(Clockwise): Carlos Correa, Emmanuel Petit and Thiago Silva.
The word Brazil conjures up images of stellar forwards Ronaldo, Neymar, Rivaldo, Pele and Socrates. However, this doesn’t discount the fact the South Americans have produced excellent defensive talent over the years.
Thiago Silva, 32 today, is one of the most highly rated defenders in the world. With Fluminense, it was difficult to exclude the Rio native due to his intelligence and workrate on and off the ball.
In 2009, he signed for AC Milan and established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe, winning Serie A and Super Coppa titles with the Rossoneri in 2010 and 2011.
Three years later, Milan sold the Brazilian to PSG for €42m, thereby occupying the spot as second most expensive defender in history, just behind Rio Ferdinand.
With Le Parisiens, he amassed numerous pieces of silverware including four consecutive Ligue Unes, three Coupes de la Ligue and the Coupe de France.
(Clockwise): Grant Fuhr, Doug Baldwin and Chris Gayle.
One of the most feared batsmen in the world, bowlers tremble with fear whenever he steps to the crease.
The Jamaican cricketer, who turns 37 today, has left his mark on the sport by clubbing record after record in all formats of the game. While he becomes more dangerous with fewer overs, he’s still been explosive in Tests, where he’s one of only four players in history to have two triple centuries.
In ODIs, he’s one of just five players to score a double century, including a then-record 215 in the 2015 World Cup. In perhaps his best format, T20s, Gayle set the highest score with 175 not out, reaching the century mark in just 30 balls. He’s captained the West Indies Test side, plays domestic cricket for Jamaica and represents the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
Simply put, there are few who smash the ball better.