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Top 10 defenders of all time

  • Lahm, Cafu, Krol et al; 10 of the best defenders football has even seen.
Tom Scholes
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 15 May 2017, 13:22 IST
Phillipp Lahm is a quintessential modern day right-back 

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 top ten greatest defenders in the history of football. 

#10 Phillipp Lahm

Lahm often goes unnoticed when talking about the greatest players of the current generation, but his skill and all round ability should never be underestimated. A Bayern Munich legend, Lahm has forged a reputation over his career as one of the most versatile players in world football, being fantastic across the back line and even in defensive midfield.

The World Cup winner may not have been blessed with bundles of pace like Marcelo or Dani Alves, but his footballing knowledge and his defensive instincts allow him to keep up with anybody he comes up against. Having won almost everything he can in his illustrious career, it is impossible to leave out Lahm when talking about the greatest defenders. 

#9 Cafu

Arguably the greatest Brazilian defender of all time, Cafu was one half of the flying full-backs for Brazil, with Roberto Carlos on the opposite flank bombing forward. Cafu’s ability was unquestioned the moment he stepped foot onto a football field, and for him to ply his trade for many years in Serie A with AS Roma and AC Milan is a testament to how good he was as a defender.

Coming up against Cafu was always a test for any opposing winger, as the Brazilian had the pace to catch up with anyone who managed to get around him, but his defensive abilities meant that he knew what to do at the right time. He wouldn’t look out of place in this generation of football, and that speaks volumes of how good he was in the mid-2000s. 

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Published 13 May 2017, 16:07 IST
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