Who Was the Best Defender in the World in 2023?

February 23, 2024

by xfcedi

john stones manchester city

By Eduard Bănulescu

The best defender in the world in 2023 must be tough, win every challenge, be able to play out from behind and show exceptional leadership skills. Having all of these qualities is no simple matter, surely. And applying those skills in some of the world’s best leagues is not child’s play by any stretch.

This is why today we honor the defenders who impressed us and the football world the most in 2023 and look at their stats in FootballCoin and elsewhere.

Top 10 Best Defenders in the World 2023

Vinicius Souza (Sheffield United)

Vinicius Souza is one of the best and most underrated defenders in the world. But, surely, that can’t go on for much longer. Sheffield United are up against it this season. But the Brazilian has been a consistent ray of hope.

In the world’s toughest league, the EPL, no other player has made more successful tackles than Vinicius Souza. And, considering the caliber of attackers that he faces each week, the Brazilian deserves a nod here.

Emerson Palmieri (West Ham United)

Emerson Palmieri, like the entire West Ham United squad, gets unfairly criticized or simply looked over when discussing great defenders. No, the Brazilian will not carry the ball and develop into a marvelous playmaker right before your very eyes.

Instead, he’ll bravely challenge for the ball and respect David Moyes‘ tactical requests to a tee. It’s how The Hammers manage to win a European trophy and constantly have themselves sit in the first half of the EPL standings.

ruben dias and john stones manchester city

Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Ruben Dias is a tremendous defender. Still, with so much talent stacked up in the Manchester City squad and so many team achievements, it is sometimes easy to overlook his ability.

Dias is a defender that helps his team launch attacks. In 2023, no other EPL defender has had more progressive carries. Furthermore, when on the ball, the Portuguese has proven to be one of the best ball-playing defenders in the world. When the history books are written about football in 2023, Dias’ name will surely need to be included.

William Saliba (Arsenal)

William Saliba has had to battle fiercely for the opportunities he is currently being provided by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. The Frenchman’s career with the Gunners should have started in 2019. However, he was often loaned out and even placed on the transfer list.

Strong performances in Ligue 1 helped Saliba return to Arsenal for the 2022/23 season. And since then, he has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League. Comfortable with the ball at his feet, the Frenchman helps Arteta’s team build up patiently and confidently from the back. It’s the essence of Arsenal’s tactics.

Stefan Posch (Bologna)

Thiago Motta’s tactics are helping Bologna have a wonderful Serie A campaign. And Stefan Posch is one of the team’s most important players.

You’ll be forgiven for being unaware of the Austrian’s recent development as a defender. But a quick look at his stats should convince you to keep him on your radar. For successful tackles or attempted passes, few defenders in the top five leagues do it better. Yes, Stefan Posch must be included on our list celebrating the best defender in 2023.

Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich)

The meteoric rise of Kim Min-Jae is a testament to his unwavering determination and skill. After propelling Napoli to a memorable Serie A title, his transfer to Bayern Munich has been nothing short of a revelation.

The 2023 season has seen him adapt seamlessly to the Bundesliga, bringing strength, agility, and an aerial threat that few can match. As he continues to evolve, Kim’s presence is undeniable, marking him as a defender to watch for years to come.

Kyle Walker and Alexis Sanchez

Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Kyle Walker, the evergreen defender of Manchester City, seems to defy the constraints of time. The 2023 season highlights his versatility and enduring athleticism, crucial to City’s pursuit of domestic and European glory.

Walker’s ability to transition from defense to attack, coupled with his unparalleled speed, has been instrumental in thwarting counter-attacks and adding depth to City’s offensive strategies.

Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)

Alphonso Davies continues to electrify with his blistering pace and agility, a cornerstone of Bayern Munich’s formidable lineup. Now in his fifth season, the Canadian sensation has further honed his skills, contributing significantly to Bayern’s dominance in the Bundesliga and their deep runs in European competitions. Davies’s dynamic play and offensive contributions from the back continue to make him one of the most exciting defenders in the world.

david alaba injury

David Alaba (Real Madrid)

David Alaba, the versatile linchpin of Real Madrid’s defense, remains a figure of consistency and excellence. The 2023 season has seen him solidify his role, demonstrating flexibility across the backline and midfield, embodying the spirit of a modern defender.

The Austrian’s strategic vision and technical prowess have been crucial in Real Madrid’s tactical setups, showcasing why he’s considered among the elite.

John Stones (Manchester City)

John Stones, the epitome of elegance and precision, stands out in Manchester City’s star-studded squad. The 2023 season has underscored his evolution into a defensive maestro, capable of orchestrating play from the back with his impeccable passing and tactical awareness.

Despite the shadows cast by past injuries, Stones’s performances have been a masterclass in defense, contributing significantly to City’s aspirations in all competitions. His ability to blend grace with grit has redefined the role of a modern-day defender.”


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