They say defending is an art. Well, at least that’s what they used to say. But possibly the days of traditional, old-school, no-nonsense defending are nicely and virtually in the back of us.
There are surely defenders presently out there who stay and die by using this attitude, however, they are few and some distance between in a subculture of free-flowing, attacking, enjoyable football. The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Sergio Ramos, Giorgio Chiellini, and David Alaba are presently flying the flag for the modern crop of the world’s first-rate defenders, however, even they fall quick when in contrast to the gamers that have come earlier than them.
The heroes of history will stay longer in the reminiscence for their rock-solid displays, whilst the present-day stars at the lower back will possibly be remembered greater for their potential with the ball at their feet. Whichever you prefer, each has performed a key position in the way soccer has been performed over the years, with troubles like management and recognition finally steady throughout.
It’s truthful to say that the very pleasant defenders satisfaction themselves on maintaining easy sheets, prevailing in their character battles, and do simply about whatever to give up opposition strikers from having a higher ninety minutes than them. That is, of course, an awful lot less complicated stated than done. The very best, however, make it seem so very easy.
We take a seem to be at the pinnacle of 10 excellent defenders of all time.
1. Carles Puyol
Barcelona legend Carles Puyol will be remembered fondly for many reasons, with his off-the-ball responsibilities as captain related to sportsmanship and equality. On the ball meanwhile, the Spaniard used to be recognized for his strict protective duties, from making sure his teammates had been continuously in the proper place, to his commanding presence in the air.
An actual leader, the center-back used to be additionally one of the very few one-club gamers of his generation, spending his complete profession in the purple and blue stripes of Barcelona. For that, he is generally related to Catalonia, with Barca forever trustworthy and grateful for their long-serving icon. Puyol retired in 2014 with six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, one World Cup, and one European Championship to his name.
2. Gaetano Scirea
Another incredible defender, whose profession and lifestyle used to be taken way too early at the age of 36. Atalanta noticed the beginnings of a promising trajectory for Gaetano Scirea, with Italian giants Juventus then taking their threat on the teen after simply two years of Serie A football. Despite his shortened expert career, he is broadly considered one of the pleasant defenders of all time.
But it was once across that paid off immediately, with the Italian going on to grow to be a membership legend for the Old Lady. During his time at the club, the defender received every piece of silverware there was once to offer, along with two Italian Cups, one European Cup, one UEFA Cup, and the small be counted seven Serie A titles. The south stand of Juventus Stadium – occupied with the aid of the ultras – is now recognized as the Curva Scirea, as a tribute to their liked former defender.
3. Giacinto Facchetti
Another honestly extraordinary Italian global in a lengthy line of imposing Italian defenders, Giacinto Facchetti was once every other whose lifestyle used to be taken from him a long way too soon. He has, however, left a lasting legacy at former membership Inter Milan – with whom he spent his whole profession – and certainly the wider footballing community.
The left-back will continuously be acknowledged as one of the best to ever play in the position, such used to be his tendency to now not solely get forward, however, to motivate mayhem for opposition defenders when he did certainly get forward. His brain and stamina had been key in Inter’s catenaccio gadget below boss Helenio Herrera, whose Grande Inter aspect received 4 Serie A titles and two European Cups, with the full-back captaining his countrywide crew to Euro 1968 glory on domestic soil.
4. Roberto Carlos
Another left-back that took the world by way of the storm, Brazilian icon Roberto Carlos loved an illustrious profession that spanned properly over two decades, with Real Madrid and his cherished kingdom privy to such success over the years. His depraved left foot is one of the best weapons that world soccer has ever seen, the like of which may additionally now not be considered ever again.
Both Palmeiras and Inter Milan welcomed the diminutive full-back amongst their ranks for short periods, however, it used to be at Madrid the place Carlos located a home. He gained 4 La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues with the Spanish outfit, whilst he sits 2nd in Brazil’s all-time appearances listing with 125, supporting his USA clinch a memorable World Cup trophy in 2002.
