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
3,218 572
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
1,655 630
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
1,937 627
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
421 354
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

5
1,188 470
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
1,636 575
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

7
278 242
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
1,340 708
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
641 381
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10
396 245
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

11
505 298
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

12
740 515
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

13
326 230
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

14
255 209
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

15
243 245
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

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16
1,287 736
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

17
1,495 775
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

18
200 92
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

19
221 138
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

20
1,065 757
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

21
387 153
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

22
279 185
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

23
143 73
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

24
1,088 585
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

25
197 130
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

26
256 187
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
935 619
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

28
393 314
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
509 353
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

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30
228 129
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

31
167 120
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

32
174 58
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

33
118 105
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

34
180 109
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

35
354 214
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

36
132 87
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

37
353 279
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

38
105 31
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

39
123 64
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

40
108 99
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

41
299 201
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

42
141 131
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

43
226 148
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

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44
510 577
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

45
188 180
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lúcio Defender

46
637 483
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

47
139 116
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

48
81 67
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
237 202
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

50
429 472
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender