Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time

Thu 22 July 2021 | 15:00

Want to know about the Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time? This article gives you whatever you’re hoping to find out.

Since 1921, the

Portugal national football team

has competed in international men's football competitions. The Portuguese Football Federation, the country's governing body for football, is in charge of it.

The 1966 World Cup marked Portugal's first appearance in a major tournament final, with a team led by Ballon d'Or winner Eusebio finishing third. Portugal qualified for the World Cup finals the next two times, in 1986 and 2002, but both times they were knocked out in the first round.

Portugal also advanced to the semi-finals of the UEFA Euro 1984 final tournament but lost 3–2 to hosts and eventual winners France after extra time.

During this time, Portugal was not part of a group of teams that were contenders for championships, but the team progressed from 2000 to the present day, appearing in all major tournament final stages.

This was largely due to Portugal's development of world-class players such as Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who is considered one of the greatest players in history. In this article, we plan to talk about the best defenders Portugal has ever produced.

List of The Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time

Sportmob has provided you the ultimate list of the best defenders Portugal has ever seen and a short description for each.

Alvaro Cardoso

Alvaro Cardoso da Silva (14 January 1914 – 12 May 2004) was a central defender for the Portuguese national team.

During his illustrious career at Sporting, he was known as Senhor Cardoso and he is one of the Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time.

From 1933 to 1938, Cardoso was a member of Vitoria Setubal. He joined Sporting in 1938 and stayed at the Lisbon club for ten years.

He is known as one of Sporting's best captains, having worn the armband during the popular Cinco Violinos period ("Five Violins").

Alvaro won the Primeira Divisao four times, the Taca de Portugal four times, and the Campeonato de Lisboa four times during this period.

His last match for Sporting was a 3–1 victory over


in the 1948 Taca de Portugal Final.

The central defender made 252 appearances for Sporting in all competitions and netted three goals.

Cardoso played thirteen times for Portugal, eleven of them as captain. On January 12, 1941, he made his debut against


in Lisbon, which ended in a 2–2 draw.

He was also a member of the team that defeated Spain in an official match for the first time on January 26, 1947.

The Sporting genius got an anonymous phone call, according to legend, asking him to bury a lucky talisman behind the nets.

He was given a silver goat horn wrapped in tissue, which he asked his teammate Serafim Neves to bury at night so no one would notice. Portugal prevailed 4–1 as a result of his efforts.

Arthur Correia

Artur Manuel Soares Correia (18 April 1950 – 25 July 2016) was a right-back for the Portuguese national team and one of the Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time.

Known as "Ruco," he played 234 games in the

Primeira Liga

and scored four goals in 12 seasons for Academica, Benfica, and Sporting, winning eight major titles with the latter, including five national titles.

He also spent two years with the New England Tea Men in the United States.

Correia was a seven-year Portugal international who made his debut in 1972.

The right-back was born in Lisbon and grew up with four siblings, two brothers, and two sisters, in the Santa Cruz neighborhood of Benfica.

He began his career with C.F. Benfica before joining S.L. Benfica's under-19 team in 1965, his boyhood club where he had been a confirmed member since birth.

Correia moved to Coimbra in 1968 to finish high school and enroll in college while also playing in the Primeira Liga for local Associacao Academica.

In his first season, he only played in one game but quickly established himself as a starter, attracting attention from C.F. Os Belenenses,

FC Porto

, and Sporting Clube de Portugal.

The Portuguese rejected an offer from Benfica in 1971 when Jimmy Hagan was the club's manager.

He made his debut in a 3–1 victory over Porto at the Estadio das Antas on September 12 and went on to help his team win the league with a ten-point lead over second-placed Vitoria F.C., as well as beating Porto and Sporting in the Taca de Portugal, as the season ended with a domestic double and a run to the European Cup semi-finals.

Hilario da Conceicao

Hilario Rosario da Conceicao, OM (born March 19, 1939), better known by his nickname Hilario, is a retired Portuguese footballer who played as a left-back.

Being indeed one of the

Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time

, he played nearly 450 friendly matches for

Sporting CP

during his professional career, winning seven major trophies.

Hilario was a 12-year international who played for the Portuguese national team at the 1966 World Cup.

The Portuguese footballer, who was born in Lourenco Marques, Portuguese Mozambique, was first noticed as Eusebio at Sporting de Lourenco Marques, but the former joined Sporting CP while the latter joined city rivals S.L. Benfica.

He was an undisputed starter for his team for 14 of the next 15 Primeira Liga seasons, winning three national championships and as many Portuguese Cups.

