What's the story?
Carles Puyol, one of the best center-backs of his generation, has named the better defender between Real Madrid and Spain captain Sergio Ramos and Barcelona star Gerard Pique, in an interview with Marca.
He picked his former defensive partner Pique as the top defender in the business, even claiming that the 32-year-old is now better than him.
In case you didn't know...
Pique, who is an academy product of the famed La Masia academy, had announced his retirement from international football last August, but still plays in friendlies for Catalonia's football team.
Pique and Puyol developed an indomitable center-back partnership during their time together at Camp Nou, winning 4 LaLiga titles and 2 Champions League trophies for the club.
Their partnership yielded fruit at the international stage for La Furia Roja as well. With the Catalan duo at the center of their team's defense, Spain only conceded two goals in their 2010 World Cup winning campaign.
After Puyol's retirement, Pique has gotten along really well with Ramos in the national side, though the duo shares a certain animosity when they're donning their club jerseys.
The heart of the matter
Puyol, who is an ambassador for the UEFA Champions League, was in Surabaya, Indonesia as part of Heineken's UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour.
The Spaniard sat down for an interview and shared his thoughts on a number of topics, including the defender who he ranks even better than him. When inquired about who he believed to be the top defender in the world, he replied instantly, 'Pique'.
"Gerard Pique, without a doubt."
He heaped praise on the defender and did not hesitate in putting the latter ahead of him in terms of achievements with Barca. He said:
"Yes[Pique is better than me], he's the best central defender in the world. We're different. He is key to Barcelona in everything he contributes, in his leadership. He's a phenomenon and a great friend."
Finally, when asked to choose between Sergio Ramos and Pique, he voted for the former Manchester United player. He replied:
Gerard Pique will next be in action when Barcelona host Espanyol on 30 March.Published 26 Mar 2019, 20:37 IST