Top 10 Highest Goal Scoring Defenders of All Time

Some of these players are the embodiment of "Attack is the best form of defense"

Football has evolved to be much more than the ultra simplistic version of horses of courses approach to the game. Managers nowadays expect their defenders to be able to do a lot more than just defend and then fans are also now used to it but it was not necessarily the case back in the day. Some players featured here are pioneers of their generation while others are modern day machines who could to be very honest play anywhere out on the entire pitch except as a goalkeeper, at least up until now in the case of players still active.

10. Franz Beckenbauer (109 goals)

The former FIFA World Cup winner and one of Germany’s greatest-ever, Franz Beckenbauer interpreted the sweeper role in football like nobody had ever done before him. The goal scoring defender operated not only in front of the goal keeper, but also scored 109 times across a 13-year-long career.

Beckenbauer’s best years were for Bayern Munich, having found the back of the net for the Bavarians 64 times in over 400 appearances. Franz also bagged 14 goals for his national team.

9. Roberto Carlos (113 goals)

Roberto Carlos was a fullback who loved to bomb forward. For a very brief period also used as a winger at Inter, but he is mostly remembered more for that physics defying brilliant free-kick goal which was probably one of the first viral clips on the internet when he scored against France in 1997. Often touted by man fans and pundits alike as one of the greatest attacking full-backs of all time, he netted the ball 113 times during his career.

The Brazilian was another star studded piece of Real Madrid’s  famed ‘Galacticos’ squad that rose to prominence in the early 2000s. He scored over 70 goals for them in more than 500 appearances. The goal scoring defender was also a regular set-piece taker with his national team, with most of his strikers coming from free-kicks thanks to the bend and insane power he generated from a dead ball situation.

8. Paul Breitner (113 goals)

Paul Breitner is another former Germany and Bayern Munich star, just like Beckenbauer. Breitner also made significant contributions to both his club and country’s successes in the 1970s. The 68-year-old scored 113 goals in his career, capturing the imagination of millions by the way he played .

Although he did the opposite of what most players do while transitioning from one position to another and converted to a midfielder. During the later stages of his career, Breitner was in the hearts of everyone a goal scoring defender first and is fondly remembered so.

7. Steve Bruce (113 goals)

Former Manchester United cult hero and Newcastle United Boss Steve Bruce was yet another defender who had a knack of getting on the score sheet on a regular basis consistency which would even make a striker proud. The 59-year-old  during his playing days had scored a total of 113 goals for Manchester United, Gillingham, Norwich City, Birmingham and Sheffield United.

His most well known goals were scored for United against Sheffield Wednesday in the 1992-93 season when he netted a brace to give Sir Ferguson’s side their first title in 26 years. Just two seasons ago, he had set a British record by scoring 19 goals in all competitions.

6. Sergio Ramos (127 goals)

Sergio Ramos with 119 goals and counting is the only player who can add to his tally and it would not be a surprising if he ends up adding a few more before the 2010 World Cup winner decides to call time on his illustrious career.

He also has a habit of scoring at crucial moments, these types of players are often described as clutch players.  For example, it was Ramos who paved the way for Real Madrid to lift the Champions League title in 2014 and 2016, by scoring against local rivals Atletico Madrid in both matches. Following the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo, He ended up taking over the penalty-duties for Los Blancos as well.

5. Graham Alexander (130 goals)

Scottish legend Graham Alexander is one of the top five goal-scoring defenders in history. He was one of the greatest ever goal-scoring defenders ever and he was an active player not too long ago.

Having played as a right-back for many clubs within the English footballing pyramid, including Burnley, Scunthorpe, Luton and Preston North End, Graham Alexander has netted 130 goals during his career. Most of his goals came from penalties, but he also was not a one trick pony and had the ability to score from open play, especially during counter-attacks. Ironically he never got on the score sheet for Scotland.

4. Laurent Blanc (153 goals)

Top 10 Highest Goal Scoring Defenders of All Time
Laurent Blanc (Credit -

Ever heard of a defender topping the all-time scoring charts of a European club? For former Ligue 1 champion Montpellier, the distinction is still owned by Laurent Blanc (84). However, With 141 goals, Blanc is currently in fourth place in the all-time list of goal-scoring defenders.

The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Manchester United player began his career initially featuring as an attacking midfielder, but soon at the behest of  his manager about half a decade into his career, he dropped back to play as a sweeper. He was also a regular set-piece taker for both club and country and played a crucial role in France’s FIFA World Cup win in 1998. Thus his inclusion is not a surprise but it really shows how good he was at adapting and still retaining his goal scoring instincts.

3. Fernando Hierro (163 goals)

Currently, only Fernando Hierro has the bragging rights of being above Sergio Ramos as Real Madrid’s all-time highest goal-scoring defender. The three-time Champions League winner and five-time La Liga winner netted 163 times during his career and was a regular penalty and free-kick taker.

Hierro , just like Ramos was also the captain of both Real Madrid and the Spanish national team for a long time, and one of his greatest strengths was his incredible presence in the air, especially during corner set pieces. He has also scored in the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers.

2. Daniel Passarella (175 goals)

While coincidentally , all the others in this list happened to be Europeans, Daniel Passarella is the only South American to wriggle his way into the list just like he made his way into goal scoring positions. The Argentine was known for his  impressive goal-scoring ability more than his defending skills, and the 162 goals  scored during his career are proof of  why that was the case so.

Passarella was fairly short for a defender at 5ft 8in, but that did not stop him from standing strong and protecting the back line of La Albiceleste or clubs like River Plate, Inter Milan and Fiorentina. He also lead his nation to World Cup glory in 1978 and was part of their winning squad in 1986 as well.

1. Ronald Koeman (253 goals)

With a mind-boggling 207 goals, former Dutch international and Barcelona legend and manager Ronaldo Koeman owns the distinction of being the all-time highest goal-scoring defender in football. Like Beckenbauer, he carried on the good work of Franz as managed to do so while he was also a sweeper – although he played in midfield as well in the final few years of his career.

Koeman once scored 26 goals in a single season for PSV Eindhoven. At Barcelona, he scored as many as 19 goals each in two different seasons and was also their go-to man for set-pieces and penalties. His most important strike for them came against Sampdoria, who handed the Blaugrana their first-ever European Cup in 1992 and then you wonder how many more he could have scored if he would have played further forward for a little longer. But that can now only be a hypothetical scenario unless someone comes along who is an even bigger goal threat while also being a sound defender.

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