Marcel Desailly Names The 2 Centre Backs That Are Better Than William Saliba In World Football

Marcel Desailly Names The 2 Centre Backs That Are Better Than William Saliba In World Football

Ex-Chelsea defender and World Cup winner Marcel Desailly says he still ranks Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Bayern Munich’s Dayot Upamecano above Arsenal’s William Saliba in terms of the best centre-backs in world football.

Saliba was widely praised after marking Erling Haaland out of the game in the Gunners’ 1-0 win over Manchester City last weekend but, speaking to the Gambling Zone, Desailly played down the performance:

“He didn’t keep Haaland quiet by himself – it was also due to the other players. Arsenal pressed City high and cut out the passes to Haaland. I wouldn’t say Saliba is the best in the world yet. I believe that Dayot Upamecano and Virgil Van Dijk are above Saliba, even though Van Dijk has dropped a little bit.”

“We do, however, need to give Saliba time. He only arrived two years ago and, back then, nobody knew his name. He was never mentioned! Let’s allow him to exercise and practice his craft at the highest level.”

“Saliba has done well and he has the potential, but let’s wait and see what else he can do. The potential is there. He’s surely an international-level player for France. He needs to build up his relationship with the other players in the France camp before he can show what he can do individually.”

Van Dijk is still up there with the very best

While rival supporters have been quick to talk down the Liverpool captain after a dip in form last season, he is still a top-drawer defender.

The fact that he is still getting ringing endorsements from players like Desailly, who knows a thing or two about being a centre-back, is a testament to that.

Saliba must show consistency to match van Dijk

It was an excellent display from Saliba against Haaland but you shouldn’t be declared the best in the world off the back of one or two games. If he maintains his level for 2 to 3 seasons, like van Dijk managed, then there can be a conversation.

The Arsenal star, therefore, has a way to go to match the consistency of the Liverpool talisman and other world-class centre-halves.

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David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.