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
2,967 521
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
1,545 560
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
1,753 589
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
388 278
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

5
1,504 534
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

6
1,097 414
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

7
241 181
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
1,216 653
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
360 200
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

10
685 484
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

11
600 347
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

12
466 256
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

13
306 197
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

14
243 170
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
1,181 690
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
1,360 738
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

17
931 706
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

18
206 106
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

19
353 132
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

20
222 225
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

21
987 563
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

22
188 111
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

23
260 172
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

24
180 63
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

25
250 174
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

26
876 595
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

27
139 55
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

28
371 303
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
474 345
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

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30
220 117
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

31
157 108
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

32
169 46
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

33
132 76
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

34
170 99
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

35
343 202
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

36
123 52
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

37
313 254
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

38
77 57
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

39
138 121
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

40
94 18
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

41
103 85
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

42
285 191
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

43
58 37
Ján Popluhár is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Swiss added Ján Popluhár

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44
134 107
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

45
485 556
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

46
594 462
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

47
220 138
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

48
110 92
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
112 93
Willi Schulz is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Willi Schulz Defender

50
462 465
Jaap Stam is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Jaap Stam Defender