5 most valuable centre-backs in the world right now - January 2022

The Premier League has some of the most valuable centre-backs right now
The Premier League has some of the most valuable centre-backs right now
Priyank Mithani

It is not easy being a defender and certainly not in an era where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have run riots in front of goal. One of the trickiest positions on a football pitch is that of a central defender.

Centre-backs have to be quite precise about their positioning as they can be exposed from almost every side. Their job sometimes also involves covering for their full-backs which only makes it more challenging.

Quality centre-backs are not easy to get

Sergio Ramos's departure from Real Madrid has highlighted his role in the club's stunning success in the past decade. Ramos joined Paris Saint-Germain last summer on a free transfer after 16 seasons with Real Madrid. Halfway through the current season, Los Blancos still miss his commanding presence at the back.

In modern football, the role of central defenders has evolved. They don't just do the dirty work; they are often pivotal to how a team sets up in attack. And a top quality centre-back could be more important than a top striker to bring home silverware.

Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the most valuable centre-backs in the world right now.

#5 Raphael Varane (Manchester United)

Atalanta v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
Atalanta v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League

The French defender surprised many when he decided to join Manchester United last summer after a stellar time at Real Madrid. Raphael Varane is one of the most composed and reliable centre-backs in the world right now.

With his timely tackles, fabulous reading of the game and strong aerial abilities, the Frenchman is an asset in the backline. Having won the UEFA Champions League four times and the FIFA World Cup once, Raphael Varane has quite the accolades to his name.

Raphaël Varane committed 0.67 fouls p90 during his time in La Liga, picking up just 17 yellows & 2 red cards in 236 appearances.Remarkably tidy cover defender. 🧹

He remains a vital player for Manchester United this season as the Red Devils fight for a place in the top four in the Premier League. With United's recent struggles, Raphael Varane's performance has become very crucial to their success. The 28-year old centre-back is valued at €65 million currently.

#4 Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan)

Udinese Calcio v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Udinese Calcio v FC Internazionale - Serie A

The tall and strong Slovakian centre-back has turned into one of the finest defenders in Serie A in the past few years. Milan Skriniar has been a big player for Inter Milan, helping them out time and again with his crisp and sharp defending.

His proficient tackling, quick clearances and amazing positional sense make the Slovakian a very valuable figure at the back. Milan Skriniar played a key role in helping Inter Milan win Serie A last season and his responsibilities only increased with time.

Milan Škriniar is the type of defender who dominates the game not only through his physical conditions, but above all through his ability to recognize the context and anticipation. ⚽️🧠@slawekmorawski📽 via @m1ndfootball

It really comes as a surprise how top European clubs have not gone after his signature to date. Valued at €65 million, Milan Skriniar could soon be seen playing for a top club if he continues with his superb form with Inter Milan.

#3 Matthijs De Ligt (Juventus)

Atletico Madrid v Juventus: Group D - UEFA Champions League
Atletico Madrid v Juventus: Group D - UEFA Champions League

Speaking of valuable central defenders, it is difficult to ignore Matthijs De Ligt in this list. It's true that the Dutchman could have done better than what he's doing right now but nonetheless his abilities make him a terrific centre-back.

Matthijs De Ligt was the first defender ever to win the Golden Boy award in 2018. This showcases how amazing he was during his time at Ajax. Now at Juventus, the Dutch defender has performed well with the Old Lady but the club has struggled overall.

1 - Among defenders to have played 700+ minutes in Serie A this season, none have been dribbled past fewer times by an opponent than Matthijs de Ligt (only one). Watchman.#SerieA #OptaTopXI

With his superb aerial abilities, amazing anticipation and marking, De Ligt is the central defender you would want in your team. Still only 22, the former Ajax defender remains one of the best young prospects in the football world right now. He is valued at €65 million right now.

#2 Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Group A - UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Group A - UEFA Champions League

In a team filled with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and now Lionel Messi, sometimes the heroics of a player like Marquinhos go unnoticed. The Brazilian has been a fantastic defender for Paris Saint-Germain for a long time now.

Marquinhos is an excellent reader of the game. Using that and his tackling skills, he has won the ball back for his team more than often. The Brazilian centre-back can also play as a defensive midfielder and is quite good at it.

Combined with his defensive abilities, Marquinhos is a real asset in the air. He is known to be a lethal threat from set-pieces as he has scored some amazing headers for his team from a dead-ball situation. The Paris Saint-Germain defender is valued at €75 million as he continues to lead the backline for the French giants.

#1 Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Manchester City v Burnley - Premier League
Manchester City v Burnley - Premier League

Ruben Dias has certainly brought a lot of composure to the Manchester City backline since joining them in the summer of 2020. The Portuguese has been a sensation in the Premier League ever since.

Using his composed approach, brilliant reading and smart tackling, Ruben Dias has contained the opposition on a regular basis. He played a major role in helping Manchester City win the Premier League last season. He has since become one of the most reliable defenders in the league.

Rúben Dias in 2020/21:English Premier League 🏆League Cup 🏆UEFA Champions League Finalist🥈EPL Team of the Season. 💪UEFA Champions League Team of the Season 💪EPL FWA and POTS. 🥇🥇UEFA Champions League Defender of the Season.🥇26th. 🤷

The Portuguese centre-back has been quite effective with his ball-playing abilities from the back. Ruben Dias is highly trusted by Pep Guardiola and he deserves every bit of it. He is valued at €75 million right now as he continues to give impressive performances for both his club and country.

Edited by Aditya Singh
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