Liverpool transfer target Ibrahima Konate has ranked Sergio Ramos above Virgil Van Dijk in his list of the world’s best centre-halves.
The RB Leipzig defender has been strongly linked with a move to Merseyside amid some impressive performances in Germany, with Liverpool seeking to bolster their squad with reinforcements following a season where injuries, and a lack of cover for them, has hampered their title defence.
Van Dijk, who could be lining up alongside Konate next season, was perhaps the most notable casualty, suffering a horrific injury to his anterior cruciate ligament in October that has sidelined him ever since.
A talismanic figure for Liverpool in their Premier League and Champions League triumphs, the Dutchman’s absence has been sorely felt, but Konate – despite rumours he’s heading to Anfield – holds Ramos in a higher esteem.
Speaking to the UMM YouTube channel in their ‘In That Order’ game, the Frenchman said: “Ramos. Number one of course. Van Dijk then [David] Alaba.”
Such a remark will leave a sour taste in the mouths of Liverpool fans who may never forgive Ramos for injuring Mohammed Salah in the 2018 Champions League final.
Ramos, looking to secure his fourth Champions League trophy, hurled the Egyptian to the ground, forcing him off the pitch early on. Courtesy of two glaring errors from Lorius Karius, Real Madrid would go on to win the game.
Beyond his successes at club level, though, Ramos is also a World Cup and two-time European Championship winner, triumphs Van Dijk can not compete with.
Ramos has also won a record 180 caps for Spain, and although he’s six years older than Van Dijk at 35, he remains a key figure for club and country.
Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Madrid in Wednesday’s quarter-final, Klopp admitted that, although he was angry with Ramos in the moments after their ill-fated tussle in final, it happened too long ago to seriously bother him now.
“This has nothing to do with 2018 but when I got the draw because it was the first time that we played Real Madrid since then of course I remembered the game,” Klopp told The Daily Express.
“I said after that game that if somebody asked in a press conference a week later or a month later if I would invite Sergio Ramos to my 60th birthday I would have said no.
“Meanwhile, I would think about it again. It’s not because he’s a great footballer.
“Of course I said that I didn’t like what happened that night. It was for us a strange night but it was long ago and I cannot get that anger back so I don’t even try.”