For every super left-back in a profitable team, there is an equally amazing right-back, and Brazil has been lucky sufficient to have Cafu in that position for a super sixteen years. Unsurprisingly then, it is the former AC Milan man who sits pinnacle of that aforementioned Brazilian look listing with 142. His 4 dreams in that time possibly epitomize simply how severely he undertook his protective duties, notwithstanding nonetheless getting ahead extra frequently than not.
Both Sao Paulo and Milan each received countless years out of the bombarding full-back, however, Roma possibly loved his nice spell between 1997 and 2003. Both Italian aspects have Cafu’s identify in their prestigious Hall of Fame, given how he helped them each impenetrable a Serie A title. A Champions League observed with I Rossoneri, while he lifted two World Cups close to the starting and give up his illustrious Brazilian countrywide crew venture.
6. Alessandro Nesta
Calmness and reliability are two phrases that come to thinking when speakme of former Italy worldwide Alessandro Nesta. Elegance and distribution are every other two, whilst the center-back’s tempo additionally helped him construct an amazing profession that lasted over two decades.
Half of that was once spent at Lazio, with AC Milan benefitting vastly from the different half, with the defender triumphing in one Serie A title with the former and two with the latter. Nesta additionally helped I Rossoneri to two Champions League titles, enjoying a central position in a star-studded lineup crammed with fully-fledged European and world-beaters.
7. Bobby Moore
Like different celebrity defenders, Moore additionally misplaced his existence at such a younger age, however fortuitously he is remembered fondly with the aid of each West Ham and England supporter, with each company of followers honoring him in their exclusive way. His iconic statue stands tall at Wembley Stadium, whilst the Hammers retired his quantity six jerseys 15 years after his loss of life in 2008.
Everyone, however, remembers Moore for his distinctive capacity to examine the game, with such a key trait supporting him to carry the 1966 World Cup as England captain. He was, of course, additionally a remarkable skipper at his loved east London club, with whom he performed over 600 suits throughout 16 years. He will continually be cherished as one of the first-rate defenders of all time.
8. Franco Baresi
Yet any other Italian chief at the back, Franco Baresi is every other epitome of what it potential to be a one-club man, having spent his 20-year-long profession with AC Milan. Captaining the membership for 15 seasons, he did the limitless crew and personal honors, such as six Serie A titles and three European Cups, forming a bold backline alongside Mauro Tassotti, Alessandro Costacurta, and Paolo Maldini.
Despite putting up his boots a lengthy time ago, his identity nonetheless reverberates around the streets of Milan to this day, especially with the membership having struggled so an awful lot in current years. They now seem to be something like the Milan of old, however, they will possibly in no way see a participant pretty like Baresi. The Serie A outfit paid their former chief the largest praise viable through retiring his historical range of six jerseys upon his retirement in 1997.
9. Franz Beckenbauer
Nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’, Franz Beckenbauer is generally credited for inventing the function of the contemporary sweeper, such had been his iconic shows at the back. Over four hundred appearances for German giants, Bayern Munich noticed him clinch 4 Bundesliga titles, as nicely as three successive European Cups, turning into the first participant to win three European Cups as captain of a club.
If that wasn’t enough, Beckenbauer additionally made 103 appearances for West Germany at the global level. Further glory arrived for his nation, with the heroic defender triumphing in the Euros and World Cup in 1972 and 1974 respectively.
10. Paolo Maldini
When one thinks of all the class, fashion, and composure in the world at the back, there is solely one man that comes to man. AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini is that man. And he is some other to have his iconic shirt variety retired upon giving up the game, with his one-of-a-kind variety three solely reachable to both of his two sons, must they ever get the probability to do so.
But their father’s achievements on the pitch may additionally by no means be repeated ever again, with the one-club man prevailing endless trophies at some point of over 600 appearances in pink and black. Such honors encompass seven Serie A titles and 5 European Cups. Aggression and physicality made way for brain and grace throughout his displays, with Maldini considered in many footballing circles as one of the fine defenders – if no longer the very satisfactory -of all time.