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.
list ordered by

1
+ - 2,887 507
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
+ - 1,507 540
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
+ - 1,698 577
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
+ - 1,467 518
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

5
+ - 373 261
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

6
+ - 1,062 405
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

7
+ - 234 165
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Mauro Ramos Defender

8
+ - 1,184 635
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
+ - 455 239
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

10
+ - 588 333
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

11
+ - 350 187
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

12
+ - 670 472
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

13
+ - 1,146 679
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

14
+ - 236 156
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

15
+ - 299 183
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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16
+ - 1,316 722
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

17
+ - 341 123
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cesare Maldini Defender

18
+ - 902 683
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

19
+ - 201 99
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

20
+ - 216 217
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

21
+ - 955 556
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

22
+ - 187 104
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

23
+ - 253 167
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

24
+ - 368 298
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

25
+ - 859 587
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

26
+ - 246 170
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
+ - 179 59
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Rosato Defender

28
+ - 136 51
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
+ - 219 114
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

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30
+ - 131 72
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

31
+ - 340 200
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
+ - 156 105
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

33
+ - 168 43
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fulvio Collovati Defender

34
+ - 169 97
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

35
+ - 464 342
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

36
+ - 304 251
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

37
+ - 102 82
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

38
+ - 122 49
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Anton Ondruš Defender

39
+ - 136 118
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

40
+ - 283 188
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

41
+ - 131 105
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

42
+ - 75 55
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

43
+ - 481 551
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

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44
+ - 57 35
Ján Popluhár is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ján Popluhár

45
+ - 589 458
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

46
+ - 92 17
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Mauro Tassotti Defender

47
+ - 217 135
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

48
+ - 170 165
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lúcio Defender

49
+ - 455 463
Jaap Stam is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Jaap Stam Defender

50
+ - 111 91
Willi Schulz is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Willi Schulz Defender