Former Chelsea centre-back Frank Leboeuf has claimed that Virgil van Dijk is a better defender than ex-Manchester United captain and Premier League legend Nemanja Vidic.
Speaking on ESPN FC, the 52-year-old French pundit stated that whilst he believes Vidic was a fantastic defender, with the former Serbian international leading Man United to five Premier League titles and a Champions League honour, Van Dijk’s leadership qualities and quality on the ball makes him the more complete centre-back.
The Dutch centre-back was named PFA Player of the Year last season, becoming the first defender to win the award since Chelsea icon John Terry in 2005, with Van Dijk also coming in second in the 2019 Ballon d’Or voting. And for Leboeuf, the former Southampton star has the qualities that make him superior to Vidic.
The former Chelsea defender said when asked if he had to choose between Van Dijk or Vidic: “I would go for Van Dijk, I think he’s more complete. I loved Vidic, because I think he was a dog and a fantastic defender. But Van Dijk can lead the team and has range. I don’t think Vidic was capable of doing that. Hats off to Vidic, though.”
Whilst there’s no disputing that Van Dijk has been one of the best defenders in world football since joining Liverpool in early 2018, it seems almost mindboggling to compare the Dutch international to that of Vidic after just two years at the top of his game under Jurgen Klopp.
With Van Dijk only winning one honour so far with Liverpool, the former Celtic defender has a long way to go before being in the same debate as that of Vidic, who is often regarded as one of the best centre-backs in Premier League history, as well as the 21st century as a whole.