Manchester United have agreed a deal to signal Lisandro Martinez from Ajax, with the Crimson Devils set to pay a price of £57m to signal the Argentina defender.
Martinez was named as Ajax’s Participant of the Season in 2021/22 and can reunite with former supervisor Erik ten Hag in English soccer, because the Dutchman restructures his squad forward of his maiden marketing campaign.
A lot has been made in regards to the 24-year-old’s relative lack of stature for a centre-back, with the defender simply 5ft 9in.
Central defenders have usually been towering in peak, however a few of the sport’s all-time greats have lacked the bodily attributes usually related to elite centre-backs.
Listed below are 5 of the very best ever centre-backs underneath 6ft.
Franz Beckenbauer (5ft 11)
Franz Beckenbauer is an icon of the worldwide sport, having turn into a figurehead for German soccer and the primary defender to win the Ballon d’Or, an achievement since matched on simply two events.
Having started his profession in midfield, Beckenbauer created his legend in a defensive position and is credited with revolutionising the ‘libero’ place, performing as a sweeper behind the remainder of the backline.
Beckenbauer’s best successes at membership stage got here with the good Bayern Munich facet of the Seventies, with which he gained 4 Bundesliga titles and the European Cup in three consecutive campaigns.
He made 584 appearances for the Bavarians, scoring 75 targets, and earned 103 caps for West Germany. At worldwide stage, he captained the nationwide facet to success on the 1972 European Championship, earlier than profitable the World Cup in 1974.
The primary captain to win the European Cup, World Cup and European Championship, Beckenbauer – who stood at 5ft 11in – was a wonderful reader of the sport and distributed the ball with objective from deep.
He was twice named as winner of the Ballon d’Or, incomes a second success in 1976 after changing into the primary defender to say the accolade 4 years earlier.
Franco Baresi (5ft 9)
Italian soccer has a lineage of defenders to rival any nation on the planet, with the Azzurri having lengthy taken pleasure in producing elite defensive minds.
On the very prime of the pantheon of Italian icons is Franco Baresi, whose elegant defending over a one-club profession with AC Milan noticed him write his title into the file books.
Baresi was an excellent defender who used mind over brawn, a pondering defender who outwitted and outthought the world’s most interesting forwards at his peak.
Boasting a method and composure that rivalled the sport’s greatest midfielders, Baresi was the defensive lynchpin of Arrigo Sacchi’s dominant AC Milan facet. He gained six league titles within the colors of the Rossoneri and lifted the European Cup on three events.
Baresi – who had been rejected by rivals Inter Milan as a teen – was nicknamed ‘Piscinin’ (infant) following his emergence into the Milan first workforce, earlier than cementing his standing as one of many sport’s all-time greats.
The quantity six shirt stays retired on the San Siro in his honour.
Iconic Performances: Franco Baresi’s show of putting up with fortitude within the 1994 World Cup remaining
Ronald Koeman (5ft 11)
Ronald Koeman was a singular defender, one who boasted a objective file comparable with main forwards of his period.
Koeman gained 4 league titles throughout spells with Ajax and PSV and gained the European Cup with the latter, earlier than becoming a member of Johan Cruyff’s revolution in Barcelona.
The Dutchman – who was able to taking part in each as a defender and as a midfielder and have become famend for his long-range taking pictures – was an important a part of the ‘Dream Workforce’ period in Catalonia, scoring the decisive objective as Barcelona gained their first European Cup in 1992.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 20, 2021
He made 264 appearances in all competitions for the Spanish facet and fashioned a part of the Netherlands workforce which ended the nation’s look forward to a serious match at Euro ’88.
Fabio Cannavaro (5ft 9)
Fabio Cannavaro grew to become the third defender to win the Ballon d’Or in 2006, with two of that trio having been underneath 6ft.
Cannavaro grew to become one among Italy’s nice defenders and captained the Azzurri to World Cup success, with Marcello Lippi’s facet conceding simply two targets – one an personal objective and the opposite a penalty – on their method to being topped world champions.
What Cannavaro lacked in peak he made up for in timing and willpower, usually rising above taller forwards to win aerial duels with big leaps.
16 years in the past at this time:
Fabio Cannavaro’s completely colossal efficiency within the World Cup Last.
Right here’s two minutes of the good-looking bastard giving creativity the center finger…
— A Humorous Outdated Sport (@sid_lambert) July 9, 2022
At membership stage he gained main trophies with Parma and Actual Madrid, along with representing Italian soccer giants in Inter Milan and Juventus.
His most interesting soccer got here in 2006, a 12 months which noticed Cannavaro win the World Cup as captain, the FIFA World Participant of the Yr, Ballon d’Or and Serie A Footballer of the Yr awards, a outstanding sweep of success for accolades often dominated by names additional up the pitch.
Iconic Performances: Fabio ‘The Berlin Wall’ Cannavaro within the 2006 World Cup semi-final
Carles Puyol (5ft 11)
Carles Puyol won’t have been probably the most bodily dominant or technically gifted defender, however he departed Barcelona as an undisputed membership legend after a surprising one-club profession in Catalonia.
Puyol made 593 appearances for Barcelona and picked up an unlimited variety of honours, profitable 18 trophies with the Catalans together with six league titles and three Champions League trophies
The centre-back was each an aggressor and a pacesetter, by no means giving forwards a second’s peace as he hounded opponents into making errors.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 13, 2021
Having started his profession at full-back, he switched to a central position and have become the spine of Barcelona’s success. Puyol’s uncooked love for defending outlined his sport and added a way of safety to a membership facet considered arguably the very best ever throughout Pep Guardiola’s reign on the Camp Nou.
Success additionally arrived on the worldwide stage, the place he fashioned a part of the Spain workforce that ended a 44-year look forward to a serious trophy at Euro 2008, earlier than profitable the World Cup for the primary time in 2010.
Learn – Defensive Rocks: Carles Puyol – A Catalan colossus
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