Leeds United striker Willy Gnonto has claimed that he prefers Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk over Manchester City defender Ruben Dias.
Gnonto is a new signing at Elland Road having arrived on deadline day last summer. The 19-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance in his seven months at the club, making life tricky for a Premier League defenders.
Now, sitting down with the division’s YouTube channel to pick his ultimate FIFA team, Gnonto has admitted that there’s a defender who made things equally difficult for him.
Asked to pick between Van Dijk and Dias, the Italy international made up his mind very quickly.
“I would probably say Van Dijk [over Ruben Dias],” Gnonto replied. “I haven’t played against Ruben Dias, so I can’t say [who is better in real life]. I’m lucky, I can’t say anything. But Van Dijk is incredible. He’s strong, he’s big, he’s fast as well, good on the ball.”
Van Dijk still the blueprint
Even with all Virgil’s struggles this season, most would still have him down as a better defender than Dias.
City’s centre-back may have the same amount of PFA Player of the Year’s as Van Dijk, but that is a bit of an anomaly.
The 25-year-old won his award in the sanctity of empty stadiums. Free from any real pressure in a very weird season, Dias excelled in his debut season at the Etihad.
Two years on and he’s no longer necessarily still in the debate for the world’s top central defender. At times he isn’t even in City’s best XI.
As Gnonto’s answer shows, Virgil on the other hand is still very much the blueprint for every aspiring top centre-back. The 31-year-old may not be at the top of his game right now, but he’s still better than most of his challengers.
It’s clear that Liverpool’s No.4 still inspires awe in those strikers unlucky enough to face him. Despite what some would have you believe, Virgil isn’t done yet. Far from it.
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