Due to a severe tibia injury suffered against

Vitoria F.C.

  just three days before the final against MTK Budapest FC, he missed the club's victory in the 1964 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

The brilliant left-back began his managerial career as soon as he finished his playing career.

This included his only seasons in the Portuguese top flight, with S.C. Braga in 1976–77 and 1979–80, as well as stints with Sporting as an assistant and reserve side.

He is without a question one of the Highest Rated Portuguese Defenders.

Vicente Lucas

Vicente da Fonseca Lucas, also known as Vicente, is a retired Portuguese footballer who played as a central defender.

He was born on September 24, 1935, and he is one of the

Highest Rated Portuguese Defenders.

Vicente was born in Lourenco Marques, Portuguese Mozambique, and spent 13 seasons with C.F. Os Belenenses, making his debut in 1954 and winning the Portuguese Cup six years later.

The Portuguese footballer with 12 goals for the Belenenses won 20 caps for Portugal, making his debut in a 1–0 victory over Scotland on June 3, 1959.

He was selected for the 1966 FIFA World Cup team that competed in England.

Lucas played all of the group stage matches, as well as the 5–3 quarter-final victory over North Korea, as his adopted country's team finished third.

In the 3–1 group stage win, he was accused of fouling


, but it was his teammate Joao Morais who was to blame.

The central defender, 31, retired from football after the World Cup due to a severe eye injury sustained when a piece of glass struck the organ during a car accident.

He was known for some flawless markings of the best players of his age without committing a penalty, and Pele referred to him as the best defender he had ever faced.

He is definitely one of the Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time.

One of Belenenses's bests coached in the fourth division from 1979 to 1981, spending one season each with Clube Desportivo Amiense and G.D. Sesimbra.

Fernando Couto

Fernando Manuel Silva Couto, OIH is a retired Portuguese footballer who played as a center-back and he is one of the Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time. He was born on August 2, 1969.

He played for a number of top clubs in Portugal, Spain, and Italy (12 seasons in the latter), participating in nearly 600 competitive matches and winning the double in each country, as well as three UEFA trophies, over the course of a 21-year professional career.

Couto played 110 games for the Portuguese national team, including the 2002 World Cup and three European Championships.

The outstanding defender played in four matches for Famalicao in the third division as Portugal won the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1989, as part of a group of players known as the "Golden Generation" of Portuguese football.

On December 19, 1990, he made his senior team debut in a friendly against the United States in Maia (1–0 win).

Considered one of the Highest Rated Portuguese Defenders, Couto was a first-choice player for Portugal at UEFA Euro 1996, producing the game's only goal in a group stage match against


for the eventual quarter-finalists, Euro 2000, and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, partnering former Porto teammate Jorge Costa in the latter two competitions, the latter of which ended in a group stage exit.

Joao Domingos Pinto

Joao Domingos da Silva Pinto (born November 21, 1961) is a professional footballer and manager from Portugal.

He is known as one of the greatest Portuguese right backs of all time and one of the Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time.

Having spent his whole professional career (16 years) with Porto, winning a total of 24 major titles, including nine leagues and the 1987 European Cup.

Pinto was a member of the Portuguese national team for over a decade, playing in one World Cup and one European Championship.

The later football manager was born in the Porto district of Oliveira do Douro, Vila Nova de Gaia.

He quickly established himself in the FC Porto starting XI as an FC Porto trainee.

The professional footballer was named captain after breaking his leg just before the 1986–87 European Cup final against

FC Bayern Munich

, and the cup was officially only issued on Portuguese soil after the 2–1 victory in Vienna.

Pinto, who spent 16 years as a professional and helped the northerners secure their first three-league title in a row, retired after the 1996–97 season (in total, he won nine national championships, four cups, and was part of the treble-winning squad which won the Champions Cup, the European Supercup, and the Intercontinental Cup).

He was later offered a role coaching the club's youth teams as a result of his dedication and long service.


Pepe (Kepler Laveran de Lima Ferreira ComM) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a center-back for Porto and the Portugal national team.

He was born on February 26, 1983, and he is one of the Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time.

Pepe played professionally for Maritimo, Porto,

Real Madrid

, and Besiktas, with the latter two clubs achieving individual and team success.

The well-known legend in the football world played 334 games for Real Madrid and won three La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions League titles, and two Copa del Rey titles.

With Porto, he has also secured three Primeira Liga titles and two Taca de Portugal titles.

