Category: "Defender"

3. Cafu

08/25/2014
Marcos Evangelista de Moraes

Marcos Evangelista de Morais

Cafu is the unsung hero of Brazilian football. If he does not have the same aura as a player like Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos or Ronaldinho, he has never disappointed.

Cafu is the only player in history to play three World Cup finals in a row (1994-1998-2002) winning two of them.

He wore the jersey of Brazil 142 times; another record.

To this impressive international record, we can add a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994-95, 2 Serie A titles in 2000-01 and 2003-04 with Roma and Milan and a UEFA Champions League trophy in 2006-07.

Nicknamed Il Pendolino (“The express train”), Cafu is one of those players who made a mark on the history of each club they played for and he is considered the best right back of the century

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41. Alessandro Costacurta

08/25/2014

Costacurta_1992

Alessandro Costacurta is regarded by many as one of the greatest defenders in history due to his versatility. Together with other Milan defensive players including Maldini and Baresi, he formed one of the best defensive units of all time.

Playing for Milan throughout his twenty year career, he participated in all Milan’s victories of this period including seven Serie A titles (1987-88, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99 and 2003-04) and five Champions Leagues (1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94, 2002–03 and 2006–07).

On 19 May 2007 Costacurta broke the Serie A record for the oldest goalscorer in Serie A at 41 years and 25 days.

With Italy, Costacurta played 59 games and reached the final of the 1994 World Cup largely thanks to strong performances in defence with his team mate Maldini.

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39. Lilian Thuram

08/25/2014
Lilian Thuram

Lilian Thuram

One of the best central defenders during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Thuram played for Monaco, Parma and Juventus (and few matches for Barcelona).

With Parma, he won the Europa league in 1998-99 and with Juventus, he won two Serie As in a row (2001-02 and 2002-03).

Thuram’s biggest successes were with the French team where he is the most capped player (142 apps).

Although he scored only two goals with the national team, both was against Croatia during the semi-final of the 1998 World Cup helping secure a comeback 2-1 victory. The result? A world Cup in 1998 and a European Championship in 2000.

Best foreign player of the Italian championship in 1997 and best French player in 1997 according to France Football, Thuram is unquestionably one of the best of his generation.

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35. Carlos Puyol

08/25/2014
Carlos Puyol

Carlos Puyol

Like many others before him, Carlos Puyol was educated in the Masia. Without innate talents and less anticipation than the others (according to his educators), Carles Puyol distinguished himself by his determination and his zeal for victory enabling him to contain opposing forwards.

Puyol combines power and speed and his excellent heading game is precious to FC Barcelona and the Roja. With an excellent mind-set, he has proved his abilities during high-pressure matches confirming his status as one of the best defenders in the world.

Puyol appeared in 597 games with Barcelona (second in Barca’s all-time league appearances table behind Xavi) and won six Liga (2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11 and 2012–13), three Champions League (2005–06, 2008–09 and 2010–11), two Copa (2008–09 and 2011–12) and 2 UEFA Super Cup (2009 and 2011).

With Spain, Puyol won the European Championship in 2008 and then the World Cup in 2010 -thanks in no small part to his beautiful goal during the semi-final against Germany.

Puyol played 100 games for Spain and 6 games for the non-official Catalonia team.

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33. Philipp Lahm

08/25/2014
Philipp Lahm, Germany national football team

Philipp Lahm, Germany national football team

A strong player and very fast, Philipp Lahm is renowned for his defensive and offensive capabilities. A fierce defender, he is distinguished by its anticipation and his clean tackles.

Lahm is considered by many to be the best full back of his generation.

Captain of Bayern, a club with which he has played since childhood, Lahm has an impressive list of honours including six Bundesligas (2002-03, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2009-10, 2012-13 and 2013-14), six German Cups (2002-03, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2009-10, 2012-13 and 2013-14) and a Champions league in 2012-13. (Up to 1st of November 2014).

Lahm was also the captain of the German team which he led to World Cup triumph in 2014.

In 2014 Lahm became the first footballer to have captained teams to victory in the World Cup, a domestic title, a domestic cup, the European Champions League, the Club World Cup and the Super Cup.

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14. Paolo Maldini

08/25/2014
Paolo Maldini

Paolo Maldini

Paolo Maldini has one of the most impressive lists of club honours in football history.

He spent all 25 years of his career at Serie A club AC Milan playing 647 Serie A games (a record) and 139 matches in the Champions League in a 902 game career.

Maldini is one of the best defenders of all time due to his superb vision and a calm mind indicated by his receiving just one red card during his entire career, a rare achievement for a defender.

“The Captain” won seven Serie A titles, five Champions Leagues (3 times finalist) and thirteen other trophies.

With Italy, he played 126 games and reached the final of the European Championship in 2000 and the final of the World Cup in 1994.

AC Milan retired the number 3 shirt at the end of the 2008-2009 season. Only a son of Maldini family will be allowed to wear it.

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10. Franz Beckenbauer

08/25/2014
Beckenbauer captaining West Germany at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

Beckenbauer captaining West Germany at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

Franz Beckenbauer, known as “Der Kaiser,” (the emperor) was the complete player, both technically gifted and tactically astute, he is undoubtedly one of the best German players of all time.

Beckenbauer is widely credited as having invented the role of modern sweeper.

The 1970s were for Beckenbauer the peak of his footballing career.

During his 14 years at the Bayern Munich, he won five Bundesliga (1968–69, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74 and 1981-82), three Champions League in a row (1973–74, 1974–75 and 1975–76) and a UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup (1966-67).

Although Beckenbauer did not score a lot of goals for West Germany (14 goals in 103 caps), his influence on the game enabled his country to won the 1974 World Cup and for him to win two Ballon d’Or (1972 and 1976).

Franz Beckenbauer is one of the most decorated footballers in the history of the game.

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7. Roberto Carlos

08/25/2014
Roberto Carlos in Moscow

Roberto Carlos in Moscow

Roberto Carlos has been described as “the most offensive-minded left back in the history of the game.”

He was also nicknamed “The bullet man”, after one of his trademark free kicks was measured at 105 mph (169km/h).

He played his best football during 11 years for Real Madrid where he is considered by fans as the 4th best player in the club history behind Di Stephano, Zidane and Raul.

His devastating left foot helped Real Madrid to win four Spanish championships (1996-97, 2000-01, 2002-03 and 2006-07) and three Champions Leagues (1997-98, 1999-00 and 2001-02). He is Real Madrid’s most capped foreign-born player with 370 appearances.

Roberto Carlos played three World Cups with Brazil (1998, 2002, 2006). Brazil won the 2002 edition thanks to its “royal four aces” Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos who scored 16 of Brazil’s 18 goals during the competition.

He finished 2nd in the 2002 Ballon d’Or just behind his team mate at international and club level Ronaldo.

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