Who is the highest-scoring defender of all time in football?

Who is the highest-scoring defender of all time in football?

Babu Tendu
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:13 PM

The primary role of a football defender is to stop opposing players from actively scoring in your net. Defenders are the famous pillars for enabling the teams to attack comfortably with the reassurance of having a good base. However, several defenders are known for their ability to score. Therefore, knowing who is the highest-scoring defender of all time is interesting.

Highest-scoring defender
This post provides in-depth details about the Spanish legendary defender and other high-scoring defenders. Photo by Fran Santiago. (Modified by author).
Source: Getty Images

Nobody needs to remind a football fan that a defender's main responsibility is to stop the other team from scoring goals against his team. Any team can benefit from having a strong defender with the right defensive techniques.

The great Sir Alex Ferguson is credited with having once said, "Attack wins games, but defence wins titles."

Who is the highest goal-scoring defender of all time?

Over the years, football has had some very prolific goal-scoring defenders, including PSG’s Sergio Ramos, who has recently been hogging the limelight for scoring and winning matches for his club. Therefore, Sportsbrief looks at the top ten highest goal-scoring defenders of all time.

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10. Franz Beckenbauer (109 goals)

Franz Beckenbauer, a former FIFA World Cup champion and one of Germany's all-time great players, revolutionized the sweeper position in football. The goal-scoring defender not only played in front of the goalkeeper throughout a 13-year career but also scored 109 goals.

Highest-scoring defender of all time
Franz Beckenbauer during the KaiserCup 2022 golf tournament gala evening benefit for the Franz Beckenbauer Stiftung on July 9, 2022, in Bad Griesbach near Passau, Germany. Photo by Gisela Schober.
Source: Getty Images

Beckenbauer spent his best years with Bayern Munich, scoring 64 goals in over 400 games for the Bavarians. He also contributed 14 goals for his country. He is one of the most scoring defenders of all time.

9. Roberto Carlos (113 goals)

Although Roberto Carlos is a defender by trade, his outstanding free-kick goal against France in 1997 is likely what most people remember him for. He scored 113 goals in his career, making him one of the best-attacking full-backs of all time.

Highest scoring defender of all time
Roberto Carlos, a former Real Madrid player, looks on during the Real Madrid Training Session at Stade de France on May 27, 2022, in Paris, France. Photo by Angel Martinez.
Source: Getty Images

The Brazilian played for Real Madrid's storied "Galacticos" team, which became well-known in the early 2000s. In more than 500 games for them, he scored over 70 goals. The goal-scoring defender regularly took set pieces with his national team, with free kicks accounting for most of his goals.

8. Paul Breitner (113 goals)

Like Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner was a former star for Germany and Bayern Munich. In the 1970s, Breitner significantly aided the victories of his nation and club. In his career, the 68-year-old scored 113 goals and dazzled millions with his skills.

EPL highest scoring defender of all time
Paul Breitner arrives for the Bavarian Sport Award 2019 (Bayerischer Sportpreis) at BMW World on July 13, 2019, in Munich, Germany. Photo by Alexander Hassenstein.
Source: Getty Images

Breitner is primarily remembered as a goal-scoring defender, despite switching to a midfielder in the latter stages of his career.

7. Steve Bruce (113 goals)

Steve Bruce, a former Manchester United player, was another defender who was no stranger to frequently finding the back of the net. For Manchester United, Gillingham, Norwich City, Birmingham, and Sheffield United, the 59-year-old has totalled 113 goals.

England highest scoring defenders of all time
Steve Bruce looks on during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Derby County and West Bromwich Albion at Pride Park Stadium on August 23, 2022, in Derby, England. Photo by Matthew Lewis.
Source: Getty Images

His most well-known goals came during the 1992–93 season when he scored twice against Sheffield Wednesday for United to help Sir Alex Ferguson's team win the league title for the first time in 26 years. His 19 goals across all competitions two seasons prior set an English record. He is the highest-scoring defender in PL history.

