Football has waned from the era defenders were mentioned in the same breath as strikers. The game had legendary defenders who made the game tick. Back then, defending was an art, and several players were adept at its fine arts. With many rules changing the face game, there has been a drop in quality defenders, with the skill taking on a different name.
There is a scarcity of top-rated defenders, but some still hold on to the ethos of the game’s best. Their names still strike fear into the hearts of many strikers. The strikers know it would be feisty when they come up against them.
Who best to speak about the quality of defenders than one of the best strikers in the world? Neymar has played at the top and has come across all shades of defenders. He has rated two of them highly, but one above all others. The Brazilian forward spoke highly of Raphael Varane and Virgil van Dijk but believes Kyle Walker is above the duo.
Neymar is easily one of the best forwards the game has seen. He has played and won some of the top tournaments in the world while earning personal accolades in the process. The Brazilian has earned himself the right to speak on the quality of players. If he says a defender is top-rated, it should be a word to be taken to the bank.
Of the many defenders Neymar has played against, the Brazilian said Manchester City’s Kyle Walker is the toughest. Neymar has supreme dribbling skills and has a way of getting past defenders with many goals in his kitty. The former Barcelona forward said he faced many defensive stars. In a list that includes the likes of Sergio Ramos, Virgil van Dijk and Raphael Varane, Neymar picked Kyle Walker ahead of the rest. He said Walker is fast, strong and intelligent.
Neymar has scored 74 goals in 119 appearances for Brazil, and that tally puts him behind the legendary Pele. He is Brazil’s second-highest goalscorer ever. It is a decent tally for any striker and shows the PSG star has genuine quality. The 30-year-old also has the opportunity to increase his goal tally at the World Cup in Qatar.
While speaking on the DAZN Soccer Show, Neymar praised Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Raphael Varane of Manchester United. He said there is a reason they are at the top of their game.
According to Neymar, playing against Van Dijk is massive, as the Dutch defender is strong and intelligent. The Brazilian lauded the skills of the Liverpool defender. He said Van Dijk knows the right time to close you down and when to make the tackle. It makes it harder to get past him.
Neymar said it is harder to play against intelligent centre-backs. He claims it is harder when they don’t make mistakes. Van Dijk has been a rock for Liverpool for many years.
Of Varane, Neymar said the France international won everything a player can. He said he has played against him several times, and the Frenchman is an exceptional centre-back. Neymar opined that Varane is quick, intelligent and has excellent positional skills.