Arjen Robben plays down suggestions Virgil Van Dijk is 'best defender in the world'
Virgil Van Dijk is a very good footballer
Since joining Liverpool from Southampton for a world record fee for a defender in January 2018, Virgil Van Dijk's career has gone from strength to strength.
While always highly rate at both St. Mary's and his previous club Celtic, the Netherlands international captain has moved it up a level at Anfield, producing stellar display after stellar display and proving that he is one of the league's best defenders, if not the best outright.
Understandably this has led to praise from all quarters of both the media and footballers still playing the game.
In September, Watford striker Troy Deeney admitted that he hates playing against Van Dijk, saying that the centre-back is "too big, too strong, too quick, too good on the ball, he loves fighting and he’s got a good head of hair".
Peter Crouch is another person to have lavished praise on the 27-year-old.
"I watched Van Dijk last week when Liverpool beat Wolves and he did something that made me think 'Oh, my God!'" he said. "It was when Adama Traore looked like he was going to open up on the touchline, having dragged Van Dijk out of position."
“Usually, a fast striker would leave you for dead but Van Dijk's reaction was extraordinary. For a man so big and heavy to move so effortlessly alongside was remarkable and it shows why they have such a good defensive record.”
On top of this, there have been some pundits, including Chris Sutton who have suggested Van Dijk may be either the best defender in the world, or even the best player in the world.
One person who doesn't appear to share quite the same level of belief in Van Dijk is his Dutch teammate Arjen Robben, who this week expressed doubt on whether that really is the case.
“I do not know if he is the best defender in the world,” said the Bayern Munich winger at a press conference. “Other people are allowed to judge that, but I’m happy for him. He has made big strides lately, just look where he comes from.
“He has grown as a player, but also as a personality, I am happy for him, where he is at the moment. He is a key player at a gigantic club, and he is the captain of the Dutch national team. He deserves all the compliments.”
Is he the best defender in the world? Who knows, but Robben will get to find out just how good he is when they meet in the last 16 of the Champions League in February.