The Greatest Defenders in Football History

While the strikers often hog the limelight with their eye-catching celebrations and gestures, the defenders work hard to stay out of the spotlight; they don't make the headlines unless they score a goal or let one past their defenses, the former being a rarity. Though defenders don’t hog as much limelight as the forwards, they play a crucial role in the outcome of the game. We have made a list of the greatest defenders to honor the unsung heroes.

1. Bobby Moore

Bobby Moore
Also Known As: Robert Frederick Chelsea Moore
Birthday: 12 April 1941
Born In: Barking, Essex, England
Sun Sign: Aries
Died On: 24 February 1993
Century: 20th Century

Bobby Moore is widely considered one of the greatest defenders ever. In 2002, he was inducted into the 'English Football Hall of Fame.' In the same year, he was included in the '100 Greatest Britons' list by BBC.

2. Cafu

Also Known As: Marcos Evangelista de Morais
Birthday: 07 June 1970
Born In: Itaquaquecetuba, State of São Paulo, Brazil
Sun Sign: Gemini
Century: 20th Century, 21st Century

Widely considered one of the greatest defenders of all time, Cafu was named in Pelé's 'FIFA 100' list in 2004. He represented the Brazilian national team in four 'FIFA World Cups,' winning the tournament in 1994 and 2002.

Also Known As: Franz Anton Beckenbauer
Birthday: 11 September 1945
Born In: Munich, Germany
Sun Sign: Virgo
Died On: 07 January 2024
Century: 20th Century, 21st Century

Franz Beckenbauer was the pioneer of the modern version of the defending position called sweeper. He was honored with the 'FIFA Order of Merit' in 1984. He was named in the 'FIFA World Cup Dream Team' in 2002 and 'World Team of the 20th Century.'

4. Franco Baresi

Franco Baresi
Birthday: 08 May 1960
Born In: Travagliato, Italy
Sun Sign: Taurus
Century: 20th Century, 21st Century

Widely regarded as one of the best defenders in football history, Franco Baresi played either as a sweeper or a central defender. He was in the Italian team that won the 1982 'World Cup.' He was honored by 'A.C. Milan' as the player of the century in 1999.

5. Paolo Maldini

Paolo Maldini
Also Known As: Paolo Cesare Maldini
Birthday: 26 June 1968
Born In: Milan, Italy
Sun Sign: Cancer
Century: 20th Century
The Italian national player, Paolo Maldini, played with 'A.C. Milan' for 25 years as a left-back or as a central defender. He was named 'Player of the Year' in 1994 by the 'World Soccer' magazine, and 'UNICEF' honored him as the 'European Footballer of the Season' in 1993-94.