Best Soccer Defenders

The Top Ten
1 Paolo Maldini Paolo Cesare Maldini is a former Italian professional footballer who played as a left back and central defender. Maldini captained Italy for 8 years and AC Milan for 12, and was renowned for his leadership skills, earning him the nickname “Il Capitano”, or ‘The Captain’.

Vidic, puyol, JT are great defenders but they just can't be compared to Maldini. He is in a totally different level. 25 years of unbelievable consistent performance, 5 UEFA cups, 9 seria A titles, 5 intercontinentals, 134 caps for his country, highest appearances in seria A, champions league and the list goes on. AC Milan retired his no.3 shirt in his honor. Only once red carded in his entire career, not like every modern defenders like Ramos who gets red carded once a week. He could play anywhere in the back, was able to neutralize any threat, was great in the air. The sight of his tackles was of complete elegance and beauty. Always played the game in passion and played fair. During the 1990s every striker who faced Milan feared to play against Maldini. He stopped Maradona, Ronaldo, Zidane, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Figo, and many other greats. Zidane admitted that he feared being on the same flank as Maldini. Ronaldo admitted that he could never get past Maldini. He was that good. He was ...more

I believe he is the best because he puts 110% of effort in every single game. He plays not for his sake but he does it for his club and his national team. He had a great heart in the field where you rarely find him picking fights with opponents. He is truly the King of Kings when it comes to defending.

He's the greatest defender of football history, he deserved at least one ballon d'or, he also won 5 champions league, 7 times Italy Serie A and many other championships. We are talking about the greatest defenders of football history, not the best defender in the world, I mean, Puyol? He spends more time with doctors than playing this season.

Enough said that 1994 bronze ballon 1995 second best player in the world and 2003 bronze ballon again... First we are talking about a left back... Second it's a 10 years difference oh and the players competing are on a different level... Zidane baggio henry Ronaldo romario... So I guess you could say maldini shouldn't be in this list...

2 Nemanja Vidić

There are certain places where players don't dare to go with their feet. Vidic goes there with his head. Brick wall at the back, dominant in the air. He is always determined on the pitch, agressive and a true leader. Captain of Manchester United, even though he's not English. He can also score goals with his head.

Just look on his body and you can feel this man is going to tear you apart if you get near him. High work rate, tough like a brick. The best center back of modern football, perhaps only name such as Baresi can be put at higher place than him.

Dominant in air and titan on grounds, unarguably one of the best defenders there ever were, Vidic is steadfast and strong, and he helps make one of the best defenses, he will play with a knee, a broken knee, and no knee.

Vidic is an animal! Most intense yet dialed-in defender I have ever seen. Dominant in the air, and a commando on the ground, this guy would make any team a great success. I have never seen such fearlessness on the pitch.

3 Carles Puyol

This man is the reason Spain won the world cup. Single-handedly manned the defense with an amateur pique at that time. He made Germany cry on their way home, despite germany's brilliant world cup run. He was reason that Barca stands. No midfielder or striker can pass him. C Ronaldo fears this man like the devil with a pitchfork. This man is brilliant in terms of tactics strength, heading skills, tackles. He is what every defender wants to be, the complete package... He is at NO.3... Clearly these people don't watch football enough... He is the best defender since the last decade. He is already a legend and football will lose one of its greatest assets.

The best defender of all time I'd have to say is Puyol. Although he doesn't possess the technical skills that other defenders possess, there is no doubt in my mind that if I were to choose a defender for my XI the first one would be Puyol. He has the leader traits and the aggressiveness. He's a scrappy player but he gets the job done. No one can argue that! He's the biggest influence on me and I strive to become such an amazing and accomplished defender.

He is the Worlds most AGGRESSIVE defender.
Shrewd Leader with aggressive looks.
Every match he changes his position where the opponent best striker or midfielder is prone.
He is the fastest defender.
Even if the goalkeeper is lost he safeguards the goal, the whole net just by his foots and head.

He's not called the heart and soul of Barcelona for nothing, I've never seen a defender more dedicated, great with headers, unafraid to sacrifice himself for the save and what not!? He's the reason why I became a Barca fan
Sad to see him leaving..

