best athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
91.2k votes 9.9k voters 192.3k views 323 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.

1
4,305 790
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
2,106 926
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,554 802
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
1,543 654
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

5
2,079 741
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

6
548 608
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

7
377 487
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
1,793 845
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
947 635
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

10
752 507
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

11
2,015 917
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

12
650 423
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

13
312 358
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

14
512 409
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

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15
402 356
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

16
1,618 820
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

17
1,567 1,025
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

18
513 218
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

19
294 336
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

20
249 203
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

21
471 360
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

The Best Current Soccer Players

22
317 276
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

23
250 223
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
229 196
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

25
171 157
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

26
624 382
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

27
292 232
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

28
1,367 644
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

29
146 129
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

30
1,155 707
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

31
144 149
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
523 339
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

33
246 172
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

34
405 253
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
157 178
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

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36
197 88
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

37
184 156
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

38
200 144
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

39
776 515
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

40
141 59
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

41
339 229
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

42
273 232
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

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43
597 576
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

44
120 140
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

45
603 610
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

46
239 205
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

47
246 177
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

48
99 138
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
131 160
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Berti Vogts Defender

50
133 147
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender