1 – Franz Beckenbauer
With 60 goals in 427 appearances for Bayern Munich and 14 goals in 103 appearances for West Germany, Beckenbauer made defending sexy. He also had memorable performances in three World Cups, including winning in 1974. He became the first defensive superstar.
2 – Roberto Carlos
Carlos set the standard for the modern wingback. With more than 500 appearances at Real Madrid and a season at Inter Milan, his defensive skills were complimented by a 13.5-percent scoreing rate, including some of the best free kicks in the game. He played in three World Cups for Brazil, winning in 2002. And we forgive him for not marking Henry in the 2006 World Cup (which caused Brazil’s exit in the quarter-finals).
3 – Patrick Viera
Viera may have been a midfielder, but he defined the modern defensive midfielder. And that changed the game. Plus, having won seven league titles and 10 cups for clubs in England and Italy, not to mention the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, he clearly made a difference whenever he takes the field.
4 – Franco Baresi
As the sweeper of AC Milan’s famous back four, Baresi helped lead the club to six Serie A titles and 13 cups – including three European championships. We won’t let his missed penalty in the 1994 World cup final, which – along with misses from Massaro and Baggio – cost Italy the title, mar his record.
5 – Giancinto Facchetti
Facchetti made a stunning 629 appearances for Inter Milan, scoring 75 goals and helping the club win four Serie A titles, two European championships, and two cups. And with 94 caps for Italy, he helped them win Euro 1968 and reach the final of the 1970 World Cup. Perhaps most impressive for a defender, he was only sent off once in his entire career – for sarcastically applauding the referee.
6 – Paolo Maldini
Maldini made 647 appearances for AC Milan, anchoring their defense to seven Serie A and five Champions League titles. He also helped them win 14 cups.
7 – Alessandro Nesta
Playing for Lazio and AC Milan, Nesta’s defensive strength helped win two Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues, and 11 cups. He was also instrumental in helping Italy win the 2006 World Cup.
8 – Lucio
Lucio has made a name for himself as a new breed of center back, as agile and attack-oriented as any player. He has scored 32 goals in 374 club appearances in Germany and Italy, earning four league titles, eight cups, and a European championship. For Brazil, he has 5 goals in 96 appearances, winning the 2002 World Cup and two Confederations Cups.
9 – Carlos Puyol
With 493 appearances for Barcelona, Puyol has led a defense that helped win four La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, and seven cups. He also helped win the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2008 with 91 caps for Spain.
10 – Bobby Moore
Over his 19 year career in England, Moore appeared 668 times for West Ham and Fulham. He earned an 108 caps for England and assisted on the first and last goals in the 4-2 final against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup.