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
3,145 552
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
1,626 610
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
1,881 612
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
1,160 452
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

5
416 334
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

6
1,592 563
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

7
274 226
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
387 233
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

9
1,298 698
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

10
629 373
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

11
725 505
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

12
492 286
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

13
319 223
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

14
1,246 725
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

15
252 200
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

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16
1,454 764
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

17
216 132
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

18
239 238
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

19
195 83
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

20
1,022 744
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

21
375 146
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

22
143 67
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

23
275 181
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

24
1,055 582
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

25
197 125
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

26
254 182
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
916 608
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

28
496 350
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

29
386 310
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

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30
225 126
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

31
165 117
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

32
172 55
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

33
115 101
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

34
132 83
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

35
176 107
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

36
348 211
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

37
338 269
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

38
101 27
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

39
123 59
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

40
225 145
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

41
294 197
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

42
183 177
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lúcio Defender

43
420 457
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

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44
106 94
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

45
141 126
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

46
499 575
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

47
624 478
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

48
80 63
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
61 43
Ján Popluhár is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Swiss added Ján Popluhár

50
93 33
Riccardo Ferri is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Piero Cusin added Riccardo Ferri Defender