Goals. Goals. Goals. Everyone loves goals and everyone loves a goalscorer who bangs them in on a regular basis. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Tevez are all rightly adored at their respective clubs for their exploits in front of goal.
As we all know, goals bring you results and raise yours clubs profile. Just think about how many Harry Kane shirts that Tottenham sold this season or where West Brom would have finished without the strikes of Saido Berahino. Would Juventus have beaten Real Madrid without Alvaro Morata? Could Barcelona have easily brushed aside Bayern Munich without Luis Suarez and Neymar?
A prolific striker is worth his weight in gold but what about the rest of the men on the pitch? Dynamic midfielders always chip in with the odd goal and their contribution in the oppositions half is just as valuable as the centre forwards. Just look at Eden Hazard this season. But what about the men at the back? Surely they shouldn’t be concerned about hitting double figures every year?
Just you tell that to Steve Bruce, who once scored 19 goals in one season for Manchester United and was constant threat in his playing days. When he was at Everton, Joleon Lescott scored 10 in one campaign and helped the Toffees become one of the best forces in the Premier League under a David Moyes.
They might be a rare breed but goalscoring defenders a nice luxury to have in any team. Philippe Albert, Edmilson, Carlos Alberto and er….Nedum Onuoha are all well known for one particular goal but there are some defenders who incorporated goals into their repertoire. Here are ten of them that regularly found the back of the net and were probably better known for that than their tackling.
Roberto Carlos (Career goals 113)
We’ll start with an obvious one but always a favourite. To look at Roberto Carlos you wouldn’t think he was up to much. Short and stocky, the Brazilian didn’t look like he could put in tireless runs up and down the left wing for 90 minutes, let alone have a foot like a pile driver, which could break the sound barrier. Carlos was best known as a dead ball specialist and at his best could truly bend the laws of physics. Fabien Barthez didn’t know what had hit him.
Fernando Hierro (Career goals 163)
Few defenders have been as classy and cultured on the pitch quite like Fernando Hierro was during his heyday at Real Madrid. The former Los Blancos captain scored 130 goals for the Spanish giants, where he plied his trade for 13 years, winning five league titles and three Champions Leagues. In England, he is best known for his short spell at Bolton where he scored just one goal in a 3-2 loss to Norwich. How the mighty fall.
Sergio Ramos (Career goals 68)
The inheritor of Hierro’s crown at the Bernabeu has undoubtedly been Sergio Ramos, who has already bagged 68 goals for club and country by the age of 29. Not nearly as loveable as his predecessor, Ramos does have a nasty streak within him and does hold the unenviable record of receiving the most red cards for Real Madrid. We are sure that they aren’t too bothered about that though, as without his header in last years Champions League final, the historic La Decima would have been impossible.
Ian Harte (Career goals 97)
After three Real Madrid legends its time for a trip a bit closer to home. To be precise, Leeds. Yes, Ian Harte is something of an hero at Elland Road, where the Irishman became infamous for his precision from the penalty spot and free kicks. He scored 39 goals for the Yorkshire club during their last days in the sun before becoming something of a journeyman. At the age of 37 he is still going strong and was recently seen helping Bournemouth win promotion to the Premier League.
Naldo (Career goals 48)
Whilst Kevin de Bruyne has grabbed all the headlines at Wolfsburg this season, Naldo has been something of an unsung hero for this years DFB-Pokal winning team. The Brazilian, who is now 32, has scored seven Bundesliga goals for Dieter Hecking’s team and helped them finish second. ‘The Beast’ is let to do it on the international stage just yet but in all fairness he has only won four caps. Come on Dunga, give the lad a chance.
Laurent Blanc (Career goals 146)
Although the current PSG manager, might seem present himself as the most uninteresting man to ever work in football, he was once upon a time considered to be one of the best centre backs to ever play the game. Blanc was the figurehead of the French national teams most successful period ever, winning the World Cup and European Championship within a two year spell. Never easy of the eye, Blanc was just a rough with his goals as he was with his challenges but you don’t score the first ever golden goal in World Cup history by being a fancy pants do you?
David Unsworth (Career goals 53)
Commonly known as ‘Rhino’ amongst his friends, it would be fair to say that Unsworth was a unit. The former Everton star won the 1995 FA Cup with the Merseyside team and was lethal from the penalty spot, a trait that probably produced his most infamous moment. On the last day of the 2006/07 season, Unsworth scored a penalty that helped Wigan achieve survival in the Premier League and relegate Sheffield United, them team that had sold him in the January transfer window. Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it, especially if you are Neil Warnock.
John Terry (Career goals 68)
Unsworth had been the top goalscoring defender in Premier League history, that was until John Terry opened the scoring against Liverpool on May 10th and registered his 39th goal in the top flight, just one more than Unsworth. For all the wrong that Terry has done and the controversies he has incurred, it’s easy to forget that he is an exceptional centre back who is as intimidating in each penalty box. Just don’t mention that time he missed that penalty in the Champions League final.
Lothar Matthaus (Career goals 227)
The sweeper role is a forgotten gem of the defensive game and is probably due a comeback. Ball playing defenders breaking from deep are probably not in high demand but when you look at the likes of Matthaus, who won the 1990 Ballon d’Or, it’s easy to see why nobody ever tried to match his standards again. The German was one of the greatest to ever play the game and won pretty much everything at club and international level, apart from that pesky Champions League, which eluded him on two different occasions. When you can hit a ball like this though, who cares?
Ronald Koeman (Career goals 253)
Another icon who made the sweeper role famous, was current Southampton boss, Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman has scored the most goals for a defender ever, with an incredible 253. Most strikers would probably be happy to finish on that let alone a defender. Like many of his peers, Koeman was deadly from a set piece and scored many vital goals for the Netherlands and his respective clubs. His best? The winner in the 1992 European Cup wasn’t bad.