Best Athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
99.7k votes 11k voters 204.9k views 324 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
4,835 884
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

2
2,311 1,065
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

3
2,813 917
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Sweeper

4
2,320 811
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

5
1,715 738
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

6
584 732
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

7
399 611
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Defender

8
2,000 911
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

9
1,038 708
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

10
2,266 980
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

11
1,812 864
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

12
814 574
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
710 485
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

14
1,817 1,176
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

15
338 419
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

16
538 462
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

17
569 251
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Defender

18
423 409
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

19
273 236
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Defender

20
498 388
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

21
698 407
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

22
301 373
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

23
1,505 661
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

24
335 311
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

25
243 229
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Defender

26
260 257
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

27
175 188
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Defender

28
303 262
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

29
1,248 754
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

30
151 156
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added

31
601 389
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

32
152 173
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

33
443 274
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

34
872 534
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

35
252 195
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

36
161 203
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

37
191 176
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

38
206 108
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Defender

39
296 250
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

40
361 247
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

41
660 622
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

42
160 78
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Defender

43
205 163
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

44
270 223
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Defender

45
672 645
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

46
127 161
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

47
139 174
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

48
103 154
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
615 513
Jaap Stam is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

50
131 112
Antonio Cabrini is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender