The 447th CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the 100 centre backs in the world with the best aerial play statistics* according to an index computed from the number of aerial duels won, in relation to the playing time and the frequency of aerial duels at employer team level, the percentage of aerial duels won and the sporting level of the matches played. Liverpool’s Dutchman Virgil van Dijk is ahead of Bayern Munich’s South Korean Min-jae Kim.
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Raffaele Poli
Roger Besson
Loïc Ravenel
Thomas Gonzalez

Now reconverted from defensive midfielder to centre back, Paris St-Germain’s Portuguese Danilo Pereira rounds off the podium, ahead of two other players active in the five major European leagues: England’s Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United) and France’s Dan-Axel Zagadou (Stuttgart). Argentina’s Bruno Duarte (Panatelikos) is the highest-ranked player from outside the big-5, while Joaquim Henrique (Santos) tops the table for outside Europe’s centre backs.

Cerro Porteño's Paraguayan Lucas Quintana is the youngest player in the top 100 (19.0 years of age, 95th), ahead of Westerlo’s, on loan from Galatasaray, Turkish Emin Bayram (20.8 years, 21st) and Chornomorets’ Ukrainian Volodymyr Salyuk (21.6 years, 42nd). By contrast, the three oldest centre backs in the top 100 are Sevilla's Sergio Ramos (37.8 years, seventh), Racing Santander’s Germán Sánchez (37.1 years, 63rd) and Deportivo Saprissa’s Kendall Waston (36.0 years, 64th).

* Wyscout statistics refer to domestic league matches in the current season or the last completed one for summer leagues. Only footballers who have played at least 900’ are included in the rankings.

Best centre backs according to the aerial play index

At least 900 minutes domestic league matches (current or the last completed season) until 16/01/2024. Data: Wyscout.