best athletes 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
3,366 590
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
1,714 661
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,008 651
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
441 383
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

5
1,226 491
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
293 271
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

7
1,688 599
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

8
1,401 728
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
662 397
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10
411 265
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

11
341 241
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

12
521 315
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

13
261 220
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

14
226 150
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

15
767 525
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

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16
252 254
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

17
205 104
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

18
290 190
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

19
1,124 799
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

20
152 81
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

21
1,564 804
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

22
403 162
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

23
1,335 759
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

24
200 137
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

25
405 318
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

26
1,128 598
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

27
264 192
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

28
534 354
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

29
963 636
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

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30
135 91
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

31
231 133
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

32
123 109
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

33
146 135
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

34
171 124
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

35
362 219
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

36
177 62
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

37
122 120
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender

38
111 106
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

39
307 205
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

40
183 112
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

41
378 286
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

42
124 69
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

43
66 51
Ján Popluhár is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Swiss added Ján Popluhár

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44
110 34
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

45
116 108
Willi Schulz is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Willi Schulz Defender

46
190 180
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

47
83 71
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

48
447 489
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

49
96 43
Riccardo Ferri is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Piero Cusin added Riccardo Ferri Defender

50
656 490
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder