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Who are the worst defenders in football today?

Defense remains a top priority for many managers. From consistently poor performances to not meeting the intensity and value expected of them to frequent injuries, who is the worst defender in football today? In this article, bestsoccertips will list the 10 worst defenders in football, so let’s read along.

Who is the worst defender in football?

10. Danny Fox – Retired

Danny Fox, born on May 29, 1986, in Winsford, a small town in the United Kingdom, has experienced a challenging and arduous football journey. By 2022, as he turned 36, he retired and reflected on his journey, evaluating all the effort and sweat he poured onto the pitch.

With a career spanning nearly a decade and a half at football clubs in England, Danny Fox faced not only the pressure of competition but also dealt with injury and setbacks. Despite giving his all, his achievements couldn’t match the expectations.

Worst defenders in football: Danny Fox - Retired
Worst defenders in football: Danny Fox – Retired

Eventually, as his playing career declined, Danny Fox decided to seek new opportunities outside of the UK. Moving to play for SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League brought him a fresh opportunity but also posed new challenges. Despite his best efforts, his performance fell short of expectations, and he faced disciplinary action from the club.

9. Bebe – Rayo Vallecano

Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, born on July 12, 1990, in Sintra, Portugal, is now 32 years old. Currently, he plays for Rayo Vallecano. Despite his rags-to-riches story, this Cape Verdean-born Portuguese player failed to meet the mark when he signed for Manchester United.

Worst defenders in soccer: Bebe - Rayo Vallecano
Worst defenders in soccer: Bebe – Rayo Vallecano

He only appeared on the field seven times in four years with the club, and his legacy with the club still replaces him to this day. Alex Ferguson wrote in his autobiography that he signed Bebe without seeing him play in 2010.

8. Emerson Palmieri – West Ham

Emerson Palmieri dos Santos was born on August 3, 1994, in São Paulo, one of Brazil’s largest and most vibrant cities. By 2022, he had turned 27, marking a mature stage in his fluctuating football career.

This Brazilian national player currently wears the jersey of the Italian national team, an uncommon choice in the football world. Emerson’s performance at Chelsea didn’t meet expectations, with a lack of stability and defensive skills falling short. His move to his current club, Lyon, also hasn’t been smooth as he encountered injuries, affecting his playing time and performance.

Worst defenders in football history: Emerson Palmieri - West Ham
Worst defenders in football history: Emerson Palmieri – West Ham

During his time at Chelsea, Emerson only made 33 appearances in two years, a figure that undeniably reflects inefficiency and instability in his career. However, with determination and relentless effort, Emerson Palmieri dos Santos still hopes for new strides in his career, with perseverance and belief in his abilities.

7. Marcos Alonso – Barcelona

Born on December 28, 1990, in the bustling metropolis of Madrid, Marcos Alonso Mendoza was destined for a life intertwined with football. Fast forward to 2022, and at 31 years old, Marcos had amassed a wealth of experiences in his footballing journey, navigating the highs and lows of the sport with unwavering determination.

Who is the worst defender in football: Marcos Alonso - Barcelona
Who is the worst defender in football: Marcos Alonso – Barcelona

Marcos Alonso is highly regarded in the football world, considered one of the best defenders. However, despite talent and experience, he also faces criticism for his poor defensive skills. Criticisms come not only from the field but also from his personal life.

6. John Stones – Manchester City

This player’s full name is John Stones, born on May 28, 1994, in Barnsley, England. By 2022, he was 28 years old, having experienced a tumultuous journey in his career. In 2016, Manchester City spent a hefty sum of $52.2 million to acquire John Stones, making him the second most expensive defender in the world at that time, only behind David Luiz. However, this high price tag didn’t necessarily equate to meeting the expectations of fans and coaching staff.

Worst defenders in football: John Stones - Manchester City
Worst defenders in football: John Stones – Manchester City

John Stones has faced much criticism regarding his defensive skills. Despite confidence from clubs and coaches, the English player still couldn’t avoid mistakes and unfavorable moments on the field. The pressure to maintain a spot in the starting lineup and constant comparison with senior players have made his career challenging.

5. Eder Militao – Real Madrid

Eder Gabriel Militao was born on January 18, 1998, in São Paulo, Brazil, where football is considered an integral part of the local culture. By 2022, he was 24 years old, at a young age full of promise in his career.

