Most times, forwards and attacking midfielders are held up to the very high esteem. Scoring goals is seen as the topmost quality in a footballer given the dearth of defenders or Defensive Midfielder bagging the prestigious Ballon d'Or or the FIFA Best Award.
Italian World Cup Winner Fabio Cannavaro is the last defender to win the award and since then it has been all Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi barring the year 2007 when Ricardo Kaka won the silverware, also being an attacking minded player.
However, any erudite or keen football fan would not fail to realise the utmost importance and significance a defender has in the modern game. Millions of dollars are being spent to lure quality strikers who have a way bigger monetary value than the defensive players but without quality defenders in a side, the team cannot go a long way in any competition.
As Sir Alex Ferguson rightfully said, 'Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles'.
Let us go through the top 5 defenders that fans and pundits alike should watch out for in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup in UAE.
#1 Theerathon Bunmathan (Thailand)
The left-back will be key to Thailand's chances in the tournament as the southeast Asian nation looks to carry on the momentum in international football lately followed by impressive results against quality sides like Australia (1-2), Iraq (1-2) and the United Arab Emirates (1-1) in the past year.
Bunmathan's ability to run down the flanks and deliver in crosses will also be handy as Thailand goes against physical sides like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in their group whose defences could possibly only be breached by intelligent wing-play.
Bunmathan is currently plying his trade alongside big names like Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Lucas Podolski in Japan with Vissel Kobe on loan from Thai League side Muangthong United.
The Nonthaburi full-back has also a knack for scoring as he has found the back of the net 24 times in the 298 club games has played in.