Top 10 centre-back duos of all time

Desailly and Blanc formed the impenetrable backline of France that won the World Cup and Euro
Modified 16 Sep 2015
Top 5 / Top 10

Every winning football team has always had its leader; has always had its superstar; has always had its talisman - they make the game a feast to watch. They are idolized, worshipped and venerated for their achievements.One look at any individual honor roll - right from the elaborately voted FIFA Ballon D'Or Award to an average seven year old's favourite players list -reveals that it is almost always the attackers who are celebrated, with the midfielders getting the occasional acclaim. The backline is often ignored, with their contributions receiving nothing more than a cursory glance, or a tacitly taken for granted acknowledgement.They do a thankless job, breaking up attacks, thwarting the opposition and doing the spade work. One mistake is all it takes to tear their reputation into tatters - football is an unforgiving game for the defenders. One mistake is all it takes for us fans to go all medieval on them, borrowing phrases from Tarantino movies.At the heart of the defence is the vitally important centre back partnership – the pair who marshall the entire team and act as it’s bedrock. And no team with a good centre back duo has ever fared very badly. So, let’s take a look at the ten best centre back duos of all time.

#10 Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc

The pair that formed the cornerstone of the unbelievable success of Les Blues just before and during the turn of the millennium, Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc were as formidable as any defensive duo has ever been. While the former was a defensive dynamite, running around with boundless energy and tackling like a ferocious pitbull, the latter – aptly nicknamed Le President – was a born leader, who gave the backline a calming effect.

The duo was instrumental in the national team’s glorious triumphs at both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2000. The star defenders, who played for the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona respectively in their stellar individual careers, allowed Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira and Bixente Lizarazu to storm forward time and again, with gay abandon. 

Desailly is a Laureus Academy Member today, while Blanc is the manager of the free spending French champions, Paris Saint-Germain. With the next young breed of French defensive talent cropping up, Deschamps would be hoping that they are at least half as good as his former teammates.

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Published 16 Sep 2015
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