Up to this point, opportunities for Eder Militao to mature and showcase his abilities have garnered significant attention from the football community. However, assessments of his defensive skills have always sparked controversy. Some believe he is a promising young talent with potential for growth and improvement in the future. Meanwhile, others argue that he lacks stability and his performance isn’t sufficient to meet the demands of major clubs.

Worst defenders in soccer: Eder Militao - Real Madrid
Worst defenders in soccer: Eder Militao – Real Madrid

The divided opinions on Militao have led to contentious decisions. Liverpool and Manchester United rejected signing him in 2019, believing he didn’t meet their standards. However, despite differing views, it’s unanimously agreed that the $54 million Real Madrid paid for Eder Militao is considerably low considering his potential and real value.

4. Victor Lindelof – Manchester United

Victor Jörgen Nilsson Lindelöf was born on July 17, 1994, in Västerås, a small and tranquil city in Sweden. By 2022, at the age of 28, his fame isn’t just about successes on the pitch but also about enduring criticism.

In the football world, no one is immune to criticism, but Victor Lindelöf seems to endure more than most. Spain’s Marca newspaper voted him the worst defender in 2018, a title nobody desires. Since joining Manchester United in 2017, he has struggled to adapt to the new environment and hasn’t shown consistent form.

Worst defenders in football history: Victor Lindelof - Manchester United
Worst defenders in football history: Victor Lindelof – Manchester United

Lindelöf’s style of play is often criticized for poor performance, even acknowledged by his teammates. Despite his hardworking spirit and effort, he continues to face uncomfortable criticisms. Some criticisms may be perceived as excessive and unfair, but they’re part of the pressure and challenges every player must face in their career.

3. Samuel Umtiti – Barcelona

Samuel Yves Umtiti was born on November 14, 1993, in Yaoundé, Cameroon. By 2022, he was 28 years old. Once a contender for the title of La Liga’s best defender, the downfall of this French star is regrettable. When he arrived at Barcelona from Lyon, he showed great physicality in his first season with the club.

Worst defenders in football: Samuel Umtiti - Barcelona
Worst defenders in football: Samuel Umtiti – Barcelona

However, knee injuries hindered him from demonstrating sustained physical performance. This led to him losing a place in both the French national team and his club, Barcelona. As of 2022, Sam remains at Barcelona but has had to take a significant pay cut for the club to afford new talents.

2. Shkodran Mustafi – Levante

Shkodran Mustafi was born on April 17, 1992, in Hessen, Germany. By 2022, he was 30 years old. Mustafi had a fantastic start and an upward trajectory in his career. With much buzz surrounding him, eventually, big teams took notice, and in 2016, he signed with Arsenal from Valencia. However, while at Arsenal, the German international couldn’t shine, and his performances were consistently error-prone.

Worst defenders in soccer: Shkodran Mustafi - Levante
Worst defenders in soccer: Shkodran Mustafi – Levante

With no improvement, he blamed his poor performance on online criticism. In early 2021, Arsenal ultimately didn’t renew his contract, leading to his departure from the team. The criticisms escalated to the point where he was considered one of Arsenal’s worst defenders. He then signed with the German club Schalke but was also released due to misconduct after featuring in just 13 games for leading a revolt against the team manager.

1. Phil Jones – Manchester United

When Phil signed with Manchester United in 2011, he was in great form and fitness, even being praised by former manager Alex Ferguson as one of the greatest players the club had seen. However, two seasons later, issues began arising. Continuous injuries severely deteriorated his physical condition over the past year. Unfortunately, this also witnessed him transition from an excellent defender to a poor one for the club.

Worst defenders in football history: Phil Jones - Manchester United
Worst defenders in football history: Phil Jones – Manchester United

To the astonishment of many, after an absence from the pitch spanning over two years, Marcos Alonso Mendoza made a remarkable return in January 2022. He was notably included in the starting lineup for Manchester United’s match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, signaling a triumphant resurgence in his footballing career.


In the dynamic world of football, the trajectories of players like Samuel Umtiti, Shkodran Mustafi, and Phil Jones underscore the unpredictable nature of the sport. Despite initial promise and accolades, their careers have been marred by injuries, performance dips, and external criticisms. These challenges serve as poignant reminders of the demanding and unforgiving nature of professional football. Yet, amidst setbacks, their stories also highlight the resilience and perseverance required to navigate adversity in pursuit of success. As they continue to strive for redemption and resurgence, their journeys serve as compelling narratives within the intricate tapestry of football’s highs and lows.

See more: Smartest Football Players: Brilliance On and Off the Pitch