Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has said that he rates Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk as the “best” defender currently playing the game.
Although the Dutchman has struggled for form somewhat this season, Haaland says he always relishes going up against the defender, due to the quality he possesses:
“It’s always nice to face the best and that’s what Van Dijk is. I’ve played against him a few times, and he’s a really good guy as well as an exceptional footballer. I like to play against him because he may be the best in the world. But I have scored at Anfield and for Norway against the Netherlands…”
As Haaland mentions himself, the Norwegian has already scored against van Dijk for club and country so he isn’t exactly intimidated when he comes up against the 31-year-old.
It should be noted that Haaland was asked directly about van Dijk in the interview, so we don’t really know his views about his teammate Ruben Dias, or the likes of Chelsea’s Thiago Silva.
Van Dijk has certainly built a reputation for himself over the last few years, though, mainly due to his rather unorthodox style of play. He lacks the aggression and the steely personality of most top-class centre-backs but his composure, aerial ability and strength have won him many admirers.
For Haaland, he will be hoping to get the better of van Dijk when City next face the Reds in a couple of months’ time.