Many football fans when discussing what makes this game beautiful often forget about the art of defending. A last-ditch tackle and an off the line clearance can often be just as important as a penalty or free kick, and over the course of time who have perfected defending similar to how the likes of Pele, Maradona and Cruyff have perfected offence. In the history of football, there have been defenders who have stood out with respective to a particular style and position in defending. So here are the greatest defenders in the history of football.
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Marcos Evangelista de Morais, known as Cafu, is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a defender. With 142 appearances for the Brazil national team, he is the most internationally capped Brazilian player of all time. Wikipedia Born: June 7, 1970 (age 48 years), Itaquaquecetuba, São Paulo, Brazil Full name: Marcos Evangelista de Morais Height: 1.76 m Spouse: Regina Feliciano de Moraes Playing position: Defender Nicknames: Il Pendolino, Cafu
Franco Baresi is an Italian football youth team coach and a former player and manager. He mainly played as a sweeper or as a central defender, and spent his entire 20-year career with Serie A club Milan, captaining the club for 15 seasons. Wikipedia Born: May 8, 1960 (age 58 years), Travagliato, Italy Height: 1.76 m Spouse: Maura Lari Siblings: Giuseppe Baresi Movies: Tifosi Did you know: Franco Baresi holds the second-most A.C. Milan appearance record (719). wikipedia.org
Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha, more commonly known simply as Roberto Carlos, is a Brazilian retired professional footballer. Wikipedia Born: April 10, 1973 (age 45 years), Garça, São Paulo, Brazil Height: 1.68 m Number: 3 (FC Anzhi Makhachkala / Defender) Position: Defender Spouse: Mariana Luccon (m. 2009) Did you know: Roberto Carlos has the third-most official appearances (1,130+) among association football players. wikipedia.org
Sergio Ramos García is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for and captains both Real Madrid and the Spain national team. Primarily a central defender, he can also play as a right back. Wikipedia Partner: Pilar Rubio (2012–) Trending Born: March 30, 1986 (age 32 years), Camas, Seville, Spain Height: 1.84 m Nationality: Spanish Current teams: Real Madrid C.F. (#4 / Defender), Spain national football team (#15 / Defender)
Franz Anton Beckenbauer is a German former professional footballer and manager. Early in his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser because of his elegant style, dominance and leadership on the ... Wikipedia Born: September 11, 1945 (age 72 years), Munich, Germany Height: 1.81 m Position: Defender Spouse: Heidi Burmester (m. 2006), Sybille Beckenbauer (m. 1990–2004), Brigitte Beckenbauer (m. 1966–1990) Children: Stephan Beckenbauer, Michael Beckenbauer, Thomas Beckenbauer, Francessca Beckenbauer, Noel Beckenbauer Awards: Ballon d'Or, MORE
Paolo Cesare Maldini is an Italian former professional footballer who played as a left-back and central defender for A.C. Milan and the Italy national team. Wikipedia Born: June 26, 1968 (age 50 years), Milan, Italy Height: 1.86 m Spouse: Adriana Fossa (m. 1994) Number: 3 (A.C. Milan / Defender) Position: Defender Did you know: Paolo Maldini holds the most A.C. Milan appearance record (902). wikipedia.org Stats
Carles Puyol Saforcada is a Spanish retired professional footballer. Mainly a central defender, he could also play on either flank, mostly as a right back, and was regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation. Wikipedia Born: April 13, 1978 (age 40 years), La Pobla de Segur, Spain Height: 1.78 m Career start: 1996 Partner: Vanessa Lorenzo Number: 5 (FC Barcelona / Defender) Did you know: Carles Puyol ranks fourth among FC Barcelona players by total number of appearances (593). wikipedia.org
Philipp Lahm is a German retired professional footballer who played as a right back or defensive midfielder and spent much of his early career playing left back. Wikipedia Born: November 11, 1983 (age 34 years), Munich, Germany Height: 1.7 m Career start: 1989 Career end: 2017 Spouse: Claudia Lahm (m. 2010) Number: 21 (FC Bayern Munich / Defender)
Thiago Emiliano da Silva, commonly known as Thiago Silva, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a central defender for and captains both Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. Wikipedia Born: September 22, 1984 (age 33 years), Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Height: 1.83 m Spouse: Isabele da Silva Salary: 12 million EUR (2013) Current teams: Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (#2 / Defender), Brazil national football team (#2 / Defender) Children: Isago da Silva, Iago da Silva
Alessandro Nesta, Ufficiale OMRI is an Italian professional football manager and former player. He is currently the head coach of Perugia. Wikipedia Born: March 19, 1976 (age 42 years), Rome, Italy Height: 1.87 m Career start: 1993 Spouse: Gabriela Pagnozzi (m. 2007) Number: 14 (Montreal Impact / Defender) Position: Defender