Pepe was born and raised in Brazil but chose to represent Portugal, earning 113 caps since his debut in 2007.

The legend played in three FIFA World Cups and three UEFA European Championships, and was a part of the Euro 2016 winning squad, as well as reaching the Euro 2012 semi-finals.

He never participated in any youth competitions for his native Brazil.

According to the player's father, he was approached by head coach Dunga in 2006 about a potential call-up, which he refused, saying that he would join the Portuguese national team once he acquired Portuguese citizenship.

In August 2007, he became a Portuguese citizen, and on August 30, he was named in the Portuguese squad for the first time in preparation for a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Poland.

Humberto Coelho

Humberto Manuel de Jesus Coelho (born April 20, 1950) is a former footballer and manager from Portugal.

During a 16-year career that was mostly associated with


, the central defender also competed professionally in France and the United States.

For many years, he was the player with the most appearances for Portugal, with over 60 caps.

Since 1985, Coelho has worked as a manager, leading many national teams, including his own.

One of the Portuguese bests, born in Cedofeita, Porto, was known as one of the

Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time

, having breached into S.L. Benfica's first team at the age of 18 and had already featured in 101 Primeira Liga matches for the club four years later.

He made his Portugal debut on October 27, 1968, in a 3–0 victory over Romania in the 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifying stages;

over the next 15 years, he would play in 63 more internationals, scoring six goals and captaining the team 30 times.

Coelho played for Paris Saint-Germain FC for two seasons starting in 1975. Despite his position, he continued to show his typical attacking instincts, scoring six goals in his first season, despite the team finishing 14th in Ligue 1.

The fabulous defender later returned to Benfica, where he helped the team win three more leagues and four domestic cups.

He is unquestionably one of the Portuguese greatest Defenders.

Ricardo Carvalho

Ricardo Alberto Silveira de Carvalho OIH is a retired Portuguese professional footballer who played as a center back.

He was born on May 18, 1978 and is commonly regarded as one of the best central defenders of the modern period and one of the

Portuguese greatest Defenders.

He is currently the assistant manager of Marseille, a French club.

Carvalho started his career at Porto, where he had loan spells at Leca, Vitoria de Setubal, and Alverca before capturing domestic and European titles under Jose Mourinho's leadership.

The defender joined


for a fee of just under €30 million in July 2004. In his first two seasons with the Blues, he won two Premier League titles in a row and one League Cup.

He was named the team's Players' Player of the Year in 2008. He helped Chelsea win the league and FA Cup two years later, the first Double in the club's history.

Ricardo moved to Real Madrid for £6.7 million in August 2010, after six years with Chelsea, and won two domestic titles under Mourinho's management before a free transfer to Monaco in 2013.

Carvalho's international football career started on October 11, 2003, in a friendly match against Albania.

He played in three UEFA European Championships and two FIFA World Cups for Portugal and was a part of the UEFA Euro 2016 winning team.

During Euro 2004, the center-back was a regular in Portugal's starting lineup, helping his country reach the final before losing to Greece. He appeared in six matches for Portugal at the 2006 World Cup, where they finished fourth after reaching the semi-finals.

No doubt he is one of the Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time.

Germano de Figueiredo

Germano Luis de Figueiredo (December 23, 1932 – July 14, 2004), better known by his nickname Germano, was a Portuguese footballer who played as a central defender.

He is so far one of the

Best Portuguese Defenders of All Time.

He spent the majority of his professional career with Benfica, where he made 131 appearances and won eight major titles, including two European Cups.

Germano was a member of Portugal's World Cup team in 1966. In UEFA's 50 Greatest Footballers of the Last 50 Years jubilee list, he was ranked 53rd.

Figueiredo began his career with local club Atletico Clube de Portugal, spending seven of his nine seasons in the Primeira Liga.

In the summer of 1960, he moved to S.L. Benfica, where he spent the next six years as a key member of the defensive unit that helped the team win four national titles and two European Cups (against FC Barcelona and Real Madrid);

In the latter competition's 1964–65 edition, the great defender was named goalkeeper after his teammate Alberto da Costa Pereira was injured in the final against Inter Mi.

After a year with S.C. Salgueiros in the second division, Germano retired in 1967.

One of the Portuguese greatest Defenders, At the age of 71, he died in Linda-a-Velha.

Over the course of 13 years, he won 24 caps for Portugal. He was a member of the 1966 FIFA World Cup team, but after a poor performance against Bulgaria in the second game, he was benched for the remainder of the tournament, which ended in a third-place finish.

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