The primary function of a defender is to defend well, to prevent rival attackers from succeeding, that is, to prevent them from scoring goals.
Among the 11 who are on the field, apart from the goalkeeper, the defenders are the athletes who act further away from the opposing area. More than the full-backs, who go on the attack to make crosses, more than the defensive midfielders, who advance to risk shots from outside the area.
The exception is set pieces. When there is a foul in the attack or a corner kick, and the intention is to launch the round in the other team’s area, the defenders “go up” to try to score the goal – most of the time, with their heads, since they tend to be the tallest among those working on the line.
Over the last few months, the top scorers in the elite of world football, playing for clubs (not for the national team), are those from Palmeiras, recognized as one of the two best teams in Brazil – the other is Flamengo.
Gustavo Gómez, 1.85 m, and Murilo, 1.88 m, partners in the defense in the team led by the Portuguese Abel Ferreira, are a constant threat to opposing goals, and it has become common to see them celebrate by sending the ball to the networks.
On Saturday (4), for example, in the classic against Santos at Morumbi for the Campeonato Paulista, Murilo opened the scoring by taking advantage of a rebound in the penalty area after a corner kick.
The 25-year-old player, who before Alviverde played for Cruzeiro and Lokomotiv Moscow, has scored, since the beginning of 2022, 12 goals in 62 matches valid for each competition (Paulista, Brasileiro, Copa do Brasil, Supercopa do Brasil, Recopa Sul -American).
Gustavo Gómez, 29, captain of Palmeiras and called Xerife do Verdão by the fans who idolize him, is just a little behind his colleague. In the same period, the Paraguayan scored 11 goals in 63 appearances.
Since the beginning of last year, according to this blog’s survey, there is no defender who plays for the best clubs in the world who has been a scorer like Gustavo Gómez or Murilo.
For example, in Brazil, David Luiz and Léo Pereira, holders of Flamengo, together add up to a mere two goals in this 13-month hiatus, both scored by the second.
Who comes closest to the Palmeiras, and even so being a little far away, is Manoel, defender of Fluminense, with seven goals in 2022 and who still hasn’t scored in 2023.
In Europe, the situation is no different. Players from the most famous and popular teams scored a goal here, another there, but without overshadowing the performance of the Palmeiras fans.
And there is not, either in Brazil or abroad, a duo as artillery as the one formed by Murilo and Gustavo Gómez. The only one that has any protagonism, with eight goals added, is Geertruida / Hancko, from Feyenoord, leader of the Dutch Championship.
Below are the goals scored by defenders from big clubs since the beginning of 2022, in competition matches (friendly matches are disregarded). In the spotlight, the athletes who work in Brazil.
- Murilo (Palmeiras) – 12 goals (62 games)
- Gustavo Gómez (Palmeiras) – 11 goals (63 games)
- Manoel (Fluminense) – 7 goals (55 games)
- Éder Militão (Real Madrid) – 6 goals (53 games)
- Marcano (Porto) – 5 goals (23 games)
- Hermoso (Atletico Madrid) – 5 goals (27 games)
- Victor Cuesta (Botafogo) – 5 goals (31 games)
- Geertruida (Feyenoord) – 5 goals (42 games)
- Orbán (Leipzig) – 5 goals (54 games)
- Arboleda (Sao Paulo) – 4 goals (27 games)
- Bonucci (Juventus) – 4 goals (28 games)
- Obispo (PSV Eindhoven) 4 goals (37 games)
- Marquinhos (PSG) – 4 goals (49 games)
- Van Dijk (Liverpool) – 4 goals (55 games)
- Hancko (Feyenoord) – 3 goals (24 games)
- Balbuena (Corinthians) – 3 goals (25 games)
- António Silva (Benfica) – 3 goals (26 games)
- Schlorterbeck (Borussia Dortmund) – 3 goals (27 games)
- Rahmani (Napoli) – 3 goals (37 games)
- Eduardo Brock (Cruzeiro) – 3 goals (51 games)
- Ibañez (Roma) – 3 goals (51 games)
- Eduardo Bauermann (Santos) – 3 goals (64 games)
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