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
+ - 2,703 477
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
+ - 1,418 494
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
+ - 1,591 542
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
+ - 1,358 488
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

5
+ - 1,002 367
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
+ - 346 211
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

7
+ - 1,108 601
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

8
+ - 218 125
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Mauro Ramos Defender

9
+ - 549 311
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10
+ - 424 215
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

11
+ - 232 132
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

12
+ - 287 158
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
+ - 336 165
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

14
+ - 636 448
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

15
+ - 1,079 657
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
+ - 1,242 695
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

17
+ - 309 109
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cesare Maldini Defender

18
+ - 236 152
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

19
+ - 811 550
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

20
+ - 893 530
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

21
+ - 350 286
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

22
+ - 194 84
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

23
+ - 181 90
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
+ - 170 52
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Rosato Defender

25
+ - 206 205
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

26
+ - 247 157
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

27
+ - 215 106
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

28
+ - 128 63
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
+ - 827 649
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

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30
+ - 169 90
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

31
+ - 321 194
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
+ - 133 112
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

33
+ - 151 98
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

34
+ - 160 41
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fulvio Collovati Defender

35
+ - 132 45
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

36
+ - 120 43
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Anton Ondruš Defender

37
+ - 444 340
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

38
+ - 467 537
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

39
+ - 99 75
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

40
+ - 272 185
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

41
+ - 285 235
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

42
+ - 129 101
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

43
+ - 71 51
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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44
+ - 566 449
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

45
+ - 160 157
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lúcio Defender

46
+ - 209 130
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

47
+ - 110 87
Willi Schulz is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Willi Schulz Defender

48
+ - 414 553
Ronald Koeman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ronald Koeman Defender, Midfielder

49
+ - 56 31
Ján Popluhár is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ján Popluhár

50
+ - 118 96
Alan Hansen is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alan Hansen Defender