A recent article on a well-known sport website investigated whether Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid stalwart, was the greatest defender – ever.
The basis of this outlandish claim was formed by the Spaniard scoring what was his 100th goal in a recent Champions League fixture.
My question is – since when did we base judgement on a defender solely on their goalscoring achievements?
100 goals for a defender is a fine achievement, but it also showcases how often Ramos is in the opposition box.
The true way to judge the effectiveness of a defender is surely how difficult they make it to score past them?
In that regard, Sergio Ramos falls some way behind the luminaries of defending as an artform.
Just look at the golden era of Italian football. The likes of Baresi and Maldini deserve to be mentioned as a candidate for greatest ever defender. They not only were impregnable, they were also facing off against some of the most talented players of a generation. Matthias Sammer, Jurgen Kohler, the Germans who formed a barricade that seemed impossible to penetrate.
What about the cream of England? So long, this country’s international exploits were formed on the back of a rock solid defence, and you will find no better than Tony Adams, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Martin Keown and Sol Campbell. Athletic, combative and so ridiculously strong in the air that it often seemed fuetile to even challenge for an aerial ball.
Attacking qualities are often sought after in full-backs, but the mix has to be spot on. They can’t galivant in the final third and leave their flank wide open. Ashley Cole, Cafu, Lizarazu, Thuram, Zanetti – they al found the magical balance that saw them cause havoc up top and a reliable stopper at the back.
Sergio Ramos is a fine player and will be remembered as a great of this era for good reason when he finally hangs up his boots.
But to say he is the best defender that has ever been, just because he scores a hatful of goals?
That is terrible football journalism that deserves to be ignored.
Instead, stick to The Arsenal Review!