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
3,730 650
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
1,876 729
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,199 697
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
1,320 546
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

5
478 449
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

6
1,836 642
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

7
318 335
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
702 435
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

9
571 346
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

10
276 253
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

11
362 279
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

12
449 303
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

13
1,515 772
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

14
225 133
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

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

15
272 277
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

16
826 557
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

17
240 176
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

18
439 179
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

19
161 107
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

20
298 207
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

21
1,743 853
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

The Best Current Soccer Players

22
1,269 890
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

23
211 150
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

24
435 327
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

25
1,436 784
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

26
273 204
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
1,213 615
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

28
569 361
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

The Best German-American Soccer Player

29
140 98
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

30
1,025 661
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

31
131 119
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
236 144
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

33
150 146
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

34
385 228
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
175 133
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

The Best American Actresses Working Today

36
423 309
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

37
186 69
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

38
124 40
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

39
320 210
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

40
190 123
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

41
702 499
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

42
260 210
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

13 Things You Didn't Know About John Cena

43
122 141
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Berti Vogts Defender

44
101 48
Riccardo Ferri is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Piero Cusin added Riccardo Ferri Defender

45
499 517
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

46
207 186
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

47
126 128
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender

48
113 113
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

49
154 120
Alan Hansen is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alan Hansen Defender

50
125 77
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender