athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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List Rules Only defense players, no mid-fielders. Please rank the players based on their on-field accomplishments

The best soccer players of all time aren't always the ones right in the action, sometimes all it takes is a step back and a bit of appreciation to realize that the grunts who are defending the goal are the best. These best football defenders (as they're called everywhere besides the US) are in the ranks of the best athletes in the world, and have earned their spots by being the best footballers in the world.

What are the qualities of the best defenders in soccer? These men are equal parts the best defense men in soccer, the top players in soccer, and the best conditioned athletes in the sport of soccer. To truly be the greatest, defenders must be quick runners and possess the ability to kick the ball FAR, all the way to the other side of the field. Defensive soccer players must also have a mastery of fancy footwork - lest they let an offensive player weave past them. All these factors and more combine to determine who should be called the best defenders in soccer.

Who are the best soccer defenders of all time? Who are the top defenders in soccer? Who are the best football defenders of all time? SO MANY QUESTIONS, all which need to be answered in this compilation of the top soccer defenders ever. If your favorite soccer player in the position of defender isn't on the list, make sure to add them so others can vote for them as the best football defender ever. If you don't add them, they won't get any play.

1
+ - 2,369 421
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

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2
+ - 1,263 417
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
+ - 1,418 477
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
+ - 1,182 437
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

5
+ - 900 325
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
+ - 320 142
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

7
+ - 206 59
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Mauro Ramos Defender

8
+ - 980 556
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
+ - 496 267
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10
+ - 224 79
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

11
+ - 578 407
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

12
+ - 386 171
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

13
+ - 318 118
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

14
+ - 265 118
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

15
+ - 967 628
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

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16
+ - 1,085 664
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

17
+ - 225 115
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

18
+ - 733 494
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

19
+ - 234 132
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

20
+ - 263 89
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cesare Maldini Defender

21
+ - 208 78
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

22
+ - 320 256
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

23
+ - 125 36
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
+ - 786 499
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

25
+ - 160 29
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Rosato Defender

26
+ - 198 176
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

27
+ - 174 65
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

28
+ - 185 62
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
+ - 163 70
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

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30
+ - 131 90
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

31
+ - 145 75
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

32
+ - 700 602
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

33
+ - 128 25
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

34
+ - 119 23
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Anton Ondruš Defender

35
+ - 292 179
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

36
+ - 148 23
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fulvio Collovati Defender

37
+ - 97 55
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

38
+ - 436 514
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper Midfielder

39
+ - 398 329
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

40
+ - 200 112
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

41
+ - 252 170
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

42
+ - 515 437
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

43
+ - 124 81
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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44
+ - 136 138
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lúcio Defender

45
+ - 70 31
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

46
+ - 56 12
Ján Popluhár is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ján Popluhár

47
+ - 108 70
Willi Schulz is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Willi Schulz Defender

48
+ - 385 539
Ronald Koeman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ronald Koeman Defender, Midfielder

49
+ - 95 55
Phil Neal is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Phil Neal Defender

50
+ - 108 82
Alan Hansen is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alan Hansen Defender