In football, there are many different attributes which make players succeed. For a striker, speed, strength, and a good finishing ability is ideal. For a central defender, strength and height is pivotal in succeeding in the role. While this is not a must, players in this position with the said attributes have a big advantage.
They are able to deal with aerial balls better, and keep the strikers at bay. Height is also crucial when it comes to attacking set pieces. In modern football, there have been players who have succeeded at the centre back position despite being limited in height.
The players highlighted here have not broke into the 6 foot cadre, which is the ideal starting height for a central defender. Despite this, some of these players have gone on to win the biggest accolades available in world football.
They did not let this limitation hinder them from succeeding in a role that primarily demands vertical advantage over their opposition. For a long time, the world was dazzled by their prowess in a position no one would give them a chance in.
#3 Javier Mascherano
The Argentine international had a promising career at Liverpool when he was a defensive midfielder. In 2010, he had a huge step up to Spanish giants Barcelona. This was a team with super talented players in every position.
Due to some positional structures and difficulties, Mascherano was forced to play at centre back. This was an unfamiliar role, and his mere 5 ft 8 frame did not make his case very solid. He was selected more regularly as an unorthodox centre back, and even played a starring role in that position as Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 in the 2011 UEFA Champions League final.
From his second season at the Nou Camp, he played primarily as a centre back, and cemented that position alongside Gerard Pique. Mascherano went on to play a big part as he won 19 titles at Barcelona, including 5 LaLiga trophies and the UEFA Champions League twice.