I saw Beckenbauer play, he was wonderful, the first ball playing defender I can remember. At the time defending was just tackling and clearing the danger, then all of a sudden this guy comes along, and DRIBBLES out from the back… Unheard of!
Brilliant defender, brilliant footballer, brilliant captain… I love Big Tone, immensely, but Beckenbauer will always be the best of the best.
Yeah that’s a good point. Nesta was stunning against him in the 2011/12 group stage. That was pretty much peak Messi too which gives an image of how good Nesta must have been at his peak.
Thinking specifically about Italian defenders I can remember I’m not sure too sure where I would place Cannavaro. I can’t say he impressed me too much when he was at Madrid but that was towards the end of his career.
I think Cannavaro had his last hurrah at the World Cup in 2006 and gave everything for Italy.
I’d also say that his first season at Madrid was good. He was regarded well and very consistent but his drop off was extremely dramatic and he became completely useless after that.
Sadly we didn’t get to see him at a club like Madrid until he was already in his mid 30s anyway.
At his peak, I think he was incredible. But I think his fall of was extreme and almost overnight. He went and retired off in the Arab world and apparently he was horrendous out there too. His legs just gave up.
Decided to go for someone who played at least partially in my era, who I watched play multiple times, so it had to be Maldini.
I like that you have included Stam here @Forever, not that we are talking PL only here, but I always think he gets overlooked when people talk best centre backs of the PL era and mention Terry, Ferdinand, Vidic, Campbell etc
What a fucking player, just impeccable, and actually seriously good with the ball at his feet, and clinical in the air, scored so many headed goals for us. Him, Nesta, Maldini, Cafu is the best defense I’ve seen in my adult lifetime. Obviously Sacchi’s Milan is above that, but I’d definitely suggest those 4 for the second best back 4 ever. Milan have honestly been spoilt in that regard.
Just rewatched Milan 3-1 Juve from 2006 Serie A, and Stam is absolutely everywhere. You just don’t get past him, then if you do, Nesta’s ready with a sliding tackle/perfectly positioned for an interception.
I’ve gone for Baresi, I didn’t see too much of him, and you can make anyone look good on youtube sure, but there are hours upon hours of footage of him being the best player on the pitch. He was small (5’7.5"), seriously fast, tenacious and although not that stocky, I’d say almost as strong as Maradona. He was never out of place, and actually great at bringing the ball forward and picking a perfect pass too. He’d give Ibra a run for his money at getting balls in the air, just because of how he used his body and placed himself.
@SRCJJ yeah that world cup is Canna’s. He’ll always be a hero to me for that, his decline was rapid because he relied a lot on his speed, like Baresi, but unlike Baresi, he lost that and somehow couldn’t maintain his standard.
Great thread @Forever, actually prefer most on this list to some of the best attackers of all time.
It looks like the votes have been reset going by my screen, is anyone else getting that error? i’ve had to vote again, only my vote for baresi and then @DavidHillier’s vote for tony adams is there…
@Forever it would’ve irked me a little to see Van Dijk win it, only because he’s just not on the level of many better defenders who got overlooked for it in their prime, and an award like that would make people put him on a similar level/above half of this list…
Yeah, I don’t think he is that level of the defenders mentioned in this thread. But he did have an outstanding season with Liverpool winning the league and the CL the year before. I think they had the best defence as well that year?
Who else of the current defenders would you say would be able to win a Ballon D’Or?
Well like @Stroller says the standards are so fucking low now. I’d give it to Van Dijk last season before anyone else, but then I’d have to put an asterisk that it’s just not an achievement these days because there’s not much competition.