Best Athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
103.3k votes 11.5k voters 209k views 326 items

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
5,022 917
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

2
2,388 1,121
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

3
2,918 945
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Sweeper

4
2,395 853
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

5
618 787
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

6
1,780 764
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

7
426 658
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Defender

8
848 609
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

9
1,088 730
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

10
748 517
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

11
296 265
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Defender

12
571 490
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

13
2,074 950
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

14
360 447
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

15
439 436
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

16
516 411
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

17
315 394
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

18
2,364 1,013
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

19
277 277
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

20
1,880 898
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

21
190 208
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Defender

22
594 270
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Defender

23
343 331
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

24
252 245
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Defender

25
1,562 679
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

26
724 424
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

27
1,898 1,239
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

28
311 275
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

29
162 186
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

30
259 205
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

31
157 169
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added

32
197 185
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

33
1,274 785
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

34
167 214
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

35
216 118
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Defender

36
456 284
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

37
625 416
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

38
283 230
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Defender

39
168 86
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Defender

40
306 260
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

41
213 170
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

42
370 257
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

43
900 554
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

44
137 170
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

45
704 666
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

46
680 637
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

47
255 206
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

48
146 180
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

49
108 161
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

50
636 517
Jaap Stam is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender