Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

The best soccer players 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 are in the ranks of the best athletes in the world, and have earned their spots by being the best footballers in the world. Here is the list of Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders Of All Time.

Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

10. Carlos Alberto Torres

Carlos Alberto Torres - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Carlos Alberto Torres was born on 17 July 1944 and died on 25 October 2016, also known as “O Capitão do Tri”, He was a Brazilian footballer. He is widely regarded as one of the best defenders of all time. He captained the Brazil national team to victory in the 1970 World Cup, scoring the fourth goal in the final, considered one of the greatest goals in the history of the tournament. He was an inductee to the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame, and was a member of the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. In January 2013, Carlos Alberto was named one of the six Ambassadors of 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, others being Ronaldo, Bebeto, Mário Zagallo, Amarildo and Marta.

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9. Giacinto Facchetti

Giacinto Facchetti - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Giacinto Facchetti was an Italian footballer, he was born on 18 July 1942. He played as a defender and was on of the best Soccer defender of all times. From January 2004 until his death in 4 September 2006, he was chairman of Internazionale, the Italian club for which he played for his entire club career during the 1960s and 1970s. He played 634 official games for the club, scoring 75 goals. At international level, Facchetti represented the Italy national football team on 94 occasions, and took part at three FIFA World Cups winning a runners-up medal in the 1970 edition of the tournament. Following Facchetti’s death in 2006, he was named one of the year’s Golden Foot “Football Legends”, and was also the recipient of the FIFA Presidential Award. In 2015, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.

8. Ruud Krol

Ruud Krol - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Ruud Jozef Krol was born on 24 March 1949. He is a retired Dutch footballer who was capped 83 times for his native country. Most of his career he played for his home town club, Ajax, and he became a coach after retirement. He is one of the best Soccer defenders of all time. Krol mainly played as a sweeper or left-back, however he could play anywhere across the back line, or in midfield as a defensive midfielder, due to his range of passing with both feet, temperament, tactical intelligence, and ability to start attacking plays after winning back the ball.

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7. Mauro Ramos

Mauro Ramos - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Mauro Ramos was born on 30 August 1930 in Poços de Caldas and died on 18 September 2002. He was a Brazilian professional association footballer. He played as a centre-back for São Paulo F.C., Santos F.C. and the Brazilian national team. Regarded as one of the best Brazilian centre backs of all time, and best Soccer Defenders of All Time, he was praised throughout his career for his aerial ability and tackling. He was also an unplaying member of the squad that won the 1958 World Cup. At the 1962 World Cup he finally made his World Cup debut and as team captain he lifted the World Cup Trophy after victory in the final over Czechoslovakia.

6. Cafu

Cafu - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Marcos Evangelista de Morais was born on 7 June 1970, he is known as Cafu, he is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a defender and is one of the best Soccer Defenders of All Time. With 142 appearances for the Brazil national team, he is the most internationally capped male Brazilian player of all time. He represented his nation in four FIFA World Cups between 1994 and 2006, and is the only player to have appeared in three consecutive World Cup finals, winning the 1994 and 2002 editions of the tournament, the latter as his team’s captain. He is regarded as one of the greatest full-backs of all time, one of the best defenders ever to grace the Italian Serie A, and as one of the greatest Brazilian and South American players of his generation. In 1994, he was named South American Footballer of the Year, and in 2004, he was named by Pelé one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA  Awards ceremony.

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5. Alessandro Nesta

Alessandro Nesta - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Alessandro Nesta was born on 19 March 1976. He is an Italian professional football manager and former player. He was last the head coach of Miami FC of the North American Soccer League (NASL). Widely considered to be one of the best centre-backs of his time and also as one of the greatest soccer defenders ever, he was best known for his pace, artistic tackles, elegance on the ball, distribution and tight marking of opponents. He made over 400 Serie Aappearances in a 20-year career spread between Lazio and Milan, winning domestic and European honours with both clubs as well as playing in Major League Soccer (MLS) for the Montreal Impact. At international level, he competed at the 1996 Olympics, three UEFA European Championships, and three FIFA World Cups. Nesta was a member of the Italian team that won the 2006 World Cup, and he also represented the Italian side that reached the final of Euro 2000.

4. Djalma Santos

Djalma Santos - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Djalma Pereira Dias dos Santos simply known as Djalma Santos, He was a Brazilian footballer. He was born on 27 February 1929 and died on 23 July 2013. He started for the Brazil national team in four World Cups, winning two, in 1958 and 1962. Santos is considered to be one of the greatest right-backs and best soccer defender of all time. While primarily known for his defensive skills, he often ventured up field and displayed some impressive technical and attacking skills. He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. He is also one of the few footballers to have made over 1,000 professional appearances in his career.

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3. Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Franz Anton Beckenbauer was born on 11 September 1945. He is a German former professional footballer and manager. Early in his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser (“The Emperor”) because of his elegant style, dominance and leadership on the field. He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport and one of the best soccer defender of all times. Today, Beckenbauer remains an influential figure in both German and international football. He led Germany’s successful bid to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup and chaired the organizing committee.

2. Franco Baresi

Franco Baresi - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Franco Baresi was born on 8 May 1960) is an Italian football youth team coach and a former player and manager. He mainly played as a sweeper or as a central defender, and spent his entire 20-year career with Serie A club Milan, captaining the club for 15 seasons. He is considered one of the greatest defenders of all-time and was ranked 19th in World Soccer magazine’s list of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century. With Milan, he won three UEFA Champions League titles, six Serie A titles, four Supercoppa Italiana titles, two European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups. In 1999, he was voted Milan’s Player of the Century. After his final season at Milan in 1997, the club retired Baresi’s shirt number 6. He was named by Pelé one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at the FIFA centenary awards ceremony in 2004. Baresi was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

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1. Paolo Maldini

 Paolo Maldini - Top 10 Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

Paolo Cesare Maldini was born on 26 June 1968. He is an Italian former professional footballer who played as a left-back and central defender for A.C. Milan and the Italy national team. Maldini made his debut for Italy in 1988, enjoying a 14-year career before retiring in 2002 with 126 caps, a record at the time. Maldini is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time. He played at a world class level for his entire career spanning two-and-a-half decades, and won the Best Defender trophy at the UEFA Club Football Awards at the age of 39, as well as the Serie A Defender of the Year Award in 2004. As of 2015, Paolo Maldini is the co-owner of North American Soccer League (NASL) club Miami FC.


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