With the holidays fast approaching, FIFA‘s Ultimate Team player base is about to experience a big increase once again. Many football fans around the world are anticipating finding this year’s game in their stockings. They will be eager to jump online, buy the best strikers and enjoy scoring loads of goals on Christmas. What may not be enjoyable, however, is conceding goals due to a neglected defensive line. Playing with poor defenders will be punished on FIFA 22.
Having a solid defense is just as important as having a good attack. EA’s new animations and improved gameplay systems have created more physical, challenging battles on the virtual pitch. A striker with blistering pace can be stopped if they run into an intelligent centre back. Full backs with great dribbling can burst forward and turn defense into attack. Some defenders are like tall, imposing brick walls while others are quick and technically sound on the ball. It’s all about finding the right players who fit your style of defending and prevent shots from being taken. For assistance, here are 8 of the best defenders on FIFA 22 Ultimate Team.
Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool, 84k)
Kicking off this guide is the best non-Icon defender in the game. Rated at 89 overall, Liverpool’s main man at the back is perfect for any team. The asking price is a lot but he’s worth it. He’s quick with 88 sprint speed and can muscle any attacker off the ball thanks to his 92 strength. Opponents will struggle to catch him out with clever passes. 92 awareness means that Van Dijk reads the game so well. Incredibly, in real life he once went 50 games without being dribbled past.
The Dutchman is a towering presence at 6’4″, making him a great option to find when taking corners. 90 jumping and 87 heading will help him contribute to scoring goals and not just prevent them. However, his frame comes with the consequence of 69 stamina. While he has the capability of chasing pacey strikers, doing so for 90 minutes may tire him out. Pairing him with someone who possesses more endurance would be wise.
- 89 rated
- 88 sprint speed
- 92 strength
- 92 def. awareness
- 90 jumping
- 87 heading accuracy
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, 19.25k)
Van Dijk’s Liverpool teammate has kept his place as the best right-back this year. Not only is he a quality defender, but he is also an exceptional attacker. 88 passing will allow you to create chances by playing long balls. His best attribute is his 92 crossing, so it’s important to get him up the pitch. Forwards like Romelu Lukaku will be loving life and score plenty of goals. Alexander-Arnold is best deployed as a wing-back in a back 3 formation, so that he has cover when he does sprint forward.
You don’t have to worry about the Englishman’s high attacking attributes affecting his defensive abilities. 83 stand tackling means he is more than capable of stopping wingers in their tracks. While 63 strength could be a problem, he won’t give up on winning the ball thanks to 88 stamina. Make sure to put this man on free kicks too. A rating of 85 should not be ignored. Alexander-Arnold can score, assist and stop goals. What more could anyone ask for from a right-back?
- 88 passing
- 92 crossing
- 83 stand tackling
- 88 stamina
- 85 free kick accuracy
Thiago Silva (Chelsea, 7.5k)
The veteran centre-back has still got it. At nearly 38 years old at time of writing, he is still one of the best players to have at the back. 53 pace may have some people questioning why I’ve included him. Yes, this is a bit of an issue in a back 4 formation. Put him in the middle of a back 3, though, and the Brazilian legend excels. 88 interceptions and 87 defensive awareness allow him to stop passes through the middle with ease. He’ll also regularly get on the end of loose air balls with 88 jumping.
Thiago Silva is an excellent distributor of the ball, possessing 80 long and short passing. Coupled with 86 composure, he can be trusted to play out from the back and calm the game down when necessary. He is a bargain for 7.5k coins. Just make sure that the two centre backs on either side of him have decent pace attributes. The last thing anyone wants is Silva trying to catch up with Kylian Mbappe.
- Best utilised in a back 3
- 88 interceptions
- 87 def. awareness
- 88 jumping
- 80 long and short passing
- 86 composure
Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona, 14.5k)
Barcelona may be in the midst of a downward spiral, but they still have some great players on FIFA 22. Jordi Alba remains a brilliant left-back this year at 86 overall. He is rapid with 86 pace, matching up well with the majority of wingers. He can dispossess them with his 80 slide tackling and then transform into a devastating attacking threat. Alba’s 85 crossing and ball control makes him difficult for opponents to cope with. 73 finishing gives him the ability to even pop up with a goal or two.
