The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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List Criteria: 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.
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 25 ReRanks
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  • 2 See list ranked by
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G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1,839
    - 334

    most listed
    Defender

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,140
    - 388

    the people's #1
    Defender, Sweeper

    ;
  3. 3
    + 889
    - 333
    Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Franco Baresi Defender

  4. 4
    + 947
    - 336


    Defender

    ;
  5. 5
    + 804
    - 362


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  6. 6
    + 812
    - 320


    Defender

    ;
  7. 7
    + 870
    - 376
    Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Carles Puyol Defender

  8. 8
    + 643
    - 260


    Defender

    ;
  9. 9
    + 617
    - 242


    Defender

    ;
  10. 10
    + 459
    - 325


    Defender

    ;
  11. 11
    + 385
    - 283
    Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

  12. 12
    + 334
    - 202


    Defender

    ;
  13. 13
    + 613
    - 413


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  14. 14
    + 425
    - 216
    Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

  15. 15
    + 531
    - 404


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  16. 16
    + 347
    - 212


    Defender

    ;
  17. 17
    + 312
    - 279


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  18. 18
    + 325
    - 219


    Defender

    ;
  19. 19
    + 410
    - 343


    Defender

    ;
  20. 20
    + 256
    - 215


    Defender

    ;
  21. 21
    + 410
    - 338
    Nemanja Vidić is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Nemanja Vidić Defender

  22. 22
    + 290
    - 216
    Giorgio Chiellini is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Giorgio Chiellini Defender

  23. 23
    + 243
    - 192


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  24. 24
    + 310
    - 284


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  25. 25
    + 192
    - 142


    Defender

    ;
  26. 26
    + 182
    - 157


    Defender

    ;
  27. 27
    + 146
    - 140


    Defender

    ;
  28. 28
    + 168
    - 203

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Defender

    ;
  29. 29
    + 107
    - 50

    added by veterancw
    Defender

    ;
  30. 30
    + 170
    - 116
    Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

  31. 31
    + 129
    - 118


    Defender

    ;
  32. 32
    + 113
    - 77
    Andreas Brehme is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Andreas Brehme Defender, Midfielder

  33. 33
    + 145
    - 117
    Javier Mascherano is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Javier Mascherano Defender, Midfielder

  34. 34
    + 213
    - 193


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  35. 35
    + 164
    - 118


    Defender

    ;
  36. 36
    + 161
    - 127


    Defender

    ;
  37. 37
    + 137
    - 166
    Matthias Sammer is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Matthias Sammer Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

  38. 38
    + 174
    - 150


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  39. 39
    + 93
    - 67


    Defender

    ;
  40. 40
    + 96
    - 88
    Ciro Ferrara is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Ciro Ferrara Defender

  41. 41
    + 130
    - 114
    Frank de Boer is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Frank de Boer Defender

  42. 42
    + 90
    - 64


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  43. 43
    + 258
    - 307


    Defender

    ;
  44. 44
    + 185
    - 185


    Defender, Midfielder

    ;
  45. 45
    + 65
    - 51

    added by amsmaia
    Defender

    ;
  46. 46
    + 126
    - 147
    David Luiz is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    David Luiz Defender, Midfielder

  47. 47
    + 93
    - 94
    Tony Adams is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Tony Adams Defender

  48. 48
    + 164
    - 170
    Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Daniel Alves Defender

  49. 49
    + 94
    - 83


    Defender

    ;
  50. 50
    + 50
    - 60
    Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time


    Berti Vogts Defender

215 +

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