Virgil van Dijk’s performances for Liverpool this season have inevitably led to some pundits—and even fellow footballers—crowning the Dutchman the Best Defender in the World.
For example, Ki-Jana Hoever told The Mirror:
“Virgil is the best defender in the world—and I can say that with 100% certainty. “He seems to be right all the time. I wonder, at those moments, why I did not see that or why I was not in that position before. That, for me, is pure class.”
All right, Hoever is a teammate (and a fellow Dutchman). But Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels said in January that the Netherlands international is the best center-back in the game.
Other people who have expressed a similar view include Dietmar Hamann, Chris Sutton, and Paul Merson.
However, Virgil van Dijk himself has refused to wear the crown, insisting instead that “nobody can claim that title.”
Speaking to the official Liverpool matchday program, the 27-year-old said:
“Nobody can really claim that title—it’s just about opinions. We just need to enjoy it when players are doing well for their teams and I’m feeling good at the moment.
“Obviously there are a lot of expectations when you come to a club for a record fee but you can’t change that. You just need to perform and show it on the pitch and gain respect through that. I’ve tried to do that since day one and it’s been going all right.
“There are plenty of good central defenders around and I enjoy watching them. If I watch big games like the Champions League on TV then I’m definitely watching what different center-backs are doing in certain situations.”
That’s pretty humble of him. But honestly: is there a better center-back in the world right now?