3 reasons why Virgil Van Dijk is not the best defender in the world
Football has a way of writing scripts even the craftiest of writers cannot come up with. In the process of making such magnificent tales, football creates its own heroes and villains. Fans instantly buy such footballing stories and it heralds the beginning of age-old arguments and controversy.
The Messi - Ronaldo rivalry is one that the beautiful game has written in recent years and has brought about serious debate and division among fans and pundits.
In more recent times, the emergence of Virgil Van Dijk from obscurity in Celtic to mid-table mediocrity in Southampton and now to the bright Anfield lights with the whole world watching is another story that football is spinning on us.
Virgil Van Dijk has moved from being a normal defender who was not even in the reckoning for his national team to a player worthy of the armband at Liverpool and for the Oranje. His quick rise to stardom has seen some observers prematurely refer to him as the best defender in the world and this has led to heated debate among fans and pundits worldwide.
While the former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann says that Van Dijk is by far the best defender in the world, Chris Sutton takes it even further by saying that the Dutchman is the third best player in the world, behind only Messi and Ronaldo.
With the debate still raging on after every great Van Dijk performance, we consider three reasons why the Dutch international is not the best defender in the world.
#1 Presence of better defensive stalwarts in the game
Football fans most times have a very short memory. We keep looking for the next shiny new prodigy or superstar that will get us off our feet and keep us all excited. This makes us extremely short memoried and forgetful of the excellence we have been witnessing all the while.
Newer is not always better. It would be folly to refuse to admit that Van Dijk has joined the group of truly elite defenders in the beautiful game. However, we must not forget the stalwarts who have seen it all, done it all and are still consistently doing it for club and country.
Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Diego Godin, Sergio Ramos, Matts Hummels, Raphaël Varane, Thiago Silva and Gerrard Pique are some examples of these players who have consistently shown their defensive class and are still doing so now.
The arrival of Van Dijk into this elite circle has not automatically made all these players that have been and remain indispensable to their clubs to be inferior to him.
The English Premier League is by far the most watched and followed league in the world. Van Dijk is arguably the best center back in the league and this makes fans of the English game to prematurely crown the Liverpool player as the best defender in the world.
Fans of Italian Serie A could also argue that Koulibaly is the best in the world because of his heroics for Napoli in the last few seasons. As great a defender as Koulibaly is, he is not the best in the world and the same applies to Van Dijk.