Best Athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
93.8k votes 10.2k voters 195.8k 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.

1
4,463 817
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
2,163 964
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,631 830
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
2,150 755
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

5
1,594 683
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
558 646
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

7
385 520
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
1,858 863
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

9
972 653
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

10
2,088 939
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

11
769 524
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

12
670 438
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

13
1,671 830
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

14
318 376
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

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15
520 424
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

16
1,637 1,067
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

17
408 374
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

18
531 227
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

19
255 211
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

20
295 347
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

21
479 366
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

The Best Current Soccer Players

22
320 284
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

23
252 228
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
232 204
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

25
638 389
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

26
171 165
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

27
1,406 648
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

28
293 240
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

29
1,186 721
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

30
147 137
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

31
146 154
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
543 357
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

33
247 178
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

34
414 259
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
157 186
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
201 93
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

37
187 161
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

38
799 521
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

39
201 150
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

40
345 235
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

41
277 237
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

42
144 66
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

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43
619 614
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

44
619 600
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

45
123 145
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

46
248 210
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

47
133 162
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Berti Vogts Defender

48
100 140
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
134 150
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender

50
248 181
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender