Picture : Daniel Passarella, captain of Argentine's World Cup winning team 1978 and the only Argentine to win two World Cups (1978 and 1986), is the leader of the ranking with 27 goals scored in 1976 !

IFFHS all-time ranking: prolific defenders in a single year

This is our first publication on all-time ranking for the highest scoring defenders in a single calendar year.
In the entire history of football, there were 7 cases when a defender scored 20+ goals in a year. 
The first to do it in XXI century was in 2022 James Tavernier, a right-back from Glasgow Rangers. With the annual tally of 22 goals, he got to the 4th place of the historical ranking.
The world record stands since 1976, when the central defender Daniel Passarella performed phenomenally, scoring 27 goals, 25 of them for River Plate and 2 for Argentina.
Ronald Koeman, who holds the world record for defenders’ career goals overall, has reached the 20-goal mark three times, in 1987, 1989 and 1994.
The Argentine Edgardo Bauza is the only one who managed to score 20+ annual goals twice in a row (1980, 1981).

 PlayerRoleYearCountryClub(s)Goals   Total
1Daniel Passarella CB1976Argentina River Plate 24 1227
2Ronald KoemanCB1987NetherlandsPSV2121226
3Edgardo Bauza CB1980Argentina Rosario Central23   23
4James TavernierRB2022EnglandRangers1129 22
5Ronald KoemanCB1989NetherlandsPSV, Barcelona1621322
6Ronald KoemanCB1994NetherlandsBarcelona14 5221
7Edgardo Bauza CB1981Argentina Rosario Central20 1 21