5. Gleison Bremer
Brazilian Bremer has been borderline revelatory for Ivan Juric at Torino this season. The former Hellas Verona manager’s high-octane and aggressive style works hand-in-hand with Bremer’s proactivity, and the defender has put up monstrous numbers as a result.
The relentless man-marker ranks third in Serie A with 155 combined tackles and interceptions and leads the division with 203 successful pressures.
The defender now impresses weekly in Turin, with his stock rising exponentially this term. He’s due a big move in the summer with several big clubs, including Juventus, lurking.
4. Alessandro Bastoni
There’s a beauty to Bastoni’s game that immediately sets him apart every time he dons the iconic Nerazzurri strip. The Italian combines such technical supremacy with sultry elegance and rugged aggression to create a quite magnificent defender.
Bastoni was ever-present in Conte’s Scudetto-winning outfit last season, and his ubiquity in the Inter defence has continued this term with Simone Inzaghi at the helm.
The recently-turned 23-year-old will be an Azzurri stalwart for the next decade and, quite possibly, calcio’s next great centre-half.
3. Matthijs de Ligt
Here he is!
While De Ligt has come into his own in his third season at Juventus, I’m not quite yet ready to name him the best defender in Serie A. But, he makes my top three – just over Bastoni. It’s incredibly tight.
He’s tailor-made for Turin and Massimiliano Allegri’s emphasis on returning vintage Bianconeri ideals to the Allianz Stadium has allowed the dogged De Ligt to shine. The young Dutchman, signed for huge money in 2019, is dominant in the air and on the ground, with his instincts ensuring that he excels when defending the penalty area.
De Ligt produces multiple standout defensive sequences every time he takes to the field, but his drawbacks in possession mean he can’t yet be regarded as the best centre-back in Serie A.
2. Kalidou Koulibaly
Koulibaly has been a model of consistency during his eight years with Napoli, and most would regard him as a top-five Serie A centre-back since the 2015/16 season.
The 30-year-old has made the Serie A Team of the Year on four occasions, peaking in 2018/19 when he was named as the division’s best defender.
Koulibaly was the league’s standout centre-back during the first half of the current season, but his frequent absences since the turn of the new year (to be fair, he was busy winning the African Cup of Nations with Senegal) have seen him surrender top spot.
Nevertheless, the Napoli stalwart is a supreme defender; an elegant monster, some might say.
Continues on the next slide…