Claudio Gentile is an Italian association football manager and former defender of the 1970s and 1980s. Gentile appeared for Italy in two World Cup tournaments, and played for the winning Italian team in the 1982 final. Wikipedia Born: September 27, 1953 (age 64 years), Tripoli, Libya Height: 1.77 m Weight: 76 kg Current team: South Korea (advisor) Playing position: Defender
Djalma Pereira Dias dos Santos known simply as Djalma Santos was a Brazilian footballer who started for the Brazil national team in four World Cups, winning two, in 1958 and 1962. Wikipedia Born: February 27, 1929, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil Died: July 23, 2013, Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil Height: 1.73 m Weight: 73 kg
Nemanja Vidić is a Serbian retired professional footballer. He was part of the Serbia national team from 2002 to 2011. After establishing himself at Red Star Belgrade during the early 2000s, Vidić moved to Spartak Moscow in the summer of 2004. Wikipedia Born: October 21, 1981 (age 36 years), Užice, Serbia Height: 1.9 m Nationality: Serbian Spouse: Ana Ivanović (m. 2006) Number: 15 (Manchester United F.C. / Defender), 15 (Inter Milan / Defender), 26 (FC Spartak Moscow / Defender) Siblings: Dušan Vidic
Giorgio Chiellini is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a defender for Juventus and the Italy national football team. Wikipedia Born: August 14, 1984 (age 33 years), Pisa, Italy Height: 1.87 m Spouse: Carolina Bonistalli (m. 2014) Salary: 3 million EUR (2012) Current teams: Juventus F.C. (#3 / Defender), Italy national football team (#3 / Defender) Did you know: Giorgio Chiellini ranks seventh among Juventus F.C. players by total number of appearances (472). wikipedia.org
Nílton dos Santos was a Brazilian footballer who primarily played as a wingback. At international level, he was a member of the Brazil squads that won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. Wikipedia Born: May 16, 1925, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Died: November 27, 2013, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Height: 1.8 m Weight: 79 kg Position: Left back
Gerard Piqué Bernabéu is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Barcelona and the Spain national team. Wikipedia Born: February 2, 1987 (age 31 years), Barcelona, Spain Height: 1.94 m Partner: Shakira (2011–) Current teams: FC Barcelona (#3 / Defender), MORE Children: Milan Piqué Mebarak, Sasha Piqué Mebarak Did you know: Gerard Piqué ranks ninth among FC Barcelona players by total number of appearances (446). wikipedia.org
Leonardo Bonucci is an Italian professional footballer who captains and plays as a centre-back for Serie A club Milan and the Italy national team. Wikipedia Born: May 1, 1987 (age 31 years), Viterbo, Italy Height: 1.91 m Weight: 86 kg Spouse: Martina Maccari (m. 2011) Salary: 7.5 million EUR (2017) Current teams: Italy national football team (#19 / Defender), A.C. Milan (#19 / Defender)
Vincent Jean Mpoy Kompany is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a centre back and captains the English club Manchester City. Wikipedia Born: April 10, 1986 (age 32 years), Uccle, Belgium Height: 1.93 m Weight: 85 kg Spouse: Carla Higgs Kompany (m. 2011) Current teams: Manchester City F.C. (#4 / Defender), Belgium national football team (#4 / Defender) Nationality: Belgian, Congolese
Hans-Hubert "Berti" Vogts is a former German footballer who played as a defender. He played for Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga his whole professional club career and won the FIFA World Cup with West Germany in 1974. Wikipedia Born: December 30, 1946 (age 71 years), Kaarst, Germany Height: 1.68 m Spouse: Monika Vogts (m. 1979–2005) Team coached: Germany national football team (Association football manager, 1990–1998) Playing position: Defender Children: Justin Vogts
Jakob "Jaap" Stam is a Dutch football manager and former player who last managed Reading. Stam played for several European clubs including PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, Milan and Ajax before retiring in October 2007. Wikipedia Born: July 17, 1972 (age 46 years), Kampen, Overijssel, Netherlands Height: 1.9 m Nationality: Dutch Weight: 91 kg Spouse: Ellis Stam (m. 1997) Team coached: Reading F.C. (Association football manager, 2016–2018)
Robert Frederick Chelsea Moore OBE was an English professional footballer. He captained West Ham United for more than ten years and was captain of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup. Wikipedia Born: April 12, 1941, Municipal Borough of Barking Died: February 24, 1993, Putney, London, United Kingdom Nationality: English, British Did you know: Bobby Moore has the most captaincies (90) in the England national football team. wikipedia.org
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