‘Van Dijk is the best defender ever’ – ex-Man Utd man explains huge claim about Liverpool star

Jason Soutar
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates winning the Champions League.
Virgil van Dijk celebrates winning the Champions League.

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster has boldly claimed that Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk “is the best defender that has ever lived”.

Liverpool landed Van Dijk for £75million days before the 2018 winter transfer window opened.

The former Southampton defender made an instant impact at Anfield, helping the Reds reach the Champions League final in his first six months at the club.

A year later, he went one better, winning the competition after a 2-0 win against Premier League rivals Tottenham in Madrid.

Van Dijk backed up the European glory by guiding Liverpool to their first Premier League title a year later before winning the FA Cup and Carabao Cup in 2022.

Also taking home individual awards such as the PFA Players’ Player of the Season, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, and Premier League Player of the Season, the Dutchman is regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation.

Some even believe Van Dijk is the best centre-back to play in the Premier League, though John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic will all have something to say about that.

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Admittedly, Van Dijk has not been at his best since suffering an ACL injury in 2020, although Liverpool as a whole have declined.

Calling him the greatest defender of all time is very brave and bold, but that is exactly what Foster has done.

“I’ve got one I think we probably will put in the top 10 [defenders list],” the ex-England international said on his podcast.

“Some people would say about longevity, but I still think in the whole pantheon of centre-backs, this guy stepped the game up a little bit. I really do. Virgil van Dijk.

“I think for three years in a row, he was the best centre-back in the world. He had a bad injury and is probably still finding his feet from that.

“Virgil van Dijk, peak of his powers, is the best defender that has ever lived. I genuinely believe that. When Liverpool are winning the Champions League and Premier League, Virgil is the number one.

“People have just got short memories and the cruciate ligament injury has probably taken a yard of pace off him.”

This is a very interesting take. Obviously, Van Dijk came very close to being only the fourth defender to win the Ballon d’Or, but he was unable to beat Lionel Messi in 2019, losing out by seven points! There is no shame in that.

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