best athletes 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
3,473 610
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
1,751 681
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,064 663
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
448 398
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

5
1,250 503
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
1,731 607
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

7
299 287
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
419 273
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

9
670 409
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10
347 250
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

11
1,430 741
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

12
534 321
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

13
265 226
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior Defender, Midfielder

14
228 156
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

15 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

15
259 259
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

16
786 531
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

17
207 110
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

18
1,620 816
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

19
410 167
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

20
1,169 825
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

21
154 88
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

The Best Current Soccer Players

22
292 194
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

23
1,362 766
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

24
200 141
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

25
411 322
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

26
267 196
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
1,148 605
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

28
546 357
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

29
978 644
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

30
135 93
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

31
126 111
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

32
232 135
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

33
146 138
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

34
172 126
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

35
366 221
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

The Best Dogs for Allergies

36
178 63
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

37
391 289
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

38
311 206
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

39
185 113
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

40
123 121
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender

41
111 108
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

42
247 207
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

The Best Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Quarterbacks of All Time

43
113 36
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

44
465 495
Gerard Piqué is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Gerard Piqué Defender

45
124 71
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

46
66 53
Ján Popluhár is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Swiss added Ján Popluhár

47
83 71
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

48
116 108
Willi Schulz is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Willi Schulz Defender

49
195 182
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

50
229 154
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender