Top 5 Retired Defenders of the 21st century who never won the Ballon d'Or
- Defenders are rarely applauded. Here are 5 defenders who were masters and deserved the Ballon d'Or for their skill and leadership.
Marcos Evangelista de Moraes, better known to the world as Cafu was a Brazilian defender. But a defender with one goal in mind; attack. He could rightly be called the idol of many modern day fullbacks. He galloped up and down the right side of the pitch with unending stamina. And when called upon he defended well too.
Cafu started his career in Brazil and as a right-sided midfielder. A switch to the right back position saw him find moderate success in the beginning. Cafu found defending hard, but he stuck to it and the rest is history. He won many trophies with Sao Paolo and later moved to Serie A with AS Roma. Cafu helped the Giallorossi to their first title win in 28 years in 2001. He later moved to AC Milan where he won another Serie A title and added a Champions League medal along the way.
It was for his National side though where Cafu made his name. Cafu is the most capped Brazilian player in their history and has the unique achievement of playing in three consecutive World Cup finals (1994, 1998 and 2002). Cafu won two of those finals, in 1994 and 2002. The later one he lifted as the captain of the Selecao. He represented his country for 16 years and is one of their most decorated players ever.
Cafu deserved the Ballon d'Or for changing the play style of full-backs. His attack-focused play has been an inspiration for modern-day full-backs such as Dani Alves, Carvajal, Bellerin and many more. While he was not the first one to play in this style, his success at club level brought the attack-minded full-backs into the forefront of football philosophy.