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Football’s top 10 defenders (VIDEO)

This week’s top ten looks at the best central defenders of recent history. My list is here, but I’m sure there are many others who should be included. Please feel free to comment on my choices or add your own;

  • 10. Matthias Sammer
  • Born – 5th September 1967
    74 caps for Germany.
    A sweeper with absolute class. Started out in midfield but became a wonderful defender. European footballer of the year in 1996.


  • 9. Carlos Puyol
  • Born – 13th April 1978
    70 caps for Spain
    Tough tackling, hard working defender selected in the Uefa team of the year on three occasions.


  • 8. Des Walker
  • Born – 26th November 1965
    59 caps for England
    For a period around 1990Des Walker was the best defender in the World. Fans used to sing, “You’ll never beat Des Walker.”

  • 7. Rio Ferdinand
  • Born – 7th November 1978
    72 caps for England
    Controversial figure who has twice broken the world record fee paid for a defender. In my view, the best England have had for many years.


  • 6. Alessandro Nesta
  • Born – 19th March 1976
    78 caps for Italy
    Uefa team of the year four times, Italian defender of the year four times and runner-up four times, FIFpro world XI twice. Quite simply one of the best.

  • 5. Fabio Cannavaro
  • Born – 13th September 1973
    120 caps for Italy
    World Cup winning captain and only defender to ever be awarded the World footballer of the year title.


  • 4. Bobby Moore
  • Born – 12th April 1941 Died – 24th February 1993
    108 caps for England
    Another World Cup winning captain. When he sadly died, Pele said, “He was my friend as well as the greatest defender I ever played against. The world has lost one of its greatest football players and an honourable gentleman”

  • 3. Franco Baresi
  • Born – 8th May 1960
    81 caps for Italy
    A wonderful career saw him play over five hundred league games for his only club, Milan. I have not seen that much of Baresi but what I have looked pretty good. Better judges than me say he is the best ever.


  • 2. Franz Beckenbauer
  • Born – 11th September 1945
    103 caps for Germany
    ‘The Emperor.’ World Cup winning captain, European Championship winning captain, world cup team of the tournament three times, European championship team of the tournament twice, German footballer of the year four times. He was the best footballing centre half the World has ever seen.


  • 1. Paulo Maldini
  • Born – 26th June 1968
    126 caps for Italy
    Another one club man for Milan. Italian captain from 1994 to 2002. Record number of appearances for Italy. Too many awards and honours to mention. In my opinion, the finest defender of all time.


    Over to you!

    Fri 17 Oct, 2008
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    1. Devin Rodgers says:

      I thought Cafu and Roberto Carlos were pretty good. Probably not top ten though

    2. Nazir Alema says:

      the top 10 defenders are mostly central defenders which in my point view is not balanced.

    3. R9 says:

      One name deserving to be on this list – The English Captain – John Terry.

      # 7. Rio Ferdinand

      Born – 7th November 1978
      72 caps for England
      Controversial figure who has twice broken the world record fee paid for a defender. In my view, the best England have had for many years

      Lies. All Lies.

      Terry is the best they’ve had for years.

    4. chandradeep says:

      TERRY should have been inclued

    5. tonysoprano says:

      hmm what about geatano scirea ? never send of or got a card (and that for an italian defender) truly a master of the game and how about claudio gentile i watched him against zico and also against maradona they had nothing to bring in during the whole game.

    6. tonysoprano says:

      and don’t forget paul breitner and giacinto fachetti played leftback and where twice as good as roberto carlos

    7. Emilio Martínez Baniela says:

      No top-10 list of defenders should lack mention of Gaetano Scirea, Claudio Gentile, Ruud Krol or Nílton Santos, but that’s my opinion. I know how hard football lists can get.

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