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      The best central defenders: Piqué or Ramos

      02.12.2016

      Written by Mathias Boughey-Svendsen

      Defenders are often overlooked, when the discussion turns to who the best footballer in the world is. In this duel, it is only fair to refer to these two players, as among the very greatest on the planet.

      Before we start comparing stone cold facts and getting into who statistically is the better defender, let it just be known that I personally would pick Sergio Ramos for my team, if I was free to choose. That might in all honesty just be because I’m forever jealous of Pique for marrying Shakira, but that doesn’t change my opinion.

      Now, with that out of the way, we can take a closer look at the two players, who maybe with the exception of Jerome Boateng, have to be considered the best and second best central defenders in the world. This is a Nike Tiempo Legend 6 duel – it’s Gerard Piqué vs. Sergio Ramos.

      Attacks start in the backline

      Like I said, there is no doubt that both players are the pinnacle modern defenders. They are strong at positioning themselves correctly, physically imposing, superior in the air and good at keeping the ball when strikers really try to pressure them. Actually so much so that Ramos and Piqué have 57.15 and 61.55 successful passes pr. 90 minutes of football they have played this season. For comparison, this is more than midfield dynamos like Luka Modric, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic. It’s even more than Leo Messi and Ronaldo, who only muster 39.46 and 24.09 successful passes.

      That says a lot about the two players and the two teams, when their central defenders are so involved in the play and creating pressure on the opponents. It also really exemplifies the Nike tagline for the Tiempo, “Start the Finish”, because the attack really starts with these two players. Ramos and Piqué have 52 and 51.33 successful forward passes each pr. Game, which is the vast majority of their passes.

      Defensive rocks

      On average pr. game Ramos and Piqué each win 1.71 and 1.22 tackles respectively, while Piqué (1.78) loses more than Ramos (1.14). On the other hand, Piqué appears to be better at reading play than Ramos. He has 1.89 interceptions versus Ramos on 1.57.

      This season in the La Liga, it has probably overall been Piqué who has played best. He has won more aerial duels (2.22 counter Ramos’ 1.29), he has more blocks (0.67 – 0.43) and only been booked once, as opposed to Ramos who has four yellow cards to his name. Yeah, all the same, you can probably tell we are dealing with some seriously small margins that decides who the better defender is at El Clasico.