6. Sergio Ramos (127 goals)

While every other player on this list has retired from the game, Sergio Ramos, a current PSG player, is still a productive goal-scoring defender. The 2010 FIFA World Cup winner had enough time to move up this list after scoring 119 goals overall for club and country in his career.

Most scoring defenders of all time
Sergio Ramos runs with the ball during the Ligue 1 match between Stade Reims and Paris Saint-Germain at Stade Auguste Delaune on October 08, 2022, in Reims, France. Photo by Aurelien Meunier.
Source: Getty Images

He is renowned for making crucial plays when it counts. Ramos, for example, scored goals in both games against Atletico Madrid, enabling Real Madrid to win the Champions League in 2014 and 2016. Additionally, since Cristiano Ronaldo left Los Blancos, he has replaced him as the team's main penalty taker.

5. Graham Alexander (130 goals)

Graham Alexander, a Scottish legend, is among the top five goal-scorers in history. He was one of England's highest-scoring defenders of all time. The highest scoring right back in the world.

Who is the highest goal scoring defender of all time
Graham Alexander during Motherwell media access at Fir Park, on July 20, 2021, in Motherwell, Scotland. Photo by Craig Foy.
Source: UGC

Graham Alexander has scored 130 goals in his career as a right-back for various clubs, including Burnley, Scunthorpe, Luton Town, and Preston North End. Most of his goals came from penalties, but he could score from open play, particularly on counter-attacks. Surprisingly, he never scored a goal for Scotland.

4. Laurent Blanc (153 goals)

Laurent Blanc holds the title for former Ligue 1 champions Montpellier (84). Blanc, on the other hand, is currently fourth on the all-time list of goal-scoring defenders with 141 goals.

Highest scoring defender in PL history
Laurent Blanc during the French Cup Final between OGC Nice (OGCN) and FC Nantes (FCN) at Stade de France on May 7, 2022, in Saint-Denis near Paris, France. Photo by John Berry.
Source: Getty Images

The former attacking midfielder for Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Manchester United first started out as a sweeper before changing positions. He regularly took set pieces for both club and country, and his contribution to France's success at the 1998 FIFA World Cup was crucial.

3. Fernando Hierro (163 goals)

Only Fernando Hierro currently ranks higher than Sergio Ramos as Real Madrid's all-time leading goal scorer. During his career, the three-time Champions League winner and five-time La Liga champion scored 163 goals and was a regular penalty and free-kick taker.

For a long time, Hierro was also the captain of Real Madrid and the Spanish national team. One of his greatest strengths was his incredible aerial presence, particularly during corners. He has also scored for Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League. He is the EPL highest-scoring defender of all time.

2. Daniel Passarella (175 goals)

Daniel Passarella is the only person from South America on this list; everyone else is a member of the European continent. However, the 162 goals the Argentine scored during his career attest that he was more well-known for his incredible goal-scoring prowess than his defending abilities.

Despite being only 5 feet 8 inches tall, Passarella managed to operate the back lines for La Albiceleste and teams like River Plate, Inter Milan, and Fiorentina. In addition, he led his country to World Cup victory in 1978 and participated in their winning team in 1986.

1. Ronald Koeman

Former Dutch international and Barcelona legend Ronaldo Koeman holds the record for most goals scored by a defender in football history with a mind-boggling 207. He was a sweeper like Beckenbauer, but in his later years, he also played in the middle of the field.

For PSV Eindhoven, Koeman once scored 26 goals in a single season. He was Barcelona's go-to player for set pieces and penalties and scored as many as 19 goals in each of two different seasons there. His most significant goal for them came in a match against Sampdoria in 1992, which gave the Blaugrana their first-ever European Cup.

The highest-scoring defender of all time is Ronald Koeman. He was one of the most clinical defenders in front of the goal. He had the shooting boots of a striker when it came to striking the ball.

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