Top 12 best centre backs in the Premier League history

02/04/2024 Betting News

Football in England in general, and the Premier League in particular, is known for being the highest quality national championship. In the Premier League, defenders often play with toughness and actively engage their opponents in various ways. This style of play, although risky, has gradually become the hallmark of the league. However, saying so does not mean that there are no standout defenders in the EPL. On the contrary, this is a league that boasts some of the most elite defensive stars. If you still doubt it, let admin Wintips prove it to you through the statistics of the Top 12 best centre backs in the Premier League below.

12 best centre backs in the Premier League history
12 best centre backs in the Premier League history

Best centre backs in the Premier League – Terry, Ferdinand and…

1. John Terry (Chelsea)

Despite the occasional controversies and distractions that occur off the football pitch, the remarkable achievements and legacy of a truly exceptional defender shine through. Fondly referred to as “The Blues’ captain,” he has been an integral part of Chelsea Football Club’s success, contributing significantly to the club’s triumphs in capturing 3 Premier League titles, clinching 5 FA Cups, and securing 1 Champions League trophy.

J. Terry is the best captain centre-back in Chelsea history
J. Terry is the best captain centre-back in Chelsea history

His enduring presence and leadership qualities on the field have solidified his status as a revered figure at Chelsea. Despite advancing into his thirties, he continues to defy age and maintain a pivotal role in the team, often leading by example with his unwavering commitment and defensive prowess.

2. Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd) – Best centre backs in the Premier League

On January 5, 2006, Nemanja Vidic officially debuted for Manchester United after obtaining a work permit in England. The Serbian international, then 25 years old, moved to Old Trafford for a fee of around £7 million. Upon joining Manchester United, Vidic gradually became a cornerstone, helping the Red Devils conquer numerous titles, big and small.

Serbian "steel" midfielder at Man Utd - N. Vidic
Serbian “steel” midfielder at Man Utd – N. Vidic

Vidic’s peak at Manchester United came in the 2007/2008 season when he and Rio Ferdinand formed a solid defensive partnership in front of goalkeeper Van Der Sar on the journey to winning the Champions League title. In more than 7 seasons with United, Nemanja Vidic appeared in a total of 300 matches, scoring 21 goals in all competitions. In the Premier League alone, Vidic played 211 matches, including 195 games with the Red Devils keeping clean sheets.

3. Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd) – Best centre backs in the Premier League

Rio Ferdinand enjoyed a successful career in the colors of Manchester United since joining Old Trafford from Leeds United in 2002 for a then-world-record fee of £30 million. Over 12 years of dedication to the Red Devils, the English legend amassed various major and minor honors. Ferdinand began his career with West Ham United. The former player born in 1978 has a total of 709 appearances at 4 different clubs including West Ham, Leeds, Man United and Queens Park Rangers. In addition, he also made 81 appearances for England between 1997 and 2011.

12 best centre backs in the Premier League history
Man Utd defence partner with Vidic – Rio Ferdinand

Notably including 6 Premier League titles, 2 League Cups, and a Champions League triumph in the 2007/08 season. The 45-year-old former defender was a pivotal figure during the reign of manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Alongside Nemanja Vidic, Ferdinand formed one of the most formidable defensive partnerships in England at that time.

4. Sol Campbell (Arsenal)

With the word if, the whole of Paris can stuff into the jar. If Sol Campbell was still playing for Tottenham, a statue or name would have been erected in a corner of the stands at White Hart Lane. The former England centre-back could have stepped foot in the legendary temple at Spurs had it not been for a surprise turn in 2001.

One of the EPL's legendary centre-backs is Sol Campbell
One of the EPL’s legendary centre-backs is Sol Campbell

From the most lauded, Sol Campbell became the obnoxious “Judas”. The fault wasn’t with him. Everyone has a dream of reaching the top, playing in a more ambitious place. And the spectacular pressure executed by CEO David Dein completely changed the fate of Sol Campbell.

5. Jamie Carragher (Liverpool) – Best centre backs in the Premier League

Jamie Carragher is a legend in the history of Liverpool Football Club and also one of the finest defenders in English football in recent years. He has become an icon for Liverpool with his successful career on the field and serves as a role model for young players in terms of passion for football and professionalism.

12 best centre backs in the Premier League history
Liverpool’s glorious history is associated with the name Jamie Carragher

Carragher even won the Player of the Year award for Liverpool in 1999, an achievement not easily attained by young players. However, until his retirement in 2013, the midfielder, standing at just 1.83 meters tall, would never abandon his beloved football profession.

6. Tony Adams (Arsenal) – Best centre backs in the Premier League

Outside the Emirates Stadium, there are 4 statues, and one of them belongs to Tony Adams, a player adored by Arsenal fans and affectionately known as Mr. Arsenal. He is an immortal symbol of fighting spirit both on the pitch and off. Adams joined Arsenal when he was just a schoolboy. It took him only 3 years to convince the manager to promote him to the first team.

12 best centre backs in the Premier League history
Arsenal fans have always had special affection for Tony Adams

It was in 1983, when Adams was celebrating his 17th birthday. Three years later, Tony Adams became the first choice in Arsenal’s defensive quartet, and not long after, at the age of 21, he officially became the captain of the Gunners. Under the guidance of manager George Graham, an Arsenal that was going downhill without brakes suddenly revived strongly, but the foundation was the defense. Adams was one of the pioneers of the offside trap movement in England at the time.

