What is the first idea that comes up to your mind when you hear the word “defender”? Is it brute strength, aggressiveness, foul play, or just a player who can be a nightmare when it comes to snatching the ball off your feet?
As far an I’m concerned, I would say a defender is that key player in the team who is relied upon the most during the hours of attacks; he is that key player who keeps every void marked so as to leave the opponent with no chances to score! And also a player who can be equally arduous and lethal as a striker when it comes to bagging a goal and turning the tables at every instance possible.
So here are five defenders that made quite a name for themselves during the group stages of the Champions League.
1. Alex Rodrigo Dias da Costa
Brazilian center-back currently playing for French giants Paris Saint German, also known as Alex. Starting off his career with Brazilian club Santos and later on moving to Chelsea, this player is widely known for his strong foot and tackles. There is no-one better than him on the pitch when it comes to snatching the ball away, leaving the opposition gasping for breath. You may wonder why I put his name in this article? Moreover at the top of the list?
19 tackles and 17 interceptions in just 5 appearances! Impressive right? When you add in the 2 goals he scored, you can finally define a perfect defeker (“defe”nder+stri”ker”).
2. Thiago Emiliano da Silva
Now comes fellow Brazilian and team-mate Thiago Silva. Got transferred from AC Milan to PSG for 42 million euros and I don’t think PSG is stupid enough to pay so much for an ordinary footballer. Indeed, this defender has proven that he’s worthy of such an amount. The very sight of this defender on the pitch gives goosebumps to many forwards, as only a handful of strikers even dream of getting past him. Known for his tremendous defensive insight and heavy tackles, Mr. Silva has already successfully attempted 12 tackles, 22 interceptions and 2 brilliant goals which led the team past the group stages with ease.
If any one of you dreams of being a striker, I suggest that you stay out of this guy’s way.
3. Philipp Lahm
He is the captain of German giants Bayern Munich and the German National Team. Immense speed, super dribbling abilities and precise tackling skills have helped him acquire the nick name “Magic Dwarf”. Always considered to be the one of the best full backs in the world, there are few words which can actually describe this club legend.
15 tackles, 12 interceptions and a goal in just 5 appearances. It’s all in a day’s work for this legend.
4. Giorgio Chiellini
This Italian center back is the vice captain of the Italian National team. His ruthless defensive insight can make the opposition try all day long yet be unable to get past him. Currently playing for Juventus, he is THE guy as far as defending is concerned. After joining Juventus in 2005, he has more than 205 appearances. What made me choose this guy in this list? 15 tackles and 17 interceptions in just 6 appearances. Need I say more?
5. Mats Hummels
The rising star of Borussia Dortmund, this young lad has what it takes to beat the best. Mats Hummels is the fruitful product of Bayern Munich’s youth academy, and joined Borussia in 2008. He is undoubtedly one of the best central defenders in world and the best part is, he is just 23!
6 foot 3 inches tall, only few can win him over in aerial duel, and combining his natural passing skills with his imposing frame, he is the perfect definition of a complete defender.
15 tackles, 4 interceptions, 70 clearances, and not to forget an assist, in just 5 appearances! That’s what you call IMPRESSIVE.
I hope the defensive masterminds mentioned deserved to be in this list. If not, please suggest who I should have included.Published 13 Dec 2012, 17:52 IST