As the world is entered into 2020s, we came up with "Decade Diaries" to celebrate the last decade. Here in this blog, we are discussing the top defenders in 2010-19, who made it big during this period.
Even though this Spanish centre back bowed out of competitive football in the initial years of the decade, it is highly unlikely that a player of such calibre will ever grace the greens. Carles Puyol i Saforcada was always the core of both the Catalan and the Spanish international outfit. With Gerard Pique at his side they managed to earn a reputation of being one of the most impenetrable backlines in world football. The style of play that Barcelona operates with often leaves them vulnerable to swift counter-attacks, this is where Puyol’s impeccable ability to read the game and predict the movement of the opposition becomes an invaluable asset for both his club and country. A highly decorated and successful player, Puyol managed to lead his club and country to several La Liga and Champions League Titles and the FIFA World Cup in 2010, respectively. Mes Que un Capitan, indeed.
The embodiment of absolute professionalism and excellence both on and off the pitch. A true icon of football, his career has seen numerous successes. His undoubtable loyalty and the quality of leadership can never be undersold. Lahm successfully managed to cement his place in world football as one of the elites who has seen countless ups and downs, career threatening injuries, scuffles with his superiors and much more. It is an almost impossible task to find a player who has an impact on the game as heavy as that of Lahm. One of the rare defenders who was never once sent off in his entire career. His retirement from the game left Bavarian fans and long-standing football fans teary eyed alike. The Magic Dwarf will always remain etched in the hearts of the people as one of the greats.
Only a handful of Centre Backs in the world operate with a similar sense of clinicality in both their defensive and offensive third. Sergio Ramos is one of those players, feared while making crucial tackles and taking crucial penalties alike. The charisma that the Spanish international brings to the pitch is unlike any other, cherished by some and loathed by so many others. His disciplinary record is not his strongest asset, but the arguments against the short-tempered centre back boils down to his ability to get results. He is also infamous for netting crucial goals in the dying breaths of the game. His ability to dominate aerial balls in both thirds of the pitch renders him a boon for his outfit and a bane to his opponents.
A deep-rooted force in the backline, the rock of one of the greatest, if not the best football club and country outfit the game has ever seen. Gerard Pique brings a level of excellence unlike any other defender in the biz. Unfortunately playing with a star-studded attacking line like that of Barcelona often leaves his contribution to the game out of the limelight. Invisible but ever-present. Pique’s true talents will probably be recognized only after he bids adieu to the game. Pique has managed to grow out of the shadow of the Catalan Hall of Famer Carles Puyol into a man of his own. Learning from the best he has managed to retain the same calibre his club and country boasted of, in their backline. Pique has a tendency to make it to the headlines because of his contentious and controversial remarks off the pitch. Nevertheless the Spanish international remains one of the best and most reliable defenders of all time.
A list such as this has to feature some of the greatest talents Italy has to offer. The personification of such talent, Giorgio Chiellini. One of the last no-nonsense defenders in the game. The professionalism and discipline he brings to his outfit is truly commendable. A crucial cog in the wheel of Juventus’ machine, he alongside Barzagli and Bonucci was able to perfect the art of a three man defense. He proved his versatility after he was asked to switch back to a four man backline, which he managed rather effortlessly. One of the finest footballing brains in the game, his near fatal physicality and immaculate vision easily makes him one of the greatest to come out of Italy, which considering their history is no small feat.