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Top 3 centre-half pairings in football this season

  • The football world has been witness to some fantastic central defensive pairings, but who are the top 3 among them right now?
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:03 IST

Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip form a formidable defensive pair
Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip form a formidable defensive pair

Even though the attacking players take away most of the plaudits on the pitch in a game of football, champion teams are built on the backbone of world-class centre-half pairings. Every team needs at least two central defenders who work on the same wavelength and compliment each other.

Such centre-half pairings have been considered priceless since the inception of the game and continue to be in high demand even in recent times. This season too, the football world has been witness to some fantastic central defensive pairings, but who are the top 3 among them? Read on to find out.

Also Read: Top 10 full-backs currently in world football


3. Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas (Napoli)

Koulibaly and Manolas
Koulibaly and Manolas

Kalidou Koulibaly had been turning heads with his performances with Napoli for quite a few seasons now. The Senegalese has all the qualities that are essential to succeed as a centre back; he is fast, strong and very comfortable with the ball at his feet. Understandably, every big club in Europe had their eyes on him for some time, but the Serie A side had managed to evade all potential suitors. This summer, Carlo Ancelotti bought Kostas Manolas to partner the Senegalese at the heart of the defence. Pretty soon, it was clear that Napoli had hit a jackpot.

The Greek defender has been in fine form since making the move to the San Paolo Stadium. Like Koulibaly, Manolas is very comfortable on the ball and is regularly involved in the build-up play for his team. As a defender, he is a very good reader of the game and always positions himself cleverly to thwart the opposition play. He is extremely strong in the air and an able tackler. He also likes to join the attack at every opportunity and is a threat during set-pieces.

At Napoli, the two players have formed a stellar partnership and have complemented each other very well. Ancelotti has the rare luxury of two fast and fluid central defenders and that has bonded very well with his tactics. Both the Senegalese and the Greek international are leaders on the pitch, and their authoritative presence at the back makes them one of the best centre-back pairings in the world at the moment. Incidentally, the two men are born 6 days apart in June 1991, which perhaps explains their telepathic connection on the pitch! 

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Published 21 Nov 2019, 22:01 IST
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