The footballers have spoken, and when they did they didn’t make any sense.
The decision to vote David Luiz into the 2014 FifPro World XI was right up there with Manchester United appointing David Moyes, Liverpool signing Mario Balotelli and Aston Villa deciding they don’t need shooting practice.
It didn’t make any sense, basically, and with Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva and Philipp Lahm making up the rest of the World XI’s defence, we reckon there are nine other centre-backs who’d give their teammates less nightmares than Luiz.
Diego Godin – Atletico Madrid & Uruguay
After scoring the goal which secured the league title for Atletico Madrid, scoring what was so close to being the winner in the Champions League final for the same club and delivering a series of impressive displays throughout 2014, it was a shock to see that Diego Godin wasn’t even on the 23-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or.
That didn’t stop Luiz getting in the team of the year, of course, but the Uruguayan is top of the list of those who should have been in ahead of him.
Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund & Germany
Mats Hummels’ Borussia Dortmund have had a terrible season in the Bundesliga so far, but 2014 will always be the year the stylish defender picked up a World Cup winners’ medal.
The centre-back was a key part of Germany’s success in Brazil, and with his name a continued presence in the football gossip columns, he remains a highly-prized asset.
Vincent Kompany – Manchester City & Belgium
Injury problems didn’t prevent Vincent Kompany from captaining Manchester City to their and his second Premier League title in three years, and the skipper now stands as a symbol of everything that the club have achieved in recent seasons.
Strong and with a fantastic sense of timing, Kompany is one of the best centre-backs in the modern game and a foundation on which City’s success is built on.
Raphael Varane – Real Madrid & France
Seemingly destined to be one of the top centre-backs in the world for years to come, Real Madrid spotted Raphael Varane early and spirited him away from Lens in 2011.
Still just 21, he added the Champions League to his burgeoning CV in 2014 and he looks set for a long and successful career at the top.
John Terry – Chelsea
Now retired from international football, 2014 was a year in which John Terry only needed to focus on his club performances. He did that spectacularly.
Seemingly written off by many, the Blues captain has come back to the fore under the guidance of Jose Mourinho once again, and has demonstrated his importance to a Chelsea team who are excellently placed for success in 2015.
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Mehdi Benatia – Bayern Munich & Morocco
With no World Cup to go to with Morocco, Mehdi Benatia’s 2014 will be remembered for shining for Roma and then making the move to the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.
He has slotted into life in Germany perfectly, and has continued his development into one of the leading defenders in the European game today.
Javier Mascherano – Barcelona & Argentina
The apple of Roy Hodgson’s eye, Javier Mascherano is obviously more effective as a defensive midfielder but can do a more than passable job at centre-back for both club and country.
That is enough to get him recognition ahead of Luiz in our eyes, and whilst we might not agree with Hodgson’s claim that the former West Ham and Liverpool man was the best player in the world last year, he does at least deserve recognition for his efforts.
Ezequiel Garay – Zenit St Petersburg & Argentina
Another important element of Argentina’s run to the World Cup final, defender Ezequiel Garay earned a money-spinning move from Benfica to Zenit St Petersburg off the back of his displays in Brazil.
It is to be hoped that the former Real Madrid man has a crack at one of Europe’s major leagues sometime soon as he certainly has the talent, and more people deserve to see it.
Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus & Italy
More than just a snack between meals for Luis Suarez, Juventus and Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has been at home at the summit of the European game for 10 years now, but is arguably getting better.
A third successive Serie A title will have allowed him to find some comfort from 2014 following Italy’s early World Cup exit, and he’ll remain crucial to the success of both teams for some time yet.