5 of the best centre-backs in Europe this season
A large majority of leagues in Europe have reached the half-way stage. With the continental competitions; UEFA Champions League and Europa League also done with the group stages, the season has entered the second half.
It has been a chastising campaign for some of Europe's most heralded centre-backs. Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane have two World Cups and four UCL titles between them. Yet both men have been terrible for Real Madrid, gifting opponents easy chances.
The esteemed Bayern Munich pairing of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng have been just as bad. Carrying their Russia 2018 form into the club season, both men have been very average for the struggling Bavarians.
However, there are other centre-backs who have come to the fore brilliantly in the past couple of months. These men; experienced and upcoming have been playing significant roles in their teams' pursuits.
Here is a look at 5 of the best so far this season.
#5 Guillermo Maripán (Deportivo Alaves)
Tiny Basque club Alaves have been one of the biggest stories in European football this season. Led by former Barcelona centre-back, Abelardo, El Glorioso (The Glorious One) as the club is known currently occupy the 4th place on the La Liga table.
This has been down primarily to the solidity of the defence. Of special note is the Chilean centre-back, Maripán. The former Universidad Católica player joined last season and was ok for the team.
He has truly blossomed this season, being the leader of a defence that has conceded just 18 times in 18 La Liga matches. Tough in the tackle, he has shown remarkable finesse in shielding goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.
Maripán's quality is enhanced when one considers that he has already missed 6 games this season to suspension and injuries. Yet he has stayed very consistent, outshining the bigger-names at Real, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona among others.
Such has been the 24-year-old's displays that he is already being linked to clubs like AS Roma and Barca.