Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has revealed that Liverpool centre-half Virgil van Dijk is the best defender he has faced.
Haaland is one of the most sought after players in world football and is likely to leave Dortmund in the summer transfer window.
His goal record speaks for itself. The 21-year-old has netted 23 times in 20 matches this season after recording 41 goals in as many games last term.
The Norway striker does not tend to struggle against the opposition defence whenever he laces up his boots, but he has admitted to ‘not winning one duel’ against Liverpool’s Van Dijk.
“You know how tall he is, how strong he is and how fast he is, and also the timing is crazy,” Haaland said of Van Dijk to ESPN.
Virgil van Dijk is the toughest defender Erling Haaland has ever faced 😯 pic.twitter.com/p7h4oEavAm
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) January 26, 2022
“I don’t think I won one duel against him because he’s a physical monster.”
Haaland has doubled down on comments he made about the Holland defender in August last year.
He said: “I do not really fear anyone, I think he is the best defender. I think quite a few others in the room [at the press conference] agree with me on that.
“He is fast, strong and ‘bad’ smart, and there are three important things you must have. I have played against him twice, I have said that he is the best I have met.”
The 21-year-old sensation has been linked with numerous clubs across Europe, including Liverpool. And Van Dijk did the Reds’ chances no harm by returning the compliment the following month.
“Haaland is a special striker,” the 30-year-old said. “He’s so strong, he’s quick, he’s got all the attributes to make a defender’s life very difficult.”
Van Dijk added: “[It’s a] bit like how Jamie Vardy plays. The only thing I think Haaland has is maybe he’s a little bit stronger than Vardy but it could be very difficult to defend against.”