The five greatest center-back pairings of all time


“Attack wins games, defense wins championships.” It’s a cliche, but there’s a reason for it. Strong defensive groups have always been the foundation of the best football teams. Stability and formidability at the back allow each member of a team to express themselves to their full potential.

A three-at-the-back system is popular these days, but a traditional four-man defense with two centre-backs is still popular. A team needs two defenders that can complement one other and play to each other’s strengths in order to establish a strong defensive partnership.

Simply stopping attackers in their tracks will not suffice for the duo. They must be able to control all facets of defense and assist their teams in constructing from the back. In football, we’ve seen some fantastic center-back pairings.

It’s a near-impossible assignment to pick the five best center-back pairings, but we’ll give it a shot. Let’s get right to it without further ado.

Gaetano Scirea and Claudio Gentile (Juventus/Italy) are ranked #5 in the world.

Claudio Gentile and Gaetano Scirea (time limit: 90 minutes)

Gaetano Scirea and Claudio Gentile created one of the most dominant defensive partnerships in both club and international football. Scirea and Gentile exemplified Juventus’ reputation for playing some of the best defenders in the game.

Gentile was a tough-tackling, belligerent defender with a conventional center-style back’s of play. He was a force to be reckoned with and was as aggressive as any player in the game’s history. On the other side, Gaetano Scirea was the ideal counterpoint to Gentile.

He was calm and collected in his demeanor, and he was as polished and classy as any defense. Scirea has never been dismissed in his whole career. For a long time, he was so good that he kept the renowned Franco Baresi off of the Italian national squad.

Scirea and Gentile were unstoppable when they worked together. They spent eleven years together at Juventus, winning six Scudettos. They were also Italy’s first-choice center-backs during their World Cup victory in 1982.

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