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06th Oct 2020

The 10 greatest centre-backs of all time have been decided

France Football have named the 10 players nominated as centre-backs to make their Dream Team XI, with only one active player making the cut

Reuben Pinder

Only one active player makes the cut

Who is the best defender of all time? There are a multitude of factors that make that an almost impossible question to answer, given the changing nature of the game over the decades, the fact it is more of a team effort than attacking, and the scarcity of footage that exists of football from yesteryear compared to today.

It’s arguably pointless to analyse Bobby Moore and compare him to, say, Sergio Ramos. Football was basically a different sport when Moore played.

Alas, France Football, who are in charge of the Ballon d’Or awards, are doing exactly that.

The magazine are creating a Ballon d’Or Dream Team, effectively an all time world XI, starting with 10 nominees for each position. 170 journalists from around the world will vote on each position to create the final, winning team.

The nominations for goalkeepers and right-backs are already in, with just two active keepers – Gigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer – and no active right-backs nominated.

The list of centre-backs up for nomination was then announced on Monday morning, with Sergio Ramos the only player still playing to make the list. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise – he’s won five league titles, four Champions Leagues, a World Cup and two European Championships. And he’s still going at 34.

The full list of centre-backs is as follows:

Franco Baresi, 1978 – 1997

AC Milan and Italy

Franz Beckenbauer, 1964-1983

Bayern Munich, New York Cosmos, Hamburg and West Germany

Fabio Cannavaro, 1992 – 2011

Napoli, Parma, Juventus, Inter, Real Madrid, Al-Ahli and Italy

Marcel Desailly, 1986 – 2005

Nantes, Marseille, A.C. Milan, Chelsea, Al-Gharafa, Qatar SC and France

Ronald Koeman, 1980 – 1997

Groningen, Ajax, PSV, Barcelona, Feyenoord and Holland

Bobby Moore, 1958 – 1978

West Ham United, Fulham, San Antonio Thunder, Seattle Sounders, Herning Fremad, Carolina Lightnin’ and England

Daniel Passarella, 1974 – 1989

Sarmiento, River Plate, Fiorentina, Inter and Argentina

Matthias Sammer, 1985 – 1998

Dynamo Desdren, Stuttgart, Inter, Borussia Dortmund and Germany

Gaetano Scirea, 1972 – 1988

Atalanta, Juventus and Italy

Sergio Ramos – 2004 – present

Sevilla, Real Madrid and Spain

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