Best Athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
96k votes 10.5k voters 199.3k views 324 items

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
4,615 841
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
2,222 994
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,708 858
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
2,223 768
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

5
1,643 699
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
570 675
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

7
389 548
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
1,911 878
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
987 675
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

10
790 539
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

11
2,148 952
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

12
682 455
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

13
1,721 842
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

14
327 393
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

15
527 439
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

16
1,705 1,110
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

17
416 391
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

18
549 235
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

19
262 222
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

20
487 376
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

21
296 358
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

22
664 396
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

23
325 295
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

24
256 239
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

25
234 214
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

26
1,438 651
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

27
171 173
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
297 248
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

29
1,207 732
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

30
147 144
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

31
147 161
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
561 368
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

33
429 263
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

34
159 191
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

35
247 184
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

36
204 99
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

37
825 523
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

38
187 168
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

39
353 238
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

40
155 70
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

41
285 242
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

42
201 155
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

43
633 616
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

44
259 213
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

45
635 613
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

46
123 151
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

47
136 166
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Berti Vogts Defender

48
100 147
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
249 189
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

50
134 158
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender