best athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
88.4k votes 9.4k voters 186.1k views 309 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
4,101 748
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
2,032 870
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,451 757
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
1,471 614
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

5
2,001 703
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

6
532 558
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

7
352 445
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
1,690 811
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
910 605
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

10
503 377
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

11
631 389
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

12
391 333
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
739 480
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

14
296 330
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

The Top 10 Oldest Living Things on Earth

15
291 315
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

16
1,923 895
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

17
245 189
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

18
494 206
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

19
1,461 981
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

20
316 262
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

21
1,549 805
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

The Best Current Soccer Players

22
460 352
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

23
249 217
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
228 190
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

25
170 151
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
290 226
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
611 377
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

28
1,325 635
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
144 124
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

30
1,116 686
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

31
141 143
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
245 165
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

33
155 172
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

34
401 249
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
495 330
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

The Greatest Latin American Artists of All Time

36
194 86
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

37
183 152
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

38
198 139
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

39
754 511
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

40
137 57
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

41
336 227
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

42
270 229
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

Who Do You Think Will Win Super Bowl LIII?

43
120 134
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

44
99 134
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

45
566 559
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

46
131 158
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Berti Vogts Defender

47
234 202
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

48
243 174
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

49
586 606
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

50
131 146
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender