Best Athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
106.6k votes 11.9k voters 212.8k 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
5,225 934
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

2
2,472 1,170
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

3
3,014 983
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

4
2,500 884
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

5
1,829 785
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil

6
628 827
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil

7
434 692
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Brazil

8
1,124 747
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
United Kingdom, England

9
873 629
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10
312 282
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Italy

11
772 540
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Netherlands

12
2,145 964
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
365 463
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

14
578 510
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Netherlands

15
444 454
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

16
524 424
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Argentina

17
2,452 1,028
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Spain

18
317 411
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

19
1,956 901
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

20
282 290
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

21
191 222
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Spain

22
615 280
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Italy

23
348 343
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
257 259
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Romania

25
1,617 691
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany

26
748 432
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
France

27
1,962 1,282
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Spain

28
312 286
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
165 196
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

30
263 214
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany

31
202 192
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany

32
157 180
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Brazil

33
1,311 800
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil

34
168 223
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
222 125
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Italy

36
476 287
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

37
300 237
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Brazil

38
936 557
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Argentina

39
178 92
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Italy

40
647 430
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil, Spain

41
379 262
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

42
311 266
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Italy, Libya

43
215 178
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Denmark

44
140 179
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Kingdom of Yugoslavia

45
725 687
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

46
702 641
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany

47
259 211
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Brazil

48
151 186
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Germany

49
664 521
Jaap Stam is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Netherlands

50
111 167
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
West Germany, Germany