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
+ - 2,876 506
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
+ - 1,499 538
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
+ - 1,691 573
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
+ - 1,458 517
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

5
+ - 371 259
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

6
+ - 1,056 405
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

7
+ - 234 163
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Mauro Ramos Defender

8
+ - 1,180 634
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
+ - 454 239
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

10
+ - 587 332
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

11
+ - 350 186
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

12
+ - 667 471
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

13
+ - 236 154
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

14
+ - 1,141 679
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

15
+ - 299 182
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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16
+ - 1,311 722
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

17
+ - 339 122
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cesare Maldini Defender

18
+ - 897 679
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

19
+ - 201 97
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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

21
+ - 951 556
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

22
+ - 187 103
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

23
+ - 253 166
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

24
+ - 368 297
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

25
+ - 858 585
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

26
+ - 246 169
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
+ - 179 58
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Rosato Defender

28
+ - 136 50
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
+ - 218 113
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 71
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

31
+ - 340 199
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
+ - 168 42
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fulvio Collovati Defender

33
+ - 155 104
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

34
+ - 169 96
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

35
+ - 462 342
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

36
+ - 102 80
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

37
+ - 302 251
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves 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
+ - 282 188
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
+ - 478 550
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
+ - 588 457
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
+ - 216 135
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

48
+ - 169 165
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