Ranked! The 10 best centre-backs in the world
10. Harry Maguire (Manchester United)
Being the world's most expensive centre-back doesn't make you the best, but Maguire deserves his place on this list after rising fast to show his consistent class with Leicester and England. Sure, £80m was a huge sum for Manchester United to spend on him in the summer, but he is exactly the player a weak backline had been crying out for.
The 26-year-old Sheffield native is commanding in the air but also one of football's finest stoppers in possession, as his regular forays into midfield for club and country have demonstrated. He might not have a Van Dijk level of impact on United's defence in 2019/20, but expect huge improvements with Slabhead around.
9. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham)
It's remarkable that nobody triggered Alderweireld's paltry £25m release clause in the summer, after persistent links with Manchester United in previous transfer windows. The stylish stopper helped Spurs record another top-four finish and reach a surprise Champions League final for the first time in 2018/19, but is set to leave on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of this season.
Alderweireld is rarely caught out of position and is equally comfortable playing in a back three or back four. He’s a terrific passer too, and is particularly adept at spraying long diagonals out to the flanks. It's been a baffling turn of events for one of world football's classiest operators.
8. Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
The grizzled Italian stalwart may turn 35 in August, but he remains one of the standout players in his position. Strong in the tackle and commanding aerially, Chiellini is a wonderful reader of the game and an underrated passer from deep.
Juve's defensive stalwart is still a mainstay in the Bianconeri backline and will be integral as they look to land a Champions League win for the first time since 1996.
7. Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
Now in his eighth season as a Tottenham player, Vertonghen has developed into one of the world’s leading centre-backs over the last couple of years.
The Belgian is aggressive and an expert at wrestling the ball away from opposition strikers high upfield. He's strong in one-on-one duels and comfortable when forced to defend in wide areas – and also surprisingly adept at left-back, as he proved with a stunning display against Borussia Dortmund in 2018/19.
6. Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
You're going to need a bigger trophy cabinet. Pique hoisted aloft his eighth La Liga trophy with Barça in 2018/19, nudging aside the 11 other major prizes he's clinched with the Catalans and Spain since 2008.
He may be 32 now, but Pique missed only three league games for Ernesto Valverde last season – and one of those was through suspension. He formed a blossoming partnership with France stopper Clement Lenglet which is likely to see Barça through again in 2019/20. Pique has never been perfect but remains a centre-back managers want to have around.