Virgil van Dijk and 4 elite defenders who have not been surpassed in the 2023/24 season


With the speed and skill of modern strikers, it seems more difficult than ever for a defender to avoid being dribbled past. Let’s take a closer look at Europe’s top five leagues, and using statistics from Whoscored, to identify five defenders who haven’t been beaten this season.

Virgil van Dijk

At his peak, Van Dijk played 50 Premier League matches without being dribbled past until Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe did this in August 2019.

Virgil van Dijk and 4 elite defenders have not been surpassed in the 2023/24 season - Football

 Van Dijk has returned with impressive form.

The 32-year-old has been in top form this season and the underlying statistics back that up. 

“Always has been and always will be; Virgil is the best defender in the world,” Jurgen Klopp told reporters in December.

It’s no surprise that Liverpool has the best defensive record in the Premier League and is still at the top of the rankings.

Matthijs de Ligt

Van Dijk’s Dutch national team teammate De Ligt can also boast that he has never been dribbled past him this season. In 12 appearances in the Bundesliga, no one has been able to surpass the 24-year-old player.

The Bayern Munich defender has not been a regular starter under Thomas Tuchel, leading to some speculation surrounding his long-term future in Germany. With superior qualities, it would not be surprising if De Ligt was welcomed by football teams with a red carpet.

Inigo Martinez

Experienced Spanish defender is a reliable choice for Barcelona. In 543 minutes of play in La Liga, he has not been dribbled past once this season.

Xavi often chooses the defensive pair of Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo, but Martinez in the backup role always frustrates the opponent every chance he gets.

Matteo Ruggeri

Virgil van Dijk and 4 elite defenders have not been surpassed in the 2023/24 season - Football

 Matteo Ruggeri emerged as a bright star this season.

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

AC Milan wanted to sign Ruggeri from the summer of 2023, but Atalanta rejected the offer knowing clearly that the best years of his career were still ahead. The sky is the limit for Ruggeri.

Aaron Hickey

The Scottish defender has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since November, but in his nine Premier League appearances so far, no one has been able to dribble past him.

It is still unclear when Hickey will return to first team football. But right now, according to information from Give Me Sport, the Brentford star has been in the sights of both Man United and Man City .

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