15 Best Goalscoring Defenders in the History of Football

Who is the greatest goalscoring defender of all time?

In the world of football, scoring a goal is the main task of a striker. However, it turns out that there are also some defenders who netted a lot of goals during their career. Most of them created their goals from set-pieces situation, such as free-kicks, penalty-kicks, and corner-kicks.

In this article, I want to discuss fifteen most prolific defenders in the history of football. Some names such as Ronald Koeman, Daniel Passarella, and Fernando Hierro even scored more goals than most of the strikers in their period. According to your opinion, who is the greatest among them?

Note: I did not include Matthias Sammer and Paul Breitner in this list because they scored more goals as a midfielder than as a defender.

15. Sergio Ramos

Goal scored: 60

File:Chilena de Sergio Ramos.jpg

Sergio Ramos Euro 2012 vs France 01.jpg

Besides being known as one of the best all-time Spain defenders, Sergio Ramos is also very productive. He often abandons his post to go forward to the opponent's defense, especially in corner kick situations. Utilizing his remarkable heading and a quick response, Sergio Ramos scored numerous great goals. One of his greatest goals was created in the 2014 Champions League final match that helped his team win against Atletico Madrid.

14. Daniel Van Buyten

Goal scored: 71
File:Daniel Van Buyten - Belgium.jpg

His tall posture helps Daniel Van Buyten score a lot of goals, especially during corner kick situations. Not just tough in defending opponent's attack, he is also known as one of the most productive defenders in Europe. The Belgium defender was a mainstay of Bayern Munich between 2006 to 2014 along with Lucio. In this club, he won four Bundesliga titles, four DFB Pokal, and one Champions League trophy. Not only that, he was also included in the Belgian national team squad in two Euro tournaments and two World Cups.

13. Andreas Brehme

Goal scored: 73

File:Andreas Brehme 2008.jpg
One of the most important goals ever netted by Andreas Brehme was the one in the 1990 World Cup final against Argentina. His penalty-kick helped West Germany national team to be the best in the world. Indeed, during his career Brehme was known as a reliable penalty-kick taker. He was trusted to be the number one penalty taker in West Germany national team, on top of famous names such as Lothar Matthaus, Jurgen Klinsmann, and Rudi Voller.

12. Marco Materazzi

Goal scored: 74

Marco Materazzi - Inter Mailand (1).jpg
In the 2000-01 season, Marco Materazzi broke the record as the most-scoring defender in a Serie A season, with a total of 12 goals. At that time, Materazzi played for Perugia and most of his goals were scored from penalty kicks. Throughout his career, he was known as a very aggressive defender. He did not hesitate to play rough and dirty. During his career as a professional footballer, Materazzi received a total of 25 red cards.

11. Frank de Boer

Goal scored: 79

Resilient in defending, productive in scoring goals, and possessing very good leadership qualities. Frank de Boer was the defender who became the mainstay of Netherlands national team and Ajax Amsterdam in the 1990s. In addition to have great reputation as a center-back, de Boer was also known as a reliable penalty taker. He was trusted to be the captain of Netherlands national team in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

10. Ian Harte

Goal scored: 97
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Ian Harte is a former Irish left back who was known as a free kick specialist. His left leg was very strong, often produced a lot of goals from outside the penalty box. One of his best goals was made in a match against Arsenal in the 2002-03 season. At that time, his free-kick goal from 25 yards successfully helped Leeds United beat Arsenal 3-2 and saved the club from relegation.

9. Marcus Tulio Tanaka

Goal scored: 102
File:Tulio 20080622.jpg

Marcus Tulio Tanaka is a Japanese footballer who was born in Brazil. He is a central defender who is currently playing for Nagoya Grampus and is known as one of the most prolific defenders in scoring goals. In contrast to most of the defenders on this list, the goals of Marcus Tulio Tanaka were not scored from free-kicks or penalty kicks. Although he plays as a central defender, he does not hesitate to go forward and take a role as a playmaker of the team.

8. Sinisa Mihajlovic

Goal scored: 104
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In addition to Roberto Carlos, Sinisa Mihajlovic is known as one of the best free-kick takers in the 1990's. He possesses a very strong left foot which helped him score more than 100 goals in his career. This Serbian footballer spent most of his career playing for Italian clubs. At Lazio and Inter Milan, Mihajlovic won two Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia trophies, and three Supercoppa Italiana.

7. Franz Beckenbauer

Goal scored: 108

Franz Beckenbauer is a retired defender who displayed extremely elegant football style. Playing as a sweeper, Beckenbauer also often served as a playmaker in the team. He led West Germany national team and Bayern Munich dominate the world of football in the 1970s. Not just possessing great defending skills and good vision, Beckenbauer was also very prolific in scoring goals. In total, he managed to find the net as much as 108 times in his 19-year career as a professional footballer.

6. Roberto Carlos

Goal scored: 112
Roberto Carlos 2011.jpg

Every time we talk about free-kicks, we will always mention the name of Roberto Carlos. This is because Roberto Carlos has a reputation as one of the players with the highest shooting power in the history of football. He scored a lot of free kicks and long-range shooting that helped Real Madrid and Brazil national team win many trophies. One of his best goals was made in 1997, in a match against France national football team.

5. Steve Bruce

Goal scored: 113

Together with Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce was the mainstay of the Manchester United defense line in the early 1990s. Besides being known as a reliable penalty-kick taker, Bruce also scored many goals through header. The Best moment of his career occurred in the 1990-91 season, where he scored a total of 19 goals. Although he exhibited scintillating performances at club level, Bruce was never called up to play for England national team.

4. Graham Alexander

Goal scored: 129

Graham Alexander is one of the best penalty executors in the history of English football. The Scottish right-back spent his career playing for small clubs such as Scunthorpe United, Preston North End, Luton Town, and Burnley. In 2010, Alexander made a record as the oldest player to score a goal in the Premier League. Throughout his career, he played in 40 international matches with Scotland national football team.

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3. Fernando Hierro

Goal scored: 133

Fernando Hierro 2008.jpg
Real Madrid has produced a lot of goalscoring defenders. Besides Sergio Ramos and Roberto Carlos, there is also Fernando Hierro. Compared to the two previous names, was more productive in finding the net. He is not only known as a penalty-kick specialist, but also as a reliable free-kick taker. Throughout his career, he won five La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies, and one Copa del Rey.

2. Daniel Passarella

Goal scored: 134

Daniel Passarella is a perfect example of a defender. He possessed remarkable tackling, heading, and marking. Not only that, Passarella was also known as a great team captain. He played a major role in helping Argentina national team win the 1978 World Cup and ledRiver Plate claim three Argentine league titles. Although he is short, Passarella scored a lot of goals from header.

1. Ronald Koeman

Goal scored: 239

With a total of 239 goals, Ronald Koeman deserves to be named as the best goalscoring defender in the history of football. He was known as a reliable penalty-taker, great free-kick executor, and often scored goals from long-range shot. Together with Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, and Marco van Basten; Ronald Koeman was a mainstay of Netherlands national team in the late 1980s.

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