7. Gary Pallister (Man Utd)

A man who always fights, who frustrates the opposing team’s strikers, perfectionist in football, controls the area well and always contributes, he is Gary Pallister, the outstanding centre-back of the Red Devils, Manchester United. Gary Andrew Pallister is his full name, born on July 30, 1965, in Ramsgate, Kent, England. He spent 9 years of his peak career playing football for Man Utd and won most trophies with the Red Devils.

12 best centre backs in the Premier League history
At Man Utd, Gary Pallister is a legendary centre-back

In nearly 6 years of playing alongside Steve Bruce, they have almost become legends, the best United defense ever, thanks to the cohesion and chemistry of 2 hearts in this United defense. Pally (Pallister’s nickname) was the most expensive defender in England at the time, £2.3 million

8. Sami Hyypia (Liverpool) – Best centre backs in the Premier League

10 years at Liverpool, from a player who did not receive much attention, Sami Hyypia became a legend of the Anfield team, the model of a standard leader. As a solid defender in front of goal, Sami Hyypiä not only fulfills his responsibilities well, he is also a dangerous spearhead for the opposition defence whenever Liverpool have fixed balls near your team’s goal. Playing as a defender, Hyypiä is quite keen to score goals in dogfights from set pieces.

12 best centre backs in the Premier League history
S. Hyypia is an excellent centre-back in The Kop defence

Hyypia was a centre-back, acting as a defensive tower throughout his years under Houllier or Rafa Benitez. The Hyypia-Henchoz pair were considered one of the best centre-back duos in the Premier League in their day, and Kopites admits that since their time, no centre-back pair has been able to reach that level in this team.

9. Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea) – Best centre backs in the Premier League

Ricardo Alberto Silveira de Carvalho, known simply as Carvalho, has had a lengthy and illustrious career, playing for numerous clubs across different leagues. However, wherever Ricardo goes, he consistently secures a starting position, even representing his national team. And then came his time at Chelsea, where he formed a formidable defensive partnership with Terry, not only excelling in defense but also displaying prowess in scoring goals.

12 best centre backs in the Premier League history
Portuguese midfielder Ricardo Carvalho for Chelsea

During his six seasons in the Premier League, the Portuguese defender played an average of 35 matches per season for The Blues, showcasing both his consistent performance and contributions to the team from West London. Additionally, Carvalho’s ability to support the attack is also remarkable. A bit of freedom allows Carvalho to make unexpected forays forward, surprising both opponents and Chelsea fans alike.

10. Vincent Kompany (Man City)

Vincent Kompany is a professional football coach from Belgium and a former player who played as a central defender. Currently, he serves as the head coach for Burnley Football Club in the English Premier League. Throughout his career, Kompany stood out for his performances at Manchester City for 11 seasons, captaining the team for 8 of those seasons.

An exemplary centre-back, captain at Man City - V. Kompany
An exemplary centre-back, captain at Man City – V. Kompany

Additionally, he represented the Belgian national team for 15 years, serving as captain for 7 years. After 11 years with Manchester City, Kompany returned to Anderlecht in 2019, where he took on the roles of both player and head coach. A year later, he decided to retire from professional playing and focus on coaching the first team. In 2022, he was hired by Burnley to continue his coaching career.

11. Jaap Stam (Man Utd) – Best centre backs in the Premier League

Jaap Stam, one of the finest defenders in Dutch and world football, has played for some of the most renowned clubs of his time such as PSV, Ajax, Manchester United, and Lazio. Among the numerous accolades he has achieved, the most notable is undoubtedly the historic treble with Manchester United in the 1998/1999 season.

Stam's solid and somewhat rough kicking style made the strikers cringe
Stam’s solid and somewhat rough kicking style made the strikers cringe

He is also regarded as one of the most complete players in his position, possessing speed, technique, and strength in his imposing physique. With renowned skills such as Reading the Game, Bravery, Defensive Awareness, and Pressing, he was the rock-solid and reliable cornerstone guarding the goal, making every opponent wary.

12. Steve Bruce (Man Utd)

“Money well spent!” In order to acquire Steve Bruce, a tough and rugged center-back, Alex Ferguson had to fork out a whopping £825,000 to Norwich City – just two weeks before his 27th birthday in December 1987. It was one of the best deals Manchester United ever made. Bruce formed a formidable partnership with Gary Pallister in the heart of the defense – affectionately known as “Dolly and Daisy”.

12 best centre backs in the Premier League history
Old Trafford legend Steve Bruce

He was a crucial figure in securing three English league titles (1993, 1994, and 1996), as well as victories in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (1991), FA Cup (1994, 1996), and League Cup (1992). It’s hard not to mention Bruce’s two late goals – both towering headers – against Sheffield Wednesday that propelled United to the top of the Premier League in the 1992/1993 season. Thus kickstarting their dominance in the newly-renamed competition (1992 marked the renaming of the English First Division to the Premier League).


Football is a highly confrontational sport, often characterized by fiery clashes. Defenders are frequently the ones tasked with blocking to ensure maximum safety for their team’s goal. Therefore, they are compelled to play tough and commit fouls at any time. The best centre backs in the Premier League – Top 12 mentioned above is certainly familiar to football fans in England and around the world. Hopefully, today’s content will satisfy our betting enthusiasts. Don’t forget to visit the bookmaker website every day to explore more interesting news.

See also: The best centre backs in the world all of time

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