best athletes The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
85.2k votes 9k voters 181.2k views 308 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
3,923 709
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

2
1,962 809
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

3
2,329 732
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

4
505 512
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

5
1,394 588
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Cafu Defender

6
1,922 680
Alessandro Nesta is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Alessandro Nesta Defender

7
335 402
Mauro Ramos is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Mauro Ramos Defender

8
482 349
Ruud Krol is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Ruud Krol Defender

9
869 582
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

10
284 302
Elías Figueroa is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Elías Figueroa Defender

11
375 307
Carlos Alberto Torres is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

12
1,598 794
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

13
604 369
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

14
281 283
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

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15
722 457
Giacinto Facchetti is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

16
236 161
Roberto Rosato is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Roberto Rosato Defender

17
308 232
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Marius Trésor Defender

18
166 132
Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Andrea Pillerè added Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo Defender

19
1,833 873
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

20
247 200
Tarcisio Burgnich is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

21
222 169
Miodrag Belodedici is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
MariusCeasuri added Miodrag Belodedici Defender

The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time

22
1,363 928
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Sergio Ramos Defender, Midfielder

23
463 195
Cesare Maldini is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
veterancw added Cesare Maldini Defender

24
449 338
Daniel Passarella is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

25
1,501 796
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

26
284 213
Nílton Santos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Nílton Santos Defender

27
589 367
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Lilian Thuram Defender

28
1,272 628
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

The Best German-American Soccer Player

29
143 110
Hilderaldo Bellini is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
lendomacondenorz added Hilderaldo Bellini

30
135 133
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

31
1,067 675
Thiago Silva is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Thiago Silva Defender, Midfielder

32
239 156
Manfred Kaltz is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Manfred Kaltz Defender

33
151 159
Domingos da Guia is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Domingos da Guia Defender

34
394 239
Alessandro Costacurta is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

35
191 78
Fulvio Collovati is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Fulvio Collovati Defender

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36
179 144
Hans-Peter Briegel is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Hans-Peter Briegel Defender, Midfielder

37
460 319
Daniel Alves is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Daniel Alves Defender

38
195 132
Morten Olsen is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Morten Olsen Defender, Midfielder

39
132 50
Mauro Tassotti is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
berteds added Mauro Tassotti Defender

40
119 125
Velibor Vasović is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Velibor Vasović Defender

41
266 221
Claudio Gentile is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Claudio Gentile Defender

42
329 220
Giuseppe Bergomi is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Giuseppe Bergomi Defender

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43
728 509
Javier Zanetti is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Javier Zanetti Defender, Midfielder

44
96 125
Karlheinz Förster is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

45
127 88
Anton Ondruš is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Zicopoust added Anton Ondruš Defender

46
129 150
Berti Vogts is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Berti Vogts Defender

47
130 137
José Santamaría is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added José Santamaria Defender

48
237 166
Aldair is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
Aldair Defender

49
224 194
Lúcio is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time
shisu added Lucio Defender

50
89 82
Albert Shesternyov is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time