There are many best defenders in the world and when rankings of the best players in history are compiled, defenders are rarely near the top. In the game’s history, just three defenders have won the Ballon d’Or, compared to a long and growing number of strikers and midfielders. “Attack wins games, but defence wins trophies,” may be a cliche repeated by analysts in post-game comments. The allegation, however, has an irrefutable element of truth. Every genuinely successful team in the game’s history has had a strong defence. The skill of defence has grown inexorably with the game. It has changed and grown over time to keep the beautiful game in a delicate balance. For every renowned goal machine in football’s illustrious history, there has been at least one defence that has found a response. Lists like this are, understandably, very subjective and totally dependent on personal choice. While statistics and impact drive strikers and midfielders, a defender’s career is based on how much he can help his team. The best defenders in the world history have been superb leaders both on and off the field, and they typically lead by example. Apologies are surely due to the outstanding players who did not make our list. But these 20 players have made a name for themselves as some of the best in the game’s history by doing some truly amazing things that changed the course of their careers.
Top 20 best defenders in the world football history
These are the twenty best defenders in the world which are as follows:
#1. Dani Alves
Dani Alves is one of the rare players that perfectly represents Brazil. Brazilian flair is what you’d expect from Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Neymar, and the countless other outstanding strikers Brazil has created. Alves, on the other hand, is not your average right-back. Alves has played for a number of prestigious clubs, but he is best known for his stint at FC Barcelona. The best defenders in the world and the right-back established a psychic link with Lionel Messi, and the consequences were thrilling. Alves is well-known for his ability to use his speed to effectively complement both defence and offence. He can both man-mark and make a forward pass. Alves, often recognized as the most decorated player in football history, has also achieved international success. The Brazilian captain continues to lead his side to a great Copa America campaign in 2019. With only a few years left on his contract, Alves may be able to seize a few more chances to add to his outstanding trophy collection. Related post: Top 10 Best Marvel Movies On Netflix Right Now In 2022
#2. Marcel Desailly
The French national team had an unparalleled assortment of defensive qualities in the 1990s. A decade or so ago, many clubs across the country changed how they worked with young people. Marcel Desailly, like fellow defender Didier Deschamps, developed as a highly promising player in the legendary Nantes development system. The best defenders in the world and the pair won the UEFA Champions League with Marseille in 1992, beginning Desailly’s brilliant career. But Desailly’s achievements did not end there. In 1993, the French defender joined AC Milan and went on to play with some of the best defenders in football history. Desailly had to settle for a spot in the middle of the defence, but he did a great job of protecting AC Milan’s famous back four.
#3. Philipp Lahm
Philipp Lahm is a physical embodiment of German efficiency. After the turn of the century, the German right-back was one of Bayern Munich’s most prominent individuals. Lahm guided his club through several difficult times to reach the peak of German football. He also led Bayern Munich to a treble in 2013, which had never been done before. The best defenders in the world and he has also had a lot of success in the Bundesliga. While the German national team has always had international success, under Lahm’s guidance, they became a brutal force to be reckoned with. His apex came in 2014 when the inspired German hoisted the World Cup for his country. Pep Guardiola described Karim Lahm as one of the best footballers in history and one of the brightest players he has worked with, praising his awareness, work ethic, and positional understanding.
#4. Mauro Tassotti
Mauro Tassotti’s trophy collection from his tenure at AC Milan spans 17 years and 17 major titles. Tassotti began his career with Lazio in 1978 and left after two years to join AC Milan. The right-back made his debut for AC Milan in Serie B and went on to become one of the best players in the 1980-81 season, helping AC Milan gain promotion to Serie A. AC Milan had a difficult time in the early 1980s. On the other hand, the fact that Tassotti passed the loyalty test made sure that Rossoneri fans would remember him for years to come. Tassotti was mostly employed as a full-back on the right wing, but he could also play left-back or sweeper. Tassotti’s play embodied the Calcio mentality of Italian football and was mostly oriented on savvy defence. However, the full-back was also useful in opposing territory. From 1993 to 1995, the defender won three straight Champions League titles and led the squad in 1994.
