5 best defenders in the world this season (2020/21)

Granada CF v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Leg One
Granada CF v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Leg One
Abhinav Anand

Goals win games, or so goes the saying. The majority of the focus in football is on the attackers, the players who score the goals that win their team games.

However, on the other side of the pitch, the contributions of the defense are often overlooked. There is such an overwhelming focus on the attacking part of the game that the art of defending is often forgotten.

The likes of Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk have made defending fashionable, but the two players have not been lucky with injuries this season.

Despite this, there have been some players who have excelled. We look at the:

5 best defenders in the world this season (2020/21).

#5 Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)

Marquinhos is a key player for Paris Saint-Germain
Marquinhos is a key player for Paris Saint-Germain

Talk of Paris Saint-Germain instantly reminds one of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, but Marquinhos has been an equally crucial member of the side.

The 26-year old joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2013 after a sole season with Roma for a fee of £28 million. The presence of experienced centre-back Thiago Silva was important, as Marquinhos learned from his fellow Brazil international about the intricacies of defending.

Silva's departure has elevated Marquinhos into a more senior role. He is now one of the first names in the starting XI, and has been used as a centre-back and as a defensive midfielder. Good on the ball with strong technical skills and defensive attributes, Marquinhos has quietly done his job.

The former Corinthians player has made 315 appearances in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain since his arrival. He has made 21 Ligue 1 appearances this season, with a further eight in the Champions League.

#4 Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

Luke Shaw has been in fine form this season
Luke Shaw has been in fine form this season

Luke Shaw's transformation from a league-average left-back to one of the best in Europe this season has been pleasant to see.

A highly-touted player during his days with Southampton, Shaw joined Manchester United in 2014 for a fee of £33.75 million. The England international enjoyed a good start to his Manchester United career, but a horrifying double leg fracture in 2015 halted his development.

It took Shaw nearly a year to make another appearance for the Red Devils, but he did not enjoy the best of relationships with Jose Mourinho. The arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has proven to be key, though. The 25-year old has thrived under the Norwegian's management, with his creativity, crossing and passing crucial.

The left-back has made 28 Premier League appearances this season, scoring one goal and providing five assists. Shaw looks set to start for England at the Euros this summer.

Also Read: 5 players who rejuvenated their career with a positional change

#3 John Stones (Manchester City)

John Stones in action for Manchester City
John Stones in action for Manchester City

Credit must be given to John Stones for turning his Manchester City career around in spectacular fashion.

Stones was linked with a move away from Manchester City last summer after some poor performances last season. The England international had cost Manchester City an eye-watering fee of £50 million from Everton in 2016, but he had failed to impress Pep Guardiola.

This season, though, has seen Stones play the best football of his career. The 26-year old has formed an excellent defensive partnership with Ruben Dias, so much so that Manchester City's best centre-back over the past couple of seasons, Aymeric Laporte, has dropped to the bench as a result.

A ball-playing centre-back, the England international never lacked the technical skills to succeed. This season has seen Stones use them properly. He has made 20 Premier League appearances and has been a goalscoring threat as well, scoring four so far.

#2 David Alaba (Bayern Munich)

David Alaba will leave Bayern Munich in the summer
David Alaba will leave Bayern Munich in the summer

It will be interesting to see how Bayern Munich replace David Alaba when he leaves the club in the summer.

A product of Bayern Munich's academy, Alaba has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga for some time now. A versatile player, the Austria international is capable of operating as a left-back, centre-back, left-winger and in midfield, though he has played predominantly as a centre-back since Hansi Flick became manager.

The 28-year old was everpresent as the Bavarians won the treble last season and continues to be a key cog in their first XI. Since making his debut for the club in 2010, Alaba has made 428 appearances in all competitions for the club, scoring 33 goals.

His contract expires in the summer, and Alaba has confirmed that he will leave the club. He has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, with various sources confirming that a deal is already done between the two parties.

#1 Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Ruben Dias in Manchester City colours
Ruben Dias in Manchester City colours

There were doubts initially, but Ruben Dias has been a brilliant addition to the Manchester City backline.

Having pondered moves for Sevilla's Jules Kounde and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly last summer, Manchester City decided to pay £61 million to Benfica to acquire Dias. There were eyebrows raised over the transfer fee and whether he could translate his Primeira Liga form to the Premier League.

Those doubts have been answered in emphatic fashion. Dias has solidified Manchester City's defense and formed an excellent partnership with John Stones. The Portugal international is a good passer and physically gifted, which complements Stones' skillset.

The 23-year old, who was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur before joining Manchester City, has made 29 appearances in the Premier League so far.

Also Read: 5 errors Sir Alex Ferguson made as Manchester United boss

Edited by Ashwin
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