4 John Terry

Terry's displays are usually all-action affairs, characterised by aggression, last-ditch clearances and tackles and ruthless determination. He is also a decent passer of the ball. A natural leader, there's a reason why Fabio Capello was willing to lose his job over Terry's position within the England team. His partnership with Ricardo Carvalho under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho was the foundation of one of the meanest defences in English football history, and saw Chelsea win the league in both 2005 and 2006, and again in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti. His aerial ability is one to be scared of; Terry is a major threat from corners and has scored plenty in his time at Chelsea thus far. John Terry has made it to the UEFA Team of the Year on four occasions during the last decade. He isn't just a brilliant defender but also a leader who is a constant support to his players on the pitch. His playing style reflects the passion he has for the game.

What a great man! Terry will go down in history as a great, irreplaceable and an inspiration to all who watch or hear about him play! Terry is the captain, the leader, the legend, aside from being the best in the world, he is also an aerial threat, tactician, has strength, as well as has an exceptional tackling ability

Mr. Chelsea. By far, he is the best defender in the world. Provides great support to Cech 7 also motivates the youngsters. With amazing positioning, Terry provides a great link be/w Midfield and defense. Apart from that he has a hunch for goals. Go Terry!

6Mr. Chelsea. By far, he is the best defender in the world. Provides great support to Cech 7 also motivates the youngsters. With amazing positioning, Terry provides a great link be/w Midfield and defense. Apart from that he has a hunch for goals. Go Terry!

5 Franz Beckenbauer Franz Anton Beckenbauer (born 11 September 1945) is a German former professional footballer and manager. Early in his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser because of his elegant style, dominance and leadership on the field, and also as his first name "Franz" is reminiscent of the Austrian emperors. He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. A versatile player who started out as a midfielder, Beckenbauer made his name as a central defender. He is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper (libero).

You kidding me with this list?! Gattuso isn't even a defender! And John Terry the best of all time, the number 1 defender? What the hell?! Have a memory that's longer than the last 5 seasons! Proper Chelsea fans with more than a decade of football knowledge would surely have Ron Harris in ahead of JT. Use your heads here kids, if you don't know the guys on this list you need to get out there and watch them on YouTube or ask your elders, there are great players you've never seen and are ignoring. Baresi, Maldini, Ayala, Cannavaro, these guys were genuine greats. And "Der Kaiser", Beckenbauer, he was the best of all time

Are you people crazy not to vote for him? People think Vidic is better than Beckenbauer? People forget about legands. For example in the goalkeeper list Yashin was 8th! Pele (in the best of all time list) was not first! This lists top 5 should be Beckenbauer, Maldini, Moore,Baresi,Scirea/Robero Carlos.

This list has no credibility. Saying that Beckehbaur isn't the greatest defensive player ever is like saying Justin Bieber is the greatest artist of all time. It says so online only because internet people are idiots

HE's just the best. How is beckenbauer no.7. He helped win 2 world cups for west germany. Maldini isn't even a defender. Marquez sucks now.

6 Sergio Ramos Sergio Ramos García is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Real Madrid and the Spain national football team.

Of course Sergio Ramos should be #1. Dude has won every trophy in football both at the club and for the nation. He captains Spain and Real Madrid, the best club team in football's history. Has taken FIFA Defender of the year so many times. Recently was when he was awarded best defender back to back from 2016,17 and 18 season. What I love about Ramos is how he is so relaxed with the ball. Not only is he a terrific defender, but he is magnificent with handling possession from Madrid's back four.

Best defender in the world. Good as central left or right. Has speed and hard kick. Plays aggressive and rough. Some day he's a dirty player but he does anything to defend his teams net. Great at headers and at keeping his possession. Exceptional player. He is the best because no one has all the qualities he has.

A versatile player who has skill, creativity, pressure and speed. One can play him almost on all position From the left wing, central and right even in the middle of the park. I urge other defenders to emulate him and my message to my best coach ever in all sports, Jose Mourinho, treasure this asset.

He is with no doubt the best.
He has body strength and skill and height and headers he would kill him self to cut the ball if a striker pass him he will be dead.
And he is very fast and he has everything that great defenders like Puyol, Vidic, Tiago Silva, Pique...
And most important he LOVE REAL MADRID like no other player

7 Bobby Moore Robert Frederick Chelsea "Bobby" Moore was an English professional footballer. He captained West Ham United for more than ten years and was captain of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup.

Would only consider Beckenbauer as a contender to this man's superiority in defense. The only problem with rating the best defender ever is that full backs and wings back are included, who also contribute to the attacking phase and less to the defensive phase than a central back. As such, centre backs should rule this list, full backs are more rounded than centre backs but centre backs are better defenders, in general.