#5. Sergio Ramos
Few people have the power to fully polarize the football world the way Sergio Ramos does. Few can compete with his charm and caustic grin. Having said that, the Spanish defender’s attitude and ferocity on the field do not detract from the fact that he is one of the finest defenders to have ever worn the white of Los Blancos. To overpower the opposition, Ramos combines speed, tenacity, and a solid grasp of the game. Furthermore, he leads his team with unrivalled assurance. The best defenders in the world and Ramos is one of the most effective defenders of the twenty-first century. In 2010, the former Sevilla player helped Spain win the World Cup. He also scored a critical goal in the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid to help Real Madrid win the coveted ‘La Decima.’ Even though the Spaniard gives his critics something new to say about him every day, it’s hard to argue with the fact that he has won four Champions League titles.
#6. Franco Baresi
In retrospect, it is strange that Franco Baresi began his career in the shadow of his talented older brother, Giuseppe Baresi. For nearly 20 years, Franco Baresi was AC Milan’s knight in shining armour. The excellent defender was primarily responsible for the club’s soaring highs and was a rock in the club’s defence through its darkest times. There are many best defenders in the world, but this is the best defender in the world. Baresi was the best kind of leader and messiah for AC Milan. Every time he won the ball back in his usual way, he gave players and fans a boost. During his stint at the club, Baresi was Arrigo Sacchi’s go-to man, understanding tactical instructions and keeping together a world-class defensive line. Baresi was a Sacchi-certified expert in offside trap organization. With his invincible presence of mind, he would frequently stun attackers and wingers. The defender led AC Milan to three UEFA Champions League titles and six Serie A titles. He put the Rossoneri on the path to an era of great success. Related post: Top 10 Best Marvel Movies On Netflix Right Now In 2022
Being praised by ardent fans is impressive, but being endorsed by the famous Diego Maradona is quite another. Fabio Cannavaro began his early career with Napoli and pushed his way up the ranks to play alongside his boyhood idols. There are many best defenders in the world, but this is the best defender in the world. Maradona was the first to accept Cannavaro’s famous challenge. The medical personnel at the club did not take well to a teenager hurling himself at a genuine legend. But Maradona was impressed. Cannavaro’s career continued at Parma, Inter Milan, Juventus, and Real Madrid. He was the heart and spirit of every squad for which he played. His leadership abilities were obvious throughout his career, and he was fully in the limelight as he led Italy to a FIFA World Cup victory in 2006.
#8. Giuseppe Bergomi
Giuseppe Bergomi is a true Inter Milan icon and one of the numerous one-club individuals on our list. The Italian defender guaranteed that Inter Milan could compete with probably the best AC Milan team in history. Bergomi was a key part of Inter Milan’s defence for almost 20 years. He was the perfect example of the Calcio spirit. Bergomi was mostly a right-back, although he could also play centre defence or sweeper if necessary. In the 1980s, he excelled in Inter Milan’s man-marking defensive scheme. Bergomi was also known for his ability to easily hold off the league’s best dribblers.
#9. Carles Puyol
Every Barcelona supporter shudders at the thought of Carles Puyol nearly leaving FC Barcelona to join Malaga in 1998. Puyol exemplified Barcelona’s “Mes Que Un Club” concept in several ways, leading the club to unparalleled success. During his 15-year career, Puyol led Barcelona’s first team for almost ten years. There are many best defenders in the world, but this is the best defender in the world. At the heart of Barcelona’s defence, he developed an outstanding relationship with a teenage Gerard Pique. Puyol matched Pique’s technique and grace with equal parts heart and steel. Puyol’s most valuable attribute was his ability to motivate and encourage his colleagues. Unsurprisingly, the iconic Blaugrana captain is responsible for the majority of Barcelona’s silverware. Puyol was also a member of Spain’s World Cup-winning team in 2010, when he worked with and tutored players such as Pique and Sergio Ramos. Puyol approached the event like he had every other game in his career: with his heart on his sleeve.
