15 Best Premier League Defenders of All Time

Who is the greatest defender in Premier League?

As a competition that has a long history, the Premier League has given birth to many world-class defenders. Just as a striker, a defender also has an important role for a victory of a team. They must be able to protect their goal line from the opponents and sometimes they also have to go forward and score a goal.

In this article, I will share a list of fifteen Premier League's best defenders of all time. They all have a very big roles in bringing each club triumphed in various national and international competitions. Among these great defenders, who is your favorite?

15. Jaap Stam

Jaap Stam's tall figure made the defense line of Manchester United looked more and more difficult to penetrate. The Dutch defender played for the Red Devils for three seasons, from 1998 to 2001. He spent his three-year glorious career with Manchester United, where Stam was able to win three Premier League titles. When he was finally transferred to Lazio in the 2001-2002 season, Alex Ferguson said that Manchester United had just lost their strongest defender and he regretted his decision to sell Stam.

14. Marcel Desailly

Marcel Desailly is a former French defender who became a defense leader of Chelsea in the late 90s and early 2000s. He was also a central figure who led France national team win the World Cup 1998, although he was red carded during the final match. Playing for Chelsea for six years, the Ghanaian-born player played in 222 matches and scored seven goals. He also helped Chelsea win an FA Cup trophies in the 1999-2000 season.

13. Denis Irwin

Denis Irwin is an Irish defender who was part of Manchester United's golden generation. Throughout his career at the Red Devils, Irwin was played as a left back. Not only strong in guarding the defense line, Irwin also often scored from penalty kicks. During 12 years playing for Manchester United, he scored 22 goals in 368 appearances. In addition, Irwin also won seven Premier League titles in his career.

12. Gareth Southgate

Throughout his 18 year career as a professional football player, Southgate never played for big teams. He only played for three clubs, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. However, he is known to be very resilient and capable of carrying mediocre teams to become a threat to the top teams of the English Premier League. One of Southgate's best achievements was when he won the League Cup in 1996 with Aston Villa.

11. Martin Keown

Martin Keown is a former central defender who was famous for his emotional outbursts. Playing alongside Tony Adams, Keown became Arsenal's main defense tower in the period 1993 to 2004. He also became important part when Arsenal was able to dominate the Premier League in the early 2000s. During his career at the Gunners, Keown played 333 times and scored four goals. After his retirement, Keown regularly appears as a commentator on BBC.

10. Gary Pallister

Long before the arrival of Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam, or Nemanja Vidic; Manchester United had once already possessed a very strong central defender. He is Gary Pallister, a defender who led Manchester United win the Premier League four times. Forming a duet with Steve Bruce, Pallister created one of the strongest defense line ever in the history of Premier League. He played for Manchester United for nine years before moving to Middlesbrough in 1998 and retired in 2001.

9. Sami Hyypia

Until now, Liverpool apparently still having trouble finding a replacement for Sami Hyypia. Hyypia is a Finland player and he is one of Liverpool's best players in the history that led the club win many titles. Hyppia's duty was not only strengthening the team's defense. He also went to the opponents' penalty box in set-piece situations, and not rarely scored goals. For ten years playing at the Reds, Hyypia underwent a period of several years as a team captain.

8. Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce is a former British central defender who played for Manchester United from 1988 to 1996. Throughout his career, he played 306 times and scored 39 goals, considerably high numbers of goal for a defender. These goals were mostly created from his great heading as well as penalty-taking skills. Unfortunately, although Bruce had a glorious career with his club, he was never called up to play for England national team.

7. Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher has achieved a status as one of the living legends of Liverpool. This player is not only tough as a central defender, but was also often positioned as a right-back. Carragher is also known as one of the most loyal defender of all time, in which he remained faithful to play for Liverpool for 17 years. His loyalty paid off when Carragher won numerous trophies with the Reds, the most memorable among them is the Champions League trophy in the 2004-2005 season.

6. Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell is a strong retired defender who played for Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, and Arsenal. He also had a vital role in England national team. For five years playing for Arsenal, Campbell won two Premier League titles, with a total record of 135 appearances and scored eight goals. After his contract was not being renewed in 2006, Campbell decided to move to Portsmouth, where he won an FA Cup trophy in 2008.

5. Rio Ferdinand

Starting his career as West Ham United player, Rio Ferdinand had become the target of various big clubs since he was young. His career started to shine when he joined Manchester United in 2002. At that time, Ferdinand was transferred from Leeds United for a fee of 30 million pounds. Until now, the value is still recorded as the highest transfer fee in the world for a defender. At Manchester United, Ferdinand won six Premier League titles and one Champions League trophy.

4. John Terry

John Terry is one of Chelsea's best players of all time. He was one of the few players who were raised by the Chelsea academy, able to stay in the first-team line up, even eventually promoted as a team captain. Until now, Terry has been playing for Chelsea for 16 years. He played in 411 matches and scored 34 goals. In addition to winning three Premier League titles and one Champions League, Terry was also selected as the best Premier League player in the 2004-2005 season.

3. Gary Neville

It is not exaggerating to call Gary Neville as a Manchester United legend. This player spent his entire career as a professional footballer as a Manchester United player. Over 19 years, Neville played 400 times and scored five goals. Currently, he is also a Manchester United player with the second highest number of appearances, just behind Ryan Giggs. Throgout his career Neville played 85 times for England.

2. Tony Adams

Tony Adams probably is the best Arsenal captain of all time. After his career slumped for a moment because of alcohol addiction, Adams revived and took Arsenal to be one of the strongest teams in the world. He spent his entire 19-year career as a professional footballer at Arsenal. After retiring in 2002, Arsenal fans decided to build a statue of Tony Adams in front of the Emirates Stadium to appreciate his dedication and loyalty to the club.

1. Nemanja Vidic

Strong, tall, and possessing perfect abilities as a central defender. In terms of physical strength, Vidic is the number one in the Premier League. He can make any forwards feel frustrated because of his tight marking. Each time he was absent from a match, it meant disaster to Manchester United. During his career as a Red Devil's player, Vidic won five Premier League titles, one Champions League trophy, and a FIFA Club World Cup Championship trophy.
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