Barcelona icon Xavi Hernandez picks Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate as the best defender this World Cup
Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate has been a solid rock at the back for both club and country. Recently coming back from an injury and making it to France’s squad for the World Cup, the 23-year-old has made a sensational comeback.
After making only four appearances for the club across all competitions this season, the fact that he made it into Didier Deschamps’ side came as a surprise to one and many. However, his national team manager trusted him saying it is not by accident that he is a starter at a top European club at his age.
In France’s first game in the World Cup against Australia which they won 4-1, Konate was part of the starting lineup and was one of the best players on the pitch and at times, looked far more relaxed on the ball than his centre-back partner Dayot Upamecano.
Speaking exclusively to FIFA via Twitter, 2010 World Cup winner and Spain icon Xavi Hernandez, who currently manages Barcelona when asked about the best centre-backs in the World Cup this year, named Konate alongside Upamecano and lauded the pair.
Earning praise from a World Football icon would obviously boost Ibou’s confidence growing further into the season. However, after Raphael Varane’s return from injury, Konate had to make way for the Manchester United defender against Denmark as he is a much senior figure in the France set-up.
Konate for Liverpool
With one more game to go, Konate would hope to be a part of the line-up against Tunisia. The squad have confirmed their progress to the next round of the campaign after winning both their opening games and might look to tinker with their lineup against a not-so-strong Tunisian side.
However, from a Liverpool perspective, the club would not want him to bear the risk of injury in what could be a dead-rubber game. With France’s qualification already secured, the Reds would ideally not want Ibou to feature in every other game and risk being injured.
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The player will play a huge role in the second half of the campaign for the Reds and hopefully, he is much more fit, and not so injury-prone. He has been extremely sensational for the Reds ever since the club signed him from RB Leipzig and hopefully, he has a lot more to offer.