Well, when the great Pele says Moore is the best defender in the world, he's probably a top 4 defender ever.

I find it offensive he is not top, he was quite simply the perfect defender.

Lead England to their world cup win in 1966, also did tackle of the century on Jairzinho in the 1970 world cup. Deserves to be in the top 10

8 Roberto Carlos Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha (born 10 April 1973), commonly known as Roberto Carlos, is a Brazilian former professional footballer who now works as a football ambassador. He started his career in Brazil as a forward but spent most of his career as a left back and has been described as the "most offensive-minded left-back in the history of the game". Carlos is also widely considered one of the best left backs in history, and was also known as a free kick specialist throughout his career—his bending shots have measured at over 105 miles per hour (169 km/h). In 1997, he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year. He was chosen on the FIFA World Cup Dream Team, and in 2004 was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.

Unbelievable. Probably the greatest defenseman ever, and maybe even one of the best players. Amazing free kicks, possibly the best ever, good pace, wonderful attacking prowess, and still amazing in the back! Great both defensively and offensively. If you don't believe me, look up Roberto Carlos amazing goals on YouTube. And prepare to be amazed. You will think he is a striker.

As a defender, he was average. And that's why he cannot be in the top 10. We're talking about the best defenders, as in defending the ball.

He also had a few nice free kicks but he was not a free kick specialist because they were intermittent.

Run very fast, shoot very strong, a comprehensive defender which could handle all the positions.

One of my hero of Brazil. I didn't see many of his match but I think he is so dangerous.

9 Philipp Lahm Philipp Lahm is a German professional footballer who plays as a right back or defensive midfielder for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich.

Amazing defender, leader, captain, and person overall. And not a red card under his belt!

So talented and a legend for both Bayern Munich and Germany.Unstoppable and one of the bast German players.

Best defender of the best team of the best league of the best country so scare blue ha I know th

Best defender of the best team of the best league of the best country

10 Gerard Piqué Gerard Piqué Bernabéu is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for FC Barcelona and the Spain national team.

He's gone and become the best in the world at present times and more is to come from him as the old Puyol reaches the later stages of his magnificent career. Pique rules the world of defense

This guy has saved Spain more then once.
Now he's doing the same for Barcelona.

The world cup winner.
Heart of Barcelona's defense all these year's

He's so awesome and adorable. I rly love pique like a lot honestly!

The Contenders
11 Rio Ferdinand Rio Gavin Ferdinand is an English former professional footballer who played as a center back, and current television pundit for BT Sport.

The fact of the matter is Rio Ferdinand was exceptional in every aspect of the game. He was not only skilled - he was brilliant. He knew where to be and he always seemed multiple plays ahead of the other players on the field. Most importantly, he understood quality sportsmanship more than anyone else on this list. If anyone deserves best defender it is Ferdinand, my ultimate soccer inspiration. God bless!

He's the kind of defender that's not too beastly from the agresiveness department. But he adds to his team an unbelievable amont of great understanding of how to defend in every situation.
He's the best game reader when defending and nobody like terry ever does well when they just dive in to every moving objects on the field including the opposition's legs.

RIO is one of the best central defenders that have ever existed in this World. Thanks to his game reading abilities and both influence and boost he gives to his team. Long live Gervin.

His peak came during the years before his back injury. Especially in 2008, where despite Ronaldo's 40+ goals, Man Utd wouldn't have won the Premier League nor the Champions skipper

12 Franco Baresi

Sure... He is surely in the top 10 defenders in the world, Forza Italia

13 Thiago Silva Thiago Emiliano da Silva, commonly known as Thiago Silva, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a central defender for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazilian national team.

T. Silva is in the top 5 of best defenders of all times.

He almost always stands up because he doesn't need to tackle to steal the ball. Incredible anticipation. He knows where the ball will go before the ball even moves.
Whenever he tackles, there is a 99% chance for him to steal the ball. Never saw him make a tackle for no reason.
He is recognized by many players, commentators, etc as the best defender of the world. Barcelona kept trying to get him for weeks, partly because of how he HUMILIATED MESSI.
He is never directly involved when the opponents score a goal. On the contrary, he is always here to try scoring when he can.