#10. Matthias Sammer
Matthias Sammer began his professional career as a striker and a winger, which is rather remarkable for a player who would go on to revolutionize the role of the “libero” in modern football. He was a productive striker before moving into a defensive midfield role the next year due to his superior understanding of the game. In the winter of 1992, Sammer joined Borussia Dortmund, where Ottmar Hitzfeld planned to use versatile German as a “libero,” or sweeper. There are many best defenders in the world, but this is the best defender in the world. Borussia Dortmund’s Sammer was a revelation for the club, winning two straight Bundesliga titles and the club’s first-ever European Cup in 1997. Sammer also had a very successful career with the German national team, especially after Germany came together as one country in 1990. Sammer was named Player of the Tournament when Germany won Euro 1996. He was only the second defender in football history to win the Ballon d’Or.
#11. Ronald Koeman
Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona of the 1990s dubbed the “Dream Team,” was noted mostly for their offensive talent. It’s only natural, therefore, that the team’s best defensive player be as explosive as they come. After brief spells with Groningen and Ajax, Koeman discovered his ultimate talent at PSV Eindhoven. With the Rood-Witten, he won a treble and a domestic double in consecutive years, and he also played a role in PSV’s sole European Cup victory. The centre defence scored 51 goals in 98 appearances for PSV Eindhoven, outscoring the majority of his team’s forwards. In 1989, the Dutch defender joined Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona and took Spain by storm. Koeman was a skilled defender and a ball-playing centre-back who seemed to relish raiding the opposing goal whenever the opportunity arose. Koeman was a centre-back or sweeper on a squad that included Romario, Michael Laudrup, and Hristo Stoichkov.
#12. Alessandro Nesta
If defensive football had to choose its own Leonardo da Vinci, Alessandro Nesta is one of football history’s unique treasures. Defending isn’t usually seen as a beautiful part of the game, but Nesta’s ability to caress the ball off a striker’s feet was stunning. Taking the ball away from Lionel Messi when he is at the top of his game is hard, but doing it with a magnificent tackle at age 36 is the best example of divine intervention. Nesta joined Lazio in 1993 and became captain at the age of 23 in 1999, guiding the team to a domestic double. From 2000 to 2002, he was named Serie A Defender of the Year three times in a row.
#13. Alessandro Costacurta
This list shows that AC Milan had a flair for fielding outstanding defenders. Alessandro Costacurta is not the first player on the list, and he will most likely not be the last. The Italian centre-back was an important member of a defensive line often considered the best in football history. The tactically flexible defender can play anywhere on the back line. Also, his ability to pass the ball and his technical skills made him a complete player. Costacurta was skilled at establishing man-marking and zonal-marking schemes, as well as offside traps and high defensive lines. At the time, there was a lot of contention for positions in Milan’s starting eleven. But Costacurta made certain that his spot in an all-star AC Milan lineup was never in doubt. Costacurta’s finest accomplishments came under the tutelage of Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, who described him as the best defender he had ever played with. The defender was a member of seven winning Serie A seasons and played for AC Milan until he was 41 years old.
Cafu is widely considered one of the best full-backs of all time, and with good reason. The Brazilian began his career with Sao Paulo, where he won the Copa Libertadores in 1992. In 1997, he joined AS Roma and earned his first Serie A title with the Giallorossi in 2001. Cafu was a member of one of the best defensive lines of the twenty-first century while at AC Milan when he won the Champions League in 2007. The Brazilian’s explosive dashes down the right wing earned him the moniker “Pendolino,” which is a reference to Italy’s rapid trains. Cafu, unlike many offensive full-backs of his period, was a skilled defender who could play everywhere on the field. Cafu’s most illustrious accomplishments have been with his national team. The right-back played in three World Cup finals. In 1994 and 2002, when he was captain, he won the title.
#15. Jaap Stam
At his peak, Jaap Stam was a phenomenon. The Dutchman was an important part of one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s many winning teams and may have been one of the most reliable defenders to ever play for Manchester United. Stam was hardly the most famous player during Manchester United’s heyday. He was, however, an important part of the well-oiled machine that the great Scottish manager had made and was in charge of. Stam’s commanding presence in the back four, along with his remarkable speed and agility, made him a defensive Goliath for Manchester United. At Manchester United, the Dutch defender won three Premier League titles in three years, as well as an FA Cup and the coveted UEFA Champions League.
