed the FC 100 list?
A: While there are many talented center-backs in the world, the FC 100 list focuses on the top performers in the 2022-23 season. However, the football landscape is constantly evolving, and players who narrowly missed the list could make significant strides in the upcoming seasons.


The FC 100 list of the best men’s soccer centre-backs for the 2022-23 season provides a comprehensive overview of the top performers in this position. These players display a combination of defensive prowess, technical skills, and leadership qualities that make them indispensable for their respective teams.

As the new season approaches, these center-backs will look to build on their previous successes and prove their worth once again. Football fans can anticipate thrilling moments, fierce battles, and exceptional performances from these talented individuals throughout the upcoming season.