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
4,099 748
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
2,031 870
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,449 757
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
1,471 612
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

5
2,001 702
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

6
531 556
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

7
352 442
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
1,689 810
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
909 605
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

10
502 377
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

11
630 389
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

12
391 332
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
295 329
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

14
738 479
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

The Best Soccer Players of All Time

15
291 313
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
1,922 895
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

17
245 188
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

18
494 205
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

19
1,460 980
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

20
316 260
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

21
1,549 804
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

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22
460 351
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
228 189
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
290 225
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
610 377
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

28
1,323 635
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

The Sexiest Female Soccer Players

29
144 123
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

30
1,114 686
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

31
140 142
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
244 165
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

33
154 171
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

34
401 248
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
494 329
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

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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
183 151
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

38
198 138
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

39
754 510
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

40
137 56
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
270 228
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time

43
120 133
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

44
99 133
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

45
565 559
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

46
131 157
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Berti Vogts Defender

47
234 201
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

48
243 173
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
131 145
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender