Soccer 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
3,048 533
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
1,582 577
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
1,812 604
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
398 305
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

5
1,545 546
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

6
1,121 431
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

7
257 201
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
1,247 672
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
365 216
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

10
610 360
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

11
697 494
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

12
312 208
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
1,205 705
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

14
471 270
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

15
212 118
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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16
245 184
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

17
1,396 750
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

18
186 70
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

19
361 138
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

20
227 231
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

21
969 721
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

22
193 118
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

23
139 60
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

24
1,015 572
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

25
264 178
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

26
251 178
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
890 604
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

28
379 307
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
484 348
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
222 120
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

31
158 112
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

32
171 49
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

33
132 79
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

34
173 103
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

35
346 206
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

36
112 97
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

37
123 55
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

38
325 260
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

39
106 90
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

40
98 22
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

41
223 142
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

42
290 195
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

43
139 124
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

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44
60 40
Ján Popluhár is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Swiss added Ján Popluhár

45
92 29
Riccardo Ferri is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Piero Cusin added Riccardo Ferri Defender

46
79 61
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

47
137 110
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

48
493 568
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

49
608 473
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

50
405 447
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender