A belated start to the 2020-21 La Liga season due to the COVID-19 outbreak earlier in the year has meant that Real Madrid and Barcelona - the competition's traditional powerhouses - have endured slow starts to their league campaigns.
More and more La Liga teams have exhibited defensive resilience this year. Real Madrid put on an uncharacteristic defensive masterclass, especially after the 2019-20 La Liga resumption post the COVID-19 induced break.
This season though, La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid have usurped Real Madrid at the defensive end. The Rojiblancos have kept an impressive nine clean sheets and conceded a league low of only five goals all season, with their only defeat coming against reigning champions Real Madrid.
Top ten defenders in the La Liga this year
This year, many defenders have produced stellar performances for their teams. On that note, let us have a look at the ten best La Liga defenders in 2020 so far.
#10 Daniel Wass (Valencia)
Daniel Wass has been one of Valencia's standout performers since his arrival at the club in the summer of 2018.
The 31-year-old right-back, who is also versatile enough to be deployed as a left-back or even as an attacking midfielder, recently played his 100th match for the club in all competitions, which indicates his importance to the side.
Wass, who has played over 80 La Liga games for the club, has scored three goals and provided 11 assists, a tally that includes a goal and an assist from 15 games in the competition this season.
#9 Emerson (Real Betis)
Since his arrival in Spain in 2019, Emerson has been one of Real Betis's key players.
The 21-year-old Brazilian right-back was one of the most prolific goal contributors in the La Liga last season and impressed with his aerial prowess.
Emerson is yet to score or assist a goal in the La Liga this season, but he has been a menace down the right wing for Real Betis while also discharging his defensive responsibilities with aplomb.
#8 Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
After starring with his defensive partner Sergio Ramos to lead Real Madrid to the La Liga title last season, the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner has shown glimpses of his domestic form this campaign too. That has helped Real Madrid to second in the La Liga table after an indifferent start to the campaign.
The centre-back has had more clearances and blocks than his central defensive partner and club captain Sergio Ramos in the La Liga this season. Varane has also tallied an impressive 80% success rate in tackles.
#7 Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
One of the finest full-backs in the game, Jordi Alba has been a standout performer for Barcelona for almost a decade, especially this year.
The 31-year-old left-back has been one of the few shining lights for the Blaugrana in an otherwise forgettable year for the club. With a goal and five assists in 13 La Liga games and two assists in the Champions League, Alba has had the most goal-contributions by any defender in the Spanish top flight this season.
Alba may have lost some of his pace but continues to be a force to be reckoned along the Barcelona left flank. The player has scored 18 goals and tallied 73 assists in over 350 games for the La Liga giants over the years.