The Six Best Defenders of all time in Football

As the great philosopher Dwayne Johnson once said, "Success isn’t always about greatness." It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come. Here, we pick our top six defenders of all time.

1) Ruud Krol

Ruud Krol. Best Defender of all time.
Ruud Krol (Credit - BBCofficial)

Country: The Netherlands

Clubs: Ajax, Vancouver Whitecaps, Naples, AS Cannes

  • 6 domestic titles
  • 3 Champions League titles (European Cup)
  • 0 European Championships
  • 0 World Cups

One of Dutch football’s all-time greats, Ruud Krol’s education in Ajax’s free-flowing system ensured he was versatile at the back and could push up into midfield when called for—finished as a World Cup runner-up to the home side in both West Germany in 1974 and Argentina in 1978.

2)Javier Zanetti

Javier Zanetti. Best Defender of all time.
Javier Zanetti (Credit -

Country: Argentina

Clubs: Talleres RE, CA Banfield, Inter Milan

  • 5 domestic titles
  • 1 Champions League title (European Cup)
  • 0 World Cups

Like the man at the top of this list, Argentinian Javier Zanetti arrived in Milan as a young man and stayed. And stayed. Then he retired and came back. Across town from Paolo Maldini, Zanetti is now vice president at Inter Milan, but it was at Inter and as Argentian’s right-back that he made his reputation. holds the Champions League record for captain’s appearances (82) and is one of only 35 footballers to achieve 1,000-plus appearances for club and country.

3) Gaetano Scirea

Gaetano Scirea. Best Defender of all time.
Gaetano Scirea (Credit -

Country: Italy

Clubs: Atalanta, Juventus

  • 7 domestic titles
  • 1 Champions League title (European Cup)
  • 0 European Championships
  • 1 World Cup

Winner of every UEFA club and domestic competition while at Juventus, Gaetano Scirea was the center-back for Italy on their way to their World Cup victory at Espana in 1982. And the defender, who sadly died at the tender age of 36, inspired future generations. "When I broke the record for most appearances at Juve, it was only important for me because it was attached to Gaetano," said Alessandro Del Piero.

4) Philipp Lahm

Philipp Lahm. Best defender of all time.
Philipp Lahm (Credit - Sky Sports)

Country: Germany

Clubs: Bayern Munich

  • 8 domestic titles
  • 1 Champions League title (European Cup)
  • European Championship: 0
  • 1 World Cup

Equally adept on the left, Philipp Lahm is a rare modern-era one-club player, winning the Bundesliga eight times with Bayern Munich and achieving Champions League glory in 2012/13. On the national side, he was ever-present. "He has performed outstandingly in three World Cups -- 2006, 2010 and 2014 -- where he twice helped Germany to the semi-finals before lifting the trophy [in 2014]," German manager Joachim Low said in 2015."For me, he is the best player of the past decade."

5) Paul Breitner

Paul Breitner. Best defender of all time.
Paul Breitner (Credit - Real Madrid)

Country: Germany

Clubs: Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Eintracht Braunschweig

  • 7 domestic titles
  • 1 Champions League title (European Cup)
  • 1 European Championship
  • 1 World Cup

One of football’s great mavericks, Paul Breitner’s off-the-wall dress and "tache sense" hid a bright footballing brain. That, combined with his physicality and an eye for goal, ensured he was a member of the formidable West Germany defence of the 1970s that won the 1974 World Cup and finished as runners-up eight years later. Only Breitner, Pelé, Vavá, and Zinedine Zidane have ever scored in multiple World Cup finals.

6) Nemanja Vidic

Nemanja Vidic (Credit - Eurosport)

Country: Serbia

Club: Manchester United, Inter

  • 1 FIFA World Cup Champion
  • English Premier League
  • 1 UCL
  • 3 League champions
  • Winner of the 7 Community Shield

Vidic, bought from Serbia, had been a mainstay for Manchester United's defense. His no-nonsense attitude helped the club win numerous trophies, including the Champions League. After Sir Alex retired, he switched to Inter.

Cover Credit - Eurosport

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