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Highest goal-scoring defenders of all time

A goal-scoring defender is a valuable asset that every team wishes to possess. Here we take a look at the highest-scoring defenders of all time.

Last updated: 13.07.2021
Highest goal-scoring defenders of all time

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No football fan has to be reminded that a defender's primary responsibility is to keep the opposition from scoring goals against his club. Any team benefits from having a good defender with proper defending capabilities. A defender may not always be the centre of attention, but their efforts at the back continue to establish the foundations for any successful squad. Indeed, as Sir Alex Ferguson famously stated, it is the defence that may win you a title.

Goal-scoring defenders, on the other hand, are one of the most valuable assets in the sport, and every team would love to have one in their lineup. We take a look at the all-time highest scorers among defenders.

10. Franz Beckenbauer - 109 goals


Beckenbauer, the greatest defender of all time, was a revolutionary when it came to the sweeper position. In a 13-year career, the goal-scoring defence not only played in front of the goalkeeper but also scored 109 goals. Given this, it's no surprise that he's won nearly every major football award, including the Ballon d'Or. The former World Cup winner found the net 64 times for Bayern and 14 times for the national team.

9. Roberto Carlos - 113 goals

Roberto Carlos revolutionised the left-back position, and his name will be forever linked to it. He is remembered for his spectacular free-kick goal against France in 1997, despite being a defender. He was a member of the Galacticos, a Real Madrid team that rose to fame in the early 2000s. In more than 500 games with them, he scored over 70 goals.

8. Paul Breitner - 113 goals

Paul Breitner is one of just four players in World Cup history to score in two finals. In the 1970s, he, like Beckenbauer, made substantial contributions to both his club Bayern Munich and his country's success. In his career, the 68-year-old scored 113 goals and wowed millions with his skills. Although he began his career as a striker, he quickly found himself flourishing at left-back, popping up time and time again to score some spectacular goals.

7. Steve Bruce - 113 goals

Steve Bruce was one of Manchester United's best defenders, spearheading the defensive line and delivering the club victory at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson. For Manchester United, Gillingham, Norwich City, Birmingham, and Sheffield United, the current Newcastle United manager have a total of 113 goals to his name. His most memorable goals came in the 1992-93 season for United against Sheffield Wednesday, when he scored a brace to give Sir Ferguson's side its first trophy in 26 years.

6. Sergio Ramos - 129 goals

Sergio Ramos scored a brace in Spain's 4-0 win over Ukraine, giving him a total of 23 international goals, the most by a defender. No other active defender can match the 34-year-129 old's goals in his career. Ramos is a big game player who comes up big in important games to save his team. His Champions League header against Atletico Madrid in 2014 is a testament to his clutch play. Following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, he has taken over as Los Blancos' primary penalty taker. He is, however, expected to leave Real Madrid this summer due to the club's desire for him to accept a wage cut.

5. Graham Alexander - 130 goals

In a rare move, Alexander scored over half of his 130 career goals from the penalty spot. He played right-back for a number of clubs, including Burnley, Scunthorpe, Luton Town, and Preston North End, and occasionally joined the attack. Surprisingly, he never appeared on the Scotland score sheet. Alexander went on to make over 1,000 club and international games for Scotland.

4. Laurent Blanc - 153 goals

Currently managing Al Rayya in the Qatar Star League, Laurent Blanc still holds the record for goals scored at Montpellier, with 80 to his name. The former Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Manchester United star began his career as an offensive midfielder, but he quickly transitioned to a sweeper position. He was a regular set-piece taker for both club and country, and he was instrumental in France's 1998 World Cup victory. His World Cup goal against Paraguay got him the golden goal honour.

3. Fernando Hierro - 163 goals

Hierro, one of Real Madrid's and Spain's all-time greats, was not only a dominant presence at the back, but he could also take free kicks and penalties and was a real threat from set-pieces. He is still Real Madrid's all-time leading goal scorer, surpassing Sergio Ramos. During his career, the three-time Champions League winner and five-time La Liga champion scored 163 goals. He has also scored in the Premier League when he played for Bolton Wanderers.

2. Daniel Passarella - 175 goals

The only South American to make this list, Passarella managed to find the net on 175 occasions for club and country. Despite being just 5'8, he was known for his header goals. His stature did not prevent him from playing for La Albiceleste or clubs such as River Plate, Inter Milan, and Fiorentina. He also captained his country to the World Cup triumph in 1978 and was a member of the 1986 winning group. He has scored more goals with his head than any other defender in history.

1. Ronald Koeman - 253 goals

During his prime in the 1980s and 1990s, current Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman scored 253 goals. Former Dutch international and Barcelona star Ronaldo Koeman holds the record for the most goals scored by a defender in football history, with a staggering 253 goals. He had a particularly productive season in 1987/88 when he scored 26 goals from the back for PSV Eindhoven. He is widely remembered for the winning free-kick goal against Sampdoria that helped Barcelona lift their first European Cup in 1992.

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