Barcelona legend Carles Puyol has rebuffed claims that Virgil van Dijk is the greatest defender in the world, listing Gerard Pique as the best in the business.
The former Spain international spoke to Marca about some of the best centre-backs in the game right now and was quizzed about who he thinks tops the current list.
Puyol, who played alongside Pique, had no hesitation in listing his compatriot as the best defender in the world and responded emphatically.
When asked about the emergence of Van Dijk and Ajax youngster Matthijs de Ligt, the ex-Barcelona star gave his verdict on the most accomplished centre-back around. He said:
Gerard Pique, without a doubt.
Pique has been in fine form for Barcelona this season and has led them to the top of the La Liga table, as well as the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Should Ernesto Valverde’s side progress past Manchester United to the final four, and Liverpool overcome Porto over two legs, Van Dijk and the experienced Spanish defender will lock horns in the semi-finals.
Van Dijk's competition for the best defender in the world accolade
Pique has enjoyed a sensational season and is still among the best in the world.
Ramos has had a difficult season at Real but remains among the world’s elite.
Varane, too, has not shown his true qualities this term but is an exceptional centre-back.
Godin has long been an exceptional central defender for both Atletico Madrid and Uruguay.
Koulibaly has been superb for Napoli in the past few seasons and has earned the right to be considered among the elite.
Chiellini is still an integral member of Juventus and Italy’s squads and is one of the best defenders in the world.