Soccer The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

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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
3,213 571
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

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2
1,655 629
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
1,932 626
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
419 352
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

5
1,185 468
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
1,632 573
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

7
278 239
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
396 243
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

9
640 380
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10
1,335 708
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

11
505 297
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

12
739 514
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

13
325 229
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

14
255 208
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

15
243 244
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

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16
200 90
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

17
1,284 735
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

18
1,493 773
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

19
221 137
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

20
1,062 756
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

21
387 152
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

22
278 184
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

23
143 72
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

24
197 129
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

25
1,083 585
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

26
255 186
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
934 615
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

28
392 313
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

29
508 352
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

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30
227 128
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

31
166 120
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

32
174 57
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

33
116 104
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

34
180 108
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

35
354 213
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

36
132 86
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

37
351 276
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

38
105 29
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

39
123 62
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

40
107 97
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

41
298 199
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

42
141 130
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

43
226 147
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

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44
188 180
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lúcio Defender

45
509 577
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

46
139 115
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

47
635 483
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

48
81 66
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
236 201
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

50
429 471
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender