It is becoming increasingly important that clubs now have centre-backs who are comfortable in possession. For several years, Barcelona have been encouraging defenders to have confidence in themselves and play out from the back. Now, most teams across the world are widely recognised for having very good ball playing defenders, as the times of a traditional crunching tackle winning centre-half have diminished.
It is no surprise in this list that the best ball playing centre-backs are those who are at the biggest and best clubs in the world, because they are not only good at defending, but playing out from the back too.
Here are ten of the best ball playing centre-backs in the current game:
#10 Niklas Sule – Bayern Munich
German centre-back Niklas Sule put on a show last season at Hoffenheim, who exceeded their expectations and finished in fourth place in the Bundesliga.
Due to his magnificent season, as well as the season before, Bayern Munich knew they had to snap up the young German, signing him on a pre-contract in January 2017.
Sule completed a huge 1471 forward passes last season in the Bundesliga, with an 89% success rate, explaining exactly why Bayern have decided to sign the German. He has a higher success rate than Jerome Boateng and attempts more forward passes on average each game, suggesting he is a potential replacement for his compatriot.
Additionally, he also made more total passes than Mats Hummels throughout the Bundesliga season, with a higher success rate. Sule is an intelligent young centre-back who is destined for good things; his ball playing abilities will mean he will fit in very well at Bayern Munich.