The latest Goal 50 for 2012-13 is fast approaching as we review the best players from all regions of the world over the previous season.
This is the sixth edition of the prize, which has previously been won by current holder Cristiano Ronaldo (twice), Barcelona star Lionel Messi (twice) and Wesley Sneijder in 2010.
As part of the build-up to this year's gong, we are running a series of polls asking readers to vote for their own best players in each position for what should be an intriguing debate.
After kicking off with the goalkeepers, we now put forward a number of high-profile candidates who can lay claim to having been the best defender in the world game over the last 12 months.
Bayern Munich were undoubtedly the team of the season and they have three representatives in our list. Right-back Philipp Lahm, central defender Dante and left-back David Alaba all impressed throughout 2012-13.
In Spain, Raphael Varane’s emergence in defence was one of the highlights of Real Madrid’s season, while Gerard Pique was again important for Barcelona as they notched up 100 points on their way to winning La Liga. At left-back, Jordi Alba’s performances have been outstanding for club and country.
Over in Italy, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci ensured Juventus secured a successful defence of their Serie A title, while Thiago Silva cemented his reputation as one of the game’s best stoppers with his performances for Paris Saint-Germain in France.
It was not a vintage season for defending in the Premier League but Rio Ferdinand reminded everyone of his quality as Manchester United secured league glory and Jan Vertonghen enjoyed an impressive first campaign at Tottenham.
HAVE YOUR SAY
In total we have 20 stoppers up for your vote to decide on the best defender for the 2012-13 season.
Let us know your thoughts by voting in our poll and leaving your comments below. You can also get in touch via our Facebook and Twitter pages.