Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has become renowned as one of, if not the, best defender in the world. He has proven to be a crucial asset for the Reds since joining from Southampton in January 2018, becoming instrumental to their success both offensively and defensively. Some have even said that he is the best in Premier League history, and recently Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand compared his former central defence partner Nemanja Vidic against Virgil van Dijk.
Rio Ferdinand: Manchester United Legend Nemanja Vidic v Liverpool Ace Virgil Van Dijk
Van Dijk’s Success with Liverpool
Liverpool’s 28-year-old colossus has been excellent once again this season. He has four goals, while also providing an assist, putting him three goals ahead of United’s underperforming duo Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira combined this season.
The Dutchman’s interceptions, passing and aerial duels have made him indispensable in the current Liverpool side, helping them both going forwards and defensively. A great example of this was shown in the Reds’ latest fixture against Bournemouth.
The Cherries went 1-0 up thanks to a controversial goal from Callum Wilson, however with Liverpool having equalized they were hungry for more. Van Dijk made a fantastic interception on the halfway line and proceeded to play a beautiful, pinpoint pass into the run of Sadie Mané who slotted it past Aaron Ramsdale into the Bournemouth net.
Vidic’s Formidable Qualities
Similar to van Dijk, Vidic was good all over the pitch. The Serbian scored five goals in 2010/11 and consistently contributed up the field.
His true colours showed while defending, however. The now 38-year-old’s slide tackles were exemplary, timing them to perfection. The Red Devils’ current squad does not have anyone who can do it to the standard that Vidic could, and it is greatly missed. His aerial duels and interceptions were also exceptional, making him an incredible all-around defender.
Nemanja Vidic v Virgil van Dijk: Ferdinand’s Verdict
The Englishman had his say on the debate during an Instagram Q&A. Ferdinand admitted that it was an extremely difficult comparison, but in the end, he chose his former partner Vidic. When explaining his answer he said “He was my partner. He covered my back and I covered his”. With regards to van Dijk, however, he said that he is the “best defender in the world now, definitely”.
The United legend went on to say that he would have loved to have seen van Dijk playing in his era.