In any football videogame, defensive duties can often be overlooked. After all, the main objective is to score more goals than the opposition – so there is generally more of an emphasis on attacking football. However, to be the best team that you can be, you need to assemble the best defense that you can afford. Factoring in stats like ability, age and potential, below are who we believe to be the best defenders for Career Mode in FIFA 14:
10. Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan)
Age: 21; Pos: RB/LB; Overall Rating: 77 (potential: 85)
Having risen through the ranks of the illustrious AC Milan development system, Mattia De Sciglio has been garnering rave reviews both in Italy and the rest of Europe. With the capacity to play in both full back positions, he is a great squad player to have in your team. Defensively he is not quite on par alongside the best in the world to start with, but his pace, dribbling and crossing stats make him a great option for those that use their full backs in overlapping roles. With plenty of room to improve, De Sciglio is one to snap up for your squad early.
(Rated #19 in Best Young Players list)
9. Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Age: 25; Pos: LB; Overall Rating: 83 (potential: 85)
Although he has a battle on his hands with Fábio Coentrão to retain his starting XI place in the current Real Madrid side, Marcelo also just about edges out Coentrão to make it onto this list. Although he has good attacking traits – most notably his fantastic crossing and dribbling abilities – he is also very strong defensively; something that can be overlooked with modern-day full backs. The Brazilian international is a complete left back already but he also has a small room for growth, which, along with being still just 25, makes him one of the best defensive signings you can make in Career Mode. Marcelo is also one of the best players in his position for Ultimate Team, too.
8. David Alaba (Bayern München)
Age: 21; Pos: LB/CM; Overall Rating: 81 (potential: 84)
David Alaba is the current first choice left-back for Bayern München, a team that is generally regarded as the best club in the world right now. Based on just that fact, it is clear to see that Alaba is an excellent player. His stats are strong across the board – minus finishing – which means the Austrian international can play in more places than just left-back. Nurture him properly and he can either be your complete left back or your complete centre midfielder. That choice is up to you, but if that doesn’t signify versatility in a football player, then I don’t know what else will!
(Rated #12 in Best Young Players list)
7. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Age: 20; Pos: CB/CDM; Overall Rating: 81 (potential: 88)
Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, generally regarded as one of the finest talents in European football, has an overall rating of 81 in the game at the age of 20, which means he is pretty good at the game of football! Physically massive for a footballer at 6’3”, and, also with his heading and jumping stats rated very highly, the Frenchman will be very hard for any striker to beat in the air. As you would expect, his other defensive attributes are great, but his quality passing – long or short – is perhaps an overlooked aspect of his game. His average acceleration and poor positioning stats might leave you in a bit of trouble at the back, however, but with plenty of improving to do there is no doubt these problems will be ironed out by the time he reaches his potential.
(Rated #9 in Best Young Players List)
6. Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona)
Age: 24; Pos: LB/LM; Overall Rating: 82 (potential: 85)
Since signing for Catalan giants Barcelona back in the summer of 2012, Jordi Alba has established himself as an integral part of the squad. Adept at being both defensive and attacking, the Spanish star has proven to be a perfect fit for Barcelona’s bombing forward style of play. Being one of the fastest players in the game is going to automatically draw many FIFA players in to potentially signing him, but his other qualities should not be overlooked. Bundles of stamina should result in him being a mainstay in any Career Mode starting XI, while good defensive skills, dribbling and link-up play should ensure he remains there for many years to come.
5. Philipp Lahm (Bayern München)
Age: 29; Pos: RB/LB; Overall Rating: 87 (potential: 87)
The best right back in the world is, understandably, given the distinction of being the best in FIFA 14 in the same position. Captain of both Bayern München and the German national team, Philipp Lahm has been a prominent fixture in European football for close to ten years. Truly solid in all areas, Lahm is, in particular. exceptional with his defensive duties and distribution of the ball. His age might be a concern for those in Career Mode for the long haul, but he is still first-class for 6-7 seasons at the very top level.
4. Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus)
Age: 25; Pos: CB; Overall Rating: 80 (potential: 88)
If you want a true monster of a defender for your team, then Angelo Ogbonna should be your first choice. A long time FIFA favourite among many, Ogbonna recently signed for European giants Juventus from Torino, which will undoubtedly lead to more mainstream exposure. A physical phenom, the Italian is an intimidating presence in any squad in the game. Being tall, strong, fast, and adept in any defensive situation make him one of the most all-rounded and complete defenders in FIFA, with plenty of room for improvement. And with him being 25, his potential should be met within just 3-4 seasons. Also dangerous in set-pieces due to his power header trait and high jumping physicality, Ogbonna is truly one of the best signings you can make in Career Mode.
3. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)
Age: 19; Pos: CB/RB; Overall Rating: 78 (potential: 89)
When looking for the best centre back in FIFA, you want someone that excels in marking, interceptions and heading. Physically, you want then to be of above average footballing height, be able to jump high, and have that extra bit of acceleration along with reaction times. Marquinhos, despite being just 19, meets all of those requirements. And the scary thing is, he has massive room for improvement! The Bazillion, plying his trade in France with Paris Saint-Germain, has been garnering rave reviews over the past 12 months for his club, and, if you have the disposable income, is an essential buy on FIFA 14.
(Rated #4 in Best Young Players list)
2. Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona)
Age: 26; Pos: CB; Overall Rating: 86 (potential: 91)
Being the only defender with a projected overall potential of over 90, Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué will be a hot commodity for a lot of FIFA players once again this season. Defensively the Spaniard is as exceptional as you would expect, but his wide range of passing ability is unique for a central defender. Whether playing it short or hoofing it up the other end of the pitch, Piqué passes with superb precision. Physically tall coupled with good heading ability also makes him a danger for set-pieces. Despite all the positives, he, however, fails to make our top spot in this list due to his suspect balance and lack of true acceleration. But other than those small negatives, he is a great addition to any squad.
1. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Age: 27; Pos: CB/RB; Overall Rating: 86 (potential: 89)
Sergio Ramos is the ever-present rock of Real Madrid’s defence, and if you are lucky enough to have him in your squad, then he will have the same effect for your team. The soon-to-be Spanish legend has exceptional pace for a central defender, while his defensive skills are second to none. He can also be a big danger from any corners or free kicks that are whipped in to his direction. In our opinion, based on his ability, age, physical stats, and his versatility of playing at both centre and right back, Ramos is the very best defender in FIFA 14 overall for Career Mode. An essential purchase if you can afford him.
Please note: All potential overall ratings for the players has been taken from FutHead.com. As noted by them, all potential stats are estimated, and a player may surpass the figure assigned to them.