Spain’s first choice full-back has one glaring weakness in the physicality area. Standing at 5’6″ and possessing 61 strength, he could struggle to win battles against stronger, bigger forwards such as Marcus Rashford. Nevertheless, the 31 year old is the best option on the left side for any Spain or La Liga squad. He would be right in his element in a team that focuses on fast build-up play.
- 86 pace
- 80 slide tackling
- 85 crossing
- 85 ball control
- 73 finishing
Sergio Ramos (PSG, 25.5k)
PSG’s newest star defender may be getting up there in age, although he is still one of the best in his position. He is brilliant in so many attributes that he can play anywhere in a back 3, 4 or 5. 91 slide tackling and 89 stand tackling make him a force to be reckoned with. On the ball, he is a very calm figure with 88 composure and 83 ball control. In situations where other defenders would make a mistake, Sergio Ramos will keep things under control.
One useful attribute to note about the Spain legend is that he is a reliable goalscorer from the penalty spot. An outstanding rating of 92 penalties combined with 79 shot power strikes fear into even the best goalkeepers. Unfortunately, Ramos’ love for scoring goals has influenced EA to provide him with an attacking work rate that’s higher than his defensive rate. He may take himself too far forward on certain occasions, leaving glaring space behind him for strikers. With 70 pace, however, he certainly has the ability to sprint back and make up for any errors.
- 91 slide tackling
- 89 stand tackling
- 88 composure
- 83 ball control
- 92 penalties
- 79 shot power
- 70 pace
Joao Cancelo (Manchester City, 14.25k)
Pep Guardiola’s reliable full-back has received a +3 increase to his overall this year. His Ultimate Team player card attributes are all very impressive, with the lowest being a solid 71 rating for his shooting. He is a fantastic all-rounder who can do whatever you ask of him. 85 pace and 84 dribbling means Joao Cancelo will sprint up and down the pitch with ease, ready to utilise either his 86 crossing or 82 stand tackling.
The Portuguese is a must-buy for just 14.25k coins. He may not quite have the passing expertise of the more expensive Alexander-Arnold, but the pace and dribbling makes him more of a nightmare going forward against opponents. Defensively, the two are equal. It all depends on how you like your full-backs to play. A slow style of play benefits the Liverpool right-back, while a faster style is more suited to Manchester City’s man.
- Player card attributes 71 and above
- 85 pace
- 84 dribbling
- 86 crossing
- 82 stand tackling
Raphael Varane (Manchester United, 99k)
Heading over to the other side of Manchester, Man United’s new signing is of high value at 99k coins. One big reason for this, though, is his 85 sprint speed. He has the capability of keeping up with any attacker no matter their quickness. 6’3″ height and 86 strength will have your opponents concerned about how they’re going to evade Raphael Varane. He’s basically a faster version of Van Dijk but with a slight decrease in the defending attributes. An overall of 87 is still superb, though.
The former Real Madrid superstar is well skilled at passing the ball around, but 65 dribbling means it would be unwise to push forward with him. He is most comfortable when defending his goal and that’s how it should remain. Like Thiago Silva, Varane could benefit most in the heart of a 3 man central defense. He can stay put as his two partners bring the ball forward, ready to spring into action when required. Please do not partner him up with Harry Maguire, as he’ll be needing to do more work than necessary.
- 85 sprint speed
- 6’3″ height
- 86 strength
- 87 defending
Puyol (Icons, 295k)
The one Icon in this guide is actually cheap for someone of his quality. For 295k coins, this is one of the best defenders in Ultimate Team who boasts a staggering defending rating of 93. The best strikers will have a lot of trouble getting past Puyol. If they were to get past, he’d continuously hunt them down with his 89 stamina and 91 aggression. On the pitch, he’ll be willing to take on every physical battle and win the majority of them.
Barcelona’s legend struggles in the pace department compared to other Icons with a rating of 72, but applying the right chemistry style will fix that. He’ll get you a few goals from set-pieces too despite being under 6 foot. 88 jumping and 89 heading accuracy will prove that his height doesn’t matter. Imagine building a backline of Alba, Puyol, Van Dijk and Cancelo? The number of goals conceded would be lower than average for sure.
- 93 defending
- 89 stamina
- 91 aggression
- 88 jumping
- 89 heading accuracy
What other players are the best defenders in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team? Let me know in the comments below!
Player prices correct on PlayStation at time of writing.