KEY POINTS

  • Virgil van Dijk is one of the best center-backs at present
  • Ronaldo has netted 14 goals so far this term for Man Utd
  • Liverpool are still nine points behind City in the title race

Kevin de Bruyne has snubbed Cristiano Ronaldo and included Lionel Messi in his dream team. 

In a chat with Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand, De Bruyne was asked to name a five-a-side dream team. The Manchester City superstar left out his club teammate Rubian Dias and instead picked Liverpool's center-back Virgil van Dijk. 

When Ferdinand asked de Bruyne to compare Van Dijk to the world's best center-backs, the Belgian forward replied, "I think he's up there. He was unbelievable before his injury, obviously, he had his ACL. He came back to a real high level. It's very difficult always to say 'he's better than this one...' but he's probably top three in the world alongside Ruben [Dias] and some other players. I think he deserves it."

Van Dijk, who moved from Southampton to Liverpool during the 2018 January transfer window, is one of the players who have made a difference at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp's reign. The Dutchman helped Liverpool reach the Champions League final in his maiden season but the Reds ended up losing the final to Real Madrid. 

The following two seasons were memorable for both Van Dijk and Liverpool. Klopp's side won the European competition the subsequent season and the Premier League the campaign after that, while Van Dijk finished second in the Ballon d'Or award behind Messi in 2019. The Netherlands national claimed the UEFA Player of the Year award for 2018-19. 

Van Dijk missed the majority of the 2020-21 season due to an ACL injury but is back at his best as Liverpool are competing with Manchester City in Premier League's title race. City are nine points ahead of second-placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand. 

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring against Leeds Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring against Leeds Photo: AFP / Paul ELLIS

Apart from Messi and Van Dijk, De Bruyne picked Neymar, Bernardo Silva and N'Golo Kante in his five-a-side dream team. 

Ronaldo, who didn't make it to de Bruyne's team, returned to Manchester United for a second spell in the 2021 summer. The Portuguese forward has netted 14 goals and three assists in 24 competitive matches for the Red Devils.