best athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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
3,752 657
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
1,890 737
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,217 700
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
322 345
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

5
482 457
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

6
1,329 552
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

7
1,845 650
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

8
454 309
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

9
276 260
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

10
228 136
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

11
275 281
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

12
706 437
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
831 558
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

14
1,525 775
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

30+ Famous People Born in Countries That Don't Exist Anymore

15
363 283
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

16
575 349
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

17
299 210
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

18
162 109
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

19
241 179
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

20
1,752 855
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

21
441 182
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

The Best Current Soccer Players

22
438 328
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

23
212 155
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

24
1,282 893
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

25
1,443 786
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

26
276 205
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
571 362
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

28
1,218 617
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

The Best German-American Soccer Player

29
140 100
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

30
1,031 661
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

31
131 121
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
236 146
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

33
150 148
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

34
387 230
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
188 71
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

The Best American Actresses Working Today

36
175 135
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

37
427 310
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

38
190 125
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

39
321 212
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

40
126 42
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

41
706 499
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

42
113 115
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

13 Things You Didn't Know About John Cena

43
262 212
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

44
126 130
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender

45
210 186
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

46
156 122
Alan Hansen is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alan Hansen Defender

47
504 520
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

48
123 143
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Berti Vogts Defender

49
125 79
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

50
101 50
Riccardo Ferri is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Piero Cusin added Riccardo Ferri Defender