Soccer Illustration via 360 MAGAZINE


The most spectacular defenders currently in the Italian Serie A

In football, we are often more enthused about the goals and the heroics of the attackers. But we too often forget that winning teams need good defenders to keep things neat at the back as much as they need attackers to score goals.

The Italian Serie A has some of the finest defenders in the game. These warriors have a masterful combination of intelligence, bravado, tenancy, and patience.

Care to know some of them?

  1. Fikayo Tomori

After graduating from the Chelsea Academy, Fikayo found it difficult to earn a spot in the team, which led to loan stints at Brighton & Hove Albion, Hull City, and Derby County. After these largely unsuccessful loan stints, he returned to Stamford Bridge for the 2019–2020 season, and this time, he was successful in earning first-team appearances for the Blues.

His flashes of brilliance convinced AC Milan to offer him another loan stint with the club in the January 2021 transfer window, with the possibility of a long-term deal. Four impressed immediately, displaying formidable defensive capabilities and scoring his first goal in a three-nil win over Juventus four months later. He signed a long-term contract with the team in June of that same year, keeping him there through 2025.

Thanks to teammate Simon Kjaer‘s injury, Fikayo became a regular in the team, playing a pivotal role in the defense. Fikayo is quick and well composed on the ball. Additionally, he can read the game well, making crucial interceptions and creating obstacles in the way of the opposing strikers.

Due to his talent, Fikayo has emerged as one of the top defenders in Serie A and not just for AC Milan. He assisted his team in winning the Scudetto in the 2021–2022 season, their first in 11 years while conceding only 32 goals—the fewest of any Serie A team other than Napoli.

  1. Milan Skrinair

The Slovakian captain is another Serie A center-back worthy of mention. The 27-year-old plies his trade with Inter Milan, joining the club in 2017.

After his €20 million move to the Serie A side, Skrinair immediately integrated into the team, nailing down a starting place as a center-back and playing in all 38 league matches of the 2017-2018 season.

Skrinair has since developed to be more formidable at the back, notorious for bullying opponents with his imposing figure and strong tackling as he attempts to clear the ball. He is also very good at getting into the right positions when necessary and has a good aerial capability.

Skrinair was part of the Inter Milan team that won the Scudetto in the 2020-2021 season, featuring in 32 games in the league that season.

  1. Gleison Bremer

Prior to this time, Gleison Bremer was a relatively unknown name, even though he has been a professional football player since his youth days in his home country Brazil with Desportivo Brasil. However, his arrival at Torino in 2018 after spells with Sao Paulo and Athletico Mineiro turned out to be the turning point of his career.

The 25-year-old developed steadily, initially used as a reserve before securing a starter’s role as a defender. Subsequently, he became a regular, featuring in 27, 33, and 33 league appearances in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022 seasons, respectively.

The right-footed center-back is known for his speed and physicality. He is also very versatile, with situational awareness and good positioning.

Bremer’s prowess earned him the Serie A’s best defender of the season in the just concluded 2021-2022 season. In addition, top-tiered Juventus couldn’t help but notice his talent, securing his services on a five-year deal.

  1. Stefan De Vrij

De Vrij started his Serie A campaign with Lazio in 2014, representing the club till 2018 when he left for Inter Milan on a free transfer. It was at Inter Milan that he solidified his position as a defender, further developing to be one of the best defenders in Serie A.

Since his arrival, the Dutch international has become a regular for the Milan side, consecutively featuring in more than 20 league appearances for the club in each season so far.

De Vrij is a versatile defender with a knack for making crucial interceptions. He is also strong and resilient, giving his all to ensure that the opponent does not get past him. His prowess saw him win the Serie A best defender award in the 2019-2020 season. In addition, he was also part of the Inter Milan squad that won the Scudetto the following year.

  1. Gianluca Mancini

A.S Roma also has one of the finest Serie A center-backs to grace this list – Gianluca Mancini. The Italian defender is not a newcomer to the Italian league, having spent his entire career in Italy playing for Fiorentina, Perugia, and Atalanta.

Now with Roma, he has developed into a world-class defender, competing with the best that the league has to offer.

Mancini is a physically strong defender who stops at nothing to ensure that the opponent is stopped in his tracks. Besides, his 6ft 3in height makes him an aerial goal threat during set pieces.

The defender has featured regularly for Roma, notching up 33 league appearances for Roma in the just concluded 2021-2022 season. In addition, he is part of the team that won the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League. You can find out more about the Conference League HERE.

  1. Leonardo Bonucci

The 35-year-old Italian defense maestro is an old face in the league. He has spent the larger part of his career with Juventus having first signed for them in 2010. With the Old Ladies, he has since secured both starting and regular roles, also helping them to win many trophies.

Bonucci is known for his passing techniques and the ability to start up attacks from the back with long passes. He also has a good positioning sense, is a good tackler, and often poses an aerial threat.

Thanks to his capabilities, Bonucci has won many individual honors. He has also won the Serie A eight times in his career.