The art of defense is notoriously difficult to master. A poorly timed step out of position, a slip or a brain fade rarely goes unpunished at the highest level. Fortunately for the future of the beautiful game, it is not a dying art. The legacy of such greats as Bobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer and Paolo Maldini is safe. That’s because of the exceptional defensive talent that is rising through the ranks at the world’s top clubs.
This article celebrates 4 of these trendy FIFA defender stars. We’ll describe what makes them such promising defenders, explore the players’ accomplishments so far, and assess their potential. How far can they go in the game? Read on Nexbetsports list of FIFA’s trending defenders.
FIFA TRENDING DEFENDER #1: Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig & Croatia)
The Croatian has an imposing presence for a player of such a tender age (20). The left-handed center back was a regular in RB Leipzig’s defense in 2021-22 and one of the reasons why they had the meanest backline in the Bundesliga.
According to Whoscored.com’s player ratings, Josko Gvardiol was Die Roten Bullen’s third highest rated player in 2021-22, averaging 7.04 out of 10 per game. One of his main strengths is breaking up the game: he leads the RBL rankings in steals. And he’s good with the ball, too – his passing success is 84% and, surprisingly for a defender, he’s the second best dribbler on the team, averaging 1.3 successful dribbles per game.
FIFA TRENDING DEFENDER #2: Jurrien Timber (Ajax & Netherlands)
The 20-year-old Dutchman has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United this summer, having worked under new United manager Erik Ten Haag for the past two seasons at Ajax. Whether or not a move will happen remains to be seen. But if the Red Devils were to succeed in tempting Jurrien Timber to leave the Netherlands, what would they get for their money? According to former Ajax star Rafael van der Vaart, one of the youngster’s most impressive qualities is his comfort in possession.
“Timber is so quick, light feet, always sharp, never panics on the ball,” the former Spurs man said of the 20-year-old. “Almost like a great defensive midfielder.” That’s borne out by his 2021-22 statistics. Timber’s pass success rate of 91.5% was the best of any player in the Eredivisie, while his 0.9 dribbles per game are exceptionally high for a central defender.
FIFA TRENDING DEFENDER #3: Sven Botman (Lille & Netherlands)
Another promising Dutch defender who regularly features in the transfer gossip columns is Lille’s Sven Botman. A product of the Ajax academy, Botman moved to Lille in the summer of 2020 for €8.3 million and his move proved to be an unqualified success.
Under Christophe Galtier, Botman made 45 appearances as Les Dogues defied all odds to propel Paris Saint-Germain to the 2020-21 Ligue 1 title. Alongside experienced Portuguese star Jose Fonte, he was part of the meanest defense in the French top flight – Lille conceded just 23 goals all season. No wonder clubs across Europe are looking to spend big money on the Dutchman valued at €31 million; Newcastle and AC Milan are among his suitors
FIFA TRENDING DEFENDER #4: Goncalo Inacio (Sporting CP & Portugal U21)
The highly rated Portuguese Under-21 international is another central defender closely linked with Manchester United. Wolves, who have a Portuguese coach (Bruno Lage) and a strong contingent of players from the Iberian nation, are also keen to secure his services. When you look at the statistics of Goncalo Inacio, it is easy to understand why.
Since his debut in 2020, Ignacio has landed 70 appearances for Sporting, scoring 7 goals. In 2021-22, Goncalo Inacio logged the fourth most minutes (2475) behind goalkeeper Antonio Adan (2970), veteran central defensive partner Sebastien Coates (2636) and midfielder Matheus Nunes (2568). His solid tackling numbers (1.4 per game) and club-leading clearances per game (2.4) show that he is a defensive player, which contributed to the impressive number of goals against Sporting in the Portuguese Liga last season (only champions Porto conceded fewer than Leões’ 23).
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