There is a popular quote stating that “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles”. The saying couldn’t have been more perfect. Although every team needs a quality defender who will not let the other team score, goal-scoring defenders are very rare. However, in this article, we’ll look at the list of highest scoring defenders in the 21st century.
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Top 10 Highest scoring defenders in the 21st century:
#10 Willem Janssen (59 goals)
Willem Janssen is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a central defender for FC Utrecht in the Eredivisie. The 35-year-old central defender has scored 59 goals in 466 games. Despite being a defender he has an immense contribution to the team when it comes to scoring goals.
#9 Aleksandar Kolarov (62 goals)
Aleksandar Kolarov is a Serbian professional footballer who plays for Serie A club Inter Milan. Although primarily a left-back, Kolarov can also operate as a centre-back and anywhere along the left. He has scored 62 goals in 588 games which is a pretty decent figure for a defender. He is also a dangerous set-piece specialist and has scored crucial goals from freekicks.
#8 Sergey Ignashevich (64 goals)
Sergei Nikolayevich Ignashevich is a Russian professional football coach and a former player who played as a central defender. He has scored 64 goals in 801 games in the 21st century as a defender. He also holds the record of the most games played (489) in the Russian Premier League.
#7 John Arne Riise (64 goals)
John Arne Semundseth Riise is a Norwegian former professional footballer who played as a left-back and a left midfielder. He spent seven years playing for Premier League side Liverpool and played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s 2004-05 UCL triumph. He has also scored 64 goals much like Sergey Ignashevich but in 732 games. To clarify, this is the reason he is ranked above the Russian.
#6 Naldo (65 goals)
Ronaldo Aparecido Rodrigues, commonly known as Naldo, is a Brazilian former footballer who played as a centre back. He is also the current first-team coach for his former Bundesliga club Schalke 04. He played for FC Schalke from 2016-2019 and ended his playing career at Monaco in the 2019-20 season. The 38-year-old has scored 65 goals in 510 games and features at number 6 in the list.
#5 Branislav Ivanovic (66 goals)
To start off the top five list we have a Serbian professional footballer who most recently played for Premier League club West Bromwich Albion. Although he usually plays as a right-back, he is versatile and can also play as a centre-back. He made headlines when he decided to join West Brom at the age of 37. He is the fifth-highest scoring defender in the 21st century with 66 goals in 691 games.
#4 John Terry (72 goals)
The Chelsea legend John Terry features at no.4 in this list. John George Terry is currently a professional football coach. He was previously captain of Chelsea, the England national team and Aston Villa. However, he is currently the assistant head coach at Aston Villa F.C. John Terry has scored 72 goals in 784 games and is just ahead of his former teammate Branislav Ivanovic.
#3 Daniel Van Buyten (72 goals)
Daniel Van Buyten is a Belgian former footballer who played as a centre back. However, he was popularly known as “Big Dan”. Van Buyten was famous for his uncompromising style of play, exploiting both his physical strength and aerial ability. The 43-year-old is the third-highest goalscoring defender of the 21st century with 72 goals in 566 games. He had his most appearances for FC Bayern Munich (158) and scored 20 goals for them.
#2 René Aufhauser (79 goals)
The second-highest goalscoring defender of the 21st century is René Aufhauser, who is a former Austrian football player. He has scored 79 goals in just 455 games and features at no.2 in this list. He has scored the most amount of goals for Red Bull Salzburg (20) in 115 appearances.
#1 Sergio Ramos (126 goals)
Former Real Madrid captain Ramos is the only defender this century to crack 100 goals, clocking in with 126 in 890 games. He has spent 16 years of his career with the Spanish giants and even took the penalty kicks for them after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. However, he recently left his childhood club after his contract expired and has now joined the French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
N.B. The stats are accurate as of July 16, 2021.