Best Athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
97.9k votes 10.8k voters 202.5k 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
4,746 864
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

2
2,276 1,035
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

3
2,776 893
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Sweeper

4
2,276 797
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

5
1,685 720
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

6
577 708
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

7
395 583
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Defender

8
1,964 895
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

9
1,020 693
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

10
2,220 966
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

11
1,775 853
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

12
805 558
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

13
699 471
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

14
1,774 1,145
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

15
330 406
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

16
533 452
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

17
419 400
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

18
560 246
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Defender

19
267 230
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Defender

20
493 383
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

21
299 366
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

22
683 402
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

23
331 302
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

24
1,473 657
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

25
257 247
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

26
237 221
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Defender

27
172 180
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Defender

28
299 254
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

29
1,229 744
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

30
148 150
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added

31
586 377
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

32
148 167
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

33
433 268
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

34
159 195
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

35
248 188
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

36
849 526
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

37
205 103
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Defender

38
189 171
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

39
291 245
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

40
355 242
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

41
156 74
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Defender

42
202 158
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Midfielder

43
645 619
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

44
661 632
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

45
262 218
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Defender

46
124 155
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

47
136 169
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

48
100 150
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

49
249 192
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Defender

50
135 162
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Defender