Best Athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
97.5k votes 10.8k voters 201.8k 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.
list ordered by

1
4,718 862
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

2
2,269 1,030
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

3
2,767 889
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Sweeper

4
2,269 792
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

5
1,679 715
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

6
576 704
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

7
395 578
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Defender

8
1,958 891
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

9
1,018 689
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

10
2,207 964
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

11
1,766 851
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

12
804 555
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
696 469
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

14
1,762 1,138
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

15
532 451
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

16
329 405
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

17
418 399
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

18
556 244
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Defender

19
265 229
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Defender

20
489 382
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

21
298 365
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

22
681 401
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

23
330 301
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

24
1,469 656
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

25
256 246
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

26
236 220
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Defender

27
172 179
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Defender

28
299 253
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

29
1,229 741
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

30
148 149
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added

31
584 375
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

32
147 166
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

33
432 267
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

34
159 194
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

35
248 187
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

36
846 525
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

37
205 102
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Defender

38
189 170
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

39
291 244
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

40
355 241
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

41
156 73
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Defender

42
201 157
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

43
643 618
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

44
657 629
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

45
261 217
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Defender

46
124 154
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

47
136 168
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

48
100 149
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
249 191
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

50
134 160
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Defender