Best Athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
106.6k votes 11.9k voters 213k views 325 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
5,235 935
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

2
2,476 1,173
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

3
3,018 985
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

4
2,504 885
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

5
1,831 785
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil

6
628 830
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil

7
434 695
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Brazil

8
1,126 749
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
United Kingdom, England

9
874 630
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10
774 541
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Netherlands

11
312 284
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Italy

12
2,148 965
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
366 464
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

14
580 511
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Netherlands

15
445 455
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

16
526 424
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Argentina

17
2,456 1,029
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Spain

18
319 412
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

19
1,961 901
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

20
282 291
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

21
616 280
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Italy

22
191 223
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Spain

23
349 343
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
257 260
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Romania

25
1,620 691
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany

26
750 432
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
France

27
1,967 1,282
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Spain

28
313 286
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
165 197
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

30
263 215
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany

31
204 192
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany

32
157 181
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Brazil

33
1,314 801
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil

34
169 223
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
222 126
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Italy

36
478 287
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

37
302 237
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Brazil

38
938 557
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Argentina

39
179 92
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Italy

40
649 432
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil, Spain

41
381 262
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

42
313 266
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Italy, Libya

43
215 179
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Denmark

44
140 180
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Kingdom of Yugoslavia

45
726 690
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

46
705 641
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany

47
261 211
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil

48
152 186
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Germany

49
665 521
Jaap Stam is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Netherlands

50
111 168
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany