Sergio Ramos: Spain
1 / 5
The devilishly handsome player with the swagger of an emperor and the heart of a lion
He has received a lot of flak from football fans for 'injuring' Liverpool's star player Mohammed Salah in the Champions League final. But that's Ramos. The devilishly handsome player with the swagger of an emperor and the heart of a lion . His never-say-die attitude has rescued his team many a time while his leadership is held in high regard by his contemporaries. And Spain will need both, especially after the late dismissal of their coach Julen Lopetegui.
Mats Hummels: Germany
2 / 5
He is at such ease on the ball that people regard him as a 'midfielder in defence'
Mats Hummels is probably the best ball-playing defenders around, and, to borrow from Pep Guardiola's vocabulory 'a top, top player'. He is at such ease on the ball that people regard him as a 'midfielder in defence'. His partnership with more traditional Jerome Boateng forms a defensive line that will be a tough nut to crack even for the best forward lines in the world.
Nicolas Otamendi: Argentina
3 / 5
An Argentina team fragile in defence would rely heavily on Otamendi's form
Nicolas Otamendi had a revival of sorts under Pep Guardiola during Manchester City's title-winning juggernaut in the 2017-18 season. Otamendi was a vital cog of that machine. He was already a gritty player, good in air and was known for his tackles, blocks and interceptions. Under Guardiola's tutelage, Otamendi's passing improved by leaps and bounds, making him a complete defender in modern sense. An Argentina team fragile in defence would rely heavily on Otamendi's form to have any serious chance of winning the World Cup.
Diego Godin: Uruguay
4 / 5
Godín has been an undisputed first-choice for nearly a decade
Diego Godin is last of the defenders who still try to keep things simple, not for strikers though. His national teammate and club football rival Luis Suarez has termed him as a "nuisance" for his defence capabilities. Godín has been an undisputed first-choice for nearly a decade while playing for a top club like Atletico Madrid and Uruguay national team. He isn't the fanciest player there is but he gets the job done. In Russia, he will try and do just that.
Samuel Umiti: France
5 / 5
In a star-stubbed French team, Umtiti will stand out despite being of a rather modest height for a defender
FC Barcelona recently renewed Samuel Umtiti's contract and inserted a 500m euros release clause. That's a grand bet on a player who was plucked for a paltry 25 million euros from French club Lyon just a couple years ago. But since then, Umtiti has emerged as one of the best defenders
in the world. His positioning, ease on the ball, interceptions, and passing make him a valuable asset to have in the backline. In a star-stubbed French team, Umtiti will stand out despite being of a rather modest height for a defender.