What! Thiago Silva is the best defender in the world. And all you have to do is visit any other website ranking the defenders to be sure. He is the captain of Brazil national football team so of coarse he's the first in the world even if nobody knows or likes him

Ig were talking currently thiago silva is the best defender in the game his marking ability is unmatched and countless times has neutralized great players like Messi van persie etc nooo way is ramos puyol bidic better than him he going bring home the world cup!

If were talking all time defender its maldini he shut down Ronaldo figo zidane he's the greatest defender

Thiago Silva is a great defender, he has many skills and is well rounded. I am not surprised he is rated the best.

14 Alessandro Nesta

He is so powerful, fast and got everything a top center back requires. I've never seen a defender playing like this. His power, slide tackling and clever anticipation is put to good use even if he is old and he has reduced the pace and speed. Because of him Lazio won the scudetto.

One of the most talented defenders in the history of football. Sadly because of injuries he wasnt able to become the beast he should've become. Too slow at times and not physical enough. But a legend he is. Deserves to be top 20. Imagine if he hadnt had his injuries. From an Inter fan, the utmost respect for this man.

He has an excellent Football Brain... And is a textbook of tackling techniques... An Idol for all emergin centre backs all around he world.. In short... If Defending is Religion... Alessandro Nesta is God!

Nesta is just class, he can tackle, anticipate, or save a ball in the line. He has done an amazing job over the years, few can even compare to him.

15 Fabio Cannavaro

Beckenbauer also won the ballo dor 3 times. I think fabio is a bit overrated for winning this ball on dor YES he did well in the world cup, that was his prime and it lasted for lesser time in comparison to Nesta and Maldini. But still Italians do it best

Internationally he is THE BEST defense, despite his lackluster club career, there is a reason that in 2006 they nicknamed him the Berlin wall, he simply couldn't be beat, 2 goals were scored on Italy, one was an own goal that he had no influence on and the other was a penalty shot by Zidane, a stellar performance by one of the best defenseman of all time

This is must be number one!
Cannavaro is the strongest defender forever,
Began his career from adolescence to deliver italy won the world cup.
Amo Cannavaro, grazie capitano...

Franz Beckembauer was a great midfielder, Fabio Cannavaro is the best real hard-core pure central defender of all times !

16 Rafael Márquez

Rafa Marquez should be in the top 3 in my opinion. He's basically won every important trophy out there. The only one he doesn't have under his belt is the World Cup, but other than that he should be in the top 3. Such respect for that man. He's made Mexicos national team what it is today and he's still going now. Age 35 and now playing in the Serie A with Hellas Verona, still going strong, can't really say that about defenders at that age. Surely, he should be in top 5 at least.

Marquez is the guy who made Mexico who it is, how he's the captain and the captains lead there team. that shows that Marquez is a great leader and a Mexican legend

Marquez is the best defender in the world and has been the best for as long as I can remember.

Great view of the game. Passes the cross the field. Great header. Polivalence. Excellent tackle.

17 Jaap Stam

Jaap Stam has had a wonderful footballing career playing as the heart of many world class team defence such as manchester united , ac milan and now ajax .stam should be at least in the top 10

18 Vincent Kompany

A leader. Ability to perform consistently. Exceptional defender with a high degree of offensive and attacking skill set. Power with size, grace, speed and agility. Deceivingly fast and positional sound. Intuitive and relentless. Great vision on the pitch. Arguably, one of the best in his craft.

Without him, Manchester City would definitely not be at the top of the Premier League!

This is simply the best defender in the world!

Kompany is best defense

19 Gary Neville Gary Alexander Neville is an English football coach and former player who currently serves as assistant manager for the England national football team, and as co-owner of Salford City.
20 Cafu
21 Dani Alves

He is the best right back in the world by far and part of one of the best teams ever. Named in the world XI but still placed in the 50s? Really?

22 Denis Irwin
23 Djalma Santos
24 Ashley Cole Ashley Cole is an English professional footballer who plays as a left-back for Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer.

The best left back in the world!
There is no other player who is better than him in the position that he plays!
Nobody can deliver the crosses that he does from the position he plays.
His counter attacking skills are superb!

He plays very well

25 Lilian Thuram

Simply the best. An incredible defender with speed and a lot of intelligence in his moves.
He didn't score much in his career but it's all thanks to him that France beat Croatia in semi final of 1998 world cup.

Thuram quickly became one of the best defenders in the world after his debeut he became a very essential part of the France national soccer team he was fast and reliable on corner kicks he deserves to be on the top ten of this list not 17.

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