This Is The Player Liverpool Defender Virgil Van Dijk Must Usurp To Become The Best In The World
Last night we saw the two top defenders in the world take each other on in an epic battle of defensive concentration and grit. We are, of course, talking about the quality on show when Juventus travelled to Madrid to take on Atletico in a gripping Champions League tie and we got to see Diego Godin and Giorgio Chiellini go head-to-head.
Chiellini marshalled his back line well for the first half as neither side could break the deadlock, with the experienced Italian having to keep tabs on the attacking talents of Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann. It was in that challenge in itself that we saw the best of Chiellini. He was able to deal with the physicality and aggressiveness of Costa, but he was also able to impose his strength on the smaller, nippier Antoine Griezmann.
Atletico Madrid eventually made the breakthrough thanks to Jose Gimenez, but it was his Uruguayan partner and scorer of the second goal, Diego Godin, who once again established himself as the best defender in the world. He was simply an immovable object at the heart of the defence, repelling anything that came his way.
His organisation of that Atleti back line was majestic and against some of the top players in world football such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, silencing the Juventus forwards for the full 90 minutes.
His treatment of one of the best in the world, Ronaldo, was commendable but he also knew how to play dirty when he needed to. After CR7 won a free-kick early on, Godin booted the ball at him whilst he was on the floor, out of sight of the referee.
These underhand tactics combined with his aggression, domination in the air and concentration at the back make him the perfect captain for any side. The Uruguayan will not let you down and you will always get 100% effort from the Uruguayan who rarely loses his one-on-one battle against his striker, no matter the calibre of the forward.
Sergio Ramos and Virgil Van Dijk may be better passers of the football, or better and bringing the ball out from the back, but in terms of sheer backs to the wall defending, there is nobody on the same level as Diego Godin.