Former Southampton player Jose Fonte believes both Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk and Manchester City’s Ruben Dias are better defenders than Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger.
BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand recently claimed that Rudiger was the best centre-half in the Premier League but Fonte says that, while he has admiration for the German, he is not as good as van Dijk or Dias:
“I’ve enjoyed watching him [Rudiger] and he’s in great form. It’s very subjective to say who’s the best in the world, but it’s great to see him playing his good football. Everyone has their opinion on this… I’m a big fan of Virgil Van Dijk and I’m a big fan of Dias, so I have to say that these are my two boys.”
Fonte certainly knows a thing or two about defending. As well as making 400 appearances during his time in England, he has also won Euro 2016 with Portugal, as well as the French League title with Lille last season.
As the 37-year-old says himself, though, it is subjective. How you assess a defender’s ability depends on what qualities you want. There is an argument to say, though, that van Dijk is the complete package.
The Netherlands captain is dominant in the air, excellent in possession of the ball while he isn’t a slouch when it comes to raw speed either.