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Carles Puyol names the best centre-back in the world

Carles Puyol

Barcelona icon Carles Puyol has revealed who he thinks is the planet's finest central defender – and it's not Virgil van Dijk.

Once considered one of the best himself, the ex-Barça man has thrown his weight behind his old team-mate and good pal, Gerard Pique.

Speaking to Marca at an event, he explained his decision:

Matthijs de Ligt is emerging and Virgil van Dijk has exploded. Who is the best central defender in the world?

"Gerard Pique, without a doubt."

What about between Ramos and Pique?

"Gerard Pique."

Is Pique a better centre-back than you?

"Yes, he's the best central defender in the world. We're different. He is key to Barcelona in everything he contributes, in his leadership. He's a phenomenon and a great friend."

High praise indeed. 

As a centre-back pairing, Puyol and Pique won the 2010 World Cup for Spain, and were an integral part of the Barcelona team that won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011, as well as four La Liga titles. Not too shabby.