#16. Roberto Carlos
Roberto Carlos was nothing short of a wonder, with a free-kick technique that would have made his Brazilian colleagues Ronaldinho and Juninho happy. Carlos was regarded by teammates and opponents alike as one of the most dangerous players of his period. With his quickness and imaginative dribbling, the left-back was known for tearing apart defences. There are many best defenders in the world, but this is the best defender in the world. The Brazilian lifted Real Madrid to incredible levels of excellence with his speed, aggression, and excellent set-piece and crossing skills. Carlos is regarded as one of Real Madrid’s best left-backs in the club’s illustrious history. The French national team will never forget the Brazilian’s amazing free kick that curved around and surprised them. Carlos had a tremendous amount of success at Real Madrid, winning four La Liga crowns and three UEFA Champions Leagues. Carlos and Cafu worked well together in Brazil and scared both teams during Selecao’s successful 2002 campaign.
#17. Bobby Moore
Given the multitude of variables involved in each football player’s individual career, comparisons between generations are often unfair. Bobby Moore, on the other hand, was no ordinary mortal. 27 years after his death, songs are still being written in his honour, and more will undoubtedly be written to honour England’s greatest defender. Moore, hailed by Pele as the finest defender he had ever faced, was the ideal leader on the field. The West Ham centre-back played almost 600 games for the club, winning the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
#18. Franz Beckenbauer
Measuring a football player’s success is an impossible endeavour. Silverware is one method to demonstrate a player’s excellence. However, analyzing the player’s impact on the game as a whole is an equally reliable statistic. Both boxes are checked by Franz Beckenbauer. “Der Kaiser,” as his teammates and supporters dubbed him, was a natural leader. The best defenders in the world Beckenbauer handled himself on and off the field with the dignity of a captain and was one of the most versatile defenders in the game’s history. He is largely recognized for developing and popularizing the role of sweeper, or “libero.” Beckenbauer often went down low into his area to pick up the ball, then slid past the first push of the other team and into the middle of the field. The Kaiser, from his deep position, not only offered the perfect cover for his goalkeeper but also commanded play with his technical skill and understanding of the game.
#19. Paolo Maldini
Defending is rarely considered the most attractive talent in football. Defenders often use rough tackles, shirt pulls, and brutal elbows to the face to stop the play or send a message. There are many best defenders in the world, but this is the best defender in the world. t’s no wonder, however, that a common belief develops that portrays the art of defending in a very negative light. Paolo Maldini is the polar opposite of this idea. Maldini could take the ball from a striker’s feet like a hot knife through butter in the blink of an eye. Filling Franco Baresi’s huge shoes is almost impossible, but Maldini made a name for himself at the San Siro, where he played for his favourite team, AC Milan, for an amazing 25 years. There are just a few players in football history who can match Maldini’s commitment and loyalty as a one-club man. Maldini was a fixture in some of the best defensive lineups in sports history. In his early twenties, he worked with people like Franco Baresi, Mauro Tassotti, and Alessandro Costacurta to form a well-known group.
#20. Gaetano Scirea
Gaetano Scirea is one of only five players in history to have won every UEFA and FIFA title. Scirea was a monster of a defender at his peak, easily the best in the world for a period. Fortunately for Italy, his incredible peak coincided with the 1982 World Cup, and with the legendary Dino Zoff in goal, Italy’s ace defence could do no wrong. There are many best defenders in the world, but this is the best defender in the world. The best defenders in the world and the Italian centre-back started his career with Atalanta, but he moved up the ranks with Antonio Cabrini and Claudio Gentile at Juventus. Scirea was known for his elegance and technical skills, which set him apart from his defensive teammates. He is often seen as a forerunner of how Baresi and Maldini played defence. Scirea went on to win seven Serie A titles with Juventus and finished his career with the country’s most successful team. In honour of the renowned defender, Juventus Stadium’s southern stand is named the Curva Scirea. Related post: Top 10 Best Marvel Movies On Netflix Right Now In 2022