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15 Greatest Defenders In Premier League History Ranked

by NaijNaira
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Ranking the 15 Greatest Defenders In Premier League Histor

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Center defenders are central to a team’s security at the back, a keeper can be outstanding but his net’s safety is largely dependent on how many times he’s exposed during the game.

Across the game of football, defenders have been appreciated and respected for their craft, the days of Paolo Maldini, and Fabio Cannavaro who was once voted as the best player in the world in 2006 after winning the World Cup with Italy.

The Premier League has had its fair share of world-class defences and NaijNaira ranks the fifteen best we have seen.

15 Best Defenders In Premier League History

15. Ledley King

Club: Tottenham Hotspur

Years active: 1999-2012

Matches played: 268

Trophies: 2007/08 League Cup

Ledley King is a Tottenham legend having played 268 Premier League games for the club between 1999 and 2012.

Yes, it’s a shockingly low number game considering the number of years he was active but the injury problems he dealt with limited his potential and limited him to number fifteen on this list.

14. Kolo Toure

Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool

Years active: 2002-2016

Matches played: 354

Trophies: FA Cup (2), FA Community Shield (2), Premier League (2)

The Toures ruled the Premier League at different times but before Yaya became a thing at City, the elder Kolo ran riots at City and in the city of London.

Kolo Touré played for Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City playing a huge part in Arsenal’s invisible era. Very athletic and strong, Touré will be remembered by some of the Premier League’s great strikers.

13. Sami Hyypia

Club: Liverpool

Years active: 1999-2009

Games played: 317

Trophies: FA Cup (2), League Cup (2), FA Community Shield (2), 2000/01 UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup (2), 2004/05 UEFA Champions League

The only thing lacking for Sami Hyypia’s Liverpool CV was the Premier League trophy. The Fin won every other thing available.

Hyypia had ten years and 317 games for the Reds and was at most times fantastic.

12. Jamie Carragher

Club: Liverpool

Years active: 1996-2013

Matches played: 508

Trophies: FA Cup (2), League Cup (3), FA Community Shield (2), 2000/01 UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup (2), 2004/05 UEFA Champions League

Jamie Carragher also led the backline of Liverpool with aplomb gathering 508 matches between 1996 and 2013.

Initially, he was a right back before moving to center back.

Like Hyypia, he won everything available except the Premier League title of course although he does have a minus to his game – own goal.

11. Jaap Stam

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Club: Manchester United

Years active: 1998-2001

Matches played: 79

Trophies: Premier League (3), 1998/99 FA Cup, 1998/99 UEFA Champions League, 1999 Intercontinental Cup

Stam’s time was short at Manchester United but he did stamp his quality and love in the hearts of Manchester United fans.

He was known to be tough in his approach but it will be tough for others to win what he won in his three years at the club.

10. Vincent Kompany

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Club: Manchester City

Years active: 2008-2019

Matches played: 265

Trophies: FA Cup (2), Premier League (4), FA Community Shield (2), League Cup (4)

The leader of Manchester City’s first set of legends, Kompany as City’s captain had quality players for company in his eleven years at the club.

His trophy return Is massive not only because he was part of the squad but because he was a leader in fact scoring some title-winning goals.

9. Steve Bruce

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Club: Manchester United

Years active: 1992-1996

Matches played: 147

Trophies: FA Cup (3), FA Community Shield (3), 1990/91 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, 1991 UEFA Super Cup, 1991/92 League Cup, Premier League (3)

Steve Bruce was the first captain to lift the Premier League in 1993 and even did it by scoring the winning goal.

Steve was at Old Trafford for four years but it was a trophy-laden four years. Did someone say old but gold?

8. Ricardo Carvalho

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Club: Chelsea

Years active: 2004-2010

Matches played: 135

Trophies: Premier League (3), League Cup (2), FA Community Shield (2)

Carvahlo and Terry formed a solid blues defence and it all started in 2004, and by the end of his time there, he had won three Premier League titles, League cups and two community shields.

7. Gary Pallister

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Clubs: Manchester United, Middlesbrough

Years active: 1992-2001

Matches played: 262

Trophies: FA Cup (3), FA Community Shield (5), 1990/91 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, 1991 UEFA Super Cup, 1991/92 League Cup, Premier League (4)

You don’t remember Gary Pallister? The former Manchester United and Middlesbrough center back had almost everything you want in a defender.

6. Virgil van Dijk

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Clubs: Southampton, Liverpool

Years active: 2015-present

Trophies won: 2018/19 Uefa Champions League, 2019/20 Uefa Super Cup, 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, 2019/20 Premier League, 2022 League Cup, 2022 FA Cup

Virgil van Dijk moved to the Premier League in 2015 with Southampton from Celtic. Since then he’s moved from decent to world-class and from middle-class Saints to title winners and contenders Liverpool.

He may have been reduced in quality largely due to injuries but he will continue to be in arguments about the Premier League’s best defenders ever.

5. Nemanja Vidic

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Clubs: Manchester United

Years active: 2006-2014

Matches played: 211

Trophies: League Cup (3), Premier League (5), FA Community Shield (5), 2007/08 UEFA Champions League, 2008 FIFA Club World Cup

You didn’t expect that we will exclude Vidic, we saved the best and got the last, at least that’s what they said.

The Serbian didn’t really start his United time perfect but he did end it as a household name, a powerhouse even though age did catch up with him.

4. Tony Adams

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Club: Arsenal

Years active: 1992-2002

Matches played: 255

Trophies: 1992/93 League Cup, FA Cup (3), 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, Premier League (2), FA Community Shield (2)

Arsene Wenger’s success at the club that is closely named to him but not his was majorly due to someone who was christened Mr. Arsenal.

Tony Adams had huge success even before the Premier League became the PL. Tony Adams led the backline that gave Wenger the confidence to build one of the most dangerous attacking teams.

3. Sol Campbell

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Portsmouth

Years active: 1992-2009

Matches played: 503

Trophies: 1998/99 League Cup, Premier League (2), FA Cup (3), 2004 FA Community Shield

Sol Campbell played for the two North London rivals during his 17-year career in the league plus a stint at Portsmouth.

Sol Campbell was at the heart of the black line that won the unbeaten squad but the trophy wins weren’t limited to the Gunners. He had Wins at Spurs and Portsmouth too.

2. Rio Ferdinand

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Clubs: West Ham, Leeds, Manchester United, QPR

Years active: 1995-2015

Matches played: 503

Trophies: 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup, Premier League (6), FA Community Shield (6), League Cup (3), 2007/08 UEFA Champions League, 2008 FIFA Club World Cup

Rio Ferdinand would even fit anywhere in the tip two or even on the number one, often considered as Rolls Royce of a defender, his two decades of activeness were eventful.

His presence alone settles the defence and makes goalscoring difficult for the opposition. Asides from United, he played for West Ham and Leeds united.

He captained Manchester United to their 2008 UEFA Champions League win against Chelsea.

1. John Terry

Greatest Defenders In Premier League History

Club: Chelsea

Years active: 1998-2017

Games played: 492

Trophies won: FA Cup (5), Premier League (5), FA Community Shield (4), League Cup (3), 2011/12 UEFA Champions League, 2012/13 UEFA Europa League

The cleanest sheets of any single defender in Premier League history and the highest-scoring defender in Premier League history are no jokes.

The Chelsea legend was a defender with all the flowers he deserves, besides the trophies, it’s not something every player does, to play all the minutes of the 2014/2015 PL season.

So those are the top 15 Premier League defenders in history but you can disagree or put your addition in the comment box.

This article was updated 2 months ago

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