Virgil van Dijk hasn’t been dribbled past yet...

Virgil van Dijk & 4 other elite defenders who haven’t been dribbled past this season

Stars from Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Barcelona are among the top defenders in Europe who are yet to be dribbled past during 2023-24 so far.

With the pace and skill of modern attackers, it seems more difficult than ever to not be dribbled past as a defender, especially with the high lines which a lot of elite clubs play with these days.

We’ve taken a closer look at Europe’s top five leagues and using stats from Whoscored, we have found five defenders who haven’t been dribbled past this season.

Virgil van Dijk

During his peak, Van Dijk once went 50 Premier League games without being dribbled past until Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe managed to get around him in August 2019.

The 32-year-old has looked back to his very best in this campaign and the underlying stats certainly back it up. He’s the only defender in the Liverpool squad yet to be dribbled past this season which is some achievement.

“It always was and will always be; Virg is the best defender in the world,” Jurgen Klopp told reporters in December.

“Did he have lesser good spells? Yes. If you show me one player who never had that, I will be really happy to meet him. To be honest, probably that’s how we all are.

“With Virg, everything positive I said in the past, we can say again because I still think exactly the same. Everybody can see Virg is back and it’s obvious. Thank God!”

It’s no wonder that Liverpool boast the best defensive record in the Premier League.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk rues a missed chance during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Tuesday December 26, 2023.

READ: 6 Liverpool players that have enjoyed a stunning resurgence in 2023-24: Van Dijk, TAA…

Matthijs de Ligt

Van Dijk’s international team-mate can also boast that he hasn’t been dribbled past this season. In 12 Bundesliga appearances, no one has managed to get around the 24-year-old yet.

The Bayern Munich defender hasn’t been a regular starter under Thomas Tuchel which has led to some speculation surrounding his long-term future. Given his impressive underlying defensive numbers, there surely won’t be a shortage of takers if he is made available.

Inigo Martinez

The experienced Spanish defender has been a reliable option for Barcelona when called upon. In 543 minutes of La Liga football, he’s yet to be dribbled past this season.

While Xavi has often opted for a defensive partnership of Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo, Martinez rarely lets the side down when given a chance.

Matteo Ruggeri

Ruggeri has made the left wing-back position his own at Atalanta this season. The 21-year-old progressed through the club’s academy and is now enjoying the best season of his career to date.

AC Milan were reportedly keen on signing the youngster in the summer, but Atalanta were able to resist their approach. With the best years of his career still ahead of him, the sky is the limit for Ruggeri.

Aaron Hickey

The Scottish defender has been out with a hamstring injury since November, but in the nine Premier League appearances he has made so far, no one has managed to dribble past him yet.

Thomas Frank described Hickey’s injury as “high-grade” and it is currently unknown when he will return to first-team action. Fingers crossed he comes back stronger than ever.

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