Football in modern times has changed. A decade earlier, football was more about going forward and scoring goals. But modern football brings with it a much-needed change that defenders can win games too, not just by preventing the opposition from scoring, but by being the target men during corners and other set pieces.
This season has seen the rise of defenders, especially central defenders, in the game.
Today we take a look at the top 5 centre-backs, who are helping their teams to glory, as our footballing season is entering the business end.
#5 Marquinhos (PSG)
Brazilian defender Marquinhos, who plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain, is 5th in this list. The 24-year-old, who can also play as a right-back, has spent the majority of his time on the field this season partnering Thiago Silva in the central defence.
PSG have conceded just 15 goals in 26 matches in Ligue 1 this season. Besides providing stability to the backline, Marquinhos has also scored 3 goals.
The departure of David Luiz to Chelsea in 2016 proved beneficial for Marquinhos as he was deployed as a centre-back from his usual right-back spot. Since then the Brazilian has only gotten better at his new role in the centre of the defence.
What separates him from other top defenders in France and all over the world is his agility and pace, which many central defenders lack. With forwards having phenomenal pace these days, both with and without the ball, speed is a great trait to have in a defender.
Marquinhos, who has been capped 29 times by Brazil, joined PSG from Roma in 2013 and has already won four league titles with the French giants.