The countdown continues. Brazilian defenders are at their best ever standard, but their attacking players are now secondary to the alumni of Spain and Argentina.
10. Lucio (BRA / Inter Milan)
In hindsight it appears quite incredible that Bayern Munich were prepared to let Lucio go for free, before his contract had even expired. Jose Mourinho wasted no time in snapping up the Brazilian veteran and making him the key man in Inter Milan’s new look central defence. Such was Lucio’s decisive influence in Inter’s march to the Domestic Cup, Serie A and Champions League treble that it probably ranks as one of the great transfer coups of all time. Lucio’s capacity to raise his game for the big occasion has been particularly noteworthy; he put the shackles on both Didier Drogba and Lionel Messi in the Champions League knockout stages before getting one over his former club in the final. Lucio’s immense physical strength, tough but fair tackling and capacity to surge out of defence with pace and drive make him perhaps the most complete central defender in the world today. And his long time partnership with Juan at the heart of Brazil’s defence has arguably never been bettered in the country’s glorious football history.