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The 25 Greatest Defenders Of All Time Have Been Named And Ranked By Fans

Daniel Marland

| Last updated 

The 25 Greatest Defenders Of All Time Have Been Named And Ranked By Fans

AC Milan and Italy icon Paolo Maldini has been named as the greatest defender in football history in a new fan poll.


Maldini played for the Serie A giants for over 25 years and won the lot at club level, including seven Serie A titles and five Champions Leagues.

The sweeper was adept to playing at left-back as well as central defence across three different decades.

He retired from international duty after the 2002 World Cup and if he'd have hung on for four more years, he'd have added a World Cup winners medal to his trophy cabinet too.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Fans on believe Maldini is worthy of top spot, but he faced stiff competition.

Nemanja Vidic comes in second place after becoming a staple of Manchester United's success in the mid 2000s, while Barcelona icon Carles Puyol is similar to Maldini in the way he's a one-club man.

John Terry and Franz Beckenbauer round out the top five, which is missing a certain Sergio Ramos.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar enjoyed a trophy-laden 16 years with Real Madrid, winning 22 major honours with Los Blancos.

He's failed to reach those heights since moving to France last summer, but is the highest placed active player on the list.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Check out the top 25 below:

25. Lilian Thurman

24. Ashley Cole

23. Djalma Santos

22. Denis Irwin

21. Dani Alves

20. Cafu

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

19. Gary Neville

18. Vincent Kompany

17. Jaap Stam

16. Rafael Marquez

15. Fabio Cannavaro

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

14. Alessandro Nesta

13. Thiago Silva

12. Franco Baresi

11. Rio Ferdinand

10. Gerard Pique

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

9. Philipp Lahm

8. Roberto Carlos

7. Bobby Moore

6. Sergio Ramos

5. Franz Beckenbauer

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

4. John Terry

3. Carles Puyol

2. Nemanja Vidic

1. Paolo Maldini

There are a few interesting calls in here to say the least.

Gary Neville is no doubt a legend, but he's somehow managed to rank above Dani Alves.

The Barcelona full-back is the most decorated footballer in history with 46 senior titles across four different leagues and the Brazil national team.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Franco Baresi also fails to break into the top ten, which is a crime against the sport.

Baresi spent 20 years at AC Milan and won the 1984 World Cup with Italy.

Who do you think is the best defender of all time?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Paolo Maldini, Nemanja Vidic, John Terry, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique

Daniel Marland
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