Some of these players are true geniuses of the game.
No fan of football needs to be told that the primary role of a defender is to prevent the opposition from scoring goals against his team. A good defender with proper defending skills is a valuable asset to any team. In fact, it is the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson who once said, “attack wins matches, but defence wins titles.” However, goal scoring defenders are one of the most precious commodities in the sport, and every team loves to have them in their squad.
Over the years, football has had some very prolific goal scoring defenders, including Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos who has recently been hogging the limelight for scoring and winning matches for his club. Therefore today, Khel Now takes a look at the top ten highest goal-scoring defenders of all time.
10. Franz Beckenbauer (109 goals)
The former FIFA World Cup winner and one of Germany’s greatest-ever players, Franz Beckenbauer revolutionized the sweeper role in football. The goal scoring defender operated not only in front of the gaolkeeper, but also scored 109 times across a 13-year-long career.
Beckenbauer’s prime years was for Bayern Munich, having found the net for the Bavarians 64 times in over 400 appearances. He also scored 14 goals for his national team.
9. Roberto Carlos (113 goals)
Roberto Carlos is a defender by trade, but he is probably remembered more for that brilliant free-kick goal he scored against France in 1997. Regarded as one of the greatest attacking full-backs of all time, he netted the ball 113 times during his career.
The Brazilian was a part of Real Madrid’s famed ‘Galacticos’ squad that rose to prominence in the early 2000s. He scored over 70 goals for them in more than 500 appearances. The goal scoring defender was also a regular set-piece taker with his national team, with most of his strikers coming from free-kicks.
8. Paul Breitner (113 goals)
Paul Breitner is another former Germany and Bayern Munich star, just like Beckenbauer. Breitner also made significant contributions to both his club and country’s successes in the 1970s. The 68-year-old scored 113 goals in his career, mesmerizing millions by his abilities.
Although he converted to a midfielder during the later stages of his career, Breitner was predominantly a goal scoring defender and is fondly remembered so.
7. Steve Bruce (113 goals)
Former Manchester United player and current Newcastle United coach Steve Bruce was yet another defender who knew a thing or two about getting on the score sheet on a regular basis. The 59-year-old has scored a total of 113 goals for Manchester United, Gillingham, Norwich City, Birmingham and Sheffield United.
His most famous goals were scored for United against Sheffield Wednesday in the 1992-93 season when he netted a brace to give Sir Ferguson’s side their first title in 26 years. Just two seasons earlier, he had set an English record by scoring 19 goals in all competitions.
6. Sergio Ramos (127 goals)
While all the other footballers in this list have hung up their boots, current Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is still going strong as an active goal scoring defender. Having scored a total of 119 goals for club and country so far in his career, the 2010 FIFA World Cup winner had enough time to improve his position in this list as well.
He is also well-known for scoring at crucial moments. For instance, it was Ramos who paved the way for Real Madrid to lift the Champions League title in 2014 and 2016, by scoring against local rivals Atletico Madrid in both matches. Following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, he has become the main penalty taker for Los Blancos as well.
5. Graham Alexander (130 goals)
Scottish legend Graham Alexander makes the top five goal scoring defenders in history. He was one of the greatest ever goal-scoring defenders ever.
Having featured as a right-back for many clubs including Burnley, Scunthorpe, Luton and Preston North End, Graham Alexander has netted 130 goals during his career. Most of his goals came from penalties, but he also had the ability to score from open play especially during counter-attacks. Surprisingly, he never got on the score sheet for Scotland.
4. Laurent Blanc (153 goals)
Ever heard of a defender topping the all-time scoring charts of a European club? For former Ligue 1 champions Montpellier, the distinction is owned by Laurent Blanc even today (84). However, With 141 goals, Blanc is currently at fourth place in the all-time list of goal-scoring defenders.
The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Manchester United ace began his career as an attacking midfielder, but soon he dropped back to play as a sweeper. He was also a regular set-piece taker for both club and country, and played a crucial role in France’s FIFA World Cup win in 1998.
3. Fernando Hierro (163 goals)
Currently only Fernando Hierro remains above Sergio Ramos as Real Madrid’s all-time highest goal scoring defender. The three-time Champions League winner and five-time La Liga winner netted 163 times during his career, and was a regular penalty and free-kick taker.
Hierro was also the captain of both Real Madrid and the Spanish national team for a long time, and one of his greatest strengths was his incredible aerial presence, especially during corners. He has also scored in the Premier League, with Bolton Wanderers.
2. Daniel Passarella (175 goals)
While all the others in this list are Europeans, Daniel Passarella is the only South American entry. The Argentine was known for his astounding goal-scoring ability more than his defending skills, and the 162 goals he scored during his career proves why.
Passarella was fairly short for a defender at 5ft 8in, but that did not stop him from manning the back-line of La Albiceleste or clubs like River Plate, Inter Milan and Fiorentina. He also captained his nation to World Cup glory in 1978 and was part of their winning squad in 1986 as well.
1. Ronald Koeman (253 goals)
With a mind-blowing 207 goals, former Dutch international and Barcelona legend Ronaldo Koeman own the distinction of being the all-time highest goal scoring defender in football. Like Beckenbauer, he was also a sweeper – although he played in midfield as well in the final few years of his career.
Koeman once scored 26 goals in a single season for PSV Eindhoven. At Barcelona, he scored as many as 19 goals each in two different seasons and was also their go-to man for set-pieces and penalties. His most important strike for them came against Sampdoria that handed the Blaugrana their first-